A newly discovered type of transferrable DNA structure with a sci-fi name appears to play a role in balancing atmospheric methane. In Star Trek, the...
Past Presentation | This fictionalized historical thriller interwoven with Hindi cultural meaning is a tribute to the approximately 250,000 people who lost their lives in the world’s worst, man-made dam disaster in 1975 in China. The story of the collapse of the Banqiao dam was not revealed to the world for over 15 years. With a toll worse than that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this film tells that story with The message: The same thing could happen elsewhere in the near future. Dam999, a fact worth waiting for.
Disney’s portrayal of a nonwhite mermaid is only controversial is due to 150 years of whitewashing
Now Playing | The experimental short film ANSAGE ENDE is an artistic reflection on being engaged with the world. Combining fiction and documentary, music and text, this hybrid film calls for a collective and activist approach to the climate crisis. The visually stunning ANSAGE ENDE opens with an imaginative journey through an empty landscape where water meets land. Two characters walk through the mud, away from the viewer, into an open yet unknown future. They fantasize about what our rapidly developing world might bring and question their personal participation in this possible future. Slowly the film moves away from the imaginary into the real. Climate destruction becomes ghastly visible: huge machines in a brown coal mine eat up the soil, searching for energy and profit. Policemen and women enable sawers to cut down the neighboring forest for the expansion of the mine. Young activists occupy the trees, trying to stop the destruction of this primeval forest.
Past Presentation | The film follows an old Cod stuck in a drying pool in the Darling River outback Australia.
Past Presentation | In the aftermath of climate catastrophe, a lonely former environmental activist invites three strange guests over for dinner.
Now Playing | Some teenagers kidnap a kid in the forest and take him to their boss in a cottage.
Coming Soon | A supposedly eco-friendly tour company is guiding tourists through a wooded area with the hopes of glimpsing an elusive, critically endangered animal.
Now Playing | In the near future, the climate crisis reaches an irreversible point. A nun and a priest meet to talk about the disappearance of insects.
Now Playing | When a corporate mining giant moves into a small coastal town looking for gold and talking about trickle down wealth some folks just aren't convinced.
Past Presentation | A sister fights all odds to take care of her younger brother, until things fall apart and she is left with no option but to sell her dignity to save him.
Past Presentation | GSLV Mark3 is a two point of view narration told from a girl and also the ISRO team who wants to launch their GSLV mark 3 satellite into space. There is a beautiful connection between the girl and the rocket which is about to launch.
Now Playing | Water is a precious resource which humanity should use responsibly. Our relationship with Nature should always be guided by reciprocity. Nature protects us all and we in turn should protect natural resources and be sympathetic to the needs of fellow human beings.
Now Playing | After his father's death, Yusuf goes back to his village, which he has not been to for years, and learns that a geothermal company wants to buy his father's agricultural lands and drill a well. He wants to solve problems without disrespecting his father's memory, but things don't go as he hoped.
Now Playing | Jeanne's last cutting tree site has been destroyed by environmental activists. While she tries to save some equipment, she ends up stuck on the first branch of a 30 meters high, centuries-old tree. Her only hope: to climb higher to find some network and call for help.
Past Presentation | Set over one summer in the shadows of Disney World. Precocious 6-year-old Moonee courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother. A striking picture of modern American poverty, but Mary Kaye Schilling (Newsweek) notes it pulses with “joy, life, and natural beauty.”
Past Presentation | A dramatic thriller set in the complex world of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The story is anchored by a working class single Mother who goes on a journey to uncover the cause of her son's mysterious illness. Interwoven are the stories of an Organic farmer in danger of losing his farm, the CEO of a biotechnology corporation trying to save the world, two Scientists on the verge of a major discovery, and an exCop caught in the middle of it all.
Coming Soon | Alfred is the imaginary friend of 9-year-old Daniel. They have come to Iran from England to visit. Daniel’s Iranian grandparents. Dani forgets his imaginary friend. Alfred suddenly finds himself visible to everyone. He accidentally sees a fat girl who is an imaginary friend too. Since she also has this problem. They decide to go to an office where they have seen an advertisement. The Office helps imaginary friends who have lost their abilities and are now visible to everyone.
Past Presentation | Kalpataru: (A wish-fulfilling, divine tree in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.) The story highlights the importance of environment conservation. An ordinary laborer loses his young adult son. Doctors attribute his son's untimely death to medical conditions exacerbated by pollution. The man connects the importance of good health to clean, pure air and takes it upon himself to plant trees in hopes of saving others from the same fate his son suffered. Witness a determined man's decades-long journey, fraught with obstacles, drama, and hope for a better future.
Past Presentation | The Age of Stupid is the new four-year epic from McLibel director Franny Armstrong. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
Now Playing | The main character, Young-eun, lives with her mother, a haenyo diver, in a fishing village on Jeju Island. She learns eco-friendly photography from her friend Seung-hwan, who is a beachcomber. One day, her mother gets caught in a discarded net submerged in the sea and drowns. Young-eun moves away from Jeju and returns two years later for her mother’s death anniversary. She decides to begin taking pictures of sea debris on beaches, and Seung-hwan leaves the island to find a giant floating trash island in the Pacific Ocean on a boat made of recycled materials.
Now Playing | An old couple are living in an apartment, the man is sleeping and the woman is doing housework. The lady wants to change the fishbowl’s water but it slips out of her hand and falls on the ground. They've ran out of water and there’s no water for the fish. But with the help of the man they find water.
Past Presentation | Zack is more interested in the small world of his smart phone than the larger world around him. His online request for a roommate is answered by Molly, a tech-savvy dumbo octopus on a mission to tell the world about the importance of the deep ocean. Molly wants to use Zack’s apartment for her global communications headquarters, but Zack is skeptical. To win Zack over, Molly takes him to her deep ocean home in the Gulf of Mexico to see its unique features and diverse marine life, and to help him understand how human activities threaten its health.
Now Playing | Two friends live in the Qubaibah village Northwest of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).Those young men are forced to leave their daily life concerns after the water was cut off from their area two weeks ago by the Israeli occupation closing the feeding line.Those two characters go on a dangerous journey to an area close to their village to try to reach the water spring captured by the Israeli military occupation as they took over the land, sky, and air in Palestine. On their journey, some things happen that change the course of events with an unexpected end.
Past Presentation | A charismatic radio DJ in Hiroshima, is so disillusioned he wants to quit his job. The years have drained all the passion he had for speaking into a microphone and it's all he can do to turn up for work every day without being drunk. One day, the radio DJ saves a young girl who is about to fall off a bridge. This girl pleads with him not to leave radio because the radio helps connect people. But he doesn't believe her. But then a series of strange events that revolve around even stranger characters occur, and he is forced to a realization. The radio DJ start opening to the invisible connection between the radio and the people of Hiroshima in a magical way.
...more pollutants seep into the water as it travels further into the city, and Loblolly Park is a perfect example. Oil from cars, discarded trash, and animal waste from the roads, businesses, and apartments surrounding the park are swept up in the surface runoff. The runoff flows into the creek and contaminates the water.
Green Acre Park is an important stop along the creek’s journey and another example of how a community exists side by side with the natural resources that sustain it. For the residents that live near the park, and for the city of Gainesville as a whole, the protection and preservation of Hogtown Creek is vital to ensuring that future generations will have clean drinking water for years to come.
The streams near the trail pass through wetlands, which play a vital role in filtering out pollution from the water. Despite the sanitary start, the creek collects pollutants as it leaves the wetlands and flows further into the city. Runoff carrying chemicals, animal waste, and even trash seep into the creek as it travels, and these pollutants eventually end up in the aquifer, which Gainesville relies on for its drinking water.
The binge-worthy thriller views economic anxiety and the green transition through the eyes of North Sea oil workers
Now Playing | The spirit of a movement that sometimes reminds us of our young revolutionary self, who still believed that he:she could change the world. This green filmed documentary mirrors the global situation and the diversity of climate change related activism.6 continents, 3 dozen filmmakers, countless activists and seasoned scientists. It is not about just one person but about many who stand up. TripleF*** is a documentary on the global climate movement, containing material from six continents (North - and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Antarctica), filmed green by cooperating film teams on site. The topic of climate activism itself as a protagonist takes us on a global journey to activists' lives and forms a dialogue within. Why did so many young people became activists? What is life as an activist like, how do they deal with political stagnation, harsh criticism and even threats and why do they still continue? Very personal but not private - to protect the activists' privacy, sensitive topics are woven in as a fictional part. This is the first of 5 Episodes. In this episode, which also stands for itself as a midlength film, the history of climate change related activism is highlighted. In its core spirit of a holistic approach, the project is been realized similarly to its topic of the climate activists' movement: independent, global, green.
Voting on election day is job one, but the planet needs your civic commitment every other day of the year, too. The post 30 Ways Environmentalists Can Participate in Democracy appeared first on The Revelator.
A visit with David Quammen, who confronted in COVID a story that refused to stay at a safe distance
Let's look back at people we lost in 2022 who left their mark on the planet (for better or worse).Joe HazelwoodUntil one night in March 1989, Joe Hazelwood was at the pinnacle of his profession, bringing in the big bucks as a supertanker skipper.After a night of what the captain later admitted was heavy drinking, he retired to his cabin, leaving a third mate to skipper the 986-foot Exxon Valdez out of port and on its way to an 11 million gallon disaster. Hazelwood died in July.Hazel Henderson and Herman DalyEconomics is called the “dismal science,” and the environmental field often yields dismal news. This year we lost the only two economists brilliant enough to marry the dismal science to the dismal news and have it make sense. Hazel Henderson died in May. She popularized the phrase “think globally, act locally,” and advocated redefining a strong economy as embracing good health and quality of life, and not just a healthy bank balance and stock portfolio. Herman Daly developed the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) with fellow economist John Cobb. It’s meant to challenge the standard of Gross Domestic Product, the rather coldhearted means of measuring wealth by dollars only. Health, happiness and ethics be damned. Daly died in October.Pat MichaelsPat Michaels is arguably the most ironic Nobel Peace Prize laureate ever. He shared the 2007 prize with Al Gore and 1,500 other scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change despite his status as the go-to scientist for climate change deniers.Garrulous and always available, Michaels bristled at the term “denier,” but he filled the role nicely for groups like the Western Fuels Association, a coal industry trade group. He died in July.Dave ForemanDisillusioned by his job as a lobbyist for the Wilderness Society and inspired by novelist Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, Dave Foreman and Mike Roselle founded Earth First! in 1980. They were the consummate eco-hellraisers, rolling a huge plastic “crack” down the face of the Glen Canyon Dam. In later years, he founded The Rewilding Institute to advocate for turning developed land back to nature. Foreman died in September.Mike DavisOctober saw the passing of author Mike Davis, whose 1990 book Los Angeles, City of Quartz took L.A.’s growth from desert mission to megalopolis, and what it all means for the future.Dom Phillips and Bruno PereiraIn June, journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were murdered deep in the Amazon rainforest. Brazilian authorities arrested three men a month later.Donald McEachin and Don YoungTwo members of Congress who were respectively stalwarts for and against environmental regulation died in 2022. A. Donald McEachin, (D-Va.) died in November shortly after winning his fourth term. An ardent environmentalist from the low-lying Hampton Roads area, McEachin scored 96% on the League of Conservation Voters scorecard in 2021. Don Young, the gruff Alaskan, made 36% on LCV’s 2021 card. That’s positively angelic for a Republican. But he remained a fierce defender of the fossil fuel, mining and timber industries till his death in March.Sheila O’DonnellSheila O’Donnell died in October after a long battle with cancer. As a hellraiser for various progressive causes, she became a licensed private investigator – a rarity in a field long dominated by men. “Dick-less Tracy,” as she was affectionately known by many colleagues, took on mostly pro bono cases for the anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance, Greenpeace and the animal rights group PETA.In 1995, she worked for Earth First! activists Judy Bari and Darrell Cherney, who were accused of blowing themselves up with a pipe bomb. The two eventually won a lawsuit against the Oakland, California, Police Department and the FBI.O’Donnell also wrote “Common Sense Security,” a frequently-updated to-do list for activist groups who may be subject to surveillance or infiltration.Gary Strieker My friend and CNN colleague Gary Strieker was a disenchanted banker in Nairobi whose epic mid-life epiphany found him learning how to shoot and edit video about the plundering of a beautiful continent. His work, and audience, went global on CNN for the better part of two decades.Nichelle NicholsThe last, but not least, is the passing of a fictional character who won’t be born for another 200 years. Lt. Nyota Uhura, aka actress Nichelle Nichols, graced the bridge of the Starship Enterprise for the three-year run of the original Star Trek series. As the show ascended to cult status, Nichols became an evangelist and recruiter for science, space and NASA.NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and at least five Space Shuttle astronauts credit Nichols with helping launch their careers. She died in July.Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist and can be reached at email@example.com or @pdykstra.His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher Environmental Health Sciences.
A disparate group of thinkers says we should welcome our demise.
COP27 is covered with logos. But that's just the start of companies' influence.
Beau Taylor Morton joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss tapping into and listening to community power.Morton, the director of environmental health and education for the WE ACT for Environmental Justice organization, also talks about growing up as an outdoorsperson and what healthy partnerships between scientists and community organizers look like.The Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast is a biweekly podcast featuring the stories and big ideas from past and present fellows, as well as others in the field. You can see all of the past episodes here.Listen below to our discussion with Morton, and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher. Agents of Change in Environmental Justice · Beau Taylor Morton on the power of community organizingTranscriptBrian BienkowskiHow are you doing today?Beau Morton Good. How are you?Brian Bienkowski I'm doing excellent. And where are you today? Where are you talking to us from?Beau Morton I'm in, in Brooklyn, New York. It's 65 or so outside.Brian Bienkowski Beautiful. I am in far northern Michigan. And it's usually snowing this time of year and it is 65 here as well. So we both have, we both have some beautiful days, which is delightful. So, Beau, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your upbringing, where you're from and maybe where along the way environmental issues entered your life.Beau Morton Yeah, I'm originally from Seneca, South Carolina, near Clemson University for anyone who's familiar with South Carolina. But my family is historically from Griffin, Georgia. And we both my parents are my both of my parents are four days apart in the same year, and were born in the same town. So they basically, as babies, spent a couple of days together. But my whole family is from Griffin and our family history as enslaved folks really focus on hunting and fishing, farming as well. So hunting and fishing were another good way, to put meat on the table and ensure that there was enough to feed folks. And it's something that my family, my immediate family has always done. And, you know, I can't think of a time where I was ever not playing outside, or like hunting or fishing or, you know, doing all kinds of stuff, living my best outdoor nerd life. So, yeah, I mean, I think that's like the root of, you know, how I entered this space. My brother and my father both work in environmental, you know, environmentally related fields. So my father specifically was a black bear biologist in South Carolina. So we grew up with like, you know, there are baby bears around snakes and alligators, you know, almost you name it. We were catching geese on the summertime and helping to do some of the trackings. So I think that made for a really fun childhood for us both and gave us a lot of opportunities, I think that other young people didn't have. And, you know, it's something we still keep up with, keep up with today. So I think that's that's really you know, how I came into the work. Somehow way shape or form I ended up in New York City. So, you know, at some point like it took a little bit of a pivot but you know, that's the route of my folks and what we care about.Brian Bienkowski I should not assume things but I think you are the first guest that I have this in common with kind of growing up hunting and fishing as kind of the root of, of being interested in nature and the environment, being outside. Because I had a very similar upbringing in Michigan. Very cool. So something you do have in common with some past Fellows is attending an HBCU. And I've had a really good time talking to other fellows about this and their experience. So I saw you did your undergraduate work at Spelman College. Can you told me about that? what that experience was like and what that meant to you and your development?Beau Morton Yeah, it's probably was the only school that I applied to. I applied early decision. I was like, "This is it. If I if I don't get in, I'm gonna have to figure it out. But this is my one choice." And yeah, mostly because my, my great uncle went to Morehouse. And he was a really important figure in our lives for just like pushing us to learn more. And, you know, always calling to check in and all that good stuff. So I ended up attending the sister school Spelman to Morehouse. And it was amazing, I like never regret the choice to have gone there. And, you know, I think just really offered a unique opportunity to get to know, like black communities so much better. And I think this really speaks, I always talk about how black communities aren't a monolith. And I think Spelman really gave me the experience to really experience that and also experienced that through the lens of, of womanhood as well. I love that all of the classes really look through sort of that, that scope specifically. And I grew up in a hometown that had a lot of like, race-related issues. So I think I was like, really ready for, for something different. And, you know, I'm so glad that that opportunity gave me so many, you know, mentors and, and friends who I think are so important to my life. So, you know, wouldn't trade it for the world.Brian Bienkowski You mentioned that black communities are not a monolith. And I'm wondering if there was certain communities, groups, activities within Spelman, that you were involved in that, that spoke to that, or that opened your eyes to new worlds? Or that we're just kind of pivotal in your in your time there?Beau Morton Yeah, I mean, I think that growing up in South Carolina, I mean, you, like we really black for us meant that, like you didn't really know where you came from. And that was sort of it. Like your history is just localized. And I think just meeting so many people from around the world, from different parts of Africa and from the Caribbean communities. And I think I'd never really like engage with other folks in that in that way. And I think even around class, right of like, experiencing different black folks who who have different experiences of class, as well. And I think just, you know, more than anything else, that people identify with blackness in so many different ways, and I thought that was really unique, but there were a lot of strands that sort of tied us together. So I think that, you know, there were a lot of things that felt familiar and felt like home, I did a lot of things I saw in other people that I was like, "oh, like, you know, it's your background is so different from mine. And we look similar, or we don't look similar." And we had to take a class called ADW, which is African diaspora in the world. And I am sure, like other HBCUs have different versions of this, but like, everybody has to take it. And I, I think it really gave us like, the bigger picture of what the diaspora looks like, rather than like, I came from home to this place, and I'm just living in my own, my own tiny, you know, scope and view of things.Brian Bienkowski It seems to me that what you just said, there is a great model for what college could or should be, which is comfortable, you feel comfortable there. But you're also being challenged, and learning and seeing things that aren't comfortable, the kind of that mix of both comfort and kind of new ways of thinking and new people. So I'm glad you experienced that. And I don't know if this was this was part of it or not. But I've been asking everybody, what is the defining moment, up to this point or event that shaped your identity? And this could be personal, professional.Beau Morton Yeah, I think I have I have like two sort of defining moments. I think. Personally, I like remember sort of related to Spelman. The moment when I sort of had the light bulb that I was like, queer, gay. I lived with some friends in a dorm that was related to like being a chapel assistant. There were like, 10 of us who lived in the house. And I remember sitting on the couch and like – it was like my junior year of college, I was sort of trying to like figure stuff out – And I was just sitting on the couch and I was like, "oh, like, I'm, I'm, I'm gay." And I just remember sort of like walking through the house like talking to some of them, and having some of those conversations and I think they all made it a really soft place to land as far as coming out. And I mean, not even just coming out, just like the realization, I think was, was something to sort of grapple with. So I think that's a big defining moment, I think as far as like, shaping not only my own queer identity, but realizing how important community is. And the second more professional one is, I have always been like, you know, a science-fair kid, like, I've always done the science fairs, I've been very competitive in them. And I have always wanted to be like, competitive at the regional level. And so like, by the time I got to seventh grade, I was starting to be real, like, "I don't think it's gonna happen, like, I'm not gonna win regionally, I think this this might be it for me." And I did a project about beaver dams and beaver deterrent. So we basically like create a little opening in the beaver dam and try different deterrence because they'll come back and like and build it up. So that was a little bit different, before I had done projects on like furbearers. And like different sets and using like lime and all that kind of stuff. And I won this award at the regional level called The Pulse of the Planet award. And it's sort of created by NOAA. And that was great, because that was like my, like real green light to, to move towards like science. And I went to a convening a couple of weeks ago, and I met this this person from, from NOAA, and I was telling her like, oh, in sixth grade, I got this award called Pulse of the planet. And it turns out she like many years before, it was the person who created the award for like, the, the, like national science fair group, so it was a real full circle moment. But my parents were very happy because they were like, okay, like, this is the end of science fair projects. Like, no more. You got the award call today, you know,Brian Bienkowski oh, that is so cool. And I am such a big fan of beavers. I just read a book a few years ago. I don't know if you've seen it was by Ben Goldfarb. Gosh, what was the name of it, but it was all about beavers, I'll have to get it to you. And I just fell in love with them. Because we have a lot of them here in the Upper Peninsula. And they are so cool. And the way they kind of shape ecosystems is just magical.Beau Morton Yeah, they're like funny to see in the water that they slap their tails that are kind of scary, like very cool, but like, it's like when you it's like a cool pop culture like beaver. But then when you get up close, you're like, "Ooh, this is...intense. Like you. You go do your own thing. Like, I don't want any trouble," you know, but like, yeah, they're, they're like, very cool that way they can they tell they can change, completely change environments. And it's funny to be like, Yeah, this is caused by like, a couple of animals who just like chew and like, you know, place sticks and mud and like change the whole course of like ponds and rivers and creeks, all that kind of stuff.Brian Bienkowski Totally, I started following them, because I really like brook trout fishing. And a lot of times these beaver dams will be excellent places for brook trout. So Well, thank you so much for sharing that. I'm really glad to hear that you had a support system. On your first, your first moment. And the second one, I'm glad that your seventh grade self didn't have to be rejected at the Science Fair. So I do want to talk about your role now. I think we've had at least two alum from WEACT. I just talked to Ashley James who worked there. And then Ogonaya Dotson Newman, I spoke with her not too long ago. So I think listeners are aware your organization just does so much work and is kind of one of the foremost environmental justice orgs. But can you just give a brief overview of WEACT's work mission and how you got involved?Beau Morton Yeah, so WEACT is a nonprofit that works at the local, state and federal levels, around different environmental issues, programs, policies, all that good stuff, to really make sure that communities, especially communities of color and lower income communities are protected when it comes to environmental injustices and climate injustices. We work around a couple of different areas. So around research and education and environmental health; we do community organizing, as well as policy and advocacy; and, you know, we have folks who work in communications and all of that good stuff as well to really make sure that we're advancing policy and making sure that folks are engaged as far as programs and resources as well. So I think WEACT has been around for 34, 35 years, give or take, and I came to WEACT in pursuit of... I was at work in my my first master's in environmental policy at the New School, and one of my professors and mentor was Dr. Ana Baptiste, and was like, "Hey, I know you're really interested in EJ, you should apply for this internship" and I, you know, was really, you know, looking to get involved in something. So I started at WEACT and basically never left, like seven years ago as an intern. Oganaya and I, we were at, we're, at the same time, we had a sort sort of overlapping. And then I moved to being a Fellow. And by the time I left as a, as a fellow, I was starting out, was looking for a job, I'd finished grad school. And there wasn't sort of a role. So I worked at WEACT as a consultant during, especially during the summer times. And then I taught middle school science, which is by far the toughest job I've ever had. And at some point, I was like, "okay, like middle school sciences is good. And like, I don't know, if I want to be like living middle school every day, like, it's a lot." And the hardest thing I've ever had to do is leave that job. And I left I think, in October, around October, knowing that I wanted to go back to WEACT. And so I ended up being the Environmental Health Manager, and then the, the director. So I feel like I've been very fortunate to see, WEACT in a lot of different seasons, been able to see a couple of environmental health directors before me. So I think that's a pretty, pretty cool and unique aspect of the work and what I do.Brian Bienkowski And you're still using your Education chops. I know part of your role as Director of Environmental Education, and you also have a master's in education. So I was wondering, how does WEACT use education to activate community power?Beau Morton Yeah, I mean, so when we're thinking about how folks get involved in making decisions, when we think about environmental justice, really, as a whole, right, a big part of that is meaningful involvement. Right. It's, it's in, in combination with the fair treatment piece. And I think the question really is how can you be meaningfully involved if you're not informed about the issues? And I think that's sort of a complex thing, because a lot of our members, all of our members really bring their own expertise into the work through their, their their experiences. But I think as far as education wanting to make sure that people have the knowledge that they need to survive and thrive, engage politically, when it comes to environmental injustices and climate injustices, is that they they know what to do, they know what's going on, they they're able to really work on critically thinking about these issues. And we don't really get that education in school. And, you know, because it's not required, it's sort of like, ends up on luck, right? Like, how are you supposed to know that you can't tell whether or not you have led paint in your walls by like, you know, you can't tell by looking at the paint on the walls, you have to get it tested. If no one tells you like in school, right? If you're not necessarily like studying some of those topics, and same around like food injustice and all of these other topics. So we created a program about 20 years ago called The Environmental Health and Justice leadership training. It was the first project I worked on as an intern that really focused on adults at first. And then we added a huge component of making sure that our community members were informed and engaged to be able to work on different campaigns that we focus on. Our work is really about community in any way that we can support folks and what areas that they might want to sharpen their skills on, is really important to to us. And I think we we've also expanded our educational work to really include focusing on advocating in the educational realm that climate change and climate justice and climate health topics are included in K through 12 curriculum, that that's really important, knowing that the challenges that will come for our young people that they are prepared to think critically to, you know, engage their elected officials on these these topics is really, it's really key. I mean, I think right before the pandemic, we saw a lot of the youth strikes and student strikes around climate injustice is really start to pop up around different cities. And I think an extension of that is making sure that people have information and the knowledge that they need to combat these these issues, especially frontline communities and environmental justice communities who are going to be impacted first and worst, who have already been impacted historically by environmental degradation and discrimination and environmental racism.Brian Bienkowski When I think of WEACT I often think of just being incredibly member focused kind of community focused and member driven. And you have a large inactive membership base. And I'm wondering, what are some of the most memorable things you've learned from your members? Or if there's a story about interacting with a member of community that changed how you thought about an EJ issue?Beau Morton Yeah, I mean, we we do engage very, very closely with our members. I know, we were working on our, our Healthy Homes Campaign, it was very interesting campaign because I, you know, confessed to not having at the time, especially not a lot of experience around public housing. So I'm supposed to be running this campaign around public housing and health and public housing. And, you know, it was really interesting, I think, to see what people chose as a topic, and the topic that people really wanted to focus on was safety, safety and security, and WEACT don't focus on safety and security as the full, you know, the full thing that we do, but, you know, this is the the work that they are leading. And so, I think it was very interesting to try to make safety and security, the case for safety and security as a health determinant when we think about environmental INjustices. But I think of a couple of key members one member I have in mind who came to the meetings and you know, when you're, you're putting programs together, you're like, alright, like this is gonna be ready to do had the program and the outline. And every time he would just come in and like eviscerate, like, you know, the thing that we had planned and not in like, a malicious way, right? But like, I think just really wanting to make sure that the, the, the building of the platform reflected what the people wanted. And I think the real understanding that, like, we don't have to organize people, people are already organizing amongst themselves. So you know, part of that is just, you know, meeting people where they, they're at, in their own organizing, and it's nice, I think, to see him around at membership meetings, he decided to stay on as a member, after we finished that campaign, and, you know, I think it's always a great, you know, a great thing to, to do, especially when you're not necessarily at odds, but in some of those deep discussions, you know, making those connections, I think can really expose you to a different way of putting together programming and, and thinking about the way that you do things. One of my favorite educational things that I got from, you know, from Ed pedagogy, was trying to use students like prior knowledge as a basis of, you know, where you start, like, that's a big part of it. And then sort of scaffolding, they're using, you know, the, you know, Zone of Proximal Development, right? like, where people can best learn. And I think that really sort of clicked with me where I was like, "all right, like, it's a very similar thing of, of, you know, you don't have to start from scratch, you canwork with members' experiences, and you know, sometimes you're not like the, the person to come in and do a thing, right?" you're you're there to support you're there to uplift folks, and really create pedestals for them to be able to do their work. But I think that was a good learning. And I think one of the things that, you know, it's sort of in the back of your head, but like, really came to the front end and doing that work. So something I keep in mind moving forward when I engage with with members and do that work.Brian Bienkowski So on the flip side of working with members, you've worked with a lot of academics, during your time at WEACT. Can you share some positive? Or maybe some not so positive experience of working with academics? And what do you think makes or breaks these types of collaborations?Beau Morton Yeah, I mean, I think I'm not so positive, I think there are a lot of experiences where, where we, like, go into doing work as a community partner, but only to like, bring people into the work and that sort of it like, "Hey, I'm reaching out to you, as a researcher, and I sort of want to want to use your members or the folks that you organize a sort of testers for this research that I'm doing." When research, those collaborations really need to be about partnerships, right? How do you create partnerships that are really meaningful, and I think we do a lot of that work successfully with Columbia University and thinking about how we engage with with those folks as partners, I think that we have a lot of really good experiences. Especially, you know, I think in research, giving the community partner a lot of space to sort of determine what their role will be and sort of encouraging that they get in as good as they can. But I think the budgeting piece is also really big, right of like, making sure you're paying your community partners accurately for their time. You know, a lot of people think about the numbers and the people but don't take account into the organizing pieces, or the barriers as far as like knowledge, right? Like, we have people from all walks of life who are WEACT members. And you know, sometimes it's not the assumption that like, they don't know the material, sometimes they know the material really well, right Other times, they have no clue what you're talking about. And so those experiences I think, are just really different depending on who you are, and who you're working with, but definitely are like, a case by case basis of doing the work. And I think always like reaching out to make connections ahead of time, it's the best thing you can do. I think about we had the WEACT gala recently, and one academic institution that we we sort of had, like, looser relationships with. And, you know, we've been working on this grant sort of, on and off, and, you know, our relationship sort of haven't been upfront, but they sort of came and found me at the gala, which I thought was really nice. And they like, came really based off of the relationship that we were building. And I think like stuff like that means a lot to us when you show up to our events when you show up. And, you know, just say, Hey, I'm so excited to work with you. Like, I think that that, you know, not only is good for like a staff member, but especially when you come to community events, right? People can see you engaged and wanting to be in the work not only as a researcher, but you're invested in the community and sort of the wider perspective of human life, right. It's not all about the science, but it's also about the people who are doing the work, who are being impacted, who are on the outskirts of the work. And, you know, they're not just numbers, you know.Brian Bienkowski So clearly, I won't ask you to name names, but I am happy to hear that Columbia has been a good partner. And we did not tell Beau to say that. That was that was completely on their own. They're not sponsored by us, That's right. That's right. Speaking of Columbia, so our founder here at Agents of Change Dr. Ami Zota, did a toxics education event with WEACT during Pride Week. This is an underserved group, I hadn't really thought about this, or people aren't working in this space enough. And I was wondering if you could speak to the intersection of environmental issues in the LGBTQIA community and some of your activism in this space.Beau Morton So we have a campaign called the Beauty Inside Out campaign, which really focuses on women of color and then identifying folks of color who use personal care products, makeup, cosmetics, any of those things, and really focusing on the the chemicals that are in them and what type of exposure they have to folks' bodies, right? Whether that's reproductive harm, whether that's like, endocrine disrupters, right. They're all these things that are, you know, put into cosmetics that are harmful. Specifically, when we think about those groups, there's a disproportionate impact, especially when we think about what type of products people can afford, when we think about the cost of making products that have harmful chemicals, right, there's a big gap. Especially when we look at women of color, and femme-identifying folks of color, and their exposure, right? In doing this work, I think it's always just funny in like, I always tell people like working at WEACT is great, because you can really make the work that you want, like down the road. So at some point, I believe Ogonaya and two of the environmental health directors in the past really built up this campaign around Beauty Inside Out. And at some point, it sort of, it sort of ended up with me. And I think as someone who identifies as like trans non-binary, who was assigned female at birth, I like, I like understand the work, I understand, like, I think in my own experience of like, having had perms, having had relaxers, having to fight with my mom about my hair and you know, having her half-drowning me in the sink, you know, trying to, you know, trying to detangle my hair, like, I have all those experiences. And I think that makes it really valuable part of the work. And I think also just thinking about as someone who's like, who's and engaging in like, hormone therapy, that there are a lot of different aspects of this work that like might apply to me and might not apply to me. And I think in the larger scope, right, thinking about gender, right? gender, and our perception of gender, I think has changed so much over the past 10 years, over the fast past five years, over the past two years, and that there are more folks who are identifying as non-binary who are sort of changing the... maybe using different products based on gender, right? I think I hear from a lot of people, like folks who identify as women as well, sometimes use men's deodorant because I feel like it holds up stronger. A lot of times, right, like, you know, I, we did a panel or with with drag queens because I really was like, this is a group of folks who may or may not identify as, as women, but who are using, you know, these cosmetics that we're telling people not to use really heavily, like not even just like, "my exposure is I put this on every blue moon, but I'm in this makeup like six hours every day. Right?" And that's a group of folks who may not specifically identify with this campaign, maybe they do. But there are folks who also should know about, about this work. And yeah, so like, it's the work I feel like is shifting according to gender. And you know, that when we think about the construct of gender, the gender binary, I think it's something that's getting challenged a little more often than not, and I think that's a big, a big part of this work, while also understanding that, right, like that is a piece of the work and that the, there's the large focus on folks who identify as women of color, femme-identifying folks, and, you know, traditionally what we've seen. So yeah, I think definitely something to think about. There are a lot of folks who I think just just also fall through the cracks when we think about this work. And it's worth it to have a wider lens when we think about personal personal care products, product use in general. And yeah, I think, as you go on generations tend to, to challenge tradition. And you know, I think that that doesn't, you know, isn't the beauty in haircare products, cosmetic industries are not exempt from that as well. I wonder if in this before we switch gears a little bit. One last question about WEACT, whether it's in this campaign and space or another one, are there any kind of recent victories things you're working on that people need to know about? I just want to kind of give you some space here if there's anything kind of worth noting about kind of current happenings at WEACT. Yeah, so we are still running Beauty Inside Out campaign, we actually just had a great DIY session with a lot of young folks in partnership with Columbia's children's center around DIY beauty products – a large part of our campaign as well as focusing on young folks– And we've been doing surveys for youth and adults around what they think about (youth and adult women of color, femme-identifying folks) around what they think about personal care, haircare products, what they think about the Eurocentric standards, and how they choose products and all that good, all that good stuff. So our youth surveys are still still ongoing as far as like, collection, but the adult survey information is, is out and we'll be really trying to rally around that soon. The other thing I was gonna highlight is, as far as educational work, we have a couple of HLT cohorts that will probably be launching at the end of... maybe one at the end of this year, but a lot more in 2023 for both youth and adults. And so that's an opportunity to learn about a lot of different environmental justice issues and histories behind environmental justice and climate justice that you may not be, you know, getting from school or the internet and all of that good stuff. And we also have a climate resiliency and education taskforce that we co-lead with the National Wildlife Federation. And that is a group of teachers, educators, folks who work in nonprofits, all that, who are really working on making sure that climate change, climate justice and climate health are included in K through 12 standards in New York State. And really beyond that, right, like making sure beyond K through 12, thinking about workforce and all this other opportunities, as you know, between the age range of, you know, being very young, up until age 25. Like what are the ways that we can get young folks aware of these issues at large? So we have a very strong core of young folks who are working on these issues with us and hope to be launching our platform around this work within the next year. I highly encourage folks if you're interested to become WEACT member, I think it's like $25 Um, a year but that we, you know, gives you a lot more access into the work that we do, our working groups, insight into our campaigns. And we also have a newsletter, the newsletter is the best way to get really good insight on happenings at WEACT, as well as our social media. I think we're on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. So those are three, three good areas to follow our work.Brian Bienkowski Excellent. We will encourage folks to check that out. And Bo, I like to end with some I have a few more questions. And we kind of veer from the professional into the fun (or hopefully fun), I wanted to circle back first on the outdoors. So I was going to ask you kind of what you like to do outside, but it sounds like at some point that was hunting and fishing. But what now that you're living in Brooklyn, what does kind of nature and the outdoors mean to you now? And if you do get to still go hunting and fishing, what does that look like for you?Beau Morton Yeah, we do. My wife and I go down south for our hunting and fishing, which is great. We bought a rifle, invested as a family on a rifle. So during the winter season, hunting is a is a big thing for us. Summertime, fishing. I do a lot of watercolor painting. I started in February as a stress reliever. And I have not dropped it yet. SoBrian Bienkowski Oh, that's great.Beau Morton You know, a lot of outdoor painting.Brian Bienkowski That's so cool. So I was thinking about... I actually had a two month sabbatical at the end of the summer, early fall here. And I was talking to my wife, I was taking these pictures, I would take our Beagle, our dog out on lakes and rivers and I kept taking pictures and told her that I want to try to do watercolors this winter. So maybe I'll be emailing you with some beginner tips –what I should be doing or not doing.Beau Morton For sure. I started on the day that that Russia invaded Ukraine, and I was just so stressed out. And then I was watching Bob Ross on Hulu, because all of those things on there, and I was just like, this is the vibe that I need right now. Because my brain is like exploding and and Bob Ross has, you know, led the way to, you know, to my new artists life. So anything, any tips, or ideas? I'm happy to share?Brian Bienkowski Nice. Well, I got the beard. So I'm like a quarter quarter of the way to Bob Ross status. Next question is what is the best piece of advice that you've ever been given?Beau Morton Yeah, my grandfather used all the southern sayings, you know, so my grandfather used to say "what's for you, is for you," which I think is really helpful for reminding me like, regardless of what happens, like leave it up to the universe and see, you know, see what comes of it. So I think that's something I carry with me.Brian Bienkowski Excellent. Now I have three quick, rapid fire questions you can just answer with a word or a phrase. And the first one, I don't know how you celebrate holidays, or if you do, but we all get some time off, hopefully. So your number one priority over the holidays is to... blank.Beau Morton Binge-watch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."Brian Bienkowski I was on the edge of my seat for the show. That's an excellent one. If I could have dinner with one person, it would beBeau Morton Maybe Audrey Lauren My favorite season is Winter.Brian Bienkowski And the last book you read for fun.Beau Morton They're not like fun books. But this book called Man' o' War is about a high school diver transitioning and another one. I can't remember the author's name. It's called God says no. It's about this southern, this man in Charleston, who, you know, he has realized that he's gay but decides to live a straight life. And then at some point, you know, he sorts of throws it out to the wind. And so it's about his, his journey. Both fiction.Brian Bienkowski Well, Bo, one of the best parts of this job is getting to meet new people. And I've really enjoyed this and I appreciate you making time today.Beau Morton Absolutely. Thanks for having me. And I hope folks that are interested check out WEACT and follow our work.Brian Bienkowski That's all for this week, folks. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Beau. If you enjoy this podcast, visit agentsofchangeinej.org and click the donate button to support u
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