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Chance to Lead—a campaign for social and environmental justice

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For 23 years, EcoLogic has worked to empower rural and indigenous communities in Central America and Mexico to protect and restore the tropical ecosystems in which they live. Over the years, we have helped to foster the talents of many local leaders and connect these world-changers with countless partners and networks so that their voices are amplified and their impact can be realized on a larger scale.

The future of marginalized communities and our environment is now more uncertain than ever. After the political change that took place last week, we at EcoLogic, like so many others, are asking ourselves,  “What do we do now?” After much dialogue, we realized that at least part of the answer might be simpler than we thought: We must continue to do what we’ve always done—support and amplify the voices of the under-the-radar leaders who work without rest to create a just, sustainable, peaceful world for us all. Only now, we must redouble our efforts and work even more collectively. Those who remain hopeful and optimistic about a sustainable future must act with more creativity, energy, and connection than ever.

So, we are taking action by launching Chance to Lead, a campaign critical to ensuring that the voices of those leaders are heard and given the chance they deserve to be the leaders we need. We owe the communities and the leaders that have historically been most left out that chance. The chance to make progress in creating a world that is not only more environmentally protected—but one that is more socially just.

Chance to Lead is a campaign coordinated by EcoLogic, dedicated to partnering with community leaders and assisting them to amplify their voice and expand the scope of their impact. Via Chance to Lead, we hope to highlight and connect leaders so that they can explore new ways to collaborate and broadcast their successes to the world. We make our voices heard, and remain dedicated to creating lasting change on the causes and issues of those community and environmental leaders whose work are most threatened by damaging, non-inclusive rhetoric and policy. Because their work not only benefits them and their communities, it benefits us all.

We must support these leaders to achieve the change we wish to see. It is their turn, now more than ever. It is up to us to give the hopes, the ideas, the beliefs, the knowledge, and opinions that have historically not been heard—a chance to lead.  

What You Can Do

EcoLogic has launched ChancetoLead.org as a platform for individuals and organizations working to create a future based on environmental and social justice to connect and share their work. We don’t know yet exactly how it will evolve but we are compelled to act now, without perfect plans. We envision that those who join us and participate will help us co-create the space and spread the message of this movement by sharing inspiring stories of local leaders that need that Chance to Lead.

For now, if you are a leader in the movement for creating this future, if you participate in an organization that supports these leaders, or if you are an individual or institution that wants to follow the conversation and learn about these leaders, please go to ChancetoLead.org to sign up. We’ll keep you posted on next steps…

#chancetolead

With solidarity and optimism,

Chris Patterson

Director of Development and Communications

EcoLogic Development Fund

Time for EcoLogic at CCNet in Spain

CCNet Rally

Participants from around the world gathered at the Conservation Coaches Network Rally September 29–October 1, 2015 in Spain. Photo: Felix P. Cybulla, CCNet.

What do you get when almost 150 conservation-obsessed people from 33 countries around the globe—including three EcoLogic representatives from three countries—converge on rural Spain? Aside from splendid food, landscapes, and cultural heritage of Món Sant Benet and Barcelona, you get the power of connections and ideas to improve the practice of conservation. Especially when the vast majority of attendees are conservation coaches with a penchant for motivational talks, top notch facilitation, and expertise in the practical matters of helping teams and organizations gain ground in conservation efforts, sometimes against all odds.

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Interview with Turning the Tables Facilitator Frances Moore Lappé

EcoLogic’s 2015 fall benefit, Turning the Tables: Nurturing Resilience, will be a one-of-a-kind dinner party on October 1, 2015.

Frances Moore Lappe

Frances Moore Lappé, Founder of the Small Planet Institute (Photo: Juliana Field)

The event will feature 10 conversations at 10 tables on topics that touch on aspects of EcoLogic’s work at the intersection of conservation, culture, and development in Central America and Mexico.

Learn more about the event and reserve your seat at the table here!

Jordan Rich, of Boston’s WBZ Radio, interviewed one of the 10 expert facilitators that will join EcoLogic for dinner: Frances Moore Lappé, Executive Director of the Small Planet Institute. Frances is the author or co-author of 19 books including Diet for a Small Planet, which sold three million copies. Frances was named by Gourmet Magazine as one of 25 people (including Thomas Jefferson, Upton Sinclair, and Julia Child), whose work has changed the way America eats. Frances is the co-founder of three organizations, including the Oakland-based think tank Food First and the Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé.

Listen to the interview here:

 

Interested in sitting down for dinner with Frances?

Register now to join us for dinner on October 1!

How Austin Blackmon is Greenovating Boston

A conversation with the City of Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space

Austin Blackmon is the City of Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space, and oversees the Inspectional Services Department, the Environment Department, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the Office of Energy Policy and Programs. Blackmon served as the Interim Head of Project Finance for TerraVerde Renewable Partners, a clean energy consulting firm that advises schools, municipalities and companies on solar power, energy storage and alternative fuel projects. Previously, Blackmon worked for C12 Energy, which produces low-carbon energy through technical application of carbon dioxide sequestration. He has also consulted with U.S. Renewables Group, where he evaluated potential investments in waste recovery solutions by developing and presenting investment theses. Blackmon has also previously worked in Energy Investment Banking for Wells Fargo Securities, and advised organizational strategy with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Blackmon is a graduate of Harvard College and received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he led the Harvard Council of Student Sustainability Leaders.

Austin will facilitate a table conversation at EcoLogic’s 2015 fall benefit, “Turning the Tables: Nurturing Resilience” on October 1. At his table, he will be leading a discussion under the theme of “Greenovate Boston: Engaging all Bostonians in Meeting Climate and Sustainability Goals.” Get a sneak preview of what he will be talking about at dinner in this interview!

Austin Blackmon, City of Boston

Auston Blackmon, City of Boston’s Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space, will be at EcoLogic’s event on October 1!

Tell us a bit about your professional background and your experience in regard to “Greenovating” Boston?

Prior to moving to Boston, I advised on a number of large-scale energy efficiency, solar projects, and sustainable focused investment opportunities. Most recently as the Interim Head of Project Finance at TerraVerde, the largest part of my job was to make sure the projects made financial sense for our clients, including municipalities and school districts. This experience brought me to Boston, eager to apply my knowledge to a City that was already leading on climate and sustainability actions.

Read more about Greenovate Boston!

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Reminds Us Who Climate Change Hurts the Most

By Tessa Peoples, Communications Intern

Laudato Si, the Pope’s landmark encyclical, has ignited an international conversation about climate change. But no conversation about climate action can ignore the fact that the world’s poor—including the rural and indigenous communities that EcoLogic works with every day—are already being hit the hardest by the impacts of climate disruption.

“We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”

So wrote Pope Francis in Laudato Si, his landmark encyclical on climate change and the environment, released June 18. An encyclical is a letter generally used to address a significant issue and is addressed to all bishops—or in this case, as Francis put it: all of mankind. Through the letter, the Pope wishes to “enter into a dialogue with all people about our common home.” He emphasizes the undeserved effect of climate change on the world’s poorest populations and wealthy countries’ obligation to push forward and find solutions to the issue that he asserts was caused by excessive industrialization.

Pope Francis, who wrote about climate change

Pope Francis, who released an encyclical about climate change, will visit the US in September

The encyclical was published just a few months before the Pope’s September trip to the United States, when he will address a joint session of Congress and, separately, the United Nations General Assembly. President Obama responded to the encyclical, saying, “We must also protect the world’s poor, who have done the least to contribute to this looming crisis and stand to lose the most if we fail to avert it.”

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August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

5:30am, Sarstún, Guatemala: The sun has not quite risen, but you can smell tortillas. Women move in and out of their small houses, starting to cook for the day. Most men left home in the early hours to trek down muddy paths towards the fields. The day starts early here because there is a lot to be done. Here, a young man named Samuel Coc Yat measures old trees and plants new ones, checks in with families who have just started using fuel-efficient stoves, and talks to teenagers about the role they can play in conserving their environment. He is a field technician with EcoLogic, and like almost everyone else in the area, he’s Maya K’ekchi’.

Samuel Coc Yat, indigenous Maya K'ekchi EcoLogic field technician

EcoLogic field technician Samuel Coc Yat is a member of the indigenous Maya K’ekchi’ community in Sarstún, Guatemala (Photo: Lee Shane)

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Supporter Spotlight: Lisa Leff Cooper

Why do you support EcoLogic?

Lisa Leff Cooper

Lisa Leff Cooper

My husband and I first got to know Central America as adoptive parents of our daughter, born in Guatemala, and we quickly fell in love with the people, cultures and landscapes of the region. We wanted to make a difference and began searching for ways to help spur sustainable economic development across the region.

With my professional background in sustainable investing, I was particularly interested in supporting models providing both economic opportunities for people and communities and protection for the natural resources of this very special part of the world. When we were introduced to EcoLogic, we knew we’d found an on-the-ground organization making real and lasting impact — and doing it in a way that empowers communities for the long-term.

Read more about why Lisa Leff Cooper believes that EcoLogic is making a real difference in Central America & Mexico