Reasons for Hope: Earth Day 2018

April 18, 2018

CREDIT: Alistair Dent, Unsplash (Public Domain)

"You can rest in despair or you can ask: 'How can we harness our ingenuity and creativity and ability to cooperate in recognizing that we need to live more sustainably?' We need to be as creative about sustainability as we have been about exploitation."
Brent Jenks, from "Hope for Asian Fisheries" podcast (see below)

In that spirit here's a selection of Carnegie Council resources from the past year, in honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2018.

Also, check out the Council's C2G2 project, which seeks a society-wide discussion to create effective governance for geoengineering.


Hope for Asian Fisheries, with Brett Jenks
Brett Jenks, Rare
With rich and varied coral reefs, Indonesia and the Philippines are critically important for marine biodiversity, says Brett Jenks. Overfishing could result in millions losing their livelihoods and leads to degradation of coastal habitats, making them less resilient to climate change. But there is hope. In marine reserves started as pilot projects, fish populations are increasing by as much as 390 percent. (Asia Dialogues program, podcast with transcript, March 2018)

Environmental Success Stories: Solving Major Ecological Problems & Confronting Climate Change by Frank M. Dunnivant
Steven Vanderheiden, University of Colorado at Boulder
Global environmental challenges such as climate change are sometimes viewed as so daunting and complex that we can only aim to mitigate rather than solve the problems they cause. In this book, Frank M. Dunnivant responds with a series of "success stories" designed to instruct on the role of environmental science in policymaking. (Book review, Ethics & International Affairs journal, Spring 2018 issue)


Climate Change Might Give Your Grandfather a Heart Attack: Changing Public Perception to Drive Action
Mikaela Bradbury, ARJUNA.AG; Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
"Climate change" is often framed as something that will occur in a distant time and place. But, as Mikaela Bradbury writes, it is already affecting our health, particularly among the elderly, and our choices as consumers. Are there more productive ways to discuss this issue? (Carnegie Ethics Online article, December 2017)


Miranda Massie on the Impacts of Climate Change and New York's Climate Museum
Miranda Massie, the Climate Museum
Hurricane Sandy was the catalyst that impelled Miranda Massie to quit her job as a civil rights lawyer and found the Climate Museum. "I think that climate change is THE equality and THE civil rights issue of the 21st century," she says. Why open this museum in New York and what does it hope to accomplish? Find out more in this interview that covers not only the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, but also what we can do about it. (Ethics Matter interview series, video, audio, transcript, October 2017)


From the White House to the World: Food, Health, and Climate Change, with Chef Sam Kass
Sam Kass, TROVE; Acre Venture Partners
Entrepreneur Sam Kass talks about his experiences as chef and senior policy nutrition advisor in the White House, including titbits about the Obamas, initiatives to improve schoolchildren's health, and the lunch he served to world leaders made up of food waste. (Pass the "landfill salad"!) He also discusses the links between climate change and food, healthy eating, and hunger in the U.S. and abroad. (Ethics Matter interview series, video, audio, transcript, September 2017)


Free-Enterprise Solutions to Climate Change, with Bob Inglis
Bob Inglis, Energy and Enterprise Initiative/, George Mason University; Former U.S. Congressman (R-SC)
Republican politician Bob Inglis used to think that climate change was nonsense; but his son—and science—changed his mind. Today he advocates letting market forces do their work. "The thing to do is to make it apparent in the marketplace what the costs of energy are, and eliminate all the subsidies, and have a level playing field and a strong competition. If you do that, we can fix climate change. That is what needs to be done." (Ethics Matter interview series, video, audio, transcript, September 2017)

The Earth Institute's Steven Cohen Offers Hope for a Sustainable Future
Steven Cohen, Earth Institute
"I still believe that we're heading toward a renewable resource-based economy. I think that it's inevitable," declares Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. How will we get there? A combination of market forces as renewables become cheaper, better technology, and the sharing economy. (Ethics Matter interview series, video, audio, transcript, June 2017)

Shalini Kantayya: The Intersection of Ethics, the Environment, & Economics
Shalini Kantayya, Filmmaker; 7th Empire Media
"I saw a glimmer of the kind of transformation that could happen in cities across the country, which is rebooting and retooling working Americans for jobs in the industries of the future. I could really see that renewable energy has the capacity to transform the lives of people all around the world," says documentary filmmaker Shalini Kantayya, whose films include Catching the Sun.  (Ethics Matter interview series, video, audio, transcript, January 2017)