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The opposite of climate doomerism is climate action. Join us as Haley Littleton and Kandice Cleveland from WRA ignite our enthusiasm for the path to a “Bright Climate Future.” Our guests unravel the cord of climate action and resilience, casting a beacon of hope as we approach the 2024 election year. Together, we dissect the remarkable progress in renewable energy, discuss the importance of down-ballot voting, and envision a future where all people and environments thrive. Our conversation isn’t just about highlighting achievements; it’s about acknowledging the power each of us holds in our hands—the power to vote, act, and inspire a sustainable tomorrow.
Your sense of agency is about to get a turbo boost. We confront the beast of climate despair, laying bare the disconnect between the public’s environmental aspirations and the responses—or lack thereof—of those steering the ship. The Bright Climate Future campaign is our collective rallying cry, equipping you with the tools and motivation to take a stand. Art and imagery become our allies, painting a picture where everyone has a role in crafting a positive narrative to enact real change. By the end of our chat, you’ll be brimming with the understanding that your voice, your actions, and even your garden choices can contribute to our planet’s resilience.
As we wrap up our heartening exchange, consider this your invitation to join a movement bristling with optimism and action. Get the lowdown on how to make informed decisions, and why sharing success stories amplifies our collective impact. Let’s turn pledges into palpable change, wear our commitment like a badge of honor, and use the power of social networks to rally the troops. As we envisage a community vibrant with climate champions, our discussion serves as a promise that a thriving planet isn’t just a dream—it’s a future we’re shaping together, one pledge, one policy, one pin at a time.
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What does a bright climate future look like to you?
Create a 40-second voice memo telling us what your bright climate future looks like and email it to us at Jessi.Janusee@westernresources.org. We would love to feature you on our next podcast episode! Also, don’t forget to take our Bright Climate Pledge and add your voice to our community of climate advocates!
Your Bright Climate Future
- Read this Forbes article about the power of climate optimists
- Learn why former UN Climate Chief says we need to balance outrage with optimism
- Check out the Climate Resolutions Toolkit for 2024
- Read this Times article about urgent optimism saving the world
- Use the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit to learn how you can help
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing WRA
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer WRA
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 00:01
If you’re tuning in to 2 Degrees Out West, you are probably a climate advocate, which can seem like a daunting thing to be, but one thing we always need to remember is that although climate impacts are increasing, so are climate actions. We have lots of things to be celebrating, like that the cost of solar power has fallen by around 90% and wind by 70% in the past decade. While emissions are still creeping up a little bit, they are falling in more than 30 countries, including most of Europe and the US. Another great win is that deforestation of the Amazon fell by 55.8% this year, which means that our world is breathing better. And these are just some of the climate victories that we’ve seen in 2023, and we know that there’s going to be even more in 2024. This year at WRA, we are focusing on a bright climate future, which is all about climate action, climate resilience, working together to make sure that our voices are heard, and that we are protecting the west to create that bright climate future for ourselves and for future generations.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 01:03
But we’re hopeful because we know what the challenge is and we have seen progress.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 01:09
On this episode, we talk with Haley Littleton and Kandice Cleveland from WRA about what they’re excited about for this campaign and what a bright climate future looks like for them. Welcome to Two Degrees Out West, a podcast where we celebrate all the things that we love about the Western United States and the stories of the people who are working to make this place thriving and beautiful for generations to come. I’m your host, Jessi Janusee, the multimedia storyteller here at WRA. Now let’s start talking about a bright climate future.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 01:38
Hi, I’m Kandice Cleveland. I’m the graphic designer here at WRA. I’ve been here since 2021 and I work on our publications and I also offer social support. I’ll kick it over to Haley.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 01:52
Yeah, hi, I’m Haley Littleton. I am the associate director of marketing at WRA. I’ve been here since 2022 and I focus on our brand messaging and all of our digital integrated marketing strategies.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 02:08
Awesome. Thanks for the intro, okay, so on this episode we’re talking about the Bright Climate Future campaign that WRA is doing, and I want to just start by asking all about that campaign and why it’s the focus of 2024.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 02:22
Yeah, I can jump in on this.
So, as we were thinking about 2024, it being a major election year, we were having conversations of that,
There’s going to be a lot of focus on the digital space, a lot of conversation, a lot of things happening online, and how could WRA really share our unique perspective, our unique expertise and be sort of a calm, educated, comforting voice in the midst of a lot of confusion and chaos?
I think that navigating an election year can really feel like you’re trying to find your way in the dark. It’s confusing, it can be a little scary, it’s seemingly endless and, with all of our busy lives and responsibilities in these big election years, it can feel really daunting to try to understand all of the candidates’ different positions and policies on climate change, and it can also really be hard to know what makes a real difference when you’re getting these news of droughts and wildfires and environmental injustices and air pollution. And so we really wanted to sort of step in and help with this Bright Climate Future campaign because, as you both know, at WRA we really are hopeful and we believe that a bright climate future is possible, and so we really wanted to take this moment to share sort of our unique expertise and our solutions and our work and help people you know feel a little bit more hopeful about our climate future, rather than scared or apathetic or jaded.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 04:00
That’s exactly right, Haley. I would also add that, as you mentioned, it resembles hope, but it also encourages folks to vote with climate in mind and it reminds them that you know they can make decisions now to benefit people, communities and ecosystems in the future as well.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 04:17
Yeah, I think that piece about really motivating folks and making them feel like they do have agency because they absolutely do is so important. So, thanks for adding that, Kandice. I wanted to talk a little bit about the idea of climate doomerism and what it is and why so many folks end up feeling really nihilistic about climate change, you know, and overwhelmed. So, could we just dive into that for a second?
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 04:42
Yeah, let’s dig into it. So, interestingly enough, my background, in grad school I focused my research on how we actually motivate people to act on climate change and how we can use art and storytelling and all of these things to get people motivated. And I think that one of the issues is that there’s a really big disconnect between what people want and what people see happening at a larger level. You know, we see from a lot of our polling, from a lot of research and studies, that people across all demographics want climate action. You know two thirds of Americans support 100% renewable energy by 2035. And that’s coming from the Yale Center for Climate Communication Studies and from our polling that we’ve seen in the West. You know, conservation in the West, an overwhelming majority of Westerners, you know, want to protect our land by 30% by 2030 and believe that we need to take urgent action to protect our water sources, and so people kind of agree on what they want to see happen and the actions they want taken, but then they start to see sort of the opposite when it comes to people in power. Or you know governments making more investments in oil and gas or stalling out when it comes to addressing the urgency we need with water or, you know, protecting wildlife, habitat, and so, I think a lot of the climate apathy comes from when people feel like the situation is too large for them to control, which is a lot of what we see, that kind of scary, like it was in 2023, the planet experience it’s hottest 12 month period in 125,000 years, and they see that and they’re like this is big, this is scary, what can I do about it? There’s nothing that I can control.
We see that a lot of people feel helpless when it comes to climate change.
You know, 70% of people believe that governments and corporations and citizens should be doing more, but there’s this feeling of not being sure what to do, and so I think that there is this tension between people feeling a little apathetic of what can I do?
I’m just one person. We need governments and organizations to be really focusing on this, and I think something that we really want to do in this campaign to kind of combat that is to show people that there are things that you can do as an individual to hold some of these organizations and governments accountable on taking action, and that’s what organizations like WRA do, you know we really try to promote the policy, to call out bad policy, to hold decision makers accountable for what they’re doing when it comes to climate change, and you know we think that this election year is really the perfect time to do that by taking advantage of some of our key civic engagement things like voting, researching candidates, asking candidates where they stand on environmental issues, you know, contacting your representatives and sharing your opinion. We’ve been talking a lot about how kind of the antithesis of climate despair is climate action, and so it’s really showing people sort of the next steps that we can take to really make a bright climate future a reality.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 08:06
And I would just add that you know, I think you know, there’s this belief in climate doomerism that no matter what we do, climate change will win, that we have no chance in solving it. But really we want to provide our audiences with those resources. So yeah, with the bright climate future campaign, we want to help shift the focus on what we can do and encourage that we not let our fear lead us to inaction.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 08:29
Yeah, and I think the key messages in what you both said is that you know people are not alone. Really, a lot of people do feel like they want to see positive change with climate and there are solutions, you know. So, as much as it feels overwhelming, all these people are standing with you and together we can create change. Right, and that’s like the main, the main message. So, yeah, the bright climate future is definitely creating a community platform too, where people can feel connected to each other. Okay, now let’s get into the design elements, which is super fun, kind of a little bit away from all of this bigger stuff we’re talking about with doomerism and action, but let’s talk about just these fun elements of the campaign itself and the art behind it, which is motivating in its own way. So if, Kandice, you want to talk about that, that’d be awesome.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 09:20
Yeah, definitely so. First, I want to talk about the main symbol of our campaign, which is the light bulb with the plant growing inside, and it not only represents hope, but it also represents the policies being passed today that will bloom into a thriving and sustainable west. To get more into the design elements, this campaign will showcase some simple compositions where photos and graphic elements are in balance. This is meant to help create an approachable feel to an otherwise very overwhelming topic. Specifically, images will portray people and wildlife in our region. You’ll see some sunsets and overall orangey hues to evoke inspiration and calm, some of that calm that Haley referenced before. You’ll also find dark images where there are glimpses of light from lanterns or light bulbs to create a feeling of hope, while acting as a nod to some of our clean energy work, and people may be holding objects such as light bulb, lantern, EV charger to sort of reiterate that we can personally effect change and that we all have the ability to create a bright climate future.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 10:24
Yeah, and what I would add is what I really like about the designs that Kandice has put together and the thought that Kandice has put behind all of this, is that we’re used to going back to that doomerism, like seeing photos of wildfires and of smog and kind of all this the scary aspects of climate change which are incredibly real but we also want to use imagery that gives people a little bit more hope and kind of flips the narrative to say what if it could look like this? What if it could be bright and calm and clean and with clean air and everything. So that’s something that I think we were really thinking about when it came to the design of the campaign, too.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 11:07
Yeah, the focus of the campaign is more what are we fighting for and less what are we fighting against, although you know what we are fighting against is always there, but it’s nice to envision this future together. I think that’s really beautiful. Let’s go into the main action of this campaign, which is the climate pledge, and just talk a little bit about what that is, why it’s so important and how people can take the pledge
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 11:32
Totally. So, as I mentioned before, you know this focus of combating climate despair with climate action, and so we were really thinking about how can we show people the ways that they can get involved, how they can use their voice in this election to really make a difference and to make people feel like they are invested and really taking action. So, we thought of our Bright Climate Future pledge, which you will be able to find on our website or you can go to BrightClimateFuture.org, and Jessi will include all of this in the podcast notes as well. But you know, our hope was to really get people thinking about how they could engage this year and show them things that they could do. And so there are four aspects of the pledge that people will go online and sign their name, and the four aspects are first, you know, belief in a Bright Climate Future. So people are pledging to share the hopefulness of climate solutions and do what they can to support them, that they’re going to commit to this sort of climate hope rather than the climate doomerism or nihilism like we talked about.
And then the second aspect is knowledge is power, so really pledging to learn who are my local, state and representatives and where do they stand on climate issues like water conservation, land protection, renewable energy, outdoor equity, things like that and pledging to learn about some of the key environmental issues and initiatives that are happening in their region. The third aspect is use my voice, so pledging to send an email, sign an action alert that WRA or another organization sends out, attend a public meeting, give public comment about a local environmental issue that matters to them. And then, finally, we’ll talk about a little bit more in terms of the election year and civic engagement, but vote locally. And so, pledging to vote not just in the federal election, but state and local elections and races, because they are so important for elected officials that represent the environmental values that people want to see.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 13:41
Yeah, local elections are so important. I feel like people kind of get overwhelmed in election season, you know, and they’re like, oh okay, I’ll just, you know, I’m fairly educated about the presidential election and then these other ones. I’ll just do my best, you know, and I do feel like taking that little bit of time to research is so important. Like you’re saying, knowledge is power and it really will influence what’s going on in your state and in your city. So super important.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 14:09
Absolutely. I want to kick it over to Kandice as well, because a key aspect of the pledge is receiving a pin in the mail, P-I-N, and I want to kick it over to Kandice about what that’s all about and how we’re kind of trying to use this pin in our campaign as well.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 14:31
Yeah, so, as I mentioned before, the pin is a light bulb with a plant growing inside, and it’s really meant to not only act as a nod to our clean energy work, but also to act as the symbol of hope and showing commitment to our work and dedication to also voting in a way that creates a bright climate future.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 14:54
Yeah, I’m excited to get my pin. It’s going to be, great. Yeah, the pins are definitely similar to the little “I voted” stickers you get, like you can just wear it, put it on your coat, put it on your favorite hoodie that you wear all the time, and just a little reminder of that hopefulness and the action that you’re taking and that you do have the fortitude and the drive to create positive change. So, I think it’s like a beautiful little reminder.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 15:19
Yeah, and Jessi is our person overseeing social. Maybe you can share a little bit about how we’d like for people to highlight the pins and kind of our plans for social as well.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host1 5:32
It’s going to be super fun. We’re going to aggregate everybody’s social photos that they send in. So, if you take a photo of you wearing your pin and you use #brightclimate uture, we will find you and we’ll put it on our website. And even if you’re into it, we would love to you know, reshare it on our social tag, us in our stories and through your photos and your collaboration, the message will just spread and we’ll be able to do even more good this election season. So more action, more agency.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 16:06
And one really thoughtful consideration with our pin is they have magnet backing so they won’t ruin your clothes.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 16:13
That’s awesome. You can put it on the scarf, you can put it all your favorite items, you don’t have to stress about it. So, what are other things that pledge takers will see over the next year and what are the resources that they’ll receive to aside from the pin?
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 16:30
Yeah, I think one of the main things that we were thinking about this campaign is we want people to take this pledge, but we don’t want to just leave them hanging afterwards, you know, like okay, great, you’ve taken the pledge, go figure it out. We really want to provide resources and help people and show people how they can fulfill the pledge. So, by taking the pledge, you know they will receive a pin in the mail that they can wear, but they’ll also be getting emails from WRA throughout the year with resources of how they can fulfill the pledge. And so, you know, really, after taking the pledge, our journey together has just begun.
You know there are so many things that individuals can do while holding decision makers accountable and supporting real change, and so throughout the year, we’re going to be sharing resources like learning about solutions and actions that will get us to a bright climate future in the West. You know what are the actual policies that can be done to make this a reality and how can we support those policies helping people find out who their representatives are and how to contact them. Learning about the power of public comment and how advocacy can really make a difference in the decision-making process. Helping people make a voting plan based on key environmental issues that are affecting their state or community and things like learning why voting in all the elections on your ballot matters. So, throughout the year, we’re going to be sharing all of these different resources to help people move along throughout the pledge and fulfill all the aspects that they said they would support.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 18:09
I’ll also add and, Jessi, this may be a little bit more into your realm, but I think you know with the hashtag bright climate future, I think the hope is to really to sort of create a community of folks online that have also taken the pledge, see what other folks are up to and kind of you know, take these resources together and learn together to further the work as well.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 18:29
Yeah, definitely, and we are also hoping to send out positive climate news emails so that will also be like this little bright spot of hope and wins that we could all celebrate and share together. I know in my personal experience recently I was looking at some bright climate news about bees in Vermont and they’re actually on the rise and they’re the highest populations, even though this is not our region. It made my day, you know, like that little bit of knowledge that, like, bees in Vermont are doing amazing, it just made my whole day way better. So just thinking about that, you know, like, also, as we’re going through this year together, we have all these resources and we have all of this kind of beautiful news that will continue to infuse us with hope.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 19:13
Yeah, I love that, Jessi, and I think the point is that we want to show people why, at WRA, we are so hopeful. You know, I think that people may be like, okay, well, why are you guys hopeful, like what’s really happening? And I think that we are hopeful because we’ve seen so many great wins happen in the West. You know we’ve seen and helped over 11 million acres of land get additional protections on them. You know we’ve helped get over $300 million invested in transportation electrification that’s going to result in cleaner air for our communities. You know we have seen communities reduce their water use. We’ve seen, you know, millions of tons of emissions get reduced from the air. You know that people are committed to taking out of our air, and so I think it’s one of those things that we are so hopeful because we have seen these big wins happen.
You know we’ve talked about the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund in New Mexico, it’s the first permanent conservation fund to protect our communities and landscapes from wildfire and to make sure that they’re accessible. And so, I think we’re so hopeful because we know that we can make it happen and we know what the solutions are to the challenges before us. You know that we need to cut our emissions 50% by 2030 and close to 100% by 2050, that we need to use 25% less water to protect the Colorado River and other rivers and you know we have to protect 30% of the West lands and habitat by 2030. But we’re hopeful because we know what the challenge is and we have seen progress.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 20:57
Yeah, positive change is already happening. I think that is the main vibe, like we need to continue creating that change and making that change happen, but we also need to remember that it is already occurring through our actions, you know, and that is really powerful! Alright, now focusing a little bit more on the election aspect of 2024, I feel like it’s already everywhere. We’ve just started the year. How is this campaign and WRA going to help voters in 2024? I know you mentioned some things already, Haley, but if you want to just add anything else, yeah, a couple of things I’d love to add.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 21:35
This 2024 election year is really an opportunity to show and remind people in power and those running for positions of power that climate change is a priority and that voters across all demographics and political spectrums we want action now. And so, you know, one of the biggest ways to get involved is voting, and, like we talked about earlier, it’s not just the large federal elections. You know, I think people sometimes get their ballots and they’re like, ah, this commission, I don’t really know, or this local election, I’m not sure. But you know, these local representatives, these statewide ballot initiatives and these state commissions actually play like a major, major role in solving climate change, and it’s something you know, that we all know that WRA works on a lot, but in many states, elected commissions approve and oversee regulations that affect things like our air quality and the price of our utility bills and the availability and affordability of electric cars and how we hold utility companies accountable to actually reducing their emissions. And so, we really want to remind voters that our local and statewide representatives have a lot of power to decide on issues like are our communities water wise and use water in a smart, conservative way, or are they building climate resilient developments, or if our states have enough funding to protect our public lands and make them accessible to all. And so, you know, we call this voting down ballot,
voting past the federal elections, and we just want to remind people that these are some of the most important decision-making positions for our everyday lives. You know, I think people can feel really discouraged when they look at the federal level and they’re like what’s going on, what’s happening? And I think if people take a step back and look at some of our statewide legislation and some of our local legislations, they can see that this is making real positive change in our communities. And we also really want to remind people that their advocacy is super powerful. You know, we have seen advocates completely change the trajectory of a policy decision by showing up and making their voices heard.
You know, as we all saw in New Mexico, If it wasn’t for the hundreds of advocates who attended the hearings, reached out to decision makers, submitted comments, it would have been much harder to pass the new clean cars and truck standards in New Mexico that are going to make sure that all New Mexicans have access to clean air and equitable access to electric vehicles. And so just reminding people that your voice really, really does matter and people listen and they pay attention. And when we show up and make our voices heard, we can make a difference. And so, voting for representatives who support your climate values you know, sending an email to your state representative, showing up to a local town council meeting and make the difference between whether we continue with the status quo or we start building this brighter climate future.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 24:49
Yeah, representatives really want to hear from you and I think sometimes you know you’ll see an action alert come up and you’ll just be like oh, like why, why would it matter if I put my name on this or not? But really, with the power of the people and showing representatives and commissions that people do care about these issues, they really take notice of that and it is something that influences decisions. So, like, put your name on that petition, don’t skip it, you know it just takes like four seconds. Or write that email, you know it’s really powerful.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 25:27
Yeah, I agree, Jessi, and especially on that local and statewide level. I used to work for a local government and I would see, you know, one person show up to a town council meeting and submit a comment, and then it would totally change the direction of where that decision making process was going. And I think sometimes, you know, a lot of our decision makers are hearing from people who they are upset, you know, who disagree with them, and sometimes, when our decision makers are really supporting environmental efforts and environmental values, it can be so encouraging for them to hear from us that we support you, we’re behind you, we believe in this. So, I think it’s also, you know, holding these decision makers accountable for what we want, but also supporting and encouraging those decision makers who are really trying to make a difference.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 26:23
Yes, send a thank you. Post on social media and tag your local representative. It may seem kind of scary to do that, but they feel so supported and love that and that’s exactly what they’re trying to do. Right, is make these choices based on the needs of the people. So, if you just take that second to put in that tweet or whatever it could really make their day. You know it’s for everybody all the time when you can, basically. Okay. So this is great because it leads kind of into this idea of support and collaboration, leads into the idea of climate resilience and I just wanted to highlight this term in case people haven’t heard it before, as a concept that is like the antithesis to climate doomerism. So if anybody wants to jump in on just talking about climate resilience and why it’s powerful,
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest
Kandice, if you have anything to you want to say, I’ll kick it over to you first.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 27:16
Yeah sure, Climate resilience is really being able to adapt to the impacts of climate change and doing what you can to keep those impacts from getting worse. So, on one hand, doomerism is saying I see this problem, but it’s too big and it’s too complex and I can’t do anything about it, Whereas climate resilience is saying I see this problem and here’s what I can do to prepare for better outcomes in the future.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 27:40
Yeah, and I totally agree with everything that Kandice was saying, and I think something another aspect of resilience is this ability to keep going, you know, this ability to take what happens and take the ups and downs and keep pushing forward, because really solving the climate crisis is going to take courage and resolution and the belief that we really can create a better future.
And I think something that we really want to emphasize, especially as we build these sort of climate resilient communities and become resilient ourselves when it comes to climate change, is that every little bit that we do matters.
You know, I think we see these big goals and we see these like we have to stop the earth warming by two degrees, you know, and those things are very important, but I think sometimes people can feel like, well, if we’re not going to make it there, what’s the point? And I think we really want to emphasize in this sort of climate resilience aspect is that every drop of water saved, every particle of pollution removed from our air, every acre square foot of land protected is going to impact our communities and our ecosystems for the better. You know, any effort that we do to make this better is going to make the lives of our communities and our ecosystems better, and so doing everything that we can is really, really important, and so I think that’s why we want to emphasize that, especially during this election year. We are not giving up, and we don’t plan to give up anywhere near into the future, and we are not going to let our leaders give up, and we really hope that you, the listener, don’t give up either.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 29:29
Yeah, I think that also, that just made me think about planning a native garden, you know, or having waterwise landscaping, or switching your appliances to be more ecofriendly, like this aspect of resiliency to combat, like there’s all these small changes that we can make right now in our everyday lives that have these bigger impacts. Right, if all of us have, like, waterwise landscaping, we would save a ton of water, right, like it’s like these little things, cumulatively, are incredibly powerful. So, yeah, just thinking about that too, with the idea of resilience.
So, according to a 2021 United Nations report, globally, 50% of young people reported feeling sad, anxious, angry, helpless and guilty about climate change, which I just think is so powerful. Like half of the global youth feel negatively about climate change and are, like, stressed about it. So, you know, what that tells me and I think tells all of us, is like this is a huge problem and we were saying before like we’re all on the same page with wanting to solve it, and that’s really cool in a way, right, that we’re all thinking in the same line and we have backing of each other. And so, I just was wondering if any either of you or both of you would just have advice for all these young people who are kind of feeling down about climate change.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 30:52
Yeah, absolutely. I definitely see that stat in our digital platforms as well, which is really interesting. You know, I was just looking at our Google ads and our SEO and analytics and one of our top keywords is how can we save our environment? And our top demographic is actually from Gen Z audiences, and so we really do see this in even just our analytics that people, especially younger people, are concerned, are scared, are looking for something.
You know and I think, remembering being that age, you know you feel like you don’t have a lot of power because you’re not the one making these big decisions, and you know you don’t have all the answers.
You know I don’t know how to exactly save 25% of water, but what’s cool and what makes me love WRA is that we do have someone on our team who can tell you this is how we do it, and so I think that some of that advice that I would have is seeking out some of those experts as well, because it can feel really comforting to be like oh my gosh, there is someone who studies how we make this clean energy a reality.
You know, there is someone who can tell us how we do save the Colorado River or how we do protect all this land, and so I think that’s something we want to do, too, is show the solutions that can actually you know, it’s like we have these policies and these solutions that can make this a reality, but we need that political side and that political muscle and advocacy and support to make them happen. You know, so we have the solutions and people can make such a difference by voting for people who support the environment, by advocating, submitting comments and really getting involved on that local level to make these happen and make them a reality.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 32:46
Yeah, I would just add that, you know, for someone from Gen Z as well, I struggle with climate anxiety as well and just having this very large problem of climate change and figuring out how can I be a part of the solution. And I think what’s most important, you know, is staying informed, follow organizations who are providing clear solutions and tangible solutions to kind of ease some of that anxiety and to use your voice to advocate where possible. And keep in mind, you know, like, as we were saying before, all of these sort of actions that appear to be small in reality are making a huge difference.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 33:25
Thanks guys. Thanks for that feedback. Yeah, I love that idea. I feel like we just keep going back to knowledge is power, but it’s so true, like just researching a bunch and reading more, and it is really heartening that, although this huge group of people is concerned, they are also looking for solutions, right? And that is incredible. Like you were saying, Haley, like that’s the number one search that gets them to us is “how can we save the environment?” “How can we do more?” I just know for me that when I read a lot of books and articles about those people doing solutions and those organizations, it does help to decrease my anxiety, so I like that part too.
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 34:09
Something else you can do is take the pledge.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 34:13
Yes, please take the pledge. Well, that leads right into this next question of how can people and organizations get involved in this campaign. Aside from taking the pledge, what are some other things people could do?
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 34:26
Yeah, they can share the pledge. That’s a big thing as well. We want to really get this out and share it with more people. So, aside from taking it, sharing it and then really following along with the resources that we’re going to be putting out this year you know, Jessi, I think you mentioning that it’s very heartening to you to see these positive climate things that’s something we’re going to try to be doing this year. A lot is sharing the positive news, sharing things that people can see that it’s like, wow, we things are happening, we are making a difference and so really following along as well. And, like we mentioned earlier, people can go to brightclimatefuture.org and that’s where the pledge is, and after you take the pledge, you’ll actually be redirected to our resources page that we’re going to be updating all throughout the year. So right now, in sort of this first part of the year, it’s really highlighting the solutions that we are promoting at WRA to make a bright climate future a reality, so people can go there and learn about those as well.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 35:27
Yeah, I wanted to add a couple of things. One, you know, aside from sharing the pledge, you could totally forward the emails. You can share the social media posts. You know, like feel free to share those resources, whatever is interesting and inspiring to you that you want to share with your loved ones. Like, do that and that’ll be huge. And then also, if you’re an organization that wants to get more involved, we do have a social media toolkit and ways that we can give you more information for you to share this as well. And also always sponsorship too. So, I just got to always shout that out, because the more support we have, the more we can do. Okay, so now let’s get into some fun parts. It’s all been fun. What outcomes are you guys envisioning for this campaign? What’s the like, what’s the positive outcome of the bright climate future campaign? If you’re, you know, dreaming it up?
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 36:19
As I mentioned before, I really envision a community of people getting excited about solving climate change and people kind of getting together whether that’s like through social media or kind of like they’re shared, the fact that they both took the campaign and kind of building a community off of that just really finding folks together. You know who are excited about that as well and you know just folks using the voice that they have to promote this campaign, to promote bright climate future. I’ll pause there and I’ll let Haley go, but there might be some things that I add.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 36:54
Yeah, the outcomes for this campaign, you know we just want to reach as many people as we can, to get the word out and to spread those good vibes, those positive messages, you know, inject a little bit more hopefulness, a little bit more excitement, more joy into the climate narrative that I think people are really looking for and that, you know, the big, audacious goal of a campaign like this is just that our voices are heard and that people cannot ignore anymore that we are ready for climate solutions and we want them now and we are going to make our voices heard for a better future.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 37:38
Yeah, I want to add my personal little dream about the campaign. I think I just am really excited to see people share photos of them wearing the pins and see everyone smiling faces. That’s going to like, on a real deep personal level, make me feel like less anxious about the climate, just to see everybody being more hopeful. And also, I really hope that all of you out there share your wins with us. You know, tell us how you went and voted on the state level, on the city level, or you showed up to, you know, like a public forum, or you took an action and then you did see the change. That would make me so happy, send it to us an email or on social media about your wins and that will just make me feel personally like we did something good this year, you know. Okay, last question what does the bright climate future mean to both of you?
Kandice Cleveland – Graphic Designer Guest 38:29
Gosh, a bright climate future. Honestly, first, I think it means being able to go outside without my inhaler. That would be awesome. But I think it also means that you know all communities have resources to the things they need, including access to clean water. It means that people can continue experiencing the outdoors for generations to come, and I know that this campaign is really sort of in our region in the West, but you know, I think spreading climate justice globally as much as possible, maybe this campaign will encourage climate action outside of our region as well. So that would be awesome, and I’ll kick it over to Haley.
Haley Littleton – Associate Director of Marketing Guest 39:08
Yeah, when I was thinking about this question, I was like my mind goes a million different ways and there’s so many things that I want to see in a bright climate future and really believe in. But you know, for me, when I really think about what that future could look like, it’s that all beings can thrive all humans, regardless of where they live, their economic status, you know, any of their identities or demographics, that they can thrive, that they can have clean air and clean water and access to public lands that belong to them, and that all of our wildlife community and our ecosystems can thrive too, and that there is this balance between the two, that, as much as we can, everybody is able to live a sustainable, resilient, thriving life.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 40:08
Yes, I just want there to be harmony between humans and nature. That, yeah, like you’re saying, like you’re both saying that lead to all of us having thriving, beautiful, interesting lives, I guess.
Thanks so much, Kandice and Haley, for taking the time to talk about the Bright Climate Future campaign with us. I really am excited to see all the positive wins we have this year and the connections that we make with our climate advocate community. So this is your reminder turn off this podcast, finish listening and go to BrightClimateFuture.org and take our pledge. You’ll get our pin, you’ll get on our email list and don’t forget to take a photo with your pin when you get it and tag us on social so that we can really share your photo, kind of blast you everywhere and celebrate you and also send us those wins. Okay, I want to see how we’re making a better future together in 2024 and I’m excited to see this future we create together.
We’d like to take a minute to thank our sponsors, including our impact sponsor, First Bank, the largest locally owned banking organization in Colorado. We’d also like to thank our premier sponsors, Solup and Vision Ridge Partners, our signature sponsors Scarpa, Sweep and TorchClean Energy, and our supporting sponsors BSW Wealth Partners. Great Outdoors, Colorado, Group 14 Engineering and Meridian Public Affairs. Thanks so much, sponsors. We really appreciate you all.
Right, everybody, we have a new segment for you this year and it’s called Bright Climate Future in the West. Basically, we ask you to share with us your dream of what this bright future can look like out here in the western US, when anyone can take part in it. You can just send us 40 seconds to a minute and we’ll play it here on the podcast and share your future dreams with everybody. And if you want to send that to us, you can get to us on social or via email and all of the information is in the show notes. For this episode, we have Erika from our development department. She’s really amazing and she is in Colorado and she shares with us her vision for the future.
Erika Stadsklev – Annual Fund Specialist Guest 42:28
Hi, I’m Erica Stadsklev, an annual fund specialist here at Western Resource Advocates. I work on our development team in Boulder, Colorado. When I think of a bright climate future, I imagine a world that is much different from today. It will look different and as a community we will also act different. The air is clean, the trees are abundant, people are outside, we’re collaborative and not fighting for water or energy or other resources. We have all that we need and we’re not excessive. I believe in this world where we will make do and be creative and innovative with what we already have.
Jessi Janusee – Multimedia Storyteller Host 43:15
Thank you so much, Erika, for sharing your future with us and thanks everyone for being here, tuning in and listening. I hope you all take the climate pledge. It’s going to be super fun. We have a lot of really cool ideas on how to make this more collaborative and how to incorporate your ideas and your thoughts so that this can be really fun and engaging and we can all support one another and lift each other up in 2024.
Two Degrees Out West is a podcast from Western Resource Advocates. We fight climate change in the interior west to make sure that the environment, the economy and the people of the west are thriving and sustainable for generations to come. I’m your host, Jessi Janusee, the multimedia storyteller here. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. For our next episode, we’re going to be talking with some faith leaders down in Las Vegas and just discussing this intersection between faith, science, climate change and advocacy, which will be really interesting, so I hope you’ll join me for that one too. All right, everybody, I hope you’re having a wonderful winter. The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, even though it might not feel like it. Until then, stay warm and cozy. See you next time.