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Don't Mess with Nature

Don't Mess with Nature: Rising Tides

Season 1, Ep. 3

Sea levels have been going up and down for millions of years - but why are we so interested in it now? Because over the last 150 years, sea levels have started to rise faster than ever before. Why? The world’s getting warmer. The CO² that was locked up by nature in rock or other products is now being dug up and burnt, we’re burning the oil, we’re burning the coal, we’re burning the limestone to make cement. That CO² is going back into the atmosphere, it’s happening super fast, our atmosphere is super sensitive and sea levels are rising. 

And this is one of the problems of climate change. It’s like a punch that someone’s giving you. But it’s so slow, it’s like a punch in slow motion. So you don’t take it seriously. Until it hits you.

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  • 10. Don't Mess With Nature - The Equilibrium Paradox

    In the 10th episode of 'Don't Mess With Nature', Andrew Mitchell explores the equilibrium paradox. Can natural capital and financial capital ever exist in balance when we're driven by the model of more? Don't economies only work if they get bigger and bigger? And can you really have constant growth in a finite world or, as Sir David Attenborough famously said, 'Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist.'Buckle up for this podcast episode, where Andrew will take you on a conversational expedition into the heart of the rainforest, to find out what lessons we can learn from nature about creating a steady state that will allow our economies and our planet to keep on going. An equilibrium between natural capital and financial capital. As a sustainable finance advisor to governments and banks and one of the original founders of the Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosure, you'll hear the latest insights into sustainable finance strategies, all given vivid colour with incredible stories from his life as an explorer and zoologist. Stay tuned for Andrew's tales of being one of the first to climb to the top of the rainforest canopy as well as surviving a shipwreck in shark-infested waters, and at the conclusion, a story from Davos and the World Economic Forum, where reimagining a new way of putting eco back into the economy is firmly on the agenda. Listen in to this fascinating episode to find out what it will take to create what we all need - wealth that's worth having.
  • 9. Don't Mess with Nature: Banking on Nature

    Banking on Nature is a tale of two banks, in fact a tale of two governors of the Bank of England, the first and the last. The story starts with the first governor of the bank of England, a man called William Paterson and his disastrous Darien colony in Panama, the remains of which were uncovered as part of a scientific and archaeological exploration I joined as a young explorer. William Paterson didn't bank on nature, and it cost him dearly. But the last governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney did. His global Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures together with Michael Bloomberg as chairman launched in December 2015 as a fantastic Christmas present to the planet and made it vital for the finance sector to report on the climate liabilities in their portfolios. By putting climate disclosure as a requirement, voluntary for the finance sector, it forced people to start thinking about climate change seriously. Because unless we change the movement of money, we're going to continue to finance ourselves into extinction. And in this podcast, you'll hear about how a new task force, the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosure began and gathered momentum and will, we believe, be another vital gift for our planet.
  • 8. Measuring Footprints

    Did you know that each elephant's footprint has a unique pattern which can be used to identify individuals? In the natural world, evolution tends to make animals bigger, But even the biggest creatures, like elephants, can be extraordinarily gentle with their footprint. In the financial world size matters too. Banks and financial institutions are all getting bigger. In fact, there's a fascinating statistic that the largest 1% of the world's financial houses manage over 60% of total industrial assets. Can you imagine the concentration of power that means?So what kind of a footprint does finance have? And how can we make finance gentle with its footprint around the world? Impact investing which is focused on producing a social and environmental impact while also generating a profit has gathered a lot of attention in recent years. But how do we transition into impact investments that produce a purpose?
  • 7. Don't Mess with Nature: Billion Dollar Bonds

    What could you do with a billion dollars to save nature? The answer could be a billion dollar landscape bond - a form of green bond that could protect nature while existing in the world of big finance. This podcast will take you on an expedition from bat-infested caves to palm oil plantations and how the idea for the first billion dollar bond was created.It's a staggering statistic that 50% of the world's palm oil comes from small families with a couple of hectares, who are trying to feed and educate their children. But palm trees only live for about 25 years, and many of these families can't afford the 'valley of death' between planting new trees and being able to harvest. So how can we help reform the palm oil industry in a way which is more sustainable and doesn’t destroy forests? By aggregating a lot of small financial opportunities and packaging them together, you can make a much bigger one. And that's what you offer to the market. The benefits? Better palm oil plantations, which are not just monocultures, but provide for much more biodiversity. Wouldn't you prefer to have projects like that in your pension plan?
  • 6. Don't Mess with Nature: Chain Reaction

    Today’s podcast is about chain reactions, and why they matter. Where our food comes from and how it affects nature is a big story. Supply chains are one of the leading causes of rainforest deforestation. I’ll give you an example of why. You probably know that Africa has the Big Five: lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes. Rainforests have got the Big Four. These are the four things that we need to bag if we're going to stop the destruction of the rainforests, and they are: beef, soya, palm oil and paper and pulp. These Big Four are responsible globally for about 60-70% of all the destruction of biodiversity across the world. But how are we going to stop this chain reaction and save life on our planet? It has to start from the top level - governments and corporates as well as consumers. Listen in as I take you through some global initiatives to clean up our supply chains, and what they’re achieving.
  • 5. Don't Mess with Nature: Thunder and Lightning

    Over the last 50 years, catastrophic weather-related events have dramatically increased in frequency. Just to put it into perspective, in 2018, there were 42 catastrophic events that cost more than a billion dollars each. Why? The concern is that as the planet warms, the sea surface temperature rises. And even the smallest increase in sea surface temperature has the potential to significantly increase the strength of a hurricane. Just last year in Britain, storm Ciara and Dennis were estimated to cost around £350M in damage. This comes at a huge cost to insurance companies. A cost which ultimately gets passed on to us through increased insurance premiums.But the question is, how are the insurance companies spending your money and mine on the premiums they collect? Are they in fact contributing to the problem? And that affects all our premiums. It's all tied to nature. That's why the one thing we all need to learn is that looking after nature is the best insurance policy you could ever have.
  • 4. Don’t Mess With Nature: The Meaning of Life

    We need to start thinking about how life is connected with money. Why? Because unless we can find a better state of equilibrium between natural capital - that’s life on earth, and financial capital - that’s the money that makes the world go around, there’s a real danger that we’ll continue to finance ourselves into extinction. After all, we all invest into health insurance and pensions for our own wellbeing. So why wouldn’t we consider environmentally minded companies which nurture the planet for our families and future generations? These are the issues which the financial sector has to grapple with.
  • 2. Don't Mess with Nature: Reinventing Life.

    The planet doesn’t need us. But as humans, we need the planet. We’ve been around only about 3 million years, and yet in such a short time, we’ve taken over the whole earth, and completely changed it. We’re harnessing everything to do with the earth and turning it for our own use. And that has consequences. An example of that is COVID-19 which has suddenly broken out across the planet like Nature’s time bomb that will cost the world some $10 trillion dollars. Unless we change the movement of money, we’ll continue to finance ourselves into extinction. The finance industry has done a great job of dissociating ourselves from our own money. But what’s the point in having a pension fund if when it pays out, you can’t breathe the air? We have to get to a better state of equilibrium between financial capital and natural capital. And that is what has driven me to swim against the current of this river, right up to the headwaters to work with the financial sector itself.