Climate change is no longer just on the horizon. What was once a distant threat has now become an immediate concern and the actions we take today, will have profound implications on every generation to come. While the Global Philanthropy Forum has recently focused on the things driving us apart—pervasive loss of trust, increasingly illiberal democracies, and fracturing globalization—this year we focus on the challenge bringing us together.
The widespread effects of the novel coronavirus demonstrate the true cost of doing nothing and the unprecedented reality we find ourselves in today has magnified and further ignited the call for action to combat climate change. Much as leading global health experts warned against the threat of a global pandemic, climate scientists continue to sound the alarm over the earth’s rising temperature. Philanthropists, change-makers and social investors must step up and share resources to tackle this critical global problem. The time to act is now and we cannot afford to fail.
Climate change impacts everything we care about. As global temperatures continue to rise and extreme weather events become more frequent, agricultural yields will decline and food security will be threatened. The world’s most vulnerable populations will be the most affected and with women making up 70% of those living below the poverty line, they will be hit first and hardest. The World Bank estimates that 143 million people in the world’s poorest areas will be displaced by 2050 due to water scarcity, crop failure and rising sea levels.
However, there is reason to be hopeful for the days ahead. Emerging leaders of the next generation refuse to wait for change. They call for urgent action and are at the forefront of the solutions to these problems. They press for greater accountability and transparency while creating inclusive opportunities to join their movements. They inspire and unite the global community.
Taking their lead – we will not just explore these critical challenges but strive for solutions and seek spaces for collective impact. With less than 2% of philanthropic funding going to combat climate change, funders are presented with the challenge—collaborate more and in smarter ways to meet ambitious targets and rally support from all sectors.
Philanthropy is uniquely positioned to bring multi-sector actors together to build coalitions and catalyze impactful change. It can advocate, transcend political differences and build alliances for equitable energy and climate policy decision-making. It can support sustainable ways to reduce carbon emissions and increase resiliency. And as we look to rebuild post COVID-19, it can invest in fixing our flawed food systems and in creating inclusive green economies where economic growth is coupled with environmental protection and social inclusion.
At the 2020 GPF conference we will seek ways to harness the power of philanthropy to beta test big ideas and innovations in policy, society, science, finance and technology to find solutions that address climate change. In this moment where people are increasingly coming together to demand change, we will explore the ways that philanthropy can take the lead in building a better tomorrow. The conference will take place from 8:00am to 12:00pm Pacific Time on September 14 through September 16.