T-30: Turns Take

‘Nature is our most precious asset’

Anna Turns considers why GDP is defunct, and investigates the potential of investing in natural capital

The words ecology and economy stem from the same Greek word ‘oikos’ meaning home. Climate is inextricably linked with the flow of money. But business as usual will have costly consequences. Oxford University’s Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics argues that all sectors need to shift away from economic growth towards a more circular system that focuses on living within social and ecological limits. Fundamentally, the main measure of market value - gross domestic product or GDP - does not take into account the inherent value of nature and sustainability. Natural capital represents the benefits we gain from nature – that includes everything from medicines to food and timber, carbon storage and wellbeing too. The outdated concept of GDP places no formal worth on biodiversity, habitats, ecosystems - all things being destroyed by the environmental crisis. Without them, the economy will collapse. So the concept of how we assign value needs to shift.

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It’s time to put your money where your mouth is

Anna Turns investigates why the finance sector urgently needs to change to help mitigate the climate crisis

In the five years since the Paris Agreement was adopted, the world’s 60 biggest banks have financed fossil fuel extraction with $3.8 trillion, according to this Rainforest Action Network’s report. So when I asked to see my high street bank’s investment policy a few years ago, I knew that, like most retail banks, they invested in fossils fuels, arms and tobacco. The incredibly cagey response I received triggered me to switch banks immediately and this really is one of the best things anyone can do to drive positive environmental change, whether you’re a self-employed citizen or a high-net-worth CEO. By moving to Triodos, a bank that only makes climate-friendly, ethical investments (yes, it was quick and hassle-free), I’ve ensured that my money won’t fuel dirty business.

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Footprints, everywhere

Global supply chains need a rethink because we can only truly reduce our environmental footprint once we have measured the impacts of everything we buy and use, says Anna Turns

Both the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit are stark reminders of how reliant we are on complex global supply chains for pretty much everything. When the finely-tuned balance of supply and demand is put under enormous strain, something has to give. Last spring, our shopping habits changed rapidly as online deliveries soared, and farmers, chefs, even event organisers pivoted to supply goods direct to consumers in their homes. But many businesses folded.

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What makes climate action cool?

Anna Turns investigates how best to motivate people to make positive change en masse

A recent tweet by NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus got me thinking. He wrote: ‘It’s sad that climate direct action still remains so unpopular. I mean, people don’t even bother to “like” it on twitter. I can’t understand it. Anyway, Extinction Rebels and other climate direct activists are absolute heroes in my book.’

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Let’s talk about climate

Anna Turns explores how language is key to mitigating an environmental crisis

I try not to mention climate change much these days. It sounds far too gentle and passive. To so many people, the term climate change conjures up images of polar bears sitting hopelessly on melting ice floes far away or visions of heat waves come 2050, way too far ahead in the future to really imagine.

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Women rise up: why diversity matters in climate leadership

Environmental activists are calling for more women to have decision-making leadership roles at the climate change summit COP26 being held in Glasgow this November. Diversity, or the lack of it, amongst the leadership team for the United Nation’s (UN) Conference of the Parties has become all too apparent. At COP25 in 2019, only 21 per cent of the 196 heads of delegation were women according to the UN.

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