Discover more from HEATED
Growing our climate choir
Thanks to your support, HEATED is expanding its reach to nearly a half million climate-concerned people on Instagram.
For the more than two years now, an Instagram-based climate community called Future Earth has been quietly helping HEATED stories go viral.
The first time it happened was in 2020, after I’d published an analysis of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s climate plan. Future Earth—which currently has more than 420,000 followers—transformed the text of that article into a beautiful, digestible series of graphics, and shared it to their page. (Click the picture below to scroll through the images).
More than 10,000 people liked that post, and HEATED subsequently saw a surge in new sign-ups. I remember feeling totally in awe at what they’d done. I figured it was probably a one-time blessing.
But over the last two years, Future Earth has boosted us again and again. Unprompted, they’ve made our stories into compelling visual content on Instagram, helping our climate accountability journalism reach people that may never otherwise consume it.
(For example: The Kardashians do not subscribe to this newsletter, but two of them follow Future Earth. So there’s a non-zero chance that a Kardashian has read a HEATED story. Hopefully it was the one about private jets.)
Of course, I don’t care about a Kardashian consuming our climate journalism as much as I care about the other nearly half-million non-famous people that follow Future Earth’s Instagram account. That audience is absolutely massive—especially for our newsletter’s community of 67,000.
They’re also the exact type of people HEATED was created to reach: people who already care about climate change, but want to learn more about the powerful forces behind it. Some people call this “preaching to the choir.” I’ve always called it “teaching the choir to sing.”
For a long time, I’ve felt like I should be paying Future Earth for this kind of graphic design and exposure. It’s long been a goal of mine to expand the accessibility of HEATED’s climate journalism beyond the realms of e-mail and Twitter, and visual platforms like Instagram are huge opportunities for that kind of expansion.
For a long time, however, I just didn’t have the mental bandwidth to organize an official partnership. I was wholly burnt out from writing and marketing the newsletter myself.
But things have since changed. I took a long break, came back and hired a reporter to help me, and freed up some bandwidth to focus on expansion. And because of that, I’m happy to report that as of last month, Future Earth and HEATED have made our partnership official.
Every Friday since the beginning of February, nearly half a million climate-concerned people have gotten our journalism sent directly to their Instagram feeds in pretty, summarized graphic form.
Here are some examples of posts we’ve collaborated on over the last month. (You can click into the posts to see all the slides):
If you want to ensure we can continue to afford this consistent reach, I hope you’ll consider becoming an annual paid subscriber. Currently, only 5.7 percent of HEATED readers choose to support this publication. This small community of readers now fund my salary, a full-time employee’s salary, and the payments we make to contractors like Future Earth. They also keep HEATED completely independent and ad-free, while ensuring that our climate journalism remains free for everyone, regardless of income.
If we could up that 5.7 percent to 8 percent, it would open the door to all sorts of new opportunities to expand HEATED’s reach. So if you’re thinking about donating money to something you value, and want to ensure your money is actually making a difference, I hope you’ll consider this option. It would mean the world to us.
(Also, if annual payments aren’t your thing, you could also make a one-time donation at our hiring fund. But please don’t feel bad if neither one of those things are in the cards right now. We appreciate you being here regardless!)
Finally, for those who want to learn more about our new partner, I’ve included a brief Q&A with Future Earth co-founder Max Moinian below.
Enjoy, and see you again on Thursday!
Emily Atkin: How did Future Earth come about?
Max Moinian: I started this as a passion project because I was extremely anxious, and was I spending all my time figuring out what my skills could do for climate. I'm an urban designer by training, so basically I make diagrams and I read. I also have learning disabilities and I doodle. Combine all that, and that's how this whole thing started.
EE: You’ve described Future Earth as a “climate club” where “everyone’s invited [and] our sources are always cited.” Who would you say is your target club member?
MM: The climate-curious on social media. People who know what climate change is, and are ready to learn something about it. Some people call that an “echo chamber,” but I don’t think that’s what it is. There's plenty of people in the so-called “echo chamber” that are aware and ready to be mobilized.
EA: How do you mobilize the climate-curious with your account?
MM: We give them the tools to pass on climate information without feeling like a doomer party-pooper. We post quick thought provocations on climate-related topics; updates and analysis on headline news; and basically just provide this type of shareable climate content that people can send to their climate denier uncle or whoever doesn’t have the facts to back up what they're saying at the dinner table.
EA: That type of snappy content is necessary, I think. Deniers are so often armed with these quippy so-called “facts,” because it’s easier to make up bullshit than to explain the nuances of the truth about climate change. People who care about climate change really need better clap-backs.
MM: Yes, and we want to provide those to people. But we also provide other things. Like we have a recurring feature called Good News Tuesdays, where we summarize the positive climate news that happened that week. There’s really something for everyone.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Bonus Catch of the Day: We don’t have Good News Tuesday, but we almost always have pictures of animals. That’s pretty much the same, right?
Fish certainly thinks so.
(In keeping with the Instagram theme, you can follow Fish there, too).
Want to see your furry (or non-furry!) friend in HEATED? Send a picture and some words to firstname.lastname@example.org.