Find hope this holiday season
Glad tidings of hope and joy
For me, the perfect winter holiday is cozying up by a warm fire with a mug of tea, knitting as I watch the snow fall outside (and that's exactly what I'm doing right now, except it's too warm to snow so it's raining). Your definition of the perfect holiday might be different; but wherever you live, the end of the year is the perfect time to relax and recharge.
That’s why, this Christmas week, I'm sharing some of my favourite uplifting climate podcasts and inspiring books. I hope these can renew your spirit and bring hope to the forefront of your climate conversations this coming year.
If you’d like to see more of my recommendations, I curate a series of lists here.
INSPIRING CLIMATE CONTENT
Podcasts to Listen To
Outrage and Optimism is co-hosted by Christiana Figueres, the architect of the Paris Agreement. Christiana is a huge source of personal encouragement to me: a relentlessly optimistic and pragmatic diplomat whose outsized impact on global climate can inspire us all. The goal of her podcast is to help you realize that this is the most exciting time in history to be alive. (Isn’t that a hopeful message?!)
Warm Regards, How to Save a Planet, and No Place Like Home have wrapped up their programming. But if you aren’t familiar with them, it’s never too late to binge! Co-hosted by some of my favourite colleagues - Jacquelyn Gill,, Mary Anne Hitt, and Anna Jane Joyner – they take a deep dive into the heart of how we feel about the climate crisis, why it matters, and what we can all do about it.
Finally, The Science of Happiness is hosted by psychologist Dacher Keltner from UC Berkley. I often say that I “practice hope” and I love how this podcast shares “research-tested strategies that you can put into practice today.” There’s even specific episodes on nature, climate and environment, such as “how to do good for the environment (and yourself)” and “how to be in harmony with nature.”
Books to Read or Gift
In Climate Optimism: Celebrating Systemic Change Around the World, Zahra Biabani covers promising climate solutions, practical advice, and two years’ worth of “Weekly Earth Wins.” (That’s amazing -- I’m not even at two years yet with this newsletter!)
Realistic optimism, rooted in both where we are today and the potential for a better future, is also on full display in The Climate Optimist Handbook by Anne Therese Gennari. She wrote it to “shift the narrative on climate change so that you can act from a place of courage and excitement, not fear.” I love that!
And before the ink on the Paris Agreement was dry, Christiana Figueres and her colleague Tom Rivett-Carnac sat down to write The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist's Guide to the Climate Crisis. In it, they paint a vivid picture of what the world will look like if we don’t address climate change versus how clean, green, and better our lives will be if we do.
A broad range of women’s voices are featured in two of my favourite anthologies, Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, edited by Rebecca Solnit & Thelma Young Lutunatabua, and All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. Both are empowering reads that don’t shy away from tackling challenging emotions and highlighting the truth, courage, and solutions we need for a better future. I wrote a chapter for All We Can Save myself, and I see my own book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, as an extension of these works!
Accounts to Follow on Social Media
On social media, I appreciate and admire the clear-eyed positivity of Alaina Wood, aka The Garbage Queen on Instagram and TikTok; Climate Adam on Instagram and YouTube; Jessica Kleczka, Zahra Biabani, Future Earth, and The Happy Broadcast all on Instagram. Give them a follow!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
This week, share a fun or positive recommendation with others around you.
It could be one of the podcasts, books, or social media accounts above. It could be an encouraging or inspiring solution or person you’ve read about in this newsletter over the last year. It could be a climate group that shares your interests or your values (I have a list here). Or it could be something you do that you love; I love thrifting and I bought some of my Christmas gifts on ThredUP this year! Share what gets you excited and spread the joy.
Gurdeep Pandher is a Bhangra dancer who lives in the Yukon. He makes the most cheerful, joyous videos, even in the darkness of winter. As he said this week, “Let's ask our often returning friend, sadness, to take a backseat for a while, making it to wait a little longer while we bask in the warmth of joy, hope, and peace. We are aware that the world is currently facing difficult times due to wars, race for resources, hate and various other factors. It is important to remember that kindness and love are the answer. From my cabin in the Yukon wilderness, I am dispatching joy, hope, and positivity.” From wherever you are, you can too.