063 / Overshoots, Rhino Bonds & Small Steps To Address My Addiction To Travel

Hi Friends,

Last week, I sailed by ferry into Finland — my 60th country.

Travel is a huge passion of mine (my husband Dave might use the word “addiction”). Growing up multicultural between several different nodes — Guam, San Francisco, Rome and later New York and Amsterdam — it’s also been a constant. 

Like many of you, travel serves an important function in my life and in my work. It nourishes and enriches me, providing inspiration and facilitating cross-cultural connection. My friend Mark said it well: “The more dots you collect, the more dots you have to connect.” This is especially important in a field like social impact.

But this trip, it was impossible to ignore the environmental impact of my inclination to roam — especially with Earth Overshoot Day falling just a few days after. I was particularly struck by the New York Times piece shared below, as well as the follow-up article from the Travel Desk announcing that they will now be purchasing offsets to address the environmental impact of their travel coverage. 

So, I’ve decided to start taking action in small ways:

  • I’ve committed to purchasing carbon offsets for my personal travel throughout the year. I’m going to use Cool Effect, the platform recommended by NYT.

  • I’m exploring local options to help me scratch my late-summer travel itch (inspired by this article on “traveling at home”).

  • I’m going to reduce the carbon impact of my travel when I can — for example, by packing light and opting for direct flights (this list shares some nice tips). 

  • I’m going to make my flights count, staying for longer, seeking deeper experiences and spending my money in ways that support the local economy (quite inspired by my friend Marieke Eyskoot, who recently requested that her trip to Brazil for Rio Ethical Fashion be turned into an itinerary of learning and connection).

These are small efforts. But they’re a start. How are you approaching the environmental impact of your travel? Reply to let me know and I’ll share a list of your ideas and responses in our next letter.


P.S. Thanks to everyone who filled out our survey — and congratulations to Kristine, who’ll be receiving “How Change Happens” off our Sustainable Business Reading List very soon. If you didn’t fill out our survey and have a few minutes to spare, here’s the link. We’re working on an exciting new project and your input would be really useful.

explore, dream, discover... but also try to be conscious of your impact.

explore, dream, discover... but also try to be conscious of your impact.

This Week's 5 Links

✈️ If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?The New York Times
This article lays out the true cost of our travel simply and powerfully: "One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere." Climate activist Greta Thunberg recently made headlines when she announced she would travel across the Atlantic by sailboat for COP 25, and even airlines like KLM are encouraging customers to “fly responsibly”. Conscious consumption has so far centered mostly on the things we buy and eat; air travel may be the next big lifestyle choice to reconsider. (10 minutes)

👉 TAKE ACTION: Taking a flight this summer? Calculate and offset the carbon footprint of your travel — then tell us about it!

🌍 Earth Overshoot Day Is Earlier Than Ever This Year —and It Underestimates the CrisisQuartz
Monday marked Earth Overshoot Day — a “holiday” hosted and calculated by the non-profit Global Footprint Network marking the day when humanity overshoots the planet’s ability to recover from the resources we consume within the year. While this news — and the fact that the date gets earlier and earlier each year — is a major eco-anxiety trigger, comparing the earth's natural resources to a bank with limited funds is a visual and compelling way to make the case for conservation.🤞people hear the call to action. (4 minutes)

🦏 Rhinos Come to the Bond Market, and Other Species May FollowBloomberg
The Zoological Society of London and Conservation Capital have launched the first financial instrument for species conservation. Investors who purchase a five-year “rhino impact bond” will be paid back their capital — plus a yield — if the number of nearly-extinct black rhinos at five sites in South Africa and Kenya increases. If the experiment works, we may start to see other impact bonds develop around outcomes like girls education in rural India and sustainable fisheries projects in the Seychelles. Exciting stuff for a historically underfunded sector. (3 minutes — link discovered via Kyle Westaway’s Weekend Briefing newsletter)

🍌 Is Fair Trade Finished?The Guardian
Fairtrade International is one of the oldest and most widely recognized sustainability certifications out there. But in recent years, the logo has started to pack less of a punch.This fascinating long read tracks the history of Fairtrade International and the broader world of sustainability labels, questioning their relevance as companies like Sainsbury’s, Mondelēz and Starbucks abandon third-party certification in favor of their own labelling schemes. (32 minutes)

📖 The Anti-CEO PlaybookTED
“Spreadsheets are lazy. They don't tell you about people, they don't tell you about communities. But unfortunately, this is how too many business decisions are made today.” Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya drops this gem (and others) in this inspiring TED Talk laying out his “Anti-CEO” playbook — an impassioned case for prioritizing employees, communities and consumers over profit and shareholders when making business decisions. Protip: the talk starts off a little slow, so you might want to watch at 1.5x or skim the transcript if you’re low on time. (17 minutes)

MOST CLICKED FROM LAST ISSUE // Why a Hipster, Vegan, Green Tech Economy is Not SustainableAl Jazeera. Find more thought-provoking perspectives here.

3 Questions With…



Keoki Kakigi’s lifelong goal is to mitigate the effects of climate change — a personal mission born from the climate risks facing our shared home island of Guam.  Full interview here 👉

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a comic (but definitely not funny) visualization of    where plastic goes

a comic (but definitely not funny) visualization of where plastic goes