Renegade Capital

Investing in Climate Resilience the Appalachian Way, feat. Andrew Crosson & Baylen Campbell, Invest Appalachia

November 14, 2023 Andrea Longton, Ebony Perkins, & Leah Fremouw Season 3 Episode 4
Renegade Capital
Investing in Climate Resilience the Appalachian Way, feat. Andrew Crosson & Baylen Campbell, Invest Appalachia
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

S3 Ep4 | Climate change is impacting not only our oceans and ozone, but our own cities and homes. That means there are environmental, economic, and social repercussions that we have to start thinking about today. Investing in climate resilience means finding ways to prepare people and communities for our climate-changed world. In this episode, Andrew Crosson and Baylen Campbell from Invest Appalachia share how they are using the existing strengths of Central Appalachia and economic development to create a climate-resilient region.

About Invest Appalachia.
Invest Appalachia is a regional blended capital platform, designed to accelerate and expand community investment across Central Appalachia.

About Andrew.
As Invest Appalachia’s founding CEO, Andrew (he/him/his) is responsible for overall strategy and impact. Andrew has been integral to the planning and design of IA since its inception. Previously, Andrew worked for 9 years with Rural Support Partners to advance community economic development in Appalachia, leading major initiatives related to local food systems development, clean energy, impact investing, network development, non-profit management, and strategic planning. Andrew was born and raised on a family farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. 

0:00 Host Discussion
5:59 Guest Interview Starts
43:24 Host Wrap Up

About Baylen.
Baylen Campbell (he/him/his) is Invest Appalachia’s Director of Community Impact. Originally from and based in Hazard, Kentucky Baylen brings experience working as an economic development and social impact practitioner. In partnership with the Community Advisory Council Baylen leads IA's Catalytic Capital development, deployment, and community accountability. Additionally, he manages IA's impact measurement, policy research, and partnership development with a focus on capacity building. He is passionate about utilizing strategic communications and storytelling to shift outdated narratives of Appalachia.

Renegade Capital Tools & Tips.
A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to support climate resilience with your dollars. 

  • Learn about the Climate Impact in Appalachia. Invest Appalachia has released a new report on Climate Resilience in Central Appalachia which is packed with data about the impact of climate change in the region and the opportunities for investor engagement. 
  • Bring a Climate Lens to Everything. The impact of Climate change isn’t limited to environmental work, it will affect all of our work. Whatever your role or investment focus, climate should be part of your approach. 
  • Invest in Climate Resilience. If you’re an institutional investor or grantor, you can find place-based projects like Invest Appalachia who are already working on climate resilience in their communities. Individuals can learn more about initiatives local to their own cities to see how they can support climate resilience at home. 

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Please note these transcripts are automatically generated and have not been edited.
This is Andrea Longton. This is Leah Fremouw. and This is Ebony Perkins and we are Renegade Capital. All views expressed in this podcast are our own we are not financial planners investment advisers or tax advisers the views that we have on this show do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the people who sign our paychecks. So please keep that in mind and always, always consult a trained Financial professional before you start moving your hard-earned money. Let's dive in. All right folks so climate change clearly is real I know that I am getting like so freaking hot outside um wildfires and storms and all of the floods are increasing and they're becoming a lot more intense have you ever thought about like how you'll protect yourself and your community so you're prepared for these changes I'm behind the curve like I know I am and I know what I need to do but I also know that I am really behind the curve and also trying to figure out like how do I finance this and how do I prioritize those expenses like across other things that I need to do as well but not all of it's immediately affordable over the long run absolutely but like how do you how do you finance it upfront and how do you like rework your financial structuring so that it works for your family that's what I got to tackle what about you epony yeah I mean I think about a few years ago I had a family member who bought a house and this was like in their dream neighborhood and I'm like yeah this is great but my gut is saying this is a flood zone like is this really where we need to place you all as seniors so I'm from Columbia and we had like a Thousand-Year flood right but these Thousand-Year floods are happening more often like we shouldn't be having a Thousand-Year flood every five years and I want to start thinking about okay folks hey let's not look at this house because I I don't want to put you in a bad predicament like especially as some insurance companies right are starting to consider whether they are going to cover flood insurance or even like insurance from fires depending on what state you're in right I mean I think about that often I'm even on this board uh in North Carolina that focuses on conservation and they have a huge project in a community that is a large community of color low-income group they are hit by floods like all the time just because of where they're placed geographically and so they are doing projects to try and help build an infrastructure so that these communities don't have to leave like have to choose between leaving their home that they've known for decades versus like staying and dying for lack of a better word so how can we create an infrastructure so that you are okay I mean I even think about like kids who play outside we've been under heat advisory all week long and the kids can't go outside to play Recess all week long exactly like what can our schools do now in order to like we don't want to have to cancel school because the AC units are going out which we're seeing here like can we build a system in order to protect our folks okay can we put in like practice or like breaks during practice so that somebody won't like stroke out on the football field like I'm just always thinking about that type of stuff what about you Leah my head bounced around a couple different ways where like you know growing up in West Virginia we always had four seasons and we would sled and snow and again Four Seasons right we had no snow in Virginia or at least where I live in Virginia in um Richmond last year not not one day and and that's scary uh for all the things that the you know the Earth is changing and I mean um went to Iceland um in June and saw the glacier and the the guide that was sharing with us where the glacier started uh well obviously it's way bigger than it is in 2023 um but even like two or three years ago you could see the path of it receding back and where we were standing and people were hiking on it and stuff you could just hear it dripping cuz it's just melting and it's like you know this is not going to be here if Hazen comes back as an adult I am becoming more and more passionate about environmental justice every day and um one of the things that really stands out to me with the work in the environment like a lot of times we can put it on the back burner because I know I did and still sometimes do without knowing um like okay I'll worry about that when it becomes an Emer Mercy right but in reality there are people who are facing the effects of climate change like today there are some people who haven't experienced it today and they're starting they will experience it tomorrow or next week or next year whatever it may be right and the unfortunate thing is a lot of the people that are experiencing these effects they are the folks who may not have the means or the resources to Shield them from it and so I'm super excited about our guest today with invest Appalachia who are really thinking about this environmental fight from a different angle which is climate um resilience and really how do we how do we build and support our communities and plan for the change that is going to come right this change that's going to come how do we plan to support these communities in the meantime because it's not just going to happen overnight we have to come up with a plan and then we can find out how to invest in and support that this is Andrea Longton this is Leah Freeman this is Evony Perkins and we are Renegade Capital today we're talking about how you can use your Investments to create a climate resistant World join us Renegade Capital podcast is proud to be sponsored by US Bank Corp impact finance a subsidiary of US Bank which is an industry leader in providing Financial Solutions that help create positive impact for communities and the environment for 35 years its tax credit investments in syndications lending and other Financial Solutions have helped create affordable housing spur economic activity and underserved communities restore historic buildings develop renewable sources of energy and strengthen community development financial institutions or cdfis Nationwide learn more at usbank.com impact Finance today we are joined by our friends at invest Appalachia an impact investment platform that aims to increase investment into communities that have been historically underserved they work across the Appalachian communities of Kentucky West Virginia Virginia Ohio North Carolina and Tennessee they are committed to a strategy that takes the best of impact investing and make it work for Appalachia putting Community interest and impact first they are committed to accelerating and supporting key sectors including climate resistance and environmental sustainability which we're actually talking about today Andrew crosson is invest appalachia's founding CEO and he is responsible for overall strategy and impact Andrew brings more than a decade of experience advancing Community economic development in Appalachia leading major initiatives related to Local Food Systems development clean energy and among other areas of expertise he was born and raised on a family farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina part of the community he still serves to this day Balin Campbell is invest appalaches director of community impact originally from and based in Hazard Kentucky Balin brings experience working as an economic development and social impact practitioner in partnership with the community at B Council Balin leads invest appalachia's catalytic Capital development deploy and Community accountability thank you guys for joining us I am psyched about this conversation so by way of introduction please tell us a little bit about yourselves and describe your vision of a clean climate resilient Community what does that look like well thanks so much for having us Ebon um so this is Andrew and Bay and I are going to be uh tag teaming these uh these discussions with you all um I'll start with the organizational level so you noted geography um which is the central Appalachian region and I would say as an organization in best Appalachia is Seeking a region and trying to support a region where every Community is inclusive Equitable prosperous and resilient and when we look at all of those factors including that last word it's becoming more and more clear through science and just through the real world events around us that climate resilience is going to be a really highly relevant factor in the ability of people in appalachin where for that matter to survive and thrive in the place that they choose to live so it's just not something that we can ignore um when we think about uh uh the future of our communities uh on a personal level I grew up as a poor farm kid in rural Western North Carolina um so I paid a lot of attention to the importance of community to uh the Dynamics of the economy and then to the environment around me so those intersections have always been sort of a focal point and driving force for me in this work so this topic is near andar to my heart personally thank you all for having us um great to great to be with you um I'm B Campbell and I director of community impact and I'm born and raised in Hazard Kentucky a small town in the coal Fields um academically I come to this work with a background in uh International and sustainable development and I would say like invest appalachia's climate analysis which I'm sure we'll talk about and a number of initiatives that I'm a part of have emerged after back-to-back years of severe flooding here in Eastern Kentucky uh where I've been involved in emergency response coordination fundraising in um supporting long-term recovery efforts in my capacity with IIA during nonf flood times I've been involved in a lot of downtown revitalization advocacy and policy efforts in the region to me a climate resilient Community is one where communities are equipped with the knowledge training to be their best agents of preparedness and recovery after a climate shock and able to be proactive in adapting their built-in natural environments so a lot of the work that you're doing with invest Appalachia is really supporting rural communities and yet climate resilience is a key Focus area of VI the reality is like you know just in regular mainstream conversations we don't often associate environmental issues with rural commun ities why in the world if that's not the cas why did you choose to make that an overarching theme for your portfolio of Investments yeah it's a great question eony um well one of the themes I think of our work of baniz work and of this report is uh is just debunking I think some of the urban Centric analysis of environmental sustainability and climate resilience and and illustrating really the interconnections right that rural communities and urban communities have a great deal deal of exchange that's only going to become more and more important to consider in the balance of things as climate change begins to impact every aspect of our lives so as I mentioned earlier you know our goal is a region where every Community has the resources they need to thrive that means across sectors and across generations and climate is going to become more and more of a factor our our report analysis uh showed that climate change is going to affect every area of our economy so every aspect therefore of Community Development of investment of philanthropy we just had a conversation earlier today with members of the Appalachia funders Network these are all types of Grant makers doing all types of work across the region and I said very loud and clear to them it doesn't matter what you fund climate is going to impact your work it's going to impact the issues you care about it's going to impact the communities you care about um so we don't see it as as optional to include in our analysis so it really does uh transcend sectors uh other issue areas and and cuts across our entire portfolio um we think it's it takes a whole system approach to think about climate resilience so it's not just clean energy it's not just Green Tech a lot of times in these conversations people use climate as shorthand for those things those are specific mitigation and adaptation efforts that are important but they don't change the reality for people on the ground right people on the ground need the basic amenities they need the infrastructure they need Industries and business sectors that are going to be crucial to people being able actually exist and be able to thrive in place in a climate impacted future can you give us an example of what infrastructure would look like on that basic human level yeah I mean it's it's uh not necessarily the uh the really sexy stuff that people imagine right um so when we think about uh climate and clean energy people are imagining wind farms solar Farms EV you know electric vehicles um all this sort of stuff that that's a a piece of the puzzle but we also have to think about what people are are already struggling with right housing right um there's a there's a limited housing stock in the region there's limits on buildable land um there is pressure from expanding flood zones there's going to be pressure from immigration so things like housing things like Community facilities downtime revitalization Food Systems right having Food Systems be more resistant to supply chain shocks uh things like that that are so common and mundane and every day that you might not think of them as part of the climate resilience solution just for our listeners benefit when you mentioning a report what can you explain what report that is earlier this year invest avacha launched a regional climate analysis which looks at the long-term predictive impacts of the climate crisis using predictive uh climate models to better understand what the longitudinal impacts um of climate will be in the region how that interfaces with ongoing community and economic development work um policy and investment um our goal is is to make the Region's case because all too often we have to make it for ourselves um in terms of demystifying place in many regards oftentimes when you look at the listicles online and popular literature as well as academic lit you will find that most quote unquote climate Havens in the US are cities in the midwest But Central Appalachia stands to be well placed for climate migration you know we won't be without challenges we will continue to be impacted by severe flooding increase rates of forest fires it'll be hotter but overwhelmingly the data is consistent that we will be habitable agriculturally viable fairly temperate and by and large well placed for other folks to call the mountains home so is that what a climate Haven is is somewhere that is comfortable to live in um given our our climate crisis when we're looking at long-term impact yes un predicts that climate will be the leading driver of migration globally over the course of the century and we need to be thinking critically especially at a time where incredible amounts of federal resources are flowing about how we can prepare our communities um to welcome newcomers and have that capacity to do so with the appalache region being a climate Haven let's say we don't act let's say we don't plan what will happen are you worried about anything or should we just be like we're good you got so much land down there yeah so uh Appalachia is a big region we are focused more on Central Appalachia and you know the the report that Bal was describing found that Central Appalachia uniquely so Eastern Kentucky West Virginia Western North Carolina um it's interesting it kind of overlays almost perfectly to Coal country right so the region that produced coal that you know obviously is contributing to climate change because of the very mountains that produce the coal is also uh what is now being described as a climate Haven basically it's going to mitigate some of the worst effects of climate change because of our elevation because of our forests because of our temporate climate because of the abundance of water so when people talk about climate Havens in the literature as Balin pointed out it tends to be very Urban Centric right it's mostly about cities it's it's still an urbanization frame both domestically and internationally right it's about migration to cities and how are cities going to prepare for migration that's driven by climate change um but our point is that climate Havens can also be rural places that are well positioned to absorb population right and and Central appach is certainly in that category um but going back to your original question uh emony what happens if we don't act right uh if we don't act as Bal said people are going to be moving one way or the other the first people to move are going to be the people that can afford it right the last people to move are going to be people that can't afford it and that are already living in marginal or vulnerable situations so the cost of not acting is that existing socioeconomic inequalities not just in Appalachia but everywhere are going to be exacerbated to an extreme degree so in Appalachia for example we look at uh things that are going to be driving rural gentrification right migration without planning is going to result in land grabs housing speculation a worsening housing crisis that already exists in rural communities that isn't talked about very much uh more flooding deaths and other deaths from national disasters overburdened Social Services continued resource extraction continued greenhouse gas emissions food system fragility Public Health crisis and then you know big picture severe social fragmentation and geopolitical conflict right if we're not planning for population shifts of this magnitude then we're inviting some of the worst tendencies in our economy and our society to take over we can blunt those negative effects by being proactive but we really do have to start now oh that's a mess oh that's a hot funky mess that's most definitely kind of it's a side question I hope it's related but as a West Virginia native who left about 20 years ago I grew up in Morgantown so my my West Virginia experience is different than my friends from Grafton and different parts of the state all that to say is when I now that I'm in the work that I'm in with Community Development and investment and I look back to you know at the time Senator bird was very famous for bringing the pork home and pork looked like coal and natural gas and the FBI and there's no diversity in West Virginia's economy um and so therefore all the problems and and things that it's as a state needs to solve for now and as I've seen my friends where their families were in working in the coal mines or they were now they've shifted over to the natural gas industry and have high-paying jobs there and you know again well-paying jobs they don't have to leave like is there how do how do is that the dynamic you're talking about Andrew with like the bigger Bad actors that will come in and fill the space it's just more more of that is gonna happen or I'll be curious to hear what Bal has to say with this born and raised in the coold fields of Easter Kentucky right but I think there's Bad actors in the sense that uh exploitative and extractive economic practices are going to continue right there are uh there's well documented literature that basically shows economically speaking Central opalach has s served as a resource Colony for the United States right for uh Industrial Development of this country um there's been a lack of you know investment especially Community investment a lack of Economic Opportunity and diversification these mono economies um that's all been on purpose right that's not been an accident it's been a way to extract and monetize value from the region um but as those Industries fade coal is fading on its own you know has very little to do with regulations natural gas is not providing the economic boom and boom and Lasting jobs that it was supposed to our friends at the Ohio River Valley Institute just released a paper analyzing the economic impacts of the natural gas industry or fracka as as they called it um but then there's just these more benign um or or not malicious effects right like people moving because they want to live in a nicer place right I can't tell you how many people have moved to my home region of Western North Carolina because it's beautiful right they want to be near a cool City like ashel they love the small towns they love the outdoors they love the mountains but uh they're not recognizing the effects that they're having on local communities displacing workers increasing the cost of living um taking up the limited housing Supply the list goes on and on so there's the Bad actors there's those Trends but there's also just the the preparedness of communities and regions to absorb people who don't have any malice they're just looking for a place that they can live in peace and Harmony yeah I completely agree I mean Central appalache is is a region that has been intrinsically shaped by extraction extractive investment practices extractive Industries and out migration but when I look at this data and this research and the ongoing impact of climate in the region what we're seeing especially in Eastern Kentucky we're seeing out migration currently but the unique nature and sort of geost strategic location of Appalachia is one where we are well always for sizable in migration and investment over time so when I look at it it's a pretty dark and almost poetic um scenario where there's the likelihood for some form of form of Reincarnation of the broad form deed through a climate lens where folks with means with resources are coming in but folks who have been here want to stay here might not be able to we had another a show in in season one talking about you know there was an industry that really exploited a marginalized community and now all of the sudden it is um it has the regulations where you can um be can have businesses in that industry and now the very people who were marginalized because of that industry aren't able to take advantage of the economic advantages from that industry and it feels very similar people who are living there who desperately want to stay there but have few and fur means to be able to stay where they want to be and have to leave and then people who may and this totally hypothetical um but people who are able to afford to choose the climate Haven in which they want to live and build up their own infrastructure and um their own Broadband systems to be able to work remotely are able to go in and and purchase that land whenever it's um whenever it's favorable and it rings similar to me of O that doesn't sit well and what does that investment look like before people have to move out uh and to get that investment in infrastructure in before that happens so that people can stay because um Eastern Kentucky doesn't really have like an Asheville um where that you know where they have this really attractive cool city that you can gravitate towards uh like Hazard is the big city in in Eastern Kentucky in in many ways maybe it was a few years okay I I was there a couple years ago I'm like man this is this is coming up like this is going to be a whole thing um but um yeah so how do you get that investment in before it becomes that oh that's bad uh because it feels like it's hard to raise that Capital until it's already post crisis yeah I mean I that's really well said Andrea and that is like why we exist right is to try to get Capital as an impact investment platform to get Capital to businesses and Community projects that uh are not receiving it otherwise right where there is I just really want to emphasize like people might have like it's very true that there's been a lot of Economic marginalization and suppression of activity and uh inequality across racial and gender and geographical lines uh but that isn't to say that nothing's happening in the region right like people have been self-organizing here for a long time Appalachia is uh you know the the Cradle of the US Labor movement right um of Union position of of workers uh organizing um and and likewise like there's been a lot of really Innovative Community Economic Development work done here um especially over the past few decades really well- networked groups so there's a lot of strategies and like business models SE development models out there that are ready for investment they are crying out for investment but they need investment that understands the historical context right that is structured appropriately to absorb ABB real and perceived risk in communities that haven't received investment before right so that's where set what we're set up to do is to try to empower uh you know communities that are in place that are rooted in place to to create opportunity for people who are already there be before that inevitable uh influx of both capital and uh IM migration that is unlikely to be in line with Community priorities that are existing today Renegade Capital podcast is proud to be sponsored by Self-Help Credit Union and self-help Federal Credit Union which believe in the power of Finance to transform lives and communities are you an impact investor looking to make a difference look no further than self-help where your deposits can create positive change don't just invest for profit invest for impact visit self-help.org invest for impact today and start depositing into a money market or term certificate with Self-Help Credit Union where your your money can change lives Self-Help Credit Union ownership and Economic Opportunity for[Music] all you have a story that you're especially proud of of um how you've been able to finance something along those lines yeah so um we have the ability to blend different forms of investment so to provide a loan right similar to what a cdfi might do alongside philanthropic Capital what we call catalytic Capital which is basically credit enhancements loan guarantees loan loss reserves interest rate buy Downs things like that and we've been able to do uh just in our first year of operation a few uh transactions that are really interesting you know Capital Stacks to use uh language that some of your listeners might already be familiar with and others might not um so for example we've just tried out some really interesting financing mechanisms like a uh a conditional repayment loan for housing development in the wake of these Kentucky floods so we made a uh a large grant that was structured as a conditional repayment loan to multiple affordable housing developers in Eastern Kentucky this time last year so that they could use the upfront Capital to buy Lots begin building houses and then as they sell those houses they recycle those proceeds build more houses and at the end of your five-year term they've got the cash to repay us amazing right they couldn't do that with a loan because they would have to jump through all these hoops related to you know leans and extra paperwork and assigning the deeds and all that so by using Grant Capital that is 100% repayable we were able to create dozens of new housing units uh that wouldn't have gotten built otherwise that's fantastic what else can we do to start preparing now for for what's about to come we wanted to start the conversation but we don't have all the answers so just earlier today we were we were on with a uh you know presenting with a colleague who works with Noah right works with data um and science related to climate and you know recognizing just how much information there is out there that we we are really scraping the surface of even the analysis in our report looks at several measures of climate impact um and several measures of migration but there aren't regionally specific climate assessments right so we don't we we need a better handle on the specific risks right the level of granularity to say where should we site this new Housing Development or this new building because the flood plans are changing that data is not super relevant anymore so we need better data we need better information we need more investment um we've sort of advocated for both Federal investment there's a precedent for uh in the form of a coastal preservation fund which is federally funded but nonprofit management nonprofit managed to uh subsidize and incentivize investment into Coast preservation W lens preservation why couldn't we do something like that in Appalachia right um and same thing for private philanthropy um Grant dollars go a lot longer they go a lot longer away if you're using them to incentivize or leverage repayable investment so I think that's an opportunity uh here in the opalach region as well we are also in the process of working with our partners at the North Carolina Institute of climate Sciences which is uh a Noah affiliate uh the Hightech found out of West Virginia and academic institutions to create what we're calling the appalachin climate knowledge and resilience Nexus or Acorn because that's a real mouthful um and what the the aim of this is is to thread the needle between uh climate sciences democratizing that data to inform community and economic development efforts philanthropy Workforce Development in curriculum with academic institutions to ensure that we are um providing the necessary resources and information in accessible manners to all parties involved to really move the needle at the community level so invest appacha I mean since the beginning Innovative flexible kind of focused on place and the people um as as it evolves and the and the work evolves are are things are like like um wealth building through investment like non accredited investors being able to participate in local investments from that standpoint have you started to kind of Kick the tires on ideas like that where you're generating wealth through investment but at a hyper local maybe lower level than maybe our philanthropies or corporate funders can do or even our individual investors there at the accredited level yeah it's a good question Leah um we are we started out as you know our our model is meant to attract institutional Capital right and so that's what we're managing and deploying um but uh I I couldn't tell you how many inquiries I've gotten just through our website from random people who say hey I'm from Appalachia or I love Appalachia how can I invest right just individuals and I have to say unfortunately we're not set up for retail investment at this point right there's no way to buy in um you know buy a note or or whatever um in uh in in our invest appes platform um so I think there's a need there there's a hunger people want to invest into their own communities our starting premise has been that our resource our region is resource constrained right we've never had our fair share of resources so we're trying to attract new investment from the outside but by using our capital in the most Capital catalytic way that we can we're also hoping to leverage more investment from within the region so we have entrepreneurs um and you know land owners and business owners who are willing to put skin in the game if they had someone in there alongside with them and I think there's an opportunity to build out more of a retail inv investment platform like what you were describing as well I want to go back to something that Bal said um about Acorn and engaging with communities how has invest Appalachia specifically its climate initiatives been received by the local communities um great question I think that the answer to that is evolving but overwhelmingly positive and I would say that ranges from really great ongoing conversations within Regional anthropy to positive individual conversations I've had with County Judge Executives when I'm asking okay great you all are building that road back and that ditch back wonderful at what capacity though because if it didn't survive the last flood how can we anticipate it to survive the next what we're doing with the analysis what we're attempting to do with Acorn uh and with other initiatives is to continue building on that conversation building a level of confidence at the local level about what this data tells us and in time estab establishing new norms for how we're working for how we're moving money and how we're perceiving how we're perceiving place as a whole yeah and the community angle is an interesting one right so like how do you speak to Residents in a way that is empowering right that's not just scaring them um that's not uh you know talking down to them things like that climate change when psychologists study climate change and say like for a problem this existential how has it gotten this far without action right so there's this thing called a collective action uh problem but then they also look at just the scale of it right that it is actually breaks our brains to try to understand a problem this big and that is why people are paralyzed and that is why people don't mobilize or act on individual level and someone made a comment uh recently that you know this is a global issue and we have to turn it into a backyard issue right we have to make people care about it and be able to understand it and apply the meaning to their own lives in their own context so like the example B just described you talked about the impacts of flooding and the need to design infrastructure housing real estate Etc to better withstand future floods if you talk about how this is the hottest summer that any of us have ever seen right and we need more green buildings More Energy Efficiency more cooling more green spaces in our towns right more agriculture uh that is you know sustainable and diversified that can withstand droughts like those are things that people understand because of their lived experience and that make something that's big and scary and conceptual like climate change real and actionable so that's another thing that we're working on doing yeah I just I mean we said this earlier um before you guys got on here I just want snow in my you know for my kid to be able to sled in the winter we didn't have four seasons this year in Richmond and I'm one of those people you described it's the habit that you know I'm like is it easy and can I afford it can I afford it maybe is it easy does it require me to change my behavior probably am I going to do it I don't know you know like it's it you're to your point I love how you framed it it's a backyard issue and yeah my kid's not my kid had no snow this this winter because of climate change so so being more invested in that experience even if I can't get the bigger picture um in my dayto day yeah and I'm want to jump back to it as well it has to be a backyard issue I mean and the outward perception of Appalachia is that often times that we don't want to even acknowledge it but there is a growing widespread acknowledgement that the flooding that we are experiencing regionally is because of the climate crisis that is a growing Grassroots conversation amongst community at large and uh and leaders at the community level whether it will be acknowledged outwardly or not I think is different but this is a backyard issue and it's literally taking people's backyards away and it's increasingly really presenting somewhat of an existential threat for small communities that have historically generally never even experienc flooding the 20 the 22 floods in in Eastern Kentucky was a crisis along the Creeks not inherently along the rivers within the first like 24 to 40 hours small Creeks that don't really flood that have never experienced that level of flooding before and and I think that I mean I've never seen anything like it and I shook a lot of people um and there's a real desire to to start um to start adapting because folks you know you're from Appalachia it's it's a part of you it's your family land and uh you don't want to go anywhere and and I hope we don't have to I I know your work is in central Appalachia um however you know there are a bunch of rural communities across this great nation and they're also experiencing you know the environmental and social impacts of climate change can your strategy and your approach be applied to other parts of the country so much of the stuff that we do with invest Appalachia I end up saying look this is Appalachia specific but it's not Appalachia unique right like we're talking about the place that we know and that's what we're using to develop our analysis but I usually think there's a lot of application other places and not even just other rural places to be honest um the the parallels between rural and urban areas that have been economically marginalized through economic structures or policies there's a lot of uh similarity there a lot of need for the same types of uh Capital Solutions and Community organizing Solutions uh in terms of you know climate change and climate resilience um one thing that I do think is universal is the whole of system approach right or a whole of community approach so what we advocate for in this report and in our whole uh you know thinking about this is it's not enough to do just one sector it's not enough to go deal by deal you have to look at the entire system the entire community so whether that's a rural area an urban area you've got things like housing infrastructure you know uh cooling Green Space Transportation food systems that are going to be factors to consider um so identifying what those key sectors are that are going to increase sustainability um what is going to be able to Drive opportunity you know that's going to be relevant everywhere and then unfortunately everyone needs to take a hard look at those climate projections that Bal was talking about right this is the future that we're going to face we have to act now we can prevent the worst of it but it's happening right places are going to get drier they're going to get hotter there's going to be more disasters and so looking at that data democratizing that data as Balin said and using it to inform plans right making places more resilient planning for migration in some cases that's going to be planning throughout migration some cases be planning for immigration based on that um that future climate that we're expecting to see so U it's time to start thinking a few decades uh Down the Line This is like really really good information so what actionable items can our audience take to support this work can they invest at all yeah so as I shared with Leah um there's limited investment opportunity from you know individuals in the systems that we're working in um you know for institutions um funders investors um I would say that or individual uh investors the first thing that everybody could do is recognize that climate is going to affect their work right so every person who works in the space of finance and investment needs to incorporate a climate lens to their work doesn't matter if you're an education fun Health funer housing funer clean energy funder whatever um Incorporated climate resilience lens to your work because it's going to be affecting everything uh a second thing is uh you know for National institutions and philanthropies um you know hopefully we've made the case that appach is going to be relevant to our nation's future uh a future impacted by climate resilience and so paying attention to the Appalachian region come visit uh you know come get to work know the work on the ground and support it uh and then lastly you know we're trying to direct capital um specifically raising grant money for uh catalytic Capital tools like credit enhancements like loan guarantees things like that to use as Blended Capital with loans and and other investment to drive climate resilient investment so we believe that Blended Capital approach is going to allow us to go a lot farther a lot faster in uh investing in these resilient systems that are going to keep our communities safe and Equitable and inclusive I love it very robust answer thank you so at the end of every episode we encourage our audience to join the movement if you will and become Renegades something tells me you all know a thing or two about that so how do you you define a renegade um I think a renegade because I've just been on this uh this Mantra of long-term thinking right and so I think to think longterm uh you know that's that's what makes somebody Renegade they're thinking outside of their self-interest they're thinking outside of you know what's right in front of them they're thinking across the system they're seeing intersections um you know in like I started with my introduction between Community between economy between the environment and they're they're thinking about how things are going to play out over time right that Visionary um that systems thinker that to me is is a renegade when I think about a renegade I think it's someone who understands that we are all too often working within inefficient or broken systems holds fast to morally grounded and datadriven solutions and is not afraid to cause a little bit of good trouble to achieve them in trouble all day yes awesome I'm GNA ask you one last question if there is one thing that you want our audience to act on what would that be I would say come visit Central Appalachia and see it for yourself all right so what are y'all thinking about clab resilience I thought that was fantastic just absolutely everything was fantastic from how they're engaging with Community how they're framing Investments because that's tough to do it's tough to talk about climate resiliency in cold country it just is and to frame it as a backyard issue is so brilliant um and this is hey if you want to live comfortably this is what we need to do uh and to do it a way that doesn't alienate people doesn't talk down to people but engages with folks um and how can we work work together to create a community that we're proud of um and backstopping with good financing I I think it's brilliant yeah I think I I'm leaving with a a surprise and kind of like a like a adult kind of why am I surprised that the work and the things and the projects are so integrated and interconnected to jobs housing like it's kind of like duh um of course it is you know but I think it goes to the other thing I'm feeling which is guilt for not caring more than I should maybe from just the work that I'm involved in or oh I'm not beating myself up I mean but I think it's a it's a it's an awareness now we talked about this on one of our shows about you know if you're aware of it and still sit by you know are you are you are you participating in the system that's broken by not doing something or are you taking action from where you sit to help break down systems or create Solutions and so I think it's that where I'm like now I'm aware of stuff at a deeper level that I actually can influence and impact from many different places that I'm involved in and so it's not guilt I mean guilt is a good thing in this case because I may actually do some [ __ ] about it no I will do some [ __ ] about it that's fair but also like balance with the things that you've already accomplished um and the already are doing and don't Gil trip yourself into that because as you said at the top of the show you recycle you compost you have solar panels you are doing you've made significant progress and it's fantastic to go deeper and to go further but don't don't beat yourself up like this is every day and how to keep it moving forward yeah no I appreciate that I think it's not a not punishing myself in my head it's it's kind of the awareness and the I mean we I we all have those moments where you learn something new and you feel feel good about learning something new but Al also like I wish I knew that 5 years ago it's probably more of that that ladder of now that I have this information where can I be more intentional um and add to the things that I'm already working on without kind of undoing or you know Del like saying it's not been enough you know from the the other things all about that not about the negative selft talk as long as we're at positive selft talk all right fine I I love exactly what they're doing um I especially you know like their approach to community when um I heard about what they were doing before and this it reminds me of a quote that I've heard about you don't make decisions about us without us and they are being extremely intentional about making like Community decisions as a community and I think I think that's what's so unique about like their approach right because there are so many people who are not a part of a community and they come in and think they know all the answers right and they aren't taking that approach I don't think that Andrew and or Balin hit on this but they have like an entire Community advisory Council that they're working with to provide feedback about what exactly are we doing like yeah let me tell you what the people on the ground really really need and I love that it's it's not a I hate this word because it's used so loosely but it's not an elitist approach right this is a collective Collective thing I think it's a secret sauce to successful Community Development Finance is H how are we listening to impact the communities because they know the solutions much better than we ever will uh and how do we bring all of that into our approach together Yep they're they figured out something yeah there was something else that they they touched on um and I you know my my my old buddy and colleague at VCC Sandy Ratliff I don't know if she listens or not but if she does I miss you and everything she's been doing out in Southwest Virginia since she was born let alone as a professional but getting to know that region and everything we're saying right now about community and they started to say a version of you know like I look at Richmond and we're good enough because we haven't had something as catastrophic as a whole indust dying within 10 years you know or like leaving and taking all the jobs and so like areas like the rural communities that I've been involved in it's like they had no choice but to be Innovative and strong and collaborative and I've been doing it for decades and it's like I think we we take that we underestimate that power and the fact that that power is there already and so they they started to touch on that everything you but said about their approach to community and kind of the sovereignty tea that's already baked in and letting that grow and not coming in from the outside and saying we know better than you do we'll tell you how to fix it well they're leading by example um if there are some other folks who want to do something to support their region or their communities consider this a starting place thank you for listening to this episode of renegade Capital if you like what you heard you can listen toe previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform and be sure to follow us on social media at Renegade capital or check out our website www. Renegade Capital podcast.com to never miss a new release our show is hosted by Andrea Longton Ebony Perkins and Leah freemount publicized by Elizabeth Gilbert kzel of narrator Studios and produced by Yours Truly chance l


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