Environment

In this weeks issue: WINGSForum 2014, The Council and Commonfund Study Private Foundation Investments, Don't Miss Out on Philanthropy Exchange, President Obama Announces Climate Data Initiative, Tweet of the Week

The Council is issuing a Call for Sessions to leading civil and social innovators. We are looking to you for well-developed sessions that offer diverse perspectives, concrete solutions, and fresh insights into our Spotlight Issue: The Role of Philanthropy in an Increasingly Polarized Society.

Seventeen foundations, including Philanthropy Northwest member The Russell Family Foundation, have united around a mission investing agenda to deepen their investments in clean energy by divesting from fossil fuels. Through the new Divest-Invest Philanthropy project, announced on January 30, these foundations are aligning themselves with both a broader mission investing movement as well as a growing grassroots movement to persuade large institutional investors to align their financial power with their intentions to reduce climate change.

As we approach the third anniversary of the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, many consider the damage and devastation ‘old news.’ But the recovery from this terrible disaster is far from over, even as assistance, aid, and attention subside. Join the Council and the Environmental Grantmakers Association for an important webinar on January 29, 2014 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern that will update the philanthropic community on the recovery from this disaster and outline the lasting environmental damage and effects that continue to face Japan.

I recently attended a conference and between brochures, pamphlets, and folders, I amassed quite a bit of print material. Upon viewing the stack, I wondered: Why does information transfer require so much paper? For those who are interested in going green for their own events, here are four ideas to cut down on the paper trail:

As expected, this month’s Rio+20 conference and the People’s Summit were vast and challenging to navigate, with more than 500 side events to the official conference. Luckily, the orientation webinar and the breakfast briefings organized by the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and the Funders Network for Transforming Globalization helped us to get the 30,000 foot view of what’s at stake, hear about the progress made on negotiations, and find out what’s important outside of the official process. Equally important, we heard points of views on what philanthropy needs to do going forward.

If one can accept that mega confabs such as Rio+20 are inevitably about more talks, then the text (outcome) of the negotiating document that was finalized at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, will not be surprising (or shocking). At yesterday’s breakfast briefing for funders on inside strategies and groups, organized by the Consultative Group on Biodiversity (CGBD), Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and the Funders Network for Transforming Globalization (FNTG), we heard an excellent overview from the South Center.

Preparing my slides for today’s “What’s Next for Green Careers?” session at the Second Annual National Fund meeting in Cincinnati gave me the opportunity to reflect on SkillWorks Green Jobs Initiative activities from 2009 to the present. It took me awhile to figure out what message I wanted to share with the audience: Don’t give up on green!

Roughly 80 percent of the coastal mangroves around the coastal Colombian town of Tumaco have been lost through deforestation, urban development, and contamination from frequent oil spills. The area is a hub for industrial storage and transportation of petroleum, and during most of the last 15 years, the remaining mangroves were preferred hideaways for armed groups to stash drugs or even bodies.