Who’s going to save the planet in 2019? The Nature Conservancy names 10 unexpected groups influencing environmental action.
Nature-10 Groups to Watch in 2019. Some of the most important change agents are not the most visible.
LET'S BE FRANK: 2018 was not exactly a banner year for the planet. Nearly every major environmental assessment presented grim results: crucial habitats like tropical forests continue to disappear; wildlife populations declined 60% over the last 40 years; and, perhaps most alarming, we’re failing to make the progress we need to keep the climate within safe boundaries.
We still have a chance to turn things around, though. A major body of research led by The Nature Conservancy shows it is still possible to achieve a sustainable future for people and nature—if we take massive action in the next 10 years.
That means we need strong leadership, and not just from the usual suspects—saving the planet must be an all-hands-on-deck effort. So below, in no particular order, we present 10 groups to watch in 2019.
The Revolution Will Be Snapchatted. Forget your John-Hughes-movie stereotypes. Today’s teens are civically active, globally minded —and they nearly unanimously agree that we need to do more to address climate change. A study of 31,000 youth from 186 countries found that climate change is their number one concern (surpassing terrorism, poverty and unemployment.) Over 90% agree that science has proven that humans are causing climate change, and nearly 60% plan to work in sustainability.
- Weather Forecasters
Cloudy with a Chance of Climate Change. Watching the morning weather forecast over breakfast is daily ritual for many. So, it’s not surprising that local TV meteorologists are one of the most accessible and trusted sources of scientific information. In 2012, only 55 weather reports in the U.S. mentioned climate change. Today, a network of more than 500 TV meteorologists are exploring the local impacts of climate change during their daily weather reports–-resulting in a measurable increase in viewer understanding of climate science.
Local Leaders, Global Gains. From small towns to mega-cities, local elected officials are side-stepping national gridlock and committing to environmental action. The continued participation of the United States in the Paris Agreement may be uncertain, but a network of 405 mayors, representing more than 70 million Americans, have made it clear that they will still act to address climate change. Globally, thousands of mayors have joined together to make similar commitments and city leaders from Shenzhen, China to Sao Paulo, Brazil are taking climate action to the local level through urban resilience and conservation.
Women at the Helm. At every level of leadership, from local communities to national government, conservation outcomes improve when women are involved. One global study found that women landownership directly correlates with better soil conservation, increased crop yields and decreased deforestation. In northern Australia, aboriginal women are increasingly joining the rangers program, helping conserve community land while also passing on traditional knowledge of bush plants and culture. The evidence is clear: environmental action is strengthened by gender equality.
All Investing Is Impact Investing. Market-rate returns or positive environmental impact? Both. That’s what more than 70 percent of institutional investors want, according to a new survey – one more sign of impact investment going mainstream. Perhaps that’s why investment giant BlackRock released tools allowing investors to track sustainability outcomes across all its products, not just designated impact funds. Since private investments are an order of magnitude larger than global philanthropic giving, this could be a game changer for funding environmental work.