WEBINAR: Business Planning Series – Revenue Models

Building on the basics presented earlier this year, Ruth Norris, a member of the Kinship Fellows Fac

WEBINAR: State of the Voluntary Carbon Report

Join Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace in a webinar celebrating the release of findings from th

Russian Protected Areas: The Polistovsky Reserve

By Elena Nikolaeva, 2013 Kinship Fellow During the Kinship Conservation Fellows program in 2013, I h


WEBINAR: Business Planning Series – Revenue Models

August 21, 2014 in Economics and Business, Funding, Fundraising, and Finance, Leadership and Business Skills

july2014_biz2_emailerBuilding on the basics presented earlier this year, Ruth Norris, a member of the Kinship Fellows Faculty and executive coach and organizational effectiveness consultant, probes deeper into social sector business revenue models. Case studies represented by the work of Kinship Fellows: Arshiya Bose (2013), Sarah Charlop-Powers (2009), Scott Gillilan (2009), and Heather Webb (2009) aid in demonstrating models.

To see the first webinar in the Business Planning Series, click here.



WEBINAR: Business Planning Series Part 2: Revenue Model Case Studies from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Norris, RuthRuth Norris is an executive coach and organizational effectiveness consultant whose clients include philanthropic foundations, bilateral and multilateral development assistance agencies, and social change organizations, particularly in the field of environmental conservation.  She has worked with the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness program, grantees of Resources Legacy Fund and the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and was a leader in the development of programs funded by the World Bank Global Environment Facility and USAID/Enterprise of the Americas Initiative establishing national environmental endowments in developing countries.

Her consulting practice focuses on managing organizational culture and teams, business and revenue planning, and entrepreneurial approaches to conservation and social change, including messaging and marketing.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and mass communications and a master’s degree in journalism. She has also completed extensive nondegree academic and practical studies in human and organizational psychology and behavior, as well as organizational management and leadership.  She is fluent in Spanish.

WEBINAR: State of the Voluntary Carbon Report

August 19, 2014 in Carbon

june2014_kincarbonJoin Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace in a webinar celebrating the release of findings from their State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 carbon markets industry benchmark survey. The webinar highlights 2013 trends in the voluntary carbon market and discusses how governments are tapping into the expertise of the voluntary markets in developing compliance emissions reduction programs. It describes in detail the motivations of voluntary buyers of carbon offsets and outlines which project types were most attractive to these buyers last year.

For the presentation slides, click here. For the webinar recording, see below. For more resources from Ecosystem Marketplace about the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, click here.

WEBINAR: State of the Voluntary Carbon Market Report from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Ecosystem Marketplace, a project of Forest Trends, is a leading source of news, data, and analytics on markets and payments for ecosystem services such as water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity. Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program produces a range of qualitative and quantitative analyses of the voluntary and forest carbon markets, as well as a suite of other mechanisms for financing forest conservation. Our products include original news articles, annual marketplace reports, periodic topical reports, news briefs, a resource library and tracking carbon offset projects. Additional activities occasionally include providing specialized market and policy consultative services, leading in-person and remote educational lectures and hosting regional to international events.

Ecosystem Marketplace works to link practitioners and decision-makers with each other and advises companies, governments and other NGOs on carbon/forest carbon market developments, transparency, social and environmental co-benefits and other mechanisms. For more information about Ecosystem Marketplace, a leading source of information and analysis on environmental markets and payments for ecosystem services, visit www.ecosystemmarketplace.com.


Molly Peters-Stanley

MollyStanley_Bio_PicMolly is Director of Ecosystem Marketplace, where she oversees the development of Ecosystem Marketplace’s industry-leading reports on payments for ecosystem services such as water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity and leads donor outreach and fundraising efforts supporting Ecosystem Marketplace’s research projects. Previously, Molly analyzed voluntary and compliance carbon markets as a climate policy officer in South Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, Sustainability and Climate Change Division. Molly received her Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, School of Public Policy and Management. She pursued this degree as a Public Policy and International Affairs fellow.

Gloria Gonzalez

GloriaGonzalezphotoGloria is the Senior Associate in Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program where she reports and writes stories for the Ecosystem Marketplace and Forest Carbon Portal websites and is the co-author of the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets reports. Prior to joining the Ecosystem Marketplace team, Gloria was the Americas Editor of Environmental Finance and Carbon Finance magazines. Gloria graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in magazine journalism and political science.

Russian Protected Areas: The Polistovsky Reserve

August 11, 2014 in About Kinship, Eco-Tourism

By Elena Nikolaeva, 2013 Kinship Fellow

During the Kinship Conservation Fellows program in 2013, I had the opportunity to look at my work in a broader context, to focus on practical aspects of conservation, and to meet fantastic people who are truly passionate about making a difference in the world. The main emphasis of Kinship – market-based approaches – is quite a new topic for Russian protected areas (PA), and I was excited to dive deeper into this mysterious world at the crossroads of marketing and conservation.

The project I brought to Kinship the summer of 2013 aimed to introduce participatory approaches to conservation in Polistovsky Reserve, a raised bog area in Northwest Russia that protects wetlands of global importance. As with many other protected areas in the world, there are competing commitments at stake. The protected area is meant to conserve unique natural ecosystems, but local communities struggle to make a living on the same land (and tend to illegally use resources because they do not have an alternative livelihood). How do we solve this problem?

Restrictive measures alone, that have been used in our country for decades, don’t work here. While attending Kinship Conservation Fellows, I went on an exciting journey to explore different mechanisms that can make a difference – from encouraging development of sustainable cranberry harvesting, to fostering local social entrepreneurship, diversifying livelihoods, and even selling carbon credits. Many ideas were brought to the table during our small-group classroom discussions, consultations with experts, and evening drinks with my peers. In the end, I learned that there isn’t one recipe to solve the problem, and Kinship gave me a wonderful chance to learn from a number of practical case studies all over the world, and, from this cocktail, create something that will be relevant to our situation.

In the end, I learned that there isn’t one recipe to solve the problem, and Kinship gave me a wonderful chance to learn from a number of practical case studies all over the world, and, from this cocktail, create something that will be relevant to our situation.

A pivotal moment for me was when I realized that I need to go beyond ecotourism for a solution. In discussion during the month, I found that ecotourism provides only peripheral benefits to local communities and nature, and can’t be the only solution to the problem faced by the people I work with. This led me to consider different angles and alternative market-based tools in the various projects that I’m working on.

For example, this year I’m involved in a project focused on cultural landscapes and supporting the integrity of the land/people relationship. Russia has a system of “zapovedniks,” or protected areas with the most strict nature preservation rules (IUCN category Ia). This distinction protects huge wilderness areas with unique biodiversity, but even in these landscapes, the interaction of people and nature over time has produced areas of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural, and scenic values. And, in many of the national parks, cultural landscapes are often the central theme. Safeguarding the integrity of these examples of people/nature interaction is vital for protecting and sustaining these areas and the values associated with them.

Many challenges present themselves: How can these biological and cultural assets be transformed into sustainable livelihoods through market-based conservation mechanisms? What are strategies to develop participatory approaches to sustainable tourism planning and management there? How is it possible to catalyze improvements in the legislation and governance of cultural landscapes? These questions are what makes the work really interesting, and they encourage me to explore various topics related to market-based conservation. I am constantly learning from the experience of other Kinship Fellows and experts as I find answers.

2013 Kinship FellowsNow when I look back to July 2013, a lot of wonderful memories come to my mind: our coaching sessions with Beatrice Benne and Ruth Norris, talks with outstanding international experts in conservation, role playing exercises in the classroom, peer-to-peer learning evenings, cultural cooking nights, sunsets in Bellingham, hiking and kayaking on our free days, and much more. This month inspired me for future challenges and gave me a priceless gift: amazing Kinship friends in different countries with similar goals, interests and attitudes toward the challenging work ahead.


Elena N, 2013 Kinship FellowElena Nikolaeva works with Russian nature protected areas to increase their capacity in environmental education, ecotourism and cooperation with local communities.  After graduation from the Geographical Department of Moscow State University, Elena has been working for a conservation NGO  – Center “Zapovedniks” – which conducts trainings for protected area managers. In 2009 Elena won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of Montana in the USA, where 2 years later she received her M.S. in parks, tourism and recreation management. Now she is involved in a number of conservation projects focused on sustainable tourism development in national parks and reserves of Russia. Elena is a World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) regional Vice-chair for Russia and CIS and an Executive Committee member of WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group. She is a 2013 Kinship Conservation Fellow.

Grounding Adaptive Leadership into Systems Thinking

June 24, 2014 in Leadership and Business Skills

By: Beatrice Benne (Kinship Faculty member)

As I am about to teach the Adaptive Leadership course with the Kinship Conservation Fellows 2014 cohort, I want to reflect on the importance of grounding adaptive leadership into systems thinking.  Here are three main reasons.

Perhaps the most obvious reason is that today’s conservation projects deal with complex adaptive social and ecological challenges that must be addressed holistically if one is to re-establish the harmony that has been broken between communities and their natural environments.  Adaptive leaders must be able to embrace and make sense of the whole complexity of their projects.  A systems thinking approach can help them understand the dynamic relationships between elements of their projects and how patterns form.  In contrast, reductionist methods that focus on analyzing parts of a system independently of one another can only address symptoms but not root causes.

Consider the case of the rehabilitation of a degraded watershed in China’s Loess Plateau: for years, various ministries and departments of the Chinese government worked independently of one another to address two related issues of the highly degraded Loess plateau: soil erosion, and poverty of millions of people struggling to feed their families.  The uncoordinated interventions, however, often worked at cross-purposes.  On the one hand, the livestock distributed to farmers ate the seedling trees provided by reforestation programs, further aggravating erosion and forcing farmers to plant crops on higher slopes.  On the other hand, the tree varieties that were planted were chosen for their capacity to stabilize the soil but not bear fruit, and thus did not generate a source of farmers’ income.  It was not until the problem was reframed through an understanding of the dynamic of the whole system, and the connection was established between the need to first improve farmer livelihoods and then address the ecological degradation, that the whole socio-ecological problem could effectively be addressed and Loess plateau regenerated in only six years.

A second reason for adaptive leaders to become systems thinkers relates to the importance of seeing patterns.  The pattern of behavior of a complex system is the emergent outcome of the dynamic interactions between the elements in that system.  While dynamic interactions that operate over time are often hard to understand, patterns, in contrast, are easily observable.   Uncovering a pattern can provide many clues of what is going on in a complex system and might launch a leader on a fruitful inquiry path.  For the team of experts who were tasked to find a solution to rehabilitate the Loess Plateau, the moment of insight came when asking a village chief why in his particular village, agriculture was flourishing (an uncommon pattern in the area).  The chief replied: “it is green down there because of the walnut trees up here.”  The village had chosen to plant walnut trees and had banned grazing.  The team realized that if things could grow in that area, nature could perhaps re-grow on the Loess plateau, assuming people could give it a chance by changing their behavior and value system—which brings us to our third reason.

A critical skill for adaptive leaders is the ability to uncover and check stakeholders’ assumptions, values, and belief systems.  In her well-known article “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System,” systems thinker Donella Meadows explains that the most effective leverage point in a system is our mindsets or paradigms, out of which the structures of our systems are designed.  I often use the Sufi tale of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to show that, faced with a complex socio-ecological challenge, each stakeholder has a narrow and often imperfect understanding of the issues at hand due to deeply held beliefs.  To uncover what the ‘elephant’ really looks like (i.e., the adaptive challenge), an adaptive leader needs to help stakeholders work with one another, using a process of simultaneous inquiry and deep listening to challenge each other’s assumptions and mental models, until the beast shows its ‘true’ face.  When this happens, it’s like the blinders have been removed and people are able to see a situation with “new” eyes—a transformative change.

Benne, BeatriceBeatrice Benne, Ph.D., is the Founder and Principal of Soma Integral Consulting, which facilitates the resolution of adaptive challenges within the context of socio-ecological environments.  Beatrice brings to her clients a broad range of skills and expertise including a whole systems approach to organizational management, strategy, and change; transformative leadership capacity development; and creative approaches to addressing complex situations.  Beatrice also delivers regenerative design and development services to urban communities that want to become more sustainable.

Over the past 15+ years working in diverse organizational settings — from large corporations to startups — Beatrice has gained experience in facilitating change, leading process improvement projects, and creatively combining ideas from different fields for the design of strategic business solutions.  With her unique ability to combine rational analysis and perceptive intuition, Beatrice is able to successfully navigate the intricacy of highly complex organizational environments, while maintaining a sharp focus on the expected outcomes and performance of the projects and initiatives she leads.

Beatrice holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Department of Architecture at the University of Berkeley, California, USA, and a Diploma of Architect from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She is a Kinship Conservation Fellows faculty member.

Resolving the Three Paradoxes of Water Conservation

May 15, 2014 in Ecosystems & Biodiversity

Water efficiency credits can become a conservation currency with a simple, self-interested, formula for success: Earn + Own + Trade = Restore.

By James G. Workman (Kinship Faculty and 2005 Kinship Fellow)

This is the final article in a four-part series for The Kinship Lens about the three paradoxes that obstruct water conservation: value (part 1), efficiency ([part 2), and monopoly (part 3)

In April 2001, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney famously trashed the idea of doing more with less: “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue,” he said, “but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.”

It pains my conscience to admit it, but more than a decade later it seems he’s right. To save water and energy and build deep-seated resilience from the grassroots level up, cities need to start tapping into a far deeper human instinct: avarice.

Yes, yes. I know that sounds rather crass, even for me, but hear me out.

We can agree that climate mitigation demands clean energy; likewise climate adaptation demands efficient water use. Building on that, we all know that water and energy conservation remains by far the fairest, fastest, cheapest and cleanest route to global security. It restores a resilient society, a stable climate, an autonomous foreign policy and a robust economy while avoiding political land mines of regulations, carbon taxes or cap-and-trade treaties.

The only drawback to conservation is that it requires sacrifice from the richest and most powerful citizens, businesses, and political interest groups. Arguing for more virtue from these elites simply won’t do the trick, as Aldo Leopold warned in 1948 and as we have seen for the past few decades (or for that matter, millennia).

The good news is that today, technology promises to deliver the same result based on a radical form of conservation that leverages their (and, yes, our own) inner greed.

Why? Because in any democracy, urban conservation must reach beyond Prius-hybdrid-carpooling-farmers’-market-hemp-bag-toting-vegan-cardigan-sweater-wearing pillars of society.

It needs at least 51 percent. That includes flawed people (including yours truly) who blast air-conditioning and take long hot showers.

This not-so-moral majority consumes more water and energy than it needs to. It feels vaguely guilty. Still, it could take comfort in a dirty little secret long known by insiders and now more widely recognized by the public: virtue-driven conservation is economically unsustainable.

Wait. As humans save resources, we lower bills, reduce effect and avoid sanctions, right? Not necessarily –thanks to the absolute natural monopoly that is our local water and energy utility.

But as we have seen in the case of urban water, it turns out utilities’ conservation directors showcase conservation programs touting conservation rebates, but quietly pray like hell that no one will conserve.

Instead, like any enterprise, a utility’s operating income depends on mass consumption. The more combined water and energy people waste, the more money utilities have to work with.

So people cut consumption by half, monopoly utilities must unilaterally double rates per gallon or kilowatt-hour to balance operating costs. After a dip, monthly utility bills rise back, higher than ever.

Happily, new information technologies may lead us out of this destructive and dangerous spiral of perverse incentives. The Internet can unlock authentic, sustainable, comprehensive conservation policies that eluded Cheney. How? By borrowing from the Xaro system of the Bushmen; from successful “catch shares” programs in recovering fisheries; and from a national idea used back in the 1990s to cut acid rain causing sulfur dioxide emissions that were killing lakes and forests: tradable credits.

The Internet can unlock authentic, sustainable, comprehensive conservation policies that eluded Cheney.

Here’s how some say it could work to encourage real, meaningful conservation:

  1. First, encourage monopoly utilities to convert messy physical water or energy into cleanly defined virtual credits.
  1. Next allocate equal incentives for online conservation of metered assets – direct or proportional rewards earned for keeping below their historic thresholds —to every residential, commercial and industrial account.
  1. Then let us trade whatever we don’t consume to those who want more.

These online platforms could unlock virtual urban water markets within natural monopolies, working to reward voluntary frugality, efficiency and innovation.

The trick is not trying to improve on human nature, or make everyone extra virtuous, but to leverage our innate sin. If one person consumed less, she could sell unused shares to another, to businesses or to the utility for a cash profit.

Under this defined rule of transparent governance, greed makes green. Pride in higher wealth and status would compel me to use even less just to keep up –a benevolent consequence of envy.

This approach unlocks a truly durable and sustainable path, and does so by going beyond virtue.

Indeed, to unlock a robust water conservation policy, water districts need only tap our inner vice.

Read the first three parts of this series for The Kinship Lens: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

JamieWorkman_editedbyJenWorkman is a leader in the design and execution of natural resource conservation markets for water, fisheries, forest and energy. He is author of Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, which won the prestigious Rachel Carson Award for best book of the year from the Society of Environmental Journalists, and co-author with Amanda Leland of the forthcoming The Quiet Sea Change: How America’s Hunter Gatherers Are Transforming the Rules of the Wild. He has been a visiting professor at Whitman Colleague and Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment, and co-founded AquaJust, an online utility-based platform that unlocks equitable water markets for cities using the system that has sustained the Kalahari’s indigenous people for 30,000 years. He was a 2005 Kinship Conservation Fellow and current Kinship Faculty member.

Kinship Announces 2014 Cohort

April 29, 2014 in About Kinship





Kinship Conservation Fellows Announces 18 Conservation Leaders Chosen for 2014 Cohort

Conservation leaders based in 10 countries will gather in Bellingham, Washington, USA for a month-long fellowship exploring market-based approaches to environmental issues.

Kinship Conservation Fellows today announced the selection of their twelfth cohort of Fellows. The 18 Fellows will travel from 10 countries including Belgium, Canada, China, Ecuador, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States to attend the month-long program in Bellingham, Washington.

Kinship Conservation Fellows are mid-career practitioners with an interest in market-based conservation principles and a demonstrated commitment to leadership. From June 29 to July 30, the 2014 cohort of Fellows will take part in an exceptional learning community that prepares them to successfully implement innovative strategies in the field.

“I am honored to announce our impressive group of 2014 Kinship Fellows,” said Nigel Asquith, Director of Kinship Conservation Fellows. “This cohort is tackling conservation issues around the world, from watershed conservation in China to the establishment of collaborative forest management systems in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Kinship faculty and I look forward to helping them advance their goals in using market-based tools for conservation and hone their leadership skills during the upcoming program.”

Highlights of Kinship Conservation Fellows include:

  • Month-long in-residence program
  • Core instruction in the application of market-based tools
  • Training in leadership, economic, finance and business management practices
  • Hands-on application of learning via individual and group projects
  • Faculty with international expertise
  • Inclusion in a global Fellows community
  • $6,000 stipend with lodging provided

A list of this year’s 18 Fellows is below. Click here for photos and to view a brief description of each Fellows’ project.

Paola Bauche, Independent Consultant – Guadalajara, Mexico
Jane Boles, Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc – Vancouver, Canada
Jennifer Chapman, Blue Ventures – London, England
Wain Collen, PlanJunto – Quito, Ecuador
Tanguy De Bock, Riviéres de Wallonie – Hyon, Belgium
Mwangi Githiru, Wildlife Works – Voi, Kenya
Andrew Goldberg, Dogwood Alliance – Asheville, NC, USA
Andrew Harvey, MantaWatch – London, England
Matthew King, Living GREEN Foundation – Boulder, CO, USA
Hao Li, Beijing Forestry Society – Beijing, China
Greg Martindale, Ezemvelo Kwazulu-Natal Wildlife – Nottingham Road, South Africa
Kelli McCune, Sustainable Conservation – San Francisco, CA, USA
Faith Milkah Muniale, ERMIS Africa – Nakuru, Kenya
Tsering Norbu, The Pendeba Society of the Tibet Autonomous Region – Lhasa, China
Voahirana Claudia Randriamamonjy, Madagasikara Voakajy – Antananarivo, Madagascar
Cornelia Rindt, Offsetters - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Cecilia Simon, Climate Action Reserve – Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Jacquelyn Wallace, Okanogan Land Trust – Pateros, WA, USA


Established in 2001, Kinship’s mission is to develop a community of leaders dedicated to collaborative approaches to environmental issues with an emphasis on market-based principles. For more information about Kinship Conservation Fellows, please contact Catherine Rabenstine at (312) 803-6200, catherine.rabenstine@kinshipfoundation.org, or visit www.KinshipFellows.org. For more about market-based approaches to conservation, read our blog: www.thekinshiplens.com.

Kinship Conservation Fellows: Connection. Collaboration. Impact. from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

The Third Paradox of Water: Monopoly

April 28, 2014 in Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

Water conservation erodes a private or public utility’s revenues. To remain solvent, or grow, providers are forced to encourage and reward waste.

By James G. Workman (Faculty Member and 2005 Kinship Fellow)

This is the third in a four-part series for The Kinship Lens about the three paradoxes that obstruct water conservation: value (part 1), efficiency ([part 2), and monopoly (part 3). The fourth and concluding article in the series will be available in early May.

Let me introduce you to my friend – an extraordinarily conflicted professional – who manages conservation programs at your local urban water district.

She’s hardly alone in her anxiety, or unique in facing the predicament that caused it. Using her name would jeopardize her career. But based on 53,000 American water utilities, I estimate at least 100,000 people like her suffer in the U.S. alone. Her symptoms remain mild – a nervous twitch, sweaty palms, and mild headaches – but worsen as water scarcity puts competing tensions on her utility’s aging system.

The roots of her trauma are simple. Nearly a decade ago she was hired, given a small staff, budget and discretionary funds to promote ambitious conservation programs and rebates throughout the service area of her water utility. It was the ideal job to match her ideals, a rare opportunity that pays you to do what you love. But there was, alas, a deep and hidden problem, which gave rise to mental health complications.

Perverse priorities

It soon became clear that, the more she succeeded at a noble cause while saving nature, the more she would wreak havoc on her institution’s foundation, destroy the revenue base of operations, and force herself and her team out on the streets and into the welfare lines.

Conversely, if she utterly failed at her job, and proved hopelessly incompetent at the task defined, everyone wins and loves her. She would boost sales, generate high returns on almost no investment, and likely land herself a series of promotions, salary hikes, bigger team, and longer vacations until she ran the show.

The only problem with that second route was that she would have to sacrifice her just original soul, sense of pride, and drive endangered species to extinction.

What’s forcing this professional anxiety? It’s not a matter of ‘public’ versus ‘private’ water utilities. That’s a red herring. Whether investors or voters own a water district, it remains a natural monopoly. That monopoly needs more money each year just to operate – to pay its staff, invest in repairs, maintain the system, cover health care and pensions etc. Increased funds depend on increased revenues, higher sales, and thus escalating water use by all end users – residential, commercial, industrial or municipal.

In theory, a monopoly should be able to increase revenues by selling ever-less water at ever-higher rates. In reality, that’s political suicide. Private and public utilities are regulated by officials elected to act on behalf of voters; voters rarely demand the right to pay more for less of something they depend on in every aspect of their lives, especially something many believe they should get for free.

Walking the tightrope

Hence the fine monopolistic line my strained friend must walk, and the tightrope beneath her, is beginning to fray. The current recession makes families and firms consume less water. That’s wonderful for nature, but horrible for her utility’s bottom line. She is, professionally, both pleased and tormented. Her job is to lock in more efficiencies but her boss visits daily with thinly veiled threats if she does. Unless she backs off on conservation, her position, team, and budget will be at risk of being eliminated first as part of austerity. If she saves more water, she slits her own throat. Then her skills become worthless in the marketplace; who hires someone good at eroding the bottom line?

This is the Third Paradox of Water: conserving water destroys revenues; a thriving monopoly must reward waste.

Frugal utilities have less room to negotiate. Those who encourage water saving today must punish it tomorrow with higher rates. These perversions remain true at the household level, the building level, the neighborhood, the municipal district and the river. Perversely, the existence of a water monopoly means that all people involved in it – from the person flushing the toilet to the State Water Board setting targets for water allocations – are left with no choice, no competition, and no incentives to conserve.

Indeed, the Third Paradox ensures that the most frugal, responsive, and equitable users and managers in the vertically integrated water monopoly can only succeed through subterfuge or martyrdom. As this paradox undercuts performance and customer relations it is known throughout the water industry as ‘the death spiral.’ After all, to paraphrase the U.S. soldier hoping to justify his extreme decision against a peaceful village in the Vietnam War, the paradox means we must destroy the monopoly’s water in order to save the utility.

The converse is that through the principles of H2Ownership, we can find a way to unlock the monopoly in order to save both water and the utility.

To that end, stay tuned for the fourth and concluding blog in this series, Resolving the Three Paradoxes of Water. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

JamieWorkman_editedbyJenWorkman is a leader in the design and execution of natural resource conservation markets for water, fisheries, forest and energy. He is author of Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, which won the prestigious Rachel Carson Award for best book of the year from the Society of Environmental Journalists, and co-author with Amanda Leland of the forthcoming The Quiet Sea Change: How America’s Hunter Gatherers Are Transforming the Rules of the Wild. He has been a visiting professor at Whitman Colleague and Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment, and co-founded AquaJust, an online utility-based platform that unlocks equitable water markets for cities using the system that has sustained the Kalahari’s indigenous people for 30,000 years.

WEBINAR: Want Influence? Eliminate Your Blind Spots.

April 18, 2014 in Kinship Webinar Series, Leadership and Business Skills

When organizations are working to change policies, change a behavior, or mobilize people to action, they all need one thing to succeed: influence. Once they know who can make their desired change a reality they need to determine how to actually influence that individual or group to do what they need them to do. Without an influence strategy, organizations risk being overtaken by blind spots that can derail their efforts and ultimately lead to failure. Fortunately, these blind spots can be eliminated – if groups spot them early enough.

In this webinar, Spitfire Vice President Pete Rafle identified the top blind spots that prevent groups from successfully wielding influence and offered a few tried and true strategies for overcoming these challenges to create real progress. In order to realistically assess an organization’s blind spots, Pete Rafle suggested starting with the below.

The Four Elements Needed to Eliminate Blind Spots and Craft Successful Influence Strategies:

1. A clear sense of the decisions that need to be made.

2. An understanding of who makes those decisions.

3. An informed hypothesis of how the decision will get made.

4. An understanding of how the organization can influence the decision-making process and a gameplan for making that happen.

For more information about establishing a theory of influence, review the collection of tips (via Tweets) below and read Spitfire’s report, Want Influence? Eliminate Your Blind Spots©.

Spitfire Strategies is a national consulting firm offering nonprofits and foundations top-notch strategic communications and campaign planning, training, counsel and tools to make a real impact.

Pete Rafle_SpitfireFor more than 20 years, Pete Rafle has specialized in smart, strategic advocacy communications, guided by the organization’s mission and driven by its legislative, political and policy objectives. His resume includes campaigns on issues as diverse as climate and energy legislation, agricultural policy, wilderness protection, health care access and school discipline.

Pete leads Spitfire’s ongoing work with the Heinz Endowments, helping advocates in western Pennsylvania mount a collaborative effort to secure “the air we need, for the healthy economy we want.” He has helped a diverse coalition of public health advocates, business leaders, academic research institutions, and local and regional environmental organizations develop and implement a long-term communications plan that spotlights the human health costs of air pollution and the economic benefits of cleaning up the air.

Pete also directs the Spitfire team working with the Colorado Trust to build public support for expanded access to health care. Through tailored coaching and training, messaging guidance and other strategic counsel, Spitfire is building the communications skills and capacity of more than a dozen of the Trust’s grantee organizations.

Maximum-impact campaign planning and strategy is Pete’s specialty. He captains Spitfires’ “Planning to Win” campaign strategy workshops, which provide social-change leaders with a multi-day bootcamp on the fundamentals of effective preparation for multi-faceted sustained advocacy campaigns.

Pete came to Spitfire from the United States Senate, where he was communications director for the Environment and Public Works Committee, providing strategic counsel to Senator Barbara Boxer during her first four years as chairman of the committee. In addition to acting as primary media strategist for the committee’s legislative docket – including toxics and children’s environmental health rules, comprehensive climate change legislation, clean energy job creation, clean air and water bills, and transportation policy – he worked extensively with the senator’s in-state staff on California environmental and infrastructure issues. He also consulted on a volunteer basis in Washington and in California as part of the senator’s successful 2010 re-election campaign.

Before heading to Capitol Hill, Pete spent five years as director of advocacy communications at The Wilderness Society, where he led a cooperative integrated communications campaign that was instrumental in defending the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development, and helped shape TWS’ efforts to incorporate strategic communications in all its program areas and its network of regional offices.

At DDB Issues & Advocacy, he worked to develop and implement communications strategies for issues ranging from energy efficiency to sustainable fisheries and fair trade coffee.

From 1992 to 1999, he was communications director for Trout Unlimited, where he helped the grassroots fisheries conservation organization push back ill-conceived congressional attacks on the Clean Water Act and created a television series showcasing the group’s work that aired for several seasons on ESPN. He was also responsible for establishing the organization’s first-ever online presence and served as editor and publisher of Trout Magazine, TU’s quarterly member publication. His resume also includes a stint as senior writer for Thirteen/WNET in New York, one of public broadcasting’s flagship television stations.

A graduate of Yale University, Pete also holds a black belt in the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do. He and his wife Margo have two children.

WEBINAR: Incentivizing Market Transformation

March 28, 2014 in Kinship Webinar Series, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

Join 2005 Kinship Fellow Katie McCann from Earth Innovation Institute and 2013 Kinship Fellow Jos Hill from Olazul as they describe different approaches aimed at moving both small and large scale markets towards sustainability. Katie and Jos explain some of the tools that can be used to transform markets, such as: certification, traceability, and use of technology.

They also discuss the challenges and opportunities of implementing supply chain interventions in their own projects. Jos describes Olazul’s work helping small scale collectors of marine ornamental fish design and adopt sustainable practices and deliver a “boutique” product to market. Katie discusses Earth Innovation’s work with commodity markets in the tropics (soy, beef, sugar, palm oil) and their efforts to accelerate the transition towards sustainability.

Presenter bios:

Hill, JosJos Hill is a marine ecologist and entrepreneur with over ten years of international practice in conservation. She has worked on sustainable seafood issues, designed conservation programs, advised on incentive based resource management initiatives, supported business and operational planning for sustainably-minded organizations and has led capacity-building workshops on coral reef monitoring and protected area management in the Indo Pacific and Caribbean. Jos is also a two-time Packard Environment Fellow and a Kinship Conservation Fellow. Before joining Olazul, Jos founded and led Reef Check Australia, an award-winning non-profit that engages the general public in coral reef monitoring and education. Jos holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Biology from the University of Leeds in the U.K., a Masters of Applied Science in Natural Resource Management from James Cook University, Australia and an MBA in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School, USA.

McCann, KatieKatie McCann, Program Director of the Earth Innovation Institute, has more than 13 years of experience developing strategic environmental and sustainability initiatives.  With professional experience in the foundation, nonprofit, international development, and sustainable business sectors, Katie has established strong project management skills and a proven track record of forging successful relationship across and among diverse stakeholder groups.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an Master of Business Administration specialized in sustainable business and ecosystem services from Presidio Graduate School. Katie was a 2005 Kinship Conservation Fellow.

Presentation slides:

Katie McCann, Earth Innovation Institute

Jos Hill, Olazul

Webinar Recording and Storify feed:

WEBINAR: Incentivizing Market Transformation Stories of Consumers and Commodities in Transition from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Assessing the Economic Value of Public Lands

March 27, 2014 in Funding, Fundraising, and Finance, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

By Delilah Jaworski (2013 Fellow)

The debate on how to value America’s public lands is highlighted in a recent article in High Country News that addresses Sen. Tom Coburn’s report on national parks. The centerpiece of this debate is the contribution of public lands to job creation. This is a variation on a debate that I have seen and been involved in numerous times. Politicians and the public expect economists to tally the number of jobs that a project or policy will “create.” The push for such estimates accelerated in the years since the recession due to persistent unemployment and the need to justify agency expenditures in a tight budget climate.

Here’s some of what we’ve learned: the recreation industry in the US accounts for approximately six million jobs, which is nearly 10-times the number of jobs in the mining sector. But average wages in the mining sector are among the highest, while those in recreation are among the lowest. So how do we use this information to assess the economic value of different public land uses? Typically, we don’t.

The value of public lands is in their contribution to social well-being.

Jobs are a politically salient measure, but employment estimates don’t reveal the economic value of national parks, national forests, and other public lands. The value of public lands is in their contribution to social well-being. Market activity and the associated jobs are only one part of the total economic value of our public lands. An emphasis on jobs will tell us about commodity production and visitor spending, but much of what we value is excluded from these calculations. Additionally, failure to account for externalities (e.g., air pollution from oil and gas operations) will overstate the social value of market activities on public lands.

Much of what we value is not traded in the marketplace: the provision of clean water to downstream communities, carbon sequestration, protection of habitat for threatened and endangered species, and the value to visitors beyond what they spend while traveling to the site. All of these ecosystem services contribute to social well-being, yet they do not translate into employment. In contrast, ecosystem destruction could create jobs, for example, as water treatment plants are needed to compensate for the loss of natural purification capacity. Consideration of non-market goods and services is essential to ensuring that conservation of our public lands is seen as an economic benefit, not just a cost.

Federal land managers increasingly recognize the importance of accounting for non-market sources of value in decision-making. The Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule incorporates ecosystem services. The Bureau of Land Management recently released guidance on the consideration of non-market values in decision-making. The Park Service regularly incorporates non-market values in its economic analyses. Nevertheless, it remains challenging to quantify, let alone monetize, the flow of ecosystem services and other non-market values from public lands. This challenge makes it appealing to focus on something observable and easily calculable, such as jobs. The expansion of environmental markets, particularly for water and carbon, improves our ability to describe the economic value of goods and services that typically lack prices. Nevertheless, such markets remain the exception in the United States.

Debates on how to prioritize limited budgets will be more fruitful if we can focus our attention on improving social well-being: understanding how and why federal lands are valuable to the public. This approach can incorporate the desire for stable employment in rural communities as well as the need for climate regulation and water purification. Moving away from a job-centric view may improve public land management, as conservation and economic prosperity need not be opposing goals.

Jaworski, DelilahDelilah is a social scientist with the TEAMS Enterprise Unit of the U.S. Forest Service. She works with natural resource and land management agencies across the United States to incorporate social and economic considerations into National Environmental Policy Act and long-term planning documents. She began her career as a Presidential Management Fellow with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Denver, Colorado. During her tenure in government, she has completed rotational assignments to the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution and the Gila District Office of the BLM in southern Arizona. Much of her work focuses on the inclusion of ecosystem service values in project and policy evaluation. Delilah has an M.Sc. in environment and development from the London School of Economics and a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies from the George Washington University. She was a 2013 Kinship Conservation Fellows.