Listening to the Forest! 🌲 We All Deserve Some Help 🌱 Climate Action Manager 🙌🏾
Your bi-weekly journey, discovering the intersection of climate science and social justice.
Hello lovely people,
How are you all keeping?
This newsletter is coming to you at a different time in the week, so I am sorry for the delay but I have been pretty out of it all week with burn-out. I haven't really experienced such a physical impact on my body (weakness and pain) due to exhaustion and I was giving myself some grace this week. Excitingly, as you read this, I will be well on my way to Scotland! My partner and I will be away for a week doing lots of walking, eating, reading and chess-playing in and around Loch Lomond, Glencoe and the Cairngorms. I have never been to Scotland before so I am exceedingly excited and thankful for some time away from everything. Have any of you been to Scotland, would love any recommendations you have!
Before I dive into this week's newsletter, I just wanted to share some reflections from last week's in-person event (our first ever one!). It was so amazing to finally meet some of you lovely people in person and healing to be around so many diverse, intelligent, beautiful and caring humans!
We sat, talked, reflected and connected in Gaia's Garden; an apt location for the reflection, contemplation and communion of thought on the state of and our relationships with our planet.
For James Lovelock, the man who developed the Gaia hypothesis, which posits that the earth itself is a living organism, "the concept of Gaia is the essential basis of a coherent and practical environmentalism and approach that rejects the belief that the Earth is a property to be exploited for the benefit of humankind".
But the ability to reject the notion of the Earth as property becomes harder to embody in our daily lives that are placed within a capitalist framework of labour, work, growth and consumption. We may know that we are part of nature, that this earth is our kin and find ourselves having spent 3 days straight indoors behind our laptops, connecting with not a single leaf or bud. Our lives are juxtaposed, with what we imagine or dream of for a just world at times being at odds with what is currently a reality.
These discrepancies can move us to anger, frustration or shame. Feelings of disappointment of falling short of our own imaginings. But we have to remember that purity under a broken system is not possible.
There was a great post I came across a couple of weeks ago, from the people of Strike Moma via
@aditimayer. The closing words really resonated with me - "We can see contradictions as impediments and be consumed by frustration, ambivalence and despair, or we can acknowledge and heighten them. Each act of subversion, deep conversations and mobilisations large and small are tools we can use to undermine the principles that sustain this system".
This was the purpose of the event we held; to create a safe and supportive space to engage in magical apocalyptic thinking (a phrase coined by @victoriaadukweibulley) a space where thoughts about “what will need to be abolished come in tandem with those asking what we will need to learn to grow".
Let's grow together! 🌱
On The Bright Side 🌞
For the first time in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 73-year history (I know, 73 years!!), Indigenous peoples will finally get a seat at the table. Twenty-three Indigenous organisations, representing groups from every continent, will join this year’s IUCN’s General Assembly as members, meaning that they can introduce motions; vote for or against resolutions and recommendations; and participate in working groups.
“We’ve been fighting for 40 years to be included in the U.N.’s international system and other international spaces to defend the identity, culture, and lands of Indigenous peoples,” said José Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, who leads the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin
These women are spearheading the shift to green energy [Ours To Save]
Globally, 1 in 3 businesses are owned by women. Sustainable energy, which is climbing rapidly to the top of government agendas, is a sector where female entrepreneurs have created a niche for themselves. Though they remain underrepresented, renewable energy employs 32% women – compared to 22% in the overall energy sector. Read this article to find out about the women around the world leading the transition to clean energy!
Tropical forests in Africa’s mountains store more carbon than previously thought [University of York]
Scientists studying tropical forests in Africa’s mountains were surprised to uncover how much carbon they store. The international study reported today in Nature, found that intact tropical mountain (or montane) forests in Africa store around 150 tonnes of carbon per hectare. This means that keeping a hectare of forest standing saves CO2 emissions equivalent to powering 100 homes with electricity for one year. The study found that African mountain forests store more carbon per unit area than the Amazon rainforest and are similar in structure to lowland forests in Africa. Existing guidelines for African mountain forests – which assume 89 tonnes of carbon per hectare – greatly underestimate their role in global climate regulation.
ClimateInColour Reads: Listening to the Forest! 🌲
After a couple of month's off to give me a breather around my exams, I am excited to announce the return of the ClimateInColour Reading group. to get back into our reading group!
Recently, as I have transitioned from my MRes to the real deal (my PhD), I have found myself in scenarios where I have to talk about my work and what it means (scary!). I know I have kept promising to explain more about my work when I had a better idea of what my actual research questions were and so I thought our first reading group back would be a good opportunity to dive a little bit into it. My research question, Monitoring Ghanain forests with bioacoustics, machine learning and indigenous knowledge, brings together three very distinct and unique fields of study (each of them could form one PhD in themselves).
This month's paper focuses on the former - bioacoustics. This is by far the part of my research that people have the most questions about so hopefully this paper provides a good introduction for you!
The paper is more typical of a “standard” scientific “literature review”. So rather than reporting on a specific experiment or set of results, it dives into the importance of the field of study, provides context for what the field of study entails and where there are gaps in the knowledge of the fields researchers and community.
Reading group details:
Climate In Colour Reads is a space to explore Climate Literature in an accessible and immersive way, for those who want to dive deeper into the climate space, its issues, and history, but are daunted by the prospect. Climate reading, especially climate science reading can be super overwhelming. This platform is all about accessibility so each month, you will receive a Reading Pack that will include:
✨ the selected text
✨ a text summary with definitions, key points and context so you can easily skim the paper and get to the main points if you don’t necessarily read the whole paper.
✨ a monthly virtual meeting to reflect on the paper's accessibility and discuss interesting learnings with other community members!
If you are interested in joining you can sign up on Patreon!
We All Deserve Some Help 🌱
The world has been a heavy place the last few weeks and in reality, it will continue to be until we start taking real action, individually and systemically, against climate change. I will continue to refer you back to this newsletter I wrote a couple of month's back, as you know I believe that action cures anxiety and the list of resources in that letter are a great starting point!
Another newsletter I will refer you to is the amazing Frontline Newsletter from Atmos Magazine.
The state of the world may be difficult to process at the moment, so The Frontline talks to an Indigenous psychologist who is no stranger to working with grief.
This interview explores the feelings that arise in the face of the mounting occurrence of disastrous environmental catastrophe, feelings of climate grief and how to claim the help we deserve in this time.
Below I include a couple of resources that will help you pay forward help to communities who are struggling or vulnerable at this time in the face of Hurricane Id.
How Children Can Break the Climate Policy Deadlock 🧒🏾
When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its landmark report declaring “code red for humanity” a few weeks ago, everyone freaked out for about 24 hours. Then, they moved on. The document, despite describing the increasingly dire scenarios ahead if humanity doesn’t change course and decarbonise, garnered less than one-quarter of the social media impressions received by the IPCC’s earlier report in 2018. It is clear the climate crisis—which we are now actively experiencing in heat domes, endless wildfires, and early hurricanes—still badly needs a grounding mechanism, a way to channel the alarmed energy. The climate movement needs children, and children need the climate movement.
Climate chaos threatens not only children’s future, but their present: Young children’s bodies are especially vulnerable to air pollution that is supercharged by heat, and kids experience more severe psychological impacts from disasters like floods and fires.
While children can’t vote, they don’t come alone. Parents and grandparents constitute a massive if latent political force. Coming to climate policy through the door of parenthood, not partisanship, can open new pathways. Creating conditions where parents aren’t cripplingly exhausted and give them tangible policies to fight for —stopping fossil fuel projects that pollute the air their children breathe; improving their city’s infrastructure so homes, schools, and daycares don’t flood; electrifying the school bus fleet—and they can move mountains.
Children’s issues localize the global nature of climate change.
Read the full article below and let me know your thoughts. Have you ever thought of the climate through a child's lens or outside of the perspective of "children's futures"?
How publicly-owned power could shape the future of clean energy 💡
Community is a key part of successful climate action, I saw a great quote the other day on Instagram which said, a community is a group of people who agree to grow together. I love thinking about us all growing together but sometimes "community" can seem like an abstraction, something we all speak about but can't grasp in our hands. Well here is an example of practical, tangible community action focused on equitable energy!
In most places across the US, communities have a privately owned utility like Con Edison—one of the biggest investor-owned energy companies in the country. No shareholders are involved, and excess profits tend to stay within the community that the public power grid is operated in. Because the community is so connected to grid operations and investments, this helps keep the profits in those same communities, the American Public Power Association says.
In recent years environmental activists in the US have advocated for public power grids versus privately or investor-owned. According to advocates, it not only gives citizens direct access to the source of their power, which could improve grid and weather-related issues– like having quicker access to the grid to turn the lights back on after blackouts from extreme heat and high power usage during super hot summers.
Public power is democratic control over utilities, with the primary mission of dependable, affordable energy—not profit for shareholders. - NYC-based writer Nicholas Boni wrote in an op-ed for Bklyner, a Brooklyn-based news publication, earlier this year.
Read the full article below and let me know if you are part of a community energy scheme!
Job Opportunity: Climate Action Manager 🙌🏾
I was so pleased to find this job opportunity on Twitter! It looks like an incredible role, in an incredible city (It was the first city in the US to ban the construction of new gas stations, as part of its aggressive goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2030), with great pay!
Job Title: Climate Action Manager
Salary: $97,718.40 - $119,017.56 Annually
Description: Are you passionate about climate change, resiliency, equity and sustainability? Would you like to be a leader in helping Petaluma achieve its Carbon Neutral by 2030 goal? Are you an accomplished communicator who can actively engage all segments of the Petaluma community with education and outreach efforts? If this sounds like an exciting opportunity that matches your career goals, we encourage you to apply to be Petaluma’s Climate Action Manager! Under administrative direction, plans, develops, manages, and implements a wide range of environmental sustainability policies and programs including those related to energy, water, and natural resource conservation, climate action planning and healthy community initiatives; serves as a liaison and leader to the public, other City departments, civic groups, business organizations and other public agencies as it relates to environmental sustainability policies and programs.
Interested? Apply below!
End Note 📝
It’s not goodbye forever (I’ll see you again in two weeks)!
If you've enjoyed this week’s newsletter, I'd love it if you shared this platform with a friend or two. I’m working hard to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if anything resonated with you, I’d love to hear from you and get some feedback!
And if you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way or share it in the comments! I love finding new things to read and I’m sure other subscribers do too.
Have a lovely week,