Big Ideas

The Untaken Safer Alternative Path

At Bank of Nature, we hear from almost everyone that “There is no alternative” to the ways in which we manage global crises like climate change. “Government must do more!” “Corporations must do more!” It doesn’t matter, apparently, that neither government nor industry is designed to do more on climate — and perhaps is disinclined to do more on climate, as history suggests. That gets us to the impasse where we need (desperately) new ideas.

That’s what Bank of Nature is: The (so far) Untaken Safer Alternative to the stuck status quo. We are a vision of a future already made sustainable. We are about treating nature as a stakeholder — and helping future generations. We think differently about what might be possible, and we have found a way that involves tools that already exist.

A proxy for nature

Bank of Nature is nature’s fiduciary — a legal entity that can negotiate on behalf of nature. A proxy for nature works in teh best interests of nature as a stakeholder in our human progress narrative. It is the mechanism by which we engage in planet-scale stewardship that begins to pay our debt to nature.

Let’s give nature agency as a member of our robust civil society — a true peer of industry and government.

Climate heroes

If government is not up to the job of leading on the climate crisis, who is a better climate hero?

Fiduciaries — especially those in charge of trillions in public pensions — are designed to lead — if only for the good of their own beneficiaries. They are collaborative in nature. They only need sufficient cash flows to remain viable. They are already working for beneficiaries whole will live to the climate-changed 22nd Century. They are gigantic. They just need to wake up to their potential asa climate hero.

Culturally relevant dignity

We model the Bank of Nature on a fiduciary’s pension promise to deliver a dignified retirement. The meaning of “dignified” is variable from culture to culture. The Untaken Safer Alternative is expansive enough to be inclusive of cultural diversity, justice and mutual respect.


If nature is a bank and deserves a two-way financial relationship with human society, as our metaphor goes, there is an opportunity to formalize a human-nature partnership.

Rather than a one-way extractive relationship with nature, Bank of Nature proposes an interactive partnership — the definition of a good Anthropocene.

We think that is a path toward the (so far) Untaken Safer Alternative.

The Fiduciary Way

Bank of Nature often debates ideas like “divestment”, ESG and “neoliberal” and/or “post-growth” economics. Our rebuttal is the “Fiduciary Way.” It’s the template for a new planet-scale economy.

Fiduciary duty is ancient. It’s the job of a fiduciary to look after the best interests of a beneficiary. Today, fiduciaries of “defined benefit pension plans” — like a public pension for civil servants — are behemoth cash reserves that literally shape the economy. Fiduciary Way economics emerge they fulfill the duty to deliver a dignified future.

Thinking at scale

Scale is the missing link in our response to the climate crisis. Governments and industries are unable to muster the money they need to address it. Fiduciaries control money that works at the scale of the climate crisis.

Endgame sustainability

Sustainability, in theory, is a practice that makes society compatible with our environment. Modern sustainability, in practice,  doesn’t get us to a place in the future where sustainability means success, or a time when we can relax because the threat is behind us.

Bank of Nature is about defining the Untaken Safer Alternative that gets us to a future already made sustainable. #climatehope

Robust civil society

How is society structured? Government is here to organize. Industry is here to put us to work. Civil society is here to keep it all in check, yet we see civil society as a distant third actor in how the status quo operates.

Fiduciary economy amplifies civil society, when it is presently beholden to the largesse of government grants, wealthy philanthropists and industry sponsorship to do the work. Fiduciary money can be an opportunity to finance fiduciary causes, social impact and ingenuity that is incompatible with the status quo.

Make more nature

At Bank of Nature, where we pay our debts to nature, we have the planet-scale money to address ways to regenerate nature — an antidote to the “limits to growth.” We call it “make more nature” as a driver of stewardship choices and innovation. Paying back negative externalities is money to invest directly in nature building, innovation, detoxification, capacity and reversing “overshoot” along with improved equity for humans and non-humans.

Bank of Nature is The Untaken Safer Alternative, the next last line of defense in the climate impasse and a strategy to reengage fiduciary values in an economy that takes care of the future. We invite contributions that make connections, improve our plan and move it forward.