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If you're fortunate enough to have savings, you've probably thought about how to invest them responsibly.

The standard answer is to stick your money into no-load mutual funds that track the market and leave it there for as long as possible. Low risk because of the diversification. Low fee because there's no genius managing your money, just an algorithm. And high return because over the long term, it's almost impossible to beat the market.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Today's guest, Marco Vangelisti of Essential Knowledge for Transition, points out that all the bad things that are happening on the planet right now – habitat destruction, pollution, climate instability, oceanic dead zones, massive poverty and income inequality, social and political unrest, rising fascism – all funded in part or wholly by those very mutual funds.

If you're an ethical vegan, you might think that a portfolio that excludes Perdue, Dannon, and Tyson Farms would be in concert with your values. But if you're invested in mutual funds, with hundreds or thousands of companies' equities represented, you're what Vangelisti calls an “unaware and extractive” investor. Your capital returns are essentially theft, either from the earth's natural resources that have been commandeered by a private institution at the expense of the commons, or from exploited people (whether laborers or inhabitants of areas that are being exploited).

In our conversation, Marco shares the problems with mainstream investing, and offers several tiers of investment approaches that range from “aware” to “no harm” to “positive impact” to “regenerative.”

He also offers his perspective on risk, given the stock market's current untethering from reality and the historical crashes that have followed periods like the one we're living through now. As in, perhaps a strategy that maintains capital is actually less risky than all those mutual funds if the market is likely to crash within the next ten years.

And he gives specific suggestions for places to invest to reverse climate change, empower Black and minority entrepreneurs, and defund the war industry.

I'm signed up for Marco's course on Aware and No-Harm Investing, and he's offered a 20% discount to Plant Yourself listeners, good through August 16, 2020. Go to and choose the TANHI course option, and enter the discount code PLANT in the bottom field:

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Marco's site:

Marco's “Toward Aware and No-Harm Investing” course (use discount code PLANT to save 20% – not an affiliate link!)

Marco's Article: Reality Has Split In Two – The Money World and the Real World

Marco's Article: Making Amends Through Regenerative Investing

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Anthony Dissen – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Christine Nielsen – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Wayne Pedersen – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Susan Ahmad – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Kelly Michiya – DeAnne Norton – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Tanya Lewis – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Valerie Pelletier – Peter W Evans – Colleen Harrison – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Günter Schmid – Marjorie Lewis – Kelly Moulden – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Rachelle Kennedy – Diana Goldman – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – Hollie Butler – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Olga Szydarowska – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – for your generous support of the podcast.


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