In January 2020, the world entered a new decade with what environmentalists had already dubbed the “super year for nature.” Halting climate change and reversing biodiversity loss are complex problems that require the utmost effort and collaboration on a whole host of levels. And in the face of such existential threats to our planet, philanthropy can and should do more than fund interventions at the project or program level. As the youth-led climate movement has pushed us to acknowledge, the philanthropic community must match the urgency of the moment and step up.

Yet how can a sector whose institutions are generally slow to take on new approaches possibly adapt to the urgency of the problem of climate change?

They can start by dismantling silos across the sector. At the Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival—the first-ever global summit on human rights and climate change—the phrase “intersectionality is reality” became an instant meme amongst attendees. Originally coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw over 30 years ago, analyzing how black women were often marginalized by both the feminist and civil rights movements, “intersectionality” refers to the interconnected nature of categorizations like race, class, and gender and how they create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The phrase captures how crucial it will be for philanthropy to understand and build overlapping and interdependent categories like race, class, and gender into their funding streams.

“Climate justice” is another increasingly common term for the link between human rights and social justice to how humanity must mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, but climate justice will require collaboration to succeed.

Read the full article about fighting climate change by Heather Grady at Stanford Social Innovation Review.