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Connecting the Dots: Precious Brady-Davis social justice, LGBTQ, and Climate Change

HuffPost has a beautiful article featuring Precious Brady-Davis. It is written by Alexander C Kaufman.

Precious Brady-Davis Is Connecting The Dots: Climate change is affecting every social justice struggle. The environmental movement’s best-known trans woman of color wants to make that link clear.

Brady-Davis, 33, is perhaps the most visible transgender woman of color in the climate movement today. She’s part of a new generation of environmentalists unmoored from the Patagonia-clad treehugger archetype and radicalized by global warming’s exacerbation of society’s worst inequities. As once-disparate social movements are awakening to climate change’s ubiquity, Brady-Davis, a top press secretary for the Sierra Club, is drawing on her roots as a queer African American from a pious family in a deep-red, rural state to build bridges over troubled and rising waters.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in exploring the intersections of climate change with human rights, social justice, LGBTQ issues, and gender.

The connections between climate change and gender are becoming clearer as the frequency and intensity of warming-fueled natural disasters increase. Women made up 70% of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami since they were trapped in their homes while men were out in the open, according to the United Nations. Sexist hiring practices and work cultures make it more difficult for women to support themselves during droughts or after disasters. The U.N. estimates 80% of those displaced by climate change are women.

The article rightly goes on to highlight the risks to LGBTQ people but also the many ways we have had to be resilient in the past. These lessons are essential on a changing planet.

There’s a lot for the climate movement to borrow from the more militant early era of the fight for LGBTQ rights, said Sean Estelle, a gender-nonconforming climate activist in Chicago. The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, emerged in the 1980s in response to the federal government’s inaction in the face of thousands of mostly gay men dying after contracting HIV. The movement pioneered die-in protests and amplified apocalyptic rhetoric to finally spur action from federal lawmakers who at times mocked AIDS victims and suggested the virus was a biblical punishment for the sin of same-sex attraction.

Whenever I talk to people about queer responses to climate change, I find the energy shifts and people really take notice.  Read the entire article for yourself to learn more about Precious’ background and how she became someone concerned about climate with a queer lens.

Also to learn more about what you can do to engage in queer climate action, check out Save the Unicorn! LGBTQ Response to Climate Change.

Photos by Annie Flanagan

Mermaid Tears and Musicians Who Lobby

Citizens Climate Radio Ep 36 How to be an extraordinary climate advocate with Sam Daley-Harris, Glen Retief, and Elizabeth Doud

Sam Daley-Harris, author of the book, Reclaiming Our Democracy, helped develop a model of advocacy that empowered citizens to connect directly with lawmakers. This model has helped shape organizations like Citizens Climate Lobby and the Friends Council for National Legislation. Sam reveals some of the sources for his own inspiration. His parents–their faith and public witness–along with insights he gained from his twelve years playing in the Miami Philharmonic orchestra directly contributed to his success in addressing world hungry, promoting micro-loans for the poor, and in training climate advocates. Sam highlights the important roles advocates play in taking on climate change.

Another climate advocate, Glen Retief, had the opportunity to take on the rebel role during the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. He stood up to the racist policies of his government, but not as a rebel. Instead, he took on the role of advocate–lobbying, writing letters, and going to meetings. You will hear about the seemingly impossible task to turn his country around and the extraordinary lessons he learned that he now applies to his work in promoting solutions to climate change. Glen is the author of the Lambda Awarding winning book, The Jack Bank–A Memoir of a South African Childhood.

Listen Now!

Art House

Elizabeth Doud takes on the role of Siren Jones in her one-person performance, The Mermaid Tear Factory. Based in Miami, Florida, she has been a catalyst to engage other artists in conversations around climate change. Each year she helps organize Climakaze Miami.

Elizabeth explains why she sees Miami as the city of the future–both with its international changing demographics and the many ways climate change is reshaping the city. She also shares why artists need to break away from telling the story of climate science and instead dig deep into the hard emotions around climate change.

Puzzler Question

You attended one of the recent student walk-out demonstrations. While there you spoke to a parent, Claire. Claire’s daughter was a protest organizer. You tell Claire how you speak to legislators about laws that will address fossil fuel pollution. You see yourself as an advocate, working in the system to bring about change. Claire confesses, “I would never have the patience for that. I am so angry and I need to protest.” She then asks, “So why do you do that kind of advocacy work instead of protesting and civil disobedience?”

Try answering the puzzler question. Leave your name, contact info, and where you are from. Get back to host, Peterson Toscano by June, 15, 2018.You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on Apple Podcasts, please consider rating and reviewing us!

A Time-Traveling Climate Change Podcast Episode RV Sci Pod

I am always hungry for climate change presentations that include playfulness, creativity, and thoughtfulness to them. Recently at Raritan Valley Community College, I met up with students who were working on the very first episode of their new science podcast. They decided they would start with the topic of climate change. Nothing like jumping right in to take on a tough issue.

Seriously, there is no topic more difficult to talk about than climate change. When I speak to Communications classes, I stress how hard it is to communicate effectively about climate change. Listeners shut down so quickly because of so many reasons–fear, shame, anger, despair, powerless, or a thick toxic combo of all those feelings. I joke that if you want to know if a on a TV cooking show a chef is really good, have that chef prepare a vegan meal. It takes real skill, nuance, and creatively. Similarly, if you want to challenge communication experts, have them give a presentation about climate change. It is the vegan meal of communications.

The students who produced episode one of RV Sci Pod, You Can Keep the Climate Change, met the challenge and created an effective, stimulating, whimsical, informed, and moving podcast about climate change. They play with time having some of the action take place in the future. They include characters, particularly a grandfather of the future and his grandchild. In an especially entertaining and insightful mock trial, they cleverly use real audio clips of famous people talking about climate change. They include the damning dismissiveness of Donald Trump and the passionate appeal of Richard Attenborough.

They pack all this and more into an episode of 35 minutes that never feels rushed or cluttered. The sound quality is excellent, and the tone they maintain throughout is welcoming, playful, and informed. This podcast is an excellent primer for the basics of climate change, but more than that it reaches the heart in unexpected ways. Just have a listen, share it with young people you know and older people too.

You can follow RV Sci Pod on Twitter or find them follow scipod_rvcc on Instagram

(featured image credit: Photo by Dynamic Wang on Unsplash)

Plastics in Waterways and Climate Change Messages in Grindcore Music

Nicole Chatterson

Plastics? Yuck!

Plastic is so naughty. These days plastic products are being vilified because they:

  1. are made from fossil fuels and release a bunch of greenhouse gases while being made.
  2. end up everywhere (including our bodies) except in recycling and landfills
  3. last for a very long time and then release even more greenhouse gases.

While I do a lot of work talking about mitigating and adapting to climate change, I haven’t spent that much time learning about plastic pollution. Thanks to Nicole Chatterson from the University of Hawaii and Dominic Scicchitano from Bucknell University, I know a lot more. Nicole has done research in the Pacific Ocean while Dominic looked into plastics in the Susquehanna River.

I wanted to include Dominic because I live on the banks of the Susquehanna, and I wanted a local perspective. They both appear in episode 35 of Citizens Climate Radio.

Dominic Scicchitano

They are both engaging speakers and told me a lot about micro-plastics, tiny plastics either designed that way for say skin care products, or broken down from larger pieces of plastic that did not get properly discarded. What I especially love is how they are looking at big solutions. Sure do what you can to use less single-use plastic in your own personal life, but they are looking for systems changes in packaging, production, and waste management.

The Art House

The other part of the show that came out really well is an interview with sustainability expert, Peter Buckland. He is a renaissance man–a poet, politician, musician, teacher, and more. He also loves heavy metal music. He told me all about Grindcore (which sounds like a new gay app or else a very gay workout regime) and Thrash Metal (which just sounds like it must be really loud.) These two sub-genres of metal take sources of negative energy, including greenhouse gas pollution.

For example there is the band Testament and their song, Greenhouse Effect.

If  you want to learn about the world, there are many ways of doing it. One of my favorites is host a podcast. It forces me to engage with people and ideas that fall well ourself of my experience and even comfort zone.

Check out Ep 35 for yourself and please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts

(Featured image: Photo by Nicola Gypsicola on Unsplash)

Another Extreme Weather Event? Yawn…

Kristen Pope over at Yale Climate Connections writes about how people are growing used to extreme weather. The new normal has not translated into action around climate change.

Quoting Francis Moore, assistant professor of environmental science and policy at the University of California, Davis, Pope writes:

“What we show is that, if you have unusual temperatures and this is the first you’ve ever experienced it, that generates a big change on Twitter and people are talking about it a lot,” Moore says. “But if you have that same change … two years in a row, then people begin to stop talking about it. And if you have that same change eight years in a row, then people completely stop talking about it. So what that implies is that people’s idea of normal has shifted from what it used to be to this new state that’s defined by what happened two to eight years ago. And so we’re estimating this is kind of what people think of as normal just based on the rates at which they stop tweeting about unusual temperatures when they get them repeatedly year after year.”

Moore’s recent study builds upon previous research about social media and climate change. In 2015, a PLOS ONE study analyzed tweets from September 2008 to July 2014 that used the word “climate.” The researchers found Twitter to be a valuable tool for sharing climate change information, and they wrote in the paper that “We find that natural disasters, climate bills, and oil-drilling can contribute to a decrease in happiness while climate rallies, a book release, and a green ideas contest can contribute to an increase in happiness.” They found climate change advocates were more likely to use the words than deniers.

Read the entire article for yourself: The growing frequency of extreme weather dulls people’s awareness of climate change impacts, Most people normalize extreme weather over just two to eight years, Twitter researchers say.