I've just completed my first two weeks in Terra's Learning for Climate Action Bootcamp. It's been an incredible experience so far. I've been super impressed with the quality of their learning platform (a product they've designed and built from scratch) as well as the experience going through the course as well.
You can tell this has been setup by very driven and successful people. They make it hard to fall through the cracks. They go above and beyond to clarify what's expected of fellows and how to make the most of the course.
They also invest heavily in their community with a full-time community manager, a mentorship program and loads of events running alongside the bootcamp. It's by far the best online learning experience I've had to date. If you're considering this course, I highly recommend it.
The course designers have put together an optional Personal Reflection Series which contains a variety of questions to aid personal reflection when going through the bootcamp. In the spirit of building (and learning) in the open, I'm sharing my experience here:
Q1: Can you think of any way that your personal skills and experiences could either advance or contribute to the field of climate science?
Note: Limit your consideration to climate science! Not politics, economics, or mitigation of climate change. Feel free to include climate science communications or education too as something you consider.
A: My first reaction would be to assume that I'd need to engage in extended formal education before I could make any meaningful contribution to the field of climate science.
But considering climate science communications and education, I think there is one thing I could do to help:
In the same way that I've begun distilling insights from the science of well-being into a simple habits through a free weekly newsletter, I could do the same for climate science. Every week, I could share one specific behavior that anyone can do to respond meaningfully to the climate crisis.
People could subscribe, skim the newsletters and then pick whichever ones they actually wanted to do. It would be super quick, light-weight and easy to do. Read and digest in 5 mins or less. No guilt, no shame. Just actionable insights made easy.
I could call it Happy Planet? Something like that...
Q2: Find and list 2-3 organizations, institutions, agencies, and individuals that are doing climate science in your country/region.
Note: Is there a dream job in the world of climate science that you would like to do (assuming you had the skills and experience)? It’s OK to skip this question if you’re not drawn to work in this field.
A: Great prompt. I knew there's a great climate science program at UEA, but I hadn't really looked much into it. Dr. Heinrike Schroder of UEA gave a great talk about COP-26 as our first event in the cohort which was a great reminder of this.
But looking further into this, there's a massive community here at UEA around climate science and climate action. Just registered at an upcoming event, so grateful for the prompt to look close to home!
Q3: What thoughts and feelings come up for you as you go through these science classes?
Note: Is there a particular time of day, mood, or space that you prefer to be in when accessing the course material? Think and reflect about when, how, and where is the best time/space for you to take this in while maintaining your emotional resilience and work-life balance. If you are a verbal processor, do you need to talk to someone about what you’re learning? Feel free to set up a Zoom chat with your fellow learners, or make time to discuss with those around you. If you are more artistic, creative, or introverted, how can you channel these emotions into art, meditation, or other creative outlets?
A: In going through the course material, I quickly recognized from my breathing patterns that I was experiencing a lot of distress. This is terrifying.
I noticed that my mind was projecting to my future and how my children will suffer.
I started getting angry at my father and all his climate denialist buddies in the Republican party.
I wanted my brother (who works at a top VC firm in Palo Alto) and his brilliant network to shift all their efforts to focusing on the climate crisis.
I became aware of an intense surge of desire to do something—do anything—do everything I can to respond to this crisis.
This is the one planet we've got. And we're destroying it. All because of money—a system we designed.
If we hit any of these 9 tipping points, we may go beyond the point of no return. Our planet will become largely uninhabitable
WHY AREN'T OUR GOVERNMENTS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?
Then I realized I needed to get through the course material. So I centered my breath (slowly, in and out through my nose) and decided to do my best to explore the material without projecting into the future—to just look at it without judgement. I vowed to try and explore it in a curious and playful way, as best I could.
Then watching Chip Fletcher's Climate Science 101 hit me with another wave.
He concluded it really nicely:
I want you to experience grief. Ecological grief is an official psychosis now. It's a recognition of the loss of the natural world.
We have one planet.
Now, you need to embrace your grief. The solution to grief is action.
Falling into depression or a morose state is not going to help anybody. We can never, never give up on this.
If we don't make 1.5°C, we need to go for 1.6°C.
All the tools need to be deployed. Non-violent civil disobedience is being deployed. These need to ramp up again as we come out of the pandemic.
And we need to elect leaders who we really put on the spot in terms of climate change.
Talk about it. Embrace it. Study it.
So that's what I'm doing.
Check out my evolving Twitter list called "Climate Change" which features the top people and organizations who are working on understanding and solving this problem: Climate Change
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Thanks for dipping in to explore my climate journey. Hope it was helpful in some way.