Bank of Nature is a new way to look at and resolve today’s crisis of climate change. As a theory of change strategy, we imagine a world already made climate secure and a safer alternative path to get there. Bank of Nature pivots on the legal concept of fiduciary duty and the untapped potential of global pensions to fund it. That means questioning the stuck status quo and assumptions that serve as obstacles to change.
With the support of the fellowship, we:
- Had the privilege of time and resources to engage fully in a design initiative
- Launched the www.bankofnature.eco website and the blog https://bankofnature.substack.com
- Created and hosted the inaugural meetings of Fiduciaries for the Future, a professional community
- Directed legal research into fiduciary duty
- Expanded our network of supporters and critics, and continue to do so.
Bank of Nature blends transformative environmental philosophy and finance reform to engage the $56 trillion global pension sector that has the fiduciary duty, scale, and mission to be the heroes of climate security and Bank of Nature’s biggest customers.
Insights, surprises encountered, and key moments in the process
The privilege of thinking imaginatively, as the Applied Imagination Fellowship made possible, gave way to a few insights about the role of imagination to solve the planet’s greatest challenges.
- If we don’t imagine it, we can’t build it. The more we imagine a world already made sustainable, the more we can engage the tools to get there.
- Imagination is how we shift paradigms—like a climate crisis impasse. What if? What else? These are invitations to think as big as we want.
- Imagination drives discovery. This is how we create new paths when the old paths lead away from that future already made sustainable. This is how we explore untaken safer alternatives and shake up a status quo that is stuck in old and existing thinking.
- Original thinking is trumped by iterative thinking that just tweaks old ideas. That means if we are working with a broken system, the foundation is always wobbly—whether we see it or not.
An example of these insights, applied to the Bank of Nature: If governments and corporations are not suited to the task of fixing the climate crisis, what is? Our project answers that question.
How did the fellowship benefit you as a researcher and/or practitioner and/or organizer? How did it benefit your work? And how did it benefit your community?
The Center for Science and the Imagination is literally our “first money in” at Bank of Nature, and has paid for critical early assets like a website, content, design and materials. CSI recognized the potential for Bank of Nature to transform the climate crisis narrative through an imaginative strategy that sidesteps the status quo. As a startup organization, the financial support put us on a path to success.
CSI introduced us to an array of supporters we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Experts in finance, law, economics, and sustainability were generous with their time and interest because CSI vouched for us. Credibility, when we are asking people to think vividly and differently about the stuck status quo, can’t be bought.
Our cohort of fellows and the team at CSI comprise a community of support. We had unique thinkers who brought their own visions to the group. Thank you to CSI for a safe place to expand on ideas that can change the world.
What’s next? How has the fellowship shaped the path forward for you and your work?
The Applied Imagination Fellowship kick-started a project that has, in the past year, developed the real-world credentials to gain critical momentum. We are building on that with:
- A legal strategy to test in court whether pension fiduciaries fulfil fiduciary duty by investing today in industry that dims our climate future—the future their beneficiaries will retire into. Are fiduciaries protecting the future?
- An enterprise strategy to create a business called Bank of Nature that will embody a safer alternative path to climate security, invest directly and at scale in climate science and climate justice, and define fiduciary duty in the climate era.
- A professional strategy to engage a community of finance professionals, known as Fiduciaries for the Future.
- A fundraising strategy to bootstrap the business. You can learn more about us at www.bankofnature.eco.