“It is time for less ego and more eco to help our troubled earth!” That was the primary message expressed by climate scientists, youth activists, indigenous leaders, and philanthropists brought to Aspen, Colorado in May by Earth’s Call to explore bold solutions to the climate crisis.
Patti LaBelle was among those who raised decibel levels inside Aspen’s Benedict Music Tent during a globally-streamed concert, launching us out of our seats and inspiring two days of collaboration around radical climate solutions. Hundreds left Aspen heartened that significant partnerships, collaborations, and individual acts of consciousness were now in play.
My most profound insight from the gathering was the spirit of hope, energy, and activism unleashed by youth leaders. They see complacency in our older generations who have selfishly consumed fossil fuels, plundering the earth without regard for their legacy. Young leaders have emerged with an urgency to reverse climate devastation. For instance, Earth Guardians just launched its EarthTrack app, a kind of fitness tracker for the planet to help calculate one’s personal impact on the environment.
In our survey of Earth’s Call guests, many said they are choosing to become “vegan” or more plant-based to improve their own health and the planet’s diet. The role of agriculture, soil regeneration, and carbon sequestration’s impact on the climate crisis was shared by The Carbon Underground. Brand guru Simon Mainwaring further shared their strategy in his blog to help amplify awareness of solutions, like The Carbon Underground’s Adopt-A-Meter campaign. Healthy soil is crucial to climate change, as well as food security. The UN warned the rate of soil destruction may mean we have just sixty years, or 60 harvests, left to feed the planet. That should wake people up to take action. But the good news is how hopeful things look when you learn about the power of the soil.
Earth’s Call also showcased the launch of an exciting, new philanthropic initiative, Lever for Change, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Its aim is to inspire philanthropists to dramatically increase their giving by helping them find the most promising ideas and impact the issues they care about most. In the spirit of making a significant impact, Earth’s Call has pledged $50 million to find and fund solutions to the climate crisis. Our primary donor, John “Spike” Buckley, says he envisions the promise of Earth’s Call as, “a global megaphone to develop strategic partnerships and collaborations, drive awareness and engagement; and catalyze urgent action to answer Earth’s Call.”
Earth’s Call’s first investment via its new partnership with Lever for Change will be the launch, early next year, of a $20 million “custom competition” around a soon-to-be-named climate solution. At a meeting at the MacArthur Foundation, President Julia Stasch said,“Climate change is the defining threat of our lifetime. If we do not get it right, nothing else will matter.”
Lever for Change was designed to create leverage. That’s what attracted Earth’s Call to be in partnership. We want to find and support individuals, communities, and organizations engaged in strategic climate initiatives that need support to effectively scale up. In some cases, there are organizations and groups emerging with ideas, but not in collaboration, because they aren’t aware of each other. For example, during our Earth’s Call planning stages we were contacted by three different organizations recommending we convene a panel on “gender and climate.” We were intrigued that this idea was circulating and brought the three groups together. One panelist, Hewlitt Foundation’s environmental program officer Erin Rogers, announced a magnanimous $12 million gift by the Hewlitt Foundation to launch a non-profit initiative devoted to “climate justice” led by feminist leaders.
Another participant, Onno Ruhl, General Manager of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, described the devastation facing a sprawling part of the world where glaciers are melting at a precipitous rate. It’s not the North or South Poles, but the so-called Third Pole, the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region where hundreds of millions of people will be impacted. The avalanches, mudslides, floods, and eventual drought will eliminate the water feeding the vital sources of rivers in Asia when the melting glaciers disappear entirely. Imagine the future of climate refugees who are able to escape from the perils of this vast region. David Brashears, the mountaineer IMAX filmmaker of Everest and founder of GlacierWorks met with Onno at Earth’s Call in Aspen. Today they are planning a scoping trip to raise awareness of the Third Pole’s unfolding climate catastrophe.
These types of collaboration are at the heart of Earth’s Call’s launch to build productive relationships and scale up solutions to the climate crisis. There are a myriad of bold efforts to address our climate emergency and we want to showcase, support, and collaborate with the best of them. Unfortunately in America, some of our top leaders ignore the scientific evidence and are rolling back policies to combat climate change. The good news is there’s a global business movement stepping up to create its own positive impact on the environment and to build a more sustainable economy in the process. B Corp co-founder, Bart Houlahan, gave an inspiring talk during Earth’s Call’s Impact 2030 panel. He explained how the 2,750 certified B Corporations across 150 industries are obliged to adhere to specific standards and metrics to build a better world. I encourage everyone to buy from a B Corp in order to support companies with a consciousness that extends beyond its responsibility to shareholders. In case you don’t know, Real Leaders magazine is a B Corp!
Finally, just as Real Leaders and B Corps support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, so does Earth’s Call. In 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 17 Global Goals, a call to action to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. It was the first time the whole world unanimously agreed to anything. Although SDG #13 addresses climate action, all of the Global Goals are in synch with climate action. Perhaps most important is SDG #17: Partnerships for the Goals. We only have 11 years left to achieve the audacious global mission to leave no one behind. It’s going to take all of us doing our part, pushing public policy, changing our behavior, and working together to prevent runaway climate catastrophe from destroying what we have and what we will leave to our children. Let’s act with hope, love and determination to answer Earth’s Call and leave to the next generation the inheritance they deserve – a planet and a future that works for all.
Now, please let us know what you’re doing to answer Earth’s Call!