NYC Climate Week puts ADA inclusion front and center, plus the S&P 500 has an ESG fund? Meet Climate Champ Dr. Sonia Seneviratne and One-Up Action.
Replay–NYC Climate Week Puts ADA Front and Center, Climate Champ Dr. Sonia Seneviratne, One-Up Action, and S&P 500 ESG Fund?
COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: ONE UP ACTION
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” That’s a quote from the great Margaret Mead. And it’s the basis upon which One Up Action was founded.
One Up Action is “an intersectional, youth-led organization working to provide resources to youth advocates.” Founded in 2019 by Kevin J. Patel, its mission is to support marginalized youth by providing them with the resources needed to take innovative steps to tackle the climate crisis within their local communities for a regenerative future.
One Up Action sponsors Action Chapters around the world, a Youth Climate Commission, and coming soon, a Youth Innovators Fund. Action Chapters are youth-led-yet-intergenerational and intersectional communities of activists fighting for a regenerative future. Each chapter is given resources and mentorship to give them the power to improve their local communities, globally.
A Youth Climate Commission is a cohort of youth actively involved in the development of legislation within their local government. YCCs learn how to work with their local government to pitch and pen policies to help combat climate change.
Additionally, One Up Action partners with other organizations on campaigns. Those include the Naretunoi Conservancy Cleanup in November 2020, the Tsavo Conservation Fundraiser in July 2020, and partnering with Blue Earth, where One Up donated 50 mangrove seedlings to regenerate a deforested mangrove area.
One Up Action currently operates in 35 countries involving almost 2 dozen action campaigns and one Climate Commission.
DEEPER DIVE: OneUpAction
S&P 500 HAS A GLOBAL ESG FUND?
Last month on this podcast, we highlighted that major international banks are now publicly backing major initiatives to combat climate change. That showed that large companies across different industries have realized there is money to be made while being sustainable.
One measure of that is the new S and P 500 ESG. According to S-and-P Global, to be included in the S-and-P 500 E-S-G (Environmental, Sustainable and corporate Governance) fund, companies have to meet specific criteria.
First, they must be high performing major public companies. They also cannot be involved in the tobacco business or be a weapons manufacturer. The business also has to be part of the UN Global Compact, a United Nations agreement where signatories abide by sustainable principles. They get scored based on how well they’re doing.
Too low of a score, and the company falls out of the index. New last year is a restriction that companies can’t have more than 5% of their revenue resulting from investments in coal or its usage as an energy source for its operations.
Some of you might be thinking, “Those don’t sound like hard things to follow.” So, how many companies on the regular old S-and-P 500 do you think failed to make the cut to the S-and-P 500 E-S-G?
206! Almost half. 206 companies couldn’t pass the test to be in the more sustainable index. Just goes to show you, what’s simple, is not always easy.
Why does this matter to us? Because 206 is a big number, but 294, the number of companies who made the sustainable index is bigger!! But, 294 means there is still a long way to go. According to a 2016 study, the CO2 emissions of all the companies in the S&P 500 are Equivalent to the Total Produced in France, Germany and UK Combined.
NYC’S CLIMATE WEEK SPONSORS DISABILITY INCLUSION FORUM
You know that old saying, “Better late than never”? Well this is a case of that. Back in December 2020, a virtual forum called, “Towards Disability-Inclusive Climate Action,” was held as part of NYC’s Climate Week. It was sponsored by the Centre of Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment.
Panelists included: Stefan Trömel, Pratima Gurung, Setareki Macanawai, Carlos Kaiser, and Sébastien Jodoin
The panellists emphasized the pressing need for “radical inclusion” of people with disabilities (PWDs) in every decision-making context, particularly concerning measures in adapting to climate change due to its disproportionately harmful effects on PWDs. The speakers discussed not only the projects and groups they are each working with diligently, but also provided words of sobering reality (such as the lack of cognizance in multilateral agreements of the issues PWDs face, exacerbated by climate displacement, gender inequalities, and human rights violations).
Thankfully the forum was recorded and is available for viewing. Just surf on over to theclimate.org/episodes and click on the links in our Deeper Dive section of this episode.
MEET DR. SONIA SENEVIRATNE
Reuters recently published “The Hot List” which highlights the top one thousand climate change scientists. At number nine– and the first woman on the list–is Sonia Seneviratne, PhD. Dr. Seneviratne is a Professor from Zurich. She is a member of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was a lead author of the 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC.
Her work has been cited by her peers in more than a thousand publications annually since 2013. You can see why Reuters identifies Dr. Seneviratne as the most influential woman in the field of climate science. One of her worthwhile reads is a article she co-authored entitled, “Climate Scientists Set the Bar of Proof Too High.”
If the central question is, “How can climate scientists best and effectively communicate their findings to crucial non-expert audiences, including public policy makers and civil society? Then the answer is not the current way.She argues that the standards of proof for attributing real world events/damage to global warming should be the same as in clinical or environmental lawsuits. But they’re not.
Scientists typically demand too much of themselves in terms of evidence, in comparison with the level of evidence required in a legal, regulatory, or public policy context. Seneviratne and her colleagues recommend that the Panel on Climate Change more prominently recommend the use of the category “more likely than not” as a level of proof in their reports, as this corresponds to the standard of proof most frequently required in civil court rooms. This also has implications for public policy and the public communication of climate evidence.
Anything to make climate change science more easily digestible to us lay folk, I applaud. Go girl!