The Climate Crisis and What We’re Doing About It
Financing the Transition to a Regenerative Economy
With the Aim of Restoring the Climate and the Earth
Download PDF version of our year-end letter here
Executive Director’s Year-End Letter 2019
“Being alive right now means rethinking boundaries, pushing on the walls of your imagination. It means feeling around in this world for another one.” (Dan Zak, “Everything is Not Going to Be Okay: How to Live with Constant Reminders that the Earth Is in Trouble,” Washington Post)
Dear Friends and Supporters,
2019 has been a pretty tumultuous year for us, including both substantial achievements and disappointing setbacks. The good news is that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation is on its way in New Jersey, with both the Legislature and the Governor endorsing some version of this long-awaited financing tool. We expect PACE to be operational in 2020, and it could be as early as first quarter.
The first version of PACE legislation was introduced and passed into law in 2011; unfortunately it was flawed, and the Christie Administration took advantage of these flaws to block any meaningful action. Our organization, operating as New Jersey PACE, has been seeking to amend this law for more than seven years, during which time we co-authored at least three prior versions that were rejected. While in retrospect it seems unreal, there were good reasons to believe that PACE could be implemented in each of these years, despite the resistance of the banking industry and of the Governor’s staff at the time.
Evolving and Expanding the PACE Model
But since PACE is still not available in New Jersey (and many other jurisdictions), we continue to seek demonstration projects for the two alternative clean energy financing approaches that we have developed in partnership with structured finance experts, including a major NJ social impact investment fund. Once successfully piloted, these “PACE/Alternatives,”* as we’ve called them, including our New InterCreditor Clean Energy (NICCE, pronounced “nice”) and Deed-registered Renewables & Energy Efficiency Measures (DREEM), will provide commercial property owners anywhere in the US with access to PACE-like financing, regardless of whether PACE is allowed in their jurisdiction.
Posted in Climate Change, Cohousing, Community, Contribute, CRCS, Energy, G4CM, Global Issues, New Jersey, News, NJPACE, Nonprofit Activities, Regenerative Development, Sustainability, Transformation
We make a difference in the world, by how we choose to invest our philanthropic dollars and/or investment funds.
We know that you know that we face planetary catastrophe if we don’t change the way our economy works today — we need to divest from those activities that are causing harm to the earth, and invest in ones that are restorative and regenerative. Whether you’re talking about large amounts, such as endowment funds of Ivy League universities, or the charitable donations you make at the end of the year, you know that moving from unsustainable practices to restorative and regenerative ones is what’s needed to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and put it back into the soil where it literally sustains life.
Our nonprofit, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS), is at the forefront of the effort to transform our economy into one that creates sustainable prosperity for everyone. Buckminster Fuller was amongst the first to recognize that we are technologically capable of producing a world that sustains everyone, and that gives us the opportunity to heal our planet, our psyche, and our civilization.
“In 1929 I began to consider what the little individual could do on behalf of his fellow man that government and corporations could not do. It became evident that the individual was the only one that could deliberately find the time to think in a cosmically adequate manner. Each human has his lifetime to invest. If he commits to operations in cosmic integrities he will find himself participating in nature’s own formulations and will realize the potentials of her various freedoms and choices, to be employed to the advantage of all human beings to come, in order that humans may fulfill their cosmic functioning on board of our planet.”
—R. Buckminster Fuller
Certainly Buckminster Fuller was no “ordinary individual,” as he liked to think of himself, but he did not consider any other humans as potentially less capable than himself. Each of us has our unique contribution to make, which is taking the next step for ourselves. Such a step is never arbitrary, in that it occurs inside of a given set of circumstances, and is given to us by the totality of our unique life experiences and understandings. But it is also voluntarily chosen. It is possible to seek one’s calling, to discover one’s inner purpose, but ultimately we also have to choose it.
Kosmos, a “Journal for Global Transformation,” recently published A ‘global call’ from our friends at Share the World’s Resources (STWR), which is in turn taken from Sharing.org (which offers its material under a Creative Commons License, as we’ve begun to do with our materials on The Contribution Economy).
The lead-in to their article expresses as well as anything I’ve seen recently the current problematique, the central challenge and response of our age:
Asking for money is one of the more challenging things that every charity has to do. The first question we need to answer, however, is “Why are we asking?” If we don’t have a clear and compelling answer, we’re handicapping ourselves from the start.
So here’s why.
- It’s to give people the opportunity to contribute to the world they believe in.
- It’s to give us the ability to keep working on creating a world that works, by providing “regenerative community solutions,” i.e., practical ways of restoring and building communities that last and become self-reinforcing and self-sustaining.
- Ultimately, it’s to empower the world of generosity, the you-and-me world, rather than the you-or-me world.
In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist, who has raised more than $150 million in individual contributions, tells the story of her own first monetary contribution:
We’re committed to a future that has New Jersey PACE as a local success story in the making. Working back from this future, what will this look like, and what will it mean for New Jersey?
Let’s imagine what New Jersey might look like in ten years with PACE. Continue reading
The challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
Developing our crowdfunding campaign is giving us an extraordinary opportunity to explore using PACE to revitalize New Jersey communities. By itself, PACE is an innovative business model that creates jobs and economic development while providing the ultimate tool to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on private properties. But leveraging PACE for community development is where the real payoff is, that is to say, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Now that we have our 501c3 designation, we’re asking for your financial support. We have just a couple of days for you to make a tax-free contribution this year, so we’d like to suggest that you do so as a way of expressing your faith, your commitment, and your support of our mission.
We’re not just about a good idea whose time has come. We’re about making it a reality here in New Jersey, and in doing so transform our built environment. And this is the ideal place to do it — an older northeastern state, with many declining cities and older suburbs, and enormous opportunities for revitalization. So we’ve put more an enormous effort over the past year into developing a state-wide NJPACE program, and bringing PACE to a number of specific New Jersey communities in 2014.
But we can’t do this alone. We created the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions to be the nonprofit umbrella for the education, the development of tools and alliances, and the administration of this program, so that the industry, the property owners, the lenders, and the municipalities could take advantage of the benefits that NJPACE offers them. Our goal is to raise $350,000 in order to create this opportunity for our state, as other groups are doing elsewhere in the country.