Bill Gates Pledges $1.5B For Climate Projects…or else, Senate Passes “Growing Climate Solutions Act,” Project Green Hands, UN’s “Faith for Earth Initiative”

by | Aug 19, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Bill Gates Pledges $1.5B For Climate Projects…or else, plus the U.S. Senate Passes “Growing Climate Solutions Act.” Getting to know Project Green Hands, and the UN’s “Faith for Earth Initiative.”



This is a fascinating program I discovered while researching another story. It’s called Project GreenHands (PGH) is a grassroots ecological initiative established by Isha Foundation, which aims to take corrective measures to increase the green cover, restore soil health and manage natural resources appropriately.

PGH is involved in an array of rural and urban greening campaigns across South India. And while it’s in South India, it’s a program that is probably replicable in many communities throughout the US and Canada.

Like always, the best programs start with education. Project Green Hands starts at the most fundamental level. It starts with building environmental knowledge in the child participants. The goal is to create the next generation of ecologically citizens who will be more aware of the role trees play in everybody’s life.

What’s striking about Isha Foundation’s PGH program is the emphasis on both practicality and spirituality. Check out this excerpt from a speech by the Indian Mystic, Sadhguru, of the Isha Foundation:

“Trees keep our lives going, just like the outer part of our lungs. You cannot ignore your body if you want to live, and in no way is the planet different from this. What you call ‘my body’ is just a piece of this planet. And the very essence of the spiritual process is about just this.”

DEEPER DIVE: Isha Foundation, Project Green Hands



Not much has been made of this but last month the US Senate passed the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act. These days, THAT is indeed an extraordinary act. This bill authorizes the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a voluntary Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program to help reduce entry barriers into voluntary environmental credit markets for farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners. A voluntary environmental credit market is a market through which agriculture and forestry credits may be bought or sold.

 Curiously, although the bill received support from a bipartisan slate of senators and environmental groups, it failed to win over five progressive legislators: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

 According to 22-year old Justin Barnum, chair of the Alabama Republican party’s American Conservation coalition, “Climate change can’t be solved from just a Republican line vote or from a Democratic line vote — it can’t be challenged every time a new government comes. The two parties need to come together on “the 80 percent we agree on to help the environment.” He also noted the bill is an excellent first step.




Here’s a cool story about a billionaire willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to tackling climate change. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has pledged $1.5 billion from his climate investment fund, Breakthrough Energy, to collaborate with the federal government on renewable energy projects if the White House-backed infrastructure package becomes law.

“Critical for all these climate technologies is to get the costs down and to be able to scale them up to a pretty gigantic level,” Gates said Thursday. “You’ll never get that scale up unless the government’s coming in with the right policies, and the right policy is exactly what’s in that infrastructure bill.”

And in so speaking, Gates also hinted his funds could go to other countries if the bill, which still faces a very uncertain fate in Congress, doesn’t end up getting passed.

DEEPER DIVE: GeekWire, The Hill, Forbes, WSJ



According to the United Nations, SPIRITUAL values for more than 80% of people living on earth have been driving individual behaviors. In many countries, spiritual beliefs and religions are main drivers for cultural values, social inclusion, political engagement, and economic prosperity.

Following a series of initiatives and conventions organized in partnership with faith-based organizations, UNEP launched the Faith for Earth Initiative in November 2017. The mission of the initiative is, “To encourage, empower and engage with faith-based organizations as partners, at all levels, toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling the 2030 Agenda.”

Why does this matter to us? Well, all religions agree that nature is an act of divinity and should be treated as such…Therefore Spiritual leaders at all levels are critical to the success of the global solidarity for an ethical, moral and spiritual commitment to protect the environment and God’s creation.

These leaders can become observers, make public commitments, share the story of their commitments and the challenges and joys of keeping them, and invite others to join them. In addition, they can display their sustainable behaviors, serving as role models for their followers and the public. 

The Faith for Earth Initiative Strategy is based on three overarching and interlinked goals:

  1. Inspire and empower faith-based leaders and organizations for a sustainable impact
  2. Engage faith leaders and their institutions to tackle mutually prioritized issues 
  3. Greening faith-based assets and investments

To find out more, surf on over to and check out the links at the bottom of this story.

DEEPER DIVE: UNEP, UN Sustainable Development Goals, UNEP FEI Strategy