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Mindful : December 2017
The Nature Conservancy is working to create a future in which people and nature thrive together. That’s not easy these days, with booming worldwide populations, growing pressure on natural resources and habitats, and partisan political wrangling. But as president and CEO, Tercek remains optimistic about the future. He points to four areas in which the nonprofit group is helping to solve some of the biggest challenges that lie ahead. ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE TNC is demonstrating nature’s potential as a cost-effective climate solution, helping people and nature adapt to the effects of a changing climate, and driving clean energy development that sustains communities while minimizing impacts on nature. According to Tercek, nature-based solutions for sequestering carbon, such as forest conservation and reforestation, investing in soil health, and restoring coastal ecosystems, could contribute about one-third of the emissions reductions needed by 2030. FEEDING THE WORLD SUSTAINABLY TNC works with farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to increase food supplies while reducing environmental impacts. Strategies include improving the health of soil, advancing harvesting and ranching methods that protect nature and store more carbon, and developing and deploying technologies for sustainable fishery management. BUILDING HEALTHY GREEN CITIES With a belief that nature can help create resilient and livable cities, TNC is bringing nature into cities to ensure clean and reliable water supplies, reduce air pollution, enhance infrastructure, and improve people’s health and well- being—from urban forests that provide shade and cooling to rooftop gardens that capture rain and grow food. PROTECTING LAND AND WATER Through innovative financial solutions and par tnerships with indigenous people and local communities, TNC is finding new ways to safeguard the lands, waters, and oceans that serve as refuges for wildlife and biodiversity around the world. In Florida, for example, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten to put millions at risk of flooding, TNC is working with ecologists, economists, engineers, and local officials to explore the use of natural systems such as reefs, mangroves, and wetlands as a buffer against storm surges. ● For the Good of the Planet So how did meditation help? Well, it quiets my mind, calms me down, and makes it much easier for me to listen and to understand others better. It helps me slow down, not jump to conclusions, to do my work in a less stressful way. That’s one of the outcomes of a calmer, more mindful approach to work. And at home, when I remember to meditate, it helps me appreciate my family more and allows me to get along with them better. Once I began to notice real benefits, I got more earnest about my meditation practice. What do you mean by more earnest? By sheer good fortune, a friend of mine in Washington, DC, not far from where TNC has its headquarters, organized a meditation study group. It’s an all-male businessman’s group, run by Jonathan Foust, who is a great medi- tation teacher. He’s a leading teacher at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and a founder of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute, also in Washington. I also began to participate in many of the DC-based mindfulness meditation gatherings. So several things came together at once in my life to help me to develop meditation and really pursue it. How do you find time in your busy schedule to meditate? I try to keep it simple. I’m OK with doing meditation sessions of just five or 10 minutes, if that’s all the time I have, to sit very quietly and still, and focus on my breathing. I sometimes do a loving-kindness practice, which I find very helpful for me. I generally don’t make it much more complicated than that. I also sometimes use apps like Buddhify or Headspace, which can be very useful, I think. I often lis- ten to the podcasts of Jonathan Foust as well as his wife Tara Brach. Some- thing else I find enormously helpful in my practice is reading books about meditation. I’m a big fan of Norman Fischer, the author of my favorite book, Training in Compassion. I also like the work of Chade-Meng Tan, → December 2017 mindful 67