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Masawa Minute 49

What makes a regenerative business? | Climate crisis is a health crisis | + More!

This is the Masawa Minute — mental wellness, social impact, and impact investing snippets from what we’ve read the last two weeks + where you can get active.

With COP26, the UN’s climate change conference, going on this week, the climate is on our minds. Naturally, that’s what this week’s newsletter is about — regeneration, new ideas, climate crisis, and, of course, mental health. Enjoy and let us know what you think!

Masawa Thoughts

COP 26, climate change, environmental threats, oh my! In line with this newsletter’s planetary health focus, our thoughts this week are simple: planet health = human health = mental health = planet health, repeat. If humans aren’t well, the planet isn’t well.

Celebrate!

Masawa receives EVPA Colab Award 2021

We won an award! 🥳 Masawa was one of the organizations that received the EVPA Colab Award 2021, which celebrates system change leaders in the impact community and showcases best collaboration and system change practices.

Our Nurture Capital approach seeks to shift resources (time, value, and investment) to address the neglected human factor. It provides hands-on support to early-stage purpose-driven ventures, both in our own portfolio and to portfolio companies of other investors, to help them strengthen their internal organizational rituals, practices, resilience, and focus their capacity for societal transformation.

Attend

Mainstreaming Global Mental Health

The event, consisting of multiple sessions, intends to place global mental health at the center of the conversation. The goal is to transform the way mental health in middle and low-income countries is perceived by the research community, develop partnerships and find ways how global researchers can impact mental health through their (non-mental health) work. If this sounds interesting, mark November 15th in your calendar!

What we’re reading…

🎋 What makes a regenerative business

The planet’s resources we all share — the global commons — are now at risk. We’re approaching the tipping points leading to irreversible changes in our planetary system and already experiencing unpredictable and widespread environmental changes that are only going to get worse. Our extractive economic system, accompanied by racism, social inequality, and political polarization is eating away the network of social and governance commons — and businesses can exacerbate these issues. The good news, however, is that business can also play a significant part in reversing the harm.

The way to do that is to focus on regeneration. Regenerative business, at its core, seeks to create a lasting social and economic impact on the world and work to enhance society’s ability to thrive. But what really makes a business regenerative? The author of this article has developed a framework involving seven main attributes, ranging from a systems-enhancing purpose to regenerative use of profits. Entrepreneurial businesses have the flexibility to experiment with ways of thinking and acting that could pave the path to a more socially and environmentally-friendly future. And with that, they hold the power to become a force for regeneration.

How Businesses Can Regenerate the Global Commons

🌍 It’s time to see the climate crisis as a health crisis

a white plate of white pills on white background with two green leaves on the side

Back in September, over 200 medical journals deemed a 1.5 ℃ rise above the pre-industrial average temperature to be the “greatest threat to global public health” in a joint editorial. And even two years into a global pandemic it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable statement — rising temperatures contribute to a whole range of problems, from heat-related deaths to the risk of new diseases emerging as permafrost melts. It won’t be long until everyone in the world is directly or indirectly affected if they aren’t already.

So what is the way forward? To begin with, we have to bring the human health consequences of climate change to the forefront of the conversation, as until now these issues have been mostly regarded separately. There’s a strong need for integrated solutions moving forwards. One of the major steps forward would be removing $5.9 trillion direct and indirect yearly subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which makes deadly pollution-producing fuels artificially cheaper. Next to that, national climate plans must take health threats into account — and realize that cutting emissions will be the way to curb them. We have a long way in front of us, and the time to start walking is now.

Stronger climate action urged at COP26 to avoid ‘unimaginable’ health risks

🌾 The role of therapy in climate movements

In 2021, the number of people seeking out therapy to cope with climate anxiety is as high as ever. According to a Yale study, 70% of Americans are now “very or somewhat worried about global warming.” It’s nothing new for doctors to be dealing with the mental health of people who have suffered extreme weather events, often diagnosed as PTSD. However, treating the mental health of people struggling with anticipation of climate-related suffering is new territory. And there’s still a lot to be learned.

To reach people dealing with climate anxiety, therapists and doctors are now classifying their practices as climate-aware. But even those pursuing more awareness around the intersection of the climate crisis and mental health are realistic about the practical limits of dealing with this issue in a therapy setting. According to Margaret Klein Salamon, an activist and a former clinician, there’s a threat that dread about the future will not be directed to collective action but rather absorbed by the inequitable, hyper-individualized larger healthcare system. Some climate scientists argue, however, that processing climate grief, if done right, is a great fertilizer for action. As Kritee Kanko puts it: “We need to break our hearts open.”

Weathering the Weather Mental-health professionals are trying to figure out how to talk about the climate.

🌊 Brain science instrumental in tackling climate change

an open-top brain model filled with what looks like a labyrinth in grey

Businesses and their teams don’t always agree on whether they have sufficient resources to support employee mental health — it turns out that small business

Is it possible to tackle the climate crisis without taking brain science into consideration? Unlikely. The two are closely related: the climate crisis worsens brain health, and diminished brain health perpetuates climate inaction. The current frameworks we use for measuring sustainability, like ESG, are incomplete — we can’t do the work to stabilize the climate until we fully understand how people interact with the systems.

Brain science provides us with a lens that can help envision a roadmap to fight the climate crisis. We need to invest more in neuroscience research that allows us to understand how to screen, diagnose and treat climate-related mental health issues. We also have to overcome our cognitive biases of climate change, which might help inspire collective action. The ability to envision solutions for shifting away from extractive systems as well as to navigate various social-ecological challenges requires an array of brain skills too, such as divergent thinking, resilience, and agility, all trainable and detectable on the brain scans. Investing in brain skills is essential — both for our brains and for a way into a better future.

Brain Science Must Be on COP 26 Agenda

🌸 Nurturing kindness in a new generation (and ourselves)

With the scale of challenges we’re facing as a society, it’s sometimes easy to forget one thing that goes a long way in making all of our lives significantly better — kindness. According to Andrew Miles, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, doing kind things is a psychological need, helping us feel like our lives are valuable. Dr. Miles currently leads a study aiming to quantify the ways in which doing good might help us counter depression and anxiety, and improve our wellbeing.

To see a kinder world, it’s important to instill regard for the welfare of others into people from a young age. Dr. Traci Baxley, an associate professor of education at Florida Atlantic University and author of “Social Justice Parenting”, notes that during the pandemic many young people experienced an increase in depression and anxiety that can be counteracted by prosocial behavior — behavior rooted in compassion and kindness. See the article for some suggestions on nurturing kindness in children and remember it’s never too late to use them for yourself, too.

How to Nurture Kindness in a New Generation

Gabija Vilkaitė

Gabija works as a Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Masawa. She lets her vision of a more just, sustainable, equitable world guide Masawa’s story and inform the work towards transforming global mental wellness to make it accessible and accepted.

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Masawa is the world’s first mental wellness impact fund, committed to shifting the established paradigms of investment and mental health support. We invest in founders innovating mental wellness and work with them to maximize impact, organizational health, and financial returns.

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Masawa

Masawa

We are the mental wellness impact fund. We invest in companies innovating mental wellness and help them succeed through impact & organizational health support.

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