Hundreds of members of the Climate Solutions community joined us online for our December special event series, Hope, Health, and Climate. We're happy to be able to share recordings of these two special events so more can listen in to these inspiring conversations.
Footage featuring Dr. Leah Stokes: Leah Stokes © 2022
Day 1 of our event series kicked off with a conversation between Climate Solutions Executive Director Gregg Small and featured speaker Dr. Leah Stokes, a political scientist focused on environmental policy (University of California, Santa Barbara) and a senior policy consultant at Evergreen Action, where she helped advocate for passage of this year's Inflation Reduction Act.
Noting the law's major climate and clean energy provisions, Stokes said: "We’ve been trying to pass federal climate legislation for about three decades now. We need to cut our climate pollution levels in half this decade, and the [federal climate] bill gets us 4/5ths of the way there."
She also shared some great pratical resources on how to access federal funding for clean-energy household upgrades like new heat pumps, water tanks, and cooking appliances.
We also heard from public health experts Dr. Vin Gupta (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) and Dr. Howard Frumkin (University of Washington, Trust for Public Land), in conversation with Stokes and Climate Solution's Oregon Transportation Policy Manager Vee Paykar.
Reflecting on the event themes of hope and health, Frumkin noted that "hopeful people are healthier; hopelessness is toxic. Also, hopeful people get more done. And there’s an empirical basis for hope. We have daunting challenges, but also massive victories and unfolding opportunities to take action."
Gupta spoke about the challenges of communicating effectively about the issue of climate, which is so urgent and yet comes across as an abstraction for many people. "Climate change," he said, "and particularly the health consequences of climate change, is a daunting messaging challenge but also possesses massive payoffs when handled successfully. We need to make our messages as specific as possible, talking to people in their terms about things that matter to them."
Our event series continued the following day with our much-anticipated conversation with the author and activist Rebecca Solnit. Her books include The Faraway Nearby, Hope the in Dark, Orwell’s Roses, and The Mother of All Questions; she recently co-launched the web-based project Not Too Late, sharing resources to bring more people into a positive movement responding to climate threats.
In conversation with Climate Solutions' Kimberly Larson, Solnit explored many topics: definitions of hope (“a sunny view of uncertainty”), how mushrooms relate to social change organizing, the ways the climate crisis is also a storytelling crisis, and how climate change is an act of violence that calls on us to change our language to create a better world.
"We need stories saying that we’re living through the most amazing revolution in human history. After billions of years of using fire, we now have the opportunity to harness the fire of the sun."
"Moving from a narrative of sacrifice and austerity to abundance is critical to the continued success of the climate movement. We’re poor in social connectedness, clean air and clean water, and solidarity."
"We’ve done such a good job talking about how awful the climate crisis is and will be, that we’ve stoked a lot of climate despair and doom. We need a new vision beyond survival, of abundance and growth and beauty that goes hand in hand with climate action."
The Hope, Health and Climate events also gave Climate Solutions' Deputy Director Savitha Reddy Pathi the opportunity to summarize some of the organization’s recent accomplishments, as we head into our 25th anniversary year of 2023.
If you are able to offer philanthropic support to our work, our Hope, Health, and Climate Giving Campaign runs through December 31st.
As Savitha said in her remarks, “though the science and trends are overwhelming, it’s not too late...Thank you for facing the climate crisis with us.”