Part of the AEGN’s mission is to deepen members’ understanding of the many ways their philanthropy can support the environment — ultimately to maximise their impact. To this end, we produce a regular podcast series where members share stories of effective leadership for our planet, climate and future.
Tash Keuneman generously shared her story with AEGN CEO Amanda Martin in September 2023. Key take-aways from their conversation follow.
To listen to the episode and access a full transcript and show notes, head to our podcast page.
Climate change affects everything
“If you care about humans, if you care about animals, if you care about the Earth, then you should be fighting climate change by any means that are available to you. Climate change is borderless and indiscriminate, so it’s really important we all rally together around that.”
Start with first principles (what you know to be true)
“What actually has to be true without a shadow of a doubt in order for us to reduce our carbon emissions, and then it’s the effective altruism approach, which is what is the most effective way for us to do the things that we’ve set out to do.”
Private ancillary funds (PAFs) are cool!
“It’s not that much work, which is crazy, it’s really not. For me, it’s probably about 20 to 30 hours a year. I think of a PAF like Mary Poppins’ magical bag, in the sense that you can just keep on putting things into it as you go … and then the cool thing is that instead of that Mary Poppins bag of magic coming back to you, it goes out to the world.”
Talk with (and trust) your grantees
“Back people and back their work and check in. I don’t like to be reactionary. I like to be proactive in our grantmaking, which is probably why it doesn’t take a huge amount of time. I just like to have really crucial conversations.”
Change the story
“The majority of Australians still believe that a switch to cleaner energy production and decarbonising the supply chains will result in a loss of jobs, which isn’t the case at all. So, we need to shift that focus from the cost of climate action to the benefits and the opportunities.”
Prioritise systems change
“If we change the systems effectively, then it will make the individual choices easier and smaller by comparison. I think the greatest trick played on us was that we have to bicker with each other when really, we should be fighting the bigger systems that need to change.”
Find the joy
“Focus on planting the roses instead of pulling out all of the weeds … and take action, which is the most important thing when we’re faced with what we’re faced with … I think the PAF has done a lot in the sense of me feeling like I’m doing my bit.”
I think of a PAF [private ancillary fund] like Mary Poppins’ magical bag, in the sense that you can just keep on putting things into it as you go … and then the cool thing is that instead of that Mary Poppins bag of magic coming back to you, it goes out to the world.
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