The effects of climate change are being experienced worldwide and existing efforts and pledges are insufficient to address the challenge. Our children and grandchildren will be harmed and many people around the world will experience unprecedented devastation. Continuing to go down this collision course as warned by the Secretary General of the UN is unacceptable. Mitigating the worst of climate change and adapting to its unfolding effects will take hard work and sacrifice, yet there is hope. I was inspired at my granddaughter's school concert by their call to action in a song: "Give us hope, my voice is calling; Can you see? Look in my eyes; Can you feel? My hands are reaching. Give us hope and we'll show you the way." Each day I awaken I am reminded why we work so hard – it is for our children and grandchildren.
In the face of climate change, we look across generations for inspiration, guidance, and purpose.
A Path to Rapidly and Equitably Meet Climate Mitigation Goals:
People are coming together now across the world to tackle concerns about climate change. While leaders were meeting at COP27 in Egypt, Greenleaf was convening researchers, investment, and corporate professionals from three continents in Chicago to address the challenge. While steps are being made at such gatherings, the climate crisis requires greater commitments, partnerships, and investments, as is urged by Greenleaf partner Roy Wehrle in his research on creation of a Climate Club of nations to reduce emissions through carbon pricing and provide financial assistance to developing nations.
We continue to work on the climate-land-energy-water nexus through nature-based solutions, addressing water resources, and promoting sustainable agriculture. Our friends at Project Drawdown are a leading resource for evidence-based climate solutions that reduce the sources of greenhouse gases, support sinks to store carbon (including in natural systems) and improve society by restoring equality for all (read more in the Drawdown Review). Greenleaf board member Brian Richter provides insight into water issues in the Western U.S. (Photo of Dories at the Grand Canyon).
Governments are responding to their people's concerns by providing historic resources for energy security and climate change through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the U.S. and the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) in Illinois, making my home state one of the world’s most favorable now for clean energy development. Greenleaf works with companies like Econergy who are supporting school districts by reducing electrical costs and assisting in their renewable energy transition; they have seen an explosion of interest in electric school buses due to the recent legislation. Intelligent Generation is responding with innovative smart solar + energy storage solutions for commercial and industrial customers including Magid, shown below.
Capital is flowing to sustainable enterprises that attend to climate risk:
In this era of global transitions, climate change is a top priority with outsized impacts on investment portfolios. At the November 10th Transitions: A Sustainable Wealth Management Conference, co-hosted by Greenleaf, the Global Finance Journal and Northern Trust, experts discussed investment considerations amidst the transition towards resilience, adaptation, and mitigation of climate change. Bob Litterman (Chairman of the Risk Committee and a founding partner of Kepos Capital) provided the keynote on climate-related risk and carbon pricing.
Integrated planetary intelligence guides decision-making:
When harnessed into intelligent platforms, scientific understanding of earth systems, including climate, can guide decision-making for investors, corporations, and governments alike. Earth Knowledge has built a Digital Twin of the Earth to provide understanding of earth systems and global change interactions for the best forward-thinking intelligence. Don Wuebbles (expert atmospheric scientist and Greenleaf Board Member) is Director of Climate Science at Earth Knowledge and presented along with CEO Julia Armstrong D'Agnese (pictured below).
Equitable Participation in Sustainable Solutions for Communities:
Blacks in Green (BIG), a pioneering nonprofit organization that serves as a bridge and catalyst among communities and their stakeholders, is leading the design and development of energy-efficient, self-sustaining, green villages. Greenleaf is partnering with BIG to support equitable, community-based solutions centered in clean energy and the Sustainable Square Mile model. Learn more from BIG’s CEO and Founder Naomi Davis on WBEZ.
Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions are serving development needs while restoring function to the land and water systems upon which we depend for our lives. Greenleaf helped the Green Infrastructure Foundation put on a Charrette in Philadelphia to explore the application and benefits of sustainable urban solutions at the community scale.
We continue working with the University of Illinois to create and build its Center for Urban Resilience and Sustainability (CURES), supporting their recent convening of many communities across Illinois in a Community Project Lab providing guidance on sustainable infrastructure solutions and resource support related to water, energy, and climate change resilience.
We have come to understand that Climate is the overarching governor of earth resources that enables and sustains our lives. It was a great pleasure this year to participate in a special symposium for one of the world’s great climate scientists, Don Wuebbles, who continues to guide society by chairing the National Academy of Sciences newly released framework on climate.
Engagement with partners who advance climate mitigation and adaptation gives me hope for realizing a future that provides quality of life for our children and grandchildren. They call out for us to further a world full of healthy resources that will sustain them and many generations of people to come on this living planet. We are grateful for all of our partners and encourage you to investigate how you can support their important work.
Connect with Greenleaf Communities and Greenleaf Advisors on LinkedIn. Tax-deductible donations to Greenleaf Communities, NFP, a 501(c)(3) organization, can be made here. We hope you might consider supporting Greenleaf and our partners.
John A. Andersen, Jr.
Greenleaf Advisors, LLC and Greenleaf Communities, NFP