Today, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted the Invest in Nature Summit. This event brought together federal government leaders, academia, industry, non-profits, philanthropies, and others to celebrate the progress being made through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, and underscore the importance of continued efforts to drive even more progress.
This event featured OSTP Director Arati Prabhakar, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, OSTP Deputy Director Jane Lubchenco, Director of the Peace Corps Carol Spahn, as well as other Administration officials and leaders from across a range of sectors.
Throughout Earth Week, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and other senior Administration officials are holding events and announcing commitments focused on the Administration’s Investing in America agenda.
The Investing in America agenda includes harnessing the power of nature to help rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, strengthen communities, advance environmental justice and conservation, and much more. Historic progress is being made across the country through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the Administration’s action plan to put nature on the nation’s balance sheet for the first time and its roadmap for federal agencies to harness the power of nature-based solutions.
Last month, OSTP called on private and public sector leaders to step up with additional nature-based commitments and investments to drive additional progress. More than 100 organizations have already responded to this call to action, spurring innovative ways to work with nature.
- The U.S. Department of Education is announcing the 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. These honorees, hailing from 18 states across the country, are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. Two-thirds of this year’s honorees are located in under-resourced communities.
- The City of Chicago is announcing a $48 million investment to expand nature in schools over the next four years. Chicago Public Schools, the Department of Water Management, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago will work with two non-profit organizations, Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands, to transform schoolyards to add new trees and native landscaping, open schoolyards to the community as safe, shared green space for connecting with nature, and use rain gardens and other nature-based elements to reduce flooding and build community and climate resilience. Focusing on students and schools in historically under-invested communities, these new funds will serve as a model for how investing in youth through nature can drive results for equity, mental and physical health, and education.
- Today, the Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center at the Atlantic Council is announcing an innovative pilot microinsurance program that has the potential to protect 2.5 million women in India from the impacts of climate change by replacing their income during extreme heat events that would otherwise prevent them from working. This new finance tool will complement the $900 million in the Cool Capital Stack pipeline of projects to cool cities with help from nature.
- Today, the Water Solutions Fund is announcing up to $10 million to advance projects that invest in nature to solve water and climate problems in an equitable manner. The Fund, pooling investments from the Hewlett, Walton, Pisces, Kresge, and Mott Foundations, and three anonymous donors, supports nature-based ideas designed and driven by communities.
- Today, the Foundation for Regeneration is announcing an additional $3 million commitment to revitalize the Blue River Valley and adjacent communities in Kansas City, Missouri by investing in riverside restoration, food producing trees, green roofs, and other nature-based solutions – all built through a green workforce cooperative composed of residents from at-risk communities.
- Today, the National Geographic Society is announcing a $5 million investment to inspire and empower the next generation of informed leaders and passionate stewards of our planet by scaling up its Slingshot Challenges, Externship Program, and Explorer-led programs. This investment will give young people in the United States and around the world more opportunities to use their voices and ingenuity and build meaningful, nature-based skills for jobs.
- Today, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is launching an effort to ensure engineers have the skills they need to build the cities of the future. ASCE has submitted for approval new proposed principles related to sustainability, risk, resilience, and equity in civil engineering curriculum to ABET, the organization that accredits over 800 colleges and universities in 40 countries. Once ABET approves the new principles, ASCE will engage academic leaders to develop nature-based solutions curriculum, and will incorporate nature-based solutions in their Manuals of Practice that guide engineers in doing their jobs.