While the decisions related to these financial measures have a decisive impact on children, the measures and opportunities presented in this document cannot be undertaken by children. Considering the many initiatives driven and promoted by children and youth to protect the planet and the climate, these financial measures are critical for intergenerational justice and to counteract the discouragement and eco-anxiety faced by children and youth who are engaged in action for the planet.
Today, many leaders encourage children and youth to be responsible eco-citizens (see examples shared in the WCC toolkit Climate Justice with and for Children and Youth in Churches: Get Informed, Get Inspired, Take Action1). The initiatives and efforts by children and youth can only have an impact on global warming if, in parallel, the right choices are made in the domain of finance—the most decisive domain for climate solutions—over which young people have limited influence.
The research is intended to be used as a resources document for
• the development of organizational policies
• WCC member churches and partners who are willing to further adjust their investment strategies and relations with influential contractors to fight global warming and
• joint efforts with the United Nations and other partners who collaborate to accelerate green finance and environmental sustainability measures
The document can also be used for discussions related to discernment on returns and benefits of financial investments.
If, for example, an organization is exclusively or primarily looking at the financial returns of a pension fund, the following question will emerge: Will employees be able to enjoy their pension and time with grandchildren if, by the time they retire, temperatures continue to increase because of global warming? The cost of not making climate-responsible choices would be high, and the advantages of adapting investments will be beneficial for all. The title Cooler Earth–Higher Benefits was therefore given to this research document, considering the benefits of intergenerational justice and the returns of investment into a sustainable future.