We really believe that philanthropy will help address the climate finance gap. This funding is critical, patient, and flexible. It doesn't require a financial return and it can be deployed quickly.Shloka Nath
What breakthroughs need to happen for us to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and also prepare communities to adapt to the new challenges that will arise?
Any successful climate action must put people first, and must be characterized by the principle of equity. In India, solutions to the climate crisis can’t be separated from existing development challenges, whether it’s energy access, poverty or even conversations around gender. We have to build solutions that unlock opportunities for vulnerable communities. A great example is the clean energy transition, which supports communities across India who are engaged in emissions-intensive livelihoods and provides them with alternate, secure jobs in greener industries.
But it’s not just about India alone. At our Bellagio convening, the ICC brought together actors from across the globe in order to converge diverse perspectives and arrive at a shared understanding of the challenges, goals, priorities, and solutions that we desperately need in order to solve this crisis globally, collectively, and on a systems level.
And I don’t believe it’s just about the planet. It’s also about us. When I think about resilience, specifically the resilience that we can learn from this planet, it’s about more than protecting ourselves from storms and floods. It’s really about how we understand ourselves, how we can support each other, and how we can sustain life. When I think of climate, I think about how we might reimagine human civilization in a way that is circular, mutually beneficial, and infinitely sustaining. We must ask, “How do we create systems where people can be safe and healthy?” This challenge is about learning to care for and listen to each other, as well as make space for doing so. And for me, that is the crux of what we’re trying to do at the ICC.
When I think about resilience, specifically the resilience that we can learn from this planet, it’s about more than protecting ourselves from storms and floods. It’s really about how we understand ourselves, how we can support each other, and how we can sustain life.Shloka Nath
What keeps you up at night about achieving these goals? What makes you optimistic?
I’m an eternal optimist. I find a lot of hope in the technological solutions to the climate crisis that already exist today, even if they still need to be scaled. But what’s really critical to meeting the climate challenge over and above these technological solutions is how we choose to collaborate within and across national boundaries, and how we internalize the need for collective responsibility for this emergency.
So when I think about solutions, I’m trying to expand them beyond our current policy consensus around technological breakthroughs. We need to think about innovations in institutional structures, partnerships, and philanthropy. We have to ensure that catalytic climate solutions are equitably and sustainably scaled and implemented, wherever they’re needed, in whatever time frame they’re needed. And what will be critical to that is emphasizing the importance of localized climate solutions. We have to marry very localized decision making with a systems change lens, and internalize that within philanthropy, funding, and grant-making culture.
Key barriers that we need to overcome are the binaries between mitigation and adaptation, as well as climate and development. I think these are completely false perceptions. The solutions that we’re trying to build now need to speak to both sides, whether it’s a solution that speaks about climate and development priorities or solutions that integrate mitigation and adaptation. Because if we don’t mitigate we’ll be adapting forever.
Learn more: You can find out more about the ICC; read articles that Shloka has written for Forbes India, including the piece “Why philanthropy needs to include a climate lens”; or watch an interview she did with Bloomberg.