Conservation, climate change, and other environmental issues represent major challenges for advocacy groups, philanthropists, researchers, governments, and corporate social responsibility executives—indeed, for all life. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve compiled 10 articles from the Stanford Social Innovation Review archives that share breakthrough ideas and new perspectives on how to tackle these complex, multifaceted issues.
Climate Science as Culture War
In this feature article, University of Michigan professor Andrew J. Hoffman identifies the barriers to social consensus on climate change as a clash of culture, values, and ideology, and offers practical solutions to framing the debate differently. Also see an excerpt from his new book, How Culture Shapes the Climate Debate.
Driving Change Through Pride of Place
Rare CEO Brett Jenks analyzes the success behind behavior-driven marketing efforts—such as the “Don’t Mess with Texas” litter prevention campaign—that leverage regional identity and pride to drive change, and suggests how similar efforts can support future conservation efforts.
Cultivating the Green Consumer
McKinsey & Company’s Sheila Bonini and Jeremy Oppenheim examine the disconnection between the high percentage of consumers who say that they want to buy ecologically friendly products, and the small market share for green product lines. They conclude that businesses must lead the way, removing the hurdles between would-be green consumer intentions and purchasing behaviors.
Can Impact Investing Help Save the Planet?
Dan Winterson, Eric Hallstein, and Camilla Seth—of the Bay Area Conservation Program, JP Morgan Chase, and Nature Conservancy, respectively—summarize top findings from a cross-sector study on impact investing efforts in global conservation. They note that while the market is nascent, it is expanding quickly and bringing about new business models that will require impact analysis.
Bottom-Up Solutions to Mitigating Climate Change
Much political action regarding climate change has focused on fashioning long-term multilateral agreements to curb carbon emissions. In this feature article, founder of the Indian consulting firm Okapi Jessica Seddon and University of California San Diego professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan argue that bottom-up, cross-sector efforts by social entrepreneurs, NGOs, impact investors, and philanthropists can slow near-term warming.
Saving the Earth: Four Conflicting Campaigns
Author Carol Sanford identifies four distinct visions for the future within the modern environmental movement: those who believe technological innovation can solve the problem, those who advocate for changes in consumer behavior, those who promote alternative lifestyles viewing humans as a part of nature, and those who are primarily focused on raising awareness.
Making Conservation Finance Investable
In this up-for-debate series, Fabian Huwyler, Juerg Kaeppeli, Katharina Serafimova, Eric Swanson, and John Tobin present a new investor-driven approach to conservation finance developed by Credit Suisse, World Wide Fund for Nature, and McKinsey & Company, and argue that it has the potential to both conserve vital ecosystems and reap profitable financial returns. This article includes six responses from impact investing thought leaders.
Squaring Global Poverty with Climate Change
Pritzker Innovation Fund Founder Rachel Pritzker takes a look at the correlation between access to modern energy services and standards of living worldwide. She suggests that meeting the energy demands to raise quality of life in developing world without destroying the planet will require a new approach to climate and energy issues.
Design for Cleaner Living
This article spotlights Saaf India Foundation, a social enterprise that has employed design thinking to develop prototypes for improving waste management in India. Solutions include creating a market for recyclable materials, soliciting celebrity endorsements to reduce litter, and redesigning components of India’s busy railway system.
A New Approach to Global Conservation
Though the US’s national parks system has proved a major success for the conservation movement, Steve McCormick, former president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy, points out that protected areas contain less than five percent of Earth’s species. To revitalize the conservation movement, we will need a shift in mindset: from protecting nature from people to conserving nature for people.