Is the bad weather news caused by climate change getting you down? Same here. Since the bushfires in Australia in early 2020, I've been making a big effort to curate my climate news to be mostly good and hopeful. Because the anger that fired my engines for so many years turned into despair, and it turns out despair leaves you stuck in bed, rather than out doing something to stop all this from happening. These days, my engines are slowly chugging along thanks to hope, in part restored by the podcasts, books and articles in this list.
I hope they help you feel better too!
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson
This book is like a hug from 61 other women who 100% get it. They get the frustration, the sadness, and the exhaustion. And they're here to tell you that while we have every right to feel all those things (some of the contributions in here will make you feel those things, but we feel them together), there are so many reasons to feel hopeful too. I'm nowhere near finished with this book, but it's my go to when I need some good news straight away to counteract something sad I've just seen or read.
Here's a fun stat from an essay in the book called Solutions at Sea by Emily Stengel to give you a little boost right now:
'A recent World Bank report states that farming regenerative species [of seaweed] in less than 5 percent of U.S waters could produce protein equivalent to three trillion cheese burgers, create more than fifty million new jobs, and absorb ten million tonnes of nitrogen and 135 million tons of carbon per year - all with no freshwater or chemical inputs'
This podcast is also from Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (a hero) and radio host Alex Blumberg (does a great job of making it fun). They answer questions like "are electric vehicles actually a climate solution?" and "should we consider nuclear power as an option to help solve the climate crisis"? My personal favourite How to Save A Planet episode so far was about the Yurok Tribe in California buying back their land and restoring it to what it was pre colonisation. The salmon are coming back to the river and they even talk about getting beavers to help them make the area more fire resistant by building dams. My heart was singing! This podcast allows me to not only imagine what a better future will look like, but makes me realise that the future is already here, wedging its way through the door. From new ways of farming, new ways of producing energy, to taking better care of communities' health. So many better ways, and so much hope.
This title doesn't sound promising, I know. But what it should be called is 'The world and everyone in Australia except the government is embracing climate action. So why isn't the government?'
Over 15 minutes, it covers a big list of all the actions being taken by different countries everywhere, and then goes on to explain how big money in Australia is seeing that there's no use in lagging behind. Basically don't worry, we're going to get there, likely dragging our government kicking and screaming behind us.
I know this is very Australia specific, but if you're reading this from outside Oz (I'm writing this as an Australian living in London) I can tell you, Australian climate activists have got it rough - they need the specific things.
Today on 7am, how Australia is being left isolated and economically vulnerable. Listen now. https://t.co/oSKTW15YRC
#auspol #climatechange #renewables #china #japan #trade
— 7am (@7ampodcast) February 2, 2021
Scott Morrison's climate crab walk - The Signal
I don't know if I can classify this as great news exactly, but if the image of the Australian government being dragged along kicking and screaming sparked joy for you, it's likely you will also enjoy this episode of the Signal. 20 minutes of schadenfreude. Satisfying stuff.
Why I'm feeling hopeful about the environment in 2021 by Tom Heap for the BBC
A quick list of awesome new technologies and ideas fixing problems. I smiled extra big at the stat about wind power having the potential to power the whole world.
The Outrage and Optimism podcast
This podcast is from stubborn optimist and climate negotiator Christiana Figueres with Paul Dickinson and Tom Rivett-Carnac. It really drills down into the specifics of policy and governance needed to make solutions happen. It's basically a slightly more complicated (read: nerdy), less cute version of How to Save a Planet. I really enjoy their good news round ups at the start of each episode especially.
#OutrageAndOptimism with @OliverJeffers: the power of #art to force a reassessment of our purpose on 🌎 & shifting motivations from personal to collective
+ we pass a 🎙️ to Presidio performing Clockout!
Subscribe https://t.co/hL8rjhyFsq#StubbornOptimists @CFigueres @tomcarnac pic.twitter.com/aP4AT9M5tW
— Global Optimism (@GlobalOptimism) February 12, 2021
And of course, 1 Million Women is also all about creating a sense of hope to drive action. Turn on notifications for posts from 1 Million Women on Instagram, or add 1 Million Women to your Newsfeed favourites on Facebook. There will almost always be something there to lift you up!
Written by Grace Liley
Grace Liley is the former Head of Social Media at 1 Million Women. She convinces people to do life admin for the sake of the planet. (Hey, have you switched your banking and energy over yet?) Check out more of her work here.