We've entered a new epoch: the Anthropocene, and nothing is as it was. Not the trees, not the seas – not the forests, farms, or fields – and not the global economy that depends on all of these. What does this mean for your investments, your family's future, and the future of man? Each week, we dive into these issues to help you Navigate the New Reality.
Encore Presentation: Tim Mohin on Overcoming Information Asymmetry in the ESG Movement
Tim Mohin wrote “Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Tree-Hugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations” back in 2012, after three decades in sustainability — first in government, with the US Environmental Protection Agency, and then at companies like Intel, where he served as director of sustainable development. He went on to head the Global Reporting Initiative, which administers the GRI standards for sustainability. He recently helped launmch ESG data provider Persefoni and hosts his own podcast, “Sustainability Decoded with Tim and Caitlin.” We look back on 40 years of sustaiability finance and ahead to the future of Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance (ESG) reporting — its potential for driving real change, its prospects for employment, and its inherent limitations.
95 | "Co" Benefits Vs "Core Benefits:" Geoff Mwangi And His Theory Of Change
Remembering the Surui Forest Carbon Project, which was the first indigenous-led REDD project, plus:
A conversation with Geoffry Mwangi Wambungu, Chief Research Scientist at the Kasigau REDD Project in Kenya.
He explains what social scientists mean by “theory of change,” and tells us why he believes the term “co-benefits” is a misnomer in natural climate solutions.
Further reading on the Surui Carbon Project here: https://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/articles/story-surui-forest-carbon-project/
Full Transcript (non-scripted portions translated by AI)
CO-BENEFITS VS CORE BENEFITS, WITH GEOFFREY MWANGI
Bionic Planet, Season 9, Episode 95
Almir Surui was ten years old when the first logging truck came to his tiny village deep in the Amazon Forest.
It came to chop a single stand of centuries-old mahoganies, and it came with the grudging approval of the chiefs.
After all, they reasoned, it was just one truck, one stand, one time, and for a good cause.
The chiefs weren’t the grizzled old men you probably imagine. Most were barely into their 30s, because more than 90 percent of everyone had died in the five years before Almir was born in 1974.
They lost their mothers, their brothers, their sisters, and their lovers.
They lost almost everyone who knew anything about governance.
The surviving chiefs, shamans, and elders lost faith in their own abilities to serve their people, because their time-tested traditions had failed.
Prior to 1969, Brazilian authorities categorized Almir’s people as an “UNCONTACTED” tribe of the Amazon, but in reality, they HAD contact — SOMETIMES peaceful but MOSTLY violent contact — with neighboring tribes, rubber tappers, and even Brazilian explorers going back decades.
One of those neighboring tribes called Almir’s people the “Surui,” but Almir’s people called themselves the Paiter.
In the regional Tupi dialect, Surui means “enemy,” while Paiter means “real people.”
Due to a miscommunication, the Paiter were entered into the lexicon of indigenous people as “Surui” in the leadup to First Contact, which took place on October 7 1969.
Today, their name is hyphenated: Paiter-Surui.
The Paiter-Surui had lived in harmony with the forest for centuries, but they didn’t live in harmony with those who invaded their territory.
And invasions increased dramatically in the years prior to First Contact, as Brazilian authorities encouraged westward migration into the forest.
It was a bloody period, and the Paiter-Surui held their own in combat, but they couldn’t hold their own against European diseases — such as smallpox, measles, and the flu.
That’s what got them in the end.
The elders died, and kids became chiefs. One of those kids was a 17-year-old named Itabira, who learned to navigate the OUTside world of Brazilian society as the world IN-which he’d grown up disintegrated
By the way, if you can’t find any of this online, it’s because it’s all original reporting, and my book hasn’t been published yet.
Anyway, Itabira realized early on that to save his people, he had to push the Paiter-Surui and their struggle into Brazilian awareness. To do that, he and other chiefs stopped fighting illegal loggers and started colluding with them to finance trips to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.
Soon, they were chopping trees to feed their families and pay for medicine, and by the mid-1990s, they were known as the “logging Indians” — despised by environmentalists who saw them as traitors to the cause and riven internally by fights over how to manage their resources.
The Paiter-Surui broadly split into three factions:
one that embraced the destruction of the forest for commercial gain,
one that opposed that destruction,
and one — the largest of them all — that WANTED to save the forest but NEEDED to feed their families.
Almir was born in 1974 — five years after First Cont
Zimbabwe's Cannabis Queen, Zorodzai Maroveke, AKA "Dr Zoey"
Dr. Zorodzai Maroveke -- AKA "Dr. Zoey" -- heads the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust, which is promoting the uptake of industrial hemp as a climate smart alternative to wood, cotton, and plastic.
Hemp, she explains, replenishes faster than wood, uses far less water than cotton, and has almost no waste.
Its ecological benefits are clear, and she hopes carbon finance can be used to overcome the financial challenges to scaling up.
Supplemental Reading: "Commodities at a Glance: Special Issue on Industrial Hemp"
Zimbabwe's Green Cheetahs, with Chiyedza Heri of the Ubuntu Alliance
Zimbabwean entrepreneur Chiyedza Heri runs the Ubuntu Alliance, a company that's helping farmers leverage carbon finance to shift to more sustainable forms of agriculture.
She's one of more than a dozen young Africans I met at year-end climate talks in Dubai (COP 28) -- a new breed of entrepreneur that the late Ghanian economist George Ayittey calls "cheetahs" because they're nimble, quick, and hungry.
Green Cheetahs pursue activities that are pro-nature as well as pro-growth, and today's guest certainly fits that bill.
COP 28 Article 6: Expectations for Final Day
With just one full day of negotiations remaining, Pedro Venzon and Andrea Bonzanni of the International Emissions Trading Association summarize the remaining issues under Article 6
Article 6 Update from Dubai with Kelley Hamrick Malvar of The Nature Conservancy
Article 6 negotiations, which focus on international carbon markets, remain stalled in Dubai. Kelley Hamrick Malvar of The Nature Conservancy offers a look into the current state of play and the road ahead.
Informative and entertaining
Informative and especially interesting in the stories that Steve chooses to highlight, this podcast has added new depth to climate issues I wasn’t previously aware of or fully informed on.