Landscapes and livelihoods are interconnected. To make meaningful and lasting change, we must nurture developing economies, direct investment capital toward assets that pay social and cultural dividends, and help rural communities plan for the future as they industrialize.
As natural resources are exhausted and extraction industries relocate, communities from Appalachia to Asia need help adapting. Growing alternative,healthy economies comes from listening to what communities need and providing on-the-ground support to create positive change.
Help funders and organizations collaborate, and build coalitions to allow investors to combine forces. Identify and seed innovative projects that can be taken to scale. Offer the opportunity for funders to pool resources and challenge other foundations to put up the funds.
Historically, foundations have a clear distinction and division between their investment portfolios and their grant portfolios, not only in staff responsible for each but also in how the resources are used. When collaboration between teams is limited, so is critical funding for high-impact projects.
Use natural, social, and financial capital to implement new models in high biodiversity regions around the world. Remove the division between program staff and the investment team and have the mission drive both portfolios. Use grant capital to stimulate new thinking and demonstrate the feasibility of new models.
Large rural populations continue to develop in countries such as China, India, and Brazil — and a drastic increase in emissions looms. While energy consumption must be addressed, the rights of rural people to develop their economies and enjoy modern livelihoods must be respected. The international climate change regime has yet to develop a comprehensive framework to addresses these consumption dynamics.
Deploy innovations in technology such as bio-gas, small scale hydropower, energy efficient cook stoves, and solar arrays—all decentralized and ecologically sensitive energy solutions that will enable rural incomes to grow.