I think of the U.S. Beyond Coal campaign that the Sierra Club and Bloomberg built together, which has accelerated the retirement of 318 out of 530 coal-fired power plants in the United States.
I also think of certification programs (such as the Forest Stewardship Council) and science-based targets that WWF has built with partners to drive sustainable production of major commodities.
Freshest in my mind is Project Finance for Permanence (PFP), an innovative approach to securing full permanent funding for conservation areas. These efforts look at the protected and conserved areas of a whole country—or a whole region, like the Brazilian Amazon—to identify gaps in representation and financial support and then create a plan to finance those national systems of parks and Indigenous reserves in perpetuity.
The PFP model has been launched in Costa Rica, Bhutan, Peru, Colombia, the Brazilian Amazon, and Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest, covering close to 247 million acres of irreplaceable landscapes. Now we are working closely with leading foundations, the Nature Conservancy, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and members of the Walton family to do far more.
In all of these examples, institutions went beyond making commitments in a snappy announcement; over time, they designed powerful mechanisms for conservation, then stayed with those mechanisms year after year, scaling them up in coalition with others. Commitments matter, but execution also matters. We will be marshaling our assets and forging radical relationships that bring together the collective energy of some of the world’s largest conservation groups to support communities and governments in executing the plans and delivering the goods to make those commitments come to life.
All of these efforts bring to the table unique skills and partnerships that can contribute to keeping natural places intact. Getting to that goal requires an approach called “systems-level thinking.” I also call it the ability to learn in a profoundly multidisciplinary way and to connect the dots between the relevant sectors.
That ability is where the good stuff lies. Whether the place is a jewel of a watershed in the Berkshires or a vast and complex system like the Amazon, keeping it whole is fundamental to the stability of our climate and the future of life on Earth.
President and CEO