A personal plea, a special deal, and two investigations
Also, materials for the last week of the All We Can Save book club.
Last summer, I made a decision that many people thought was stupid. I quit a stable, salaried job at a well-respected magazine to start a climate change newsletter focused on exposing the powerful.
Turns out the decision was not stupid. In just over a year, HEATED has made an indelible mark on the journalism world. Our unique, accountability-focused, smart-mouthed approach to climate reporting has earned us speaking slots at Ivy League universities and journalism conferences, and feature stories in top news publications. Our reader-focused model has earned us print features in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Vanity Fair. And last month, I became a columnist at MSNBC, allowing HEATED’s perspective to reach an even larger audience.
But HEATED is not perfect, because I am not perfect. Like many of you, the pandemic has taken a toll on my mental health. That’s partially because I’m a massive extrovert, and quarantine has left me mostly alone. The effect has been mild depression, and I’ve struggled to keep up with the workload this project demands, with the quality and consistency that you deserve.
Last week, I moved into a new place with an awesome roommate and a Very Good Dog named Fish. The immediate increase in my mood and productivity has been revelatory. It’s like, holy crap, this whole time, I’ve just needed people. And that’s made me realize something else: I also need a co-worker.
So here’s my plea: If you value this journalism project, and want to see it become even bigger and more influential next year, will you consider purchasing an annual subscription? It will help me provide a competitive stipend for a full-time apprentice position next year.
Another thing I’ve learned in the last week is that the HEATED community is struggling, too. I know this because December is the first month that people have been able to renew annual paid subscriptions. Already, more than 140 people have decided not to renew. The vast majority have explicitly cited financial and/or mental constraints brought on by the pandemic.
At $75 per year, 140 subscriptions amounts to more than $10,000 in lost yearly revenue. And we’re only one week into December. So the pandemic could really hurt our effort to grow this publication.
That’s why, for the rest of December, I’m reducing the price of a paid subscription by 25 percent. So instead of $75, a yearly subscription is only $56.25, and a monthly subscription is only $6 per month. Yearly subscriptions will better help me budget what I can pay an apprentice. But either option would make a huge difference. Whatever works best for you.
This marketing stuff is my least favorite part of the independent reporting process. But it’s necessary to get the help I need to deliver consistent, meaningful climate reporting to you and the rest of the world. And it’s necessary for me to remain 100 percent independent and ad-free.
Believe me—I would not dedicate an entire email to this if I didn’t think it was important. 2020 was the year I wanted to cement HEATED as an immovable force in the climate world. 2021 is the year I want to expand it.
If you already have subscription, and you want to support HEATED even further, consider giving a subscription as a gift. Or, you can re-subscribe under the Founding Member tier.
We accomplished an incredible amount in our first year—during a freaking pandemic. Think what we can do in Year 2 with twice the brainpower, and better-working brains.
Two must-read investigations
In lieu of my own reporting today, I want to boost two really important stories from other journalists.
A Reuters investigation exposes a massive systemic failure of the U.S. air pollution monitoring system. Toxic air pollution from oil refineries is contributing to sickness and death around the country, but no one is being held responsible for it because it’s not being adequately recorded, an investigation from journalists Tim McLaughlin, Laila Kearney, and Laura Sanicola shows. The Trump EPA is also making regulations based on this faulty data, meaning frontline communities—disproportionately low-income and non-white—are being put at increased long-term risk.
A Bloomberg investigation shows Exxon is delaying its most high-profile climate project because of COVID-19, while continuing projects to expand its oil and gas business. Exxon is indefinitely delaying the big carbon capture project it’s been advertising the crap out of to boost its climate credentials, Kevin Crowley and Akshat Rathi report. The delay “will slow down worldwide deployment” of carbon capture, and shows “that urgent climate projects can sometimes become expendable in a crunch.”
All We Can Save book club: Last week!!
Today’s the last official day of HEATED’s book club partnership with All We Can Save, an anthology of female climate wisdom edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson. I hope you’ve enjoyed the book, and the circles you’ve been discussing it in for the last two months!
The section we’re focusing on this week is “Onward.” There are no essayists in this section, so there’s no supplementary materials from them—but Ayana and Katharine have graciously provided some suggestions for what to do next, including a virtual event for Circle leaders.
Here is the discussion facilitation guide for your last week:
Read Rachel Carson quote (p. 373) to open.
Share your name + take a deep breath. (Circle leader should go first and model this.)
Move through 3 generous questions.
Thinking back through All We Can Save, have you glimpsed your future self in any of these essays?
Has anything in this book seeded new desires or plans for your participation in healing the climate crisis?
Where do we go from here?
Read Adrienne Rich quote (p. 374) to close.
Celebrate! First off, we’d love to gather with y’all to share our gratitude for your leadership and to hear from you how it’s all gone and any insights you’d like to share. To fit this in before the new year and into our crazy schedules, the time we have settled on is 7pm ET on December 17th. We apologize that this falls during Hanukkah, but know that this will not be the last or only time to engage. RSVP here.
Keep Going: We’ve been thrilled to hear murmurs of Circles continuing beyond these 10 weeks! We all need “climate squads,” and we hope your Circles may continue to be spaces for connecting, learning, birthing collaborations, and seeding action.
Ripple Out: Folks who have participated in your Circles are now well-equipped to lead their own in the new year. Please suggest that they consider doing so! And now that you’re an old pro, you might also consider leading a second Circle series with new people.
Stay in Touch: The All We Can Save Project (the nonprofit we founded to carry forward the work of the book) is officially up and running! We want to keep you abreast of the work ahead around education, community-building, and supporting women climate leaders. If you’re interested, sign up for our email newsletter kicking off this month, and encourage folks in your Circle to sign up for it. You can find it toward the bottom of this webpage.
Get/Give Prints: Many of you have expressed a particular appreciation for the illustrations within AWCS, by Madeleine Jubilee Saito. So as our first fundraiser for The All We Can Save Project, we have collaborated with her on a limited-edition, hand-signed print of the artwork that opens the “RISE” section with the text: “Can you imagine the community that will heal the climate crisis? It will not be just you, it will not be a technological salvation, it will be all of us.” That just sums it up so well, doesn’t it?
Complete a Survey: Next week we’ll be sending around a survey to ask you to share feedback and insights from your Circles. So if you’d like to dedicate some time with your Circles this week or next week to reflect on the materials we have provided, what worked well, and what could work better, that would be lovely.
Catch of the day:
Fish is my only co-worker. He is not great at research.
OK, that’s all for today—thanks for reading HEATED! If you’d like to share this piece as a web page, click the button below.
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Stay hydrated, eat plants (I like bananas), do push-ups, and have a great day!
Thanks so much for all you do. Supporting good climate journalism is a critical part of climate activism, so you help me feel empowered. Also, your dog helps me feel happy. It's a win win all around.
I've been reading for free for some time now and have finally subscribed. I think the work that you are doing is revolutionary and you've shown the world that independent journalism is possible, that holding people and corporations accountable is possible, and this fight for our future is possible to win.