26 June 2024 Story Built Environment

Cause for Optimism with Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance

Laudes Foundation partners with Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) on a game changing fund for European city policies on embodied carbon, circular material flows and wood construction. 

Dr. Michael Shank, the Director of Engagement at CNCA, told us why he works to tackle climate change and inequality. 


I come from a long line of Amish and Mennonite preachers, and I grew up watching my dad preach in our church. I’m now in the climate movement feeling like I’m somewhere on a church pew watching a conversation between a pulpit-using preacher and the people, wanting less of a monologue, more of a dialogue, and those in the congregation to lead and not just be led.

There are still too many climate preachers issuing sermons thinking that the congregation will be inspired to act. Yet something’s not cutting through. We’ve got plenty of believers in the audience – as climate attitudes are strong – but not enough actions to back up those beliefs. There’s a gap. The climate “word” is still too often theoretical or disconnected from the day-to-day to motivate the masses.

Bridging that gap requires a rework of how we set up the conversation and what we talk about. It’s not just about getting rid of the pulpit or podium. It’s about a different model of working together. One where we’re co-leading and co-creating the word and work. Yes, it’s scarier. Yes, it takes more time. But it leads to more inspired and empowered people and more lasting outcomes.



  • Michael Shank

    By Michael Shank

    Director of Engagement, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance