In Episode 71, Quinn & Brian discuss: Why raising the status of girls can help change everything.
Our guest is Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, a Vice President at Drawdown, an author, a public speaker, and an expert in just about everything. She’s made a very specific list of all the ways we can and should be fighting climate change and the climate crisis. She even put the list in order for us – and you won’t believe what number six is!
So, this episode is pretty much an audio version of a Buzzfeed listicle, except it could literally change everything and save the planet. But you should still share it to Facebook like you would any other Buzzfeed list. That’d be swell.
Want to send us feedback? Tweet us, email us, or leave us a voice message!
Trump’s Book Club:
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Dr. Katharine Wilkinson: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/3R5XF4WMZE0TV/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_2Gr8Ab6RS5WF3
Have feedback or questions? Send a message to email@example.com
Learn more at https://www.drawdown.org
Read “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” http://www.drawdown.org/the-book
Watch “How empowering women and girls can help stop global warming”: https://www.ted.com/talks/katharine_wilkinson_how_empowering_women_and_girls_can_help_stop_global_warming
Mothers of Invention: https://www.mothersofinvention.online
Malala Fund: https://www.malala.org
Girls Opportunity Alliance: https://www.obama.org/girlsopportunityalliance
Marie Stopes International: https://mariestopes.org
Pathfinder International: https://www.pathfinder.org
Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org
Solar Sister: https://solarsister.org
We Do: http://wedo.org
Root Capital: https://rootcapital.org
Room to Read: https://www.roomtoread.org
Study Hall Educational Foundation: https://www.studyhallfoundation.org
Akilah Institute: https://www.akilahinstitute.org
Quinn: Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmett.
Brian: And my name is Brian Colbert Kennedy. This is the podcast where we dive into a specific topic or question that is affecting everyone on the planet right now or in the next 10 years or so. If it can kill us, or build the tree spaceship from Saga, we're in. Our guests are scientists, doctors, engineers, politicians, astronauts, politicians, that's what I meant to say, astronauts, even a reverend, and more, and we work together toward action steps that our listeners can take with their voice, their vote and their dollar.
Quinn: You did great on that.
Brian: Sorry about that one misstep.
Quinn: This is your super friendly reminder that you can send questions, thoughts and feedback to us on Twitter @importantnotimp or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Got a bunch this week in Mandarin which couldn't do much about.
Brian: Well, we can Google Translate it.
Quinn: We can try. And you can also send us a voice message at the link in our show notes. You can also join thousands of other smart people and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter at importantnotimportant.com. Quick note on that, if you have a Gmail email address and you subscribe to our newsletter, do us a huge favor and go find that fucker in spam if it's in there, and please mark as not spam. That would be super helpful because-
Brian: For all of us.
Quinn: Just for everyone to saving the world. Not spam, that would be great. Brian, go for it.
Brian: This week's episode is talking about why, and I know this is crazy ...
Quinn: It's crazy.
Brian: Why raising the status of girls can help save everything.
Quinn: Goes against everything white guys have based everything on for, how long we've been around, 200,000 years.
Brian: There it is.
Quinn: Our guest is the magnificent super fun, super smart, wonderful science communicator human person, horse rider Dr. Katharine Wilkinson.
Brian: That really went on, huh?
Quinn: Yep, yep, yep. She is an expert in everything and has made a fairly specific list of all the ways we can and should be fighting this thing, this thing being climate change, the climate crisis.
Brian: Global warming.
Quinn: And she's ranked them in order. And Brian, there's some surprises.
Brian: Sure are. Number six and seven.
Quinn: Super interesting.
Brian: Super interesting.
Quinn: Let's not give it away.
Brian: No, no, no.
Quinn: Masters of suspense we are.
Brian: Yes we are.
Quinn: Let's go talk to Katharine.
Brian: Quick question. What's the tree spaceship from Saga?
Quinn: Have you not read saga?
Brian: No. Fun Talk it is.
Brian: See you later.
Katharine: Main anxiety is forgetting to hit record.
Quinn: That's your main anxiety? You will ruin the whole thing if you fuck this up. We have a master of everything just in case. It is always an adventure talking to honestly some of the smartest people on the planet who are still on like Windows XP and do not know what like a USB mic is. Part of me is glad because I'm like, you do you because what you're doing is more important. But when someone's like, oh, I've got the shit and I'm ready to record, our editors are just happier. And I get yelled at less. So thank you. Go ahead and hit it. We'll get it all synced up, we're good to go. Brian, are you ready over there?
Brian: I'm ready over here.
Quinn: You done Instagraming?
Brian: Almost and now.
Quinn: Great. Alrighty. I'm going to ask you an insane question but I've mangled worse than this. Can you pronounce your name for me?
Katharine: Oh, sure. It's Katharine Wilkinson.
Quinn: Seems like it would be easy, but you never know.
Katharine: You never know.
Quinn: All we do do is just destroy things left and right.
Katharine: I do occasionally and get like Katharine.
Brian: Hold on.
Katharine: Like, no.
Quinn: If I do that, then I'm at, there's no like death toast if you're saying Katharine.
Brian: No way. Yeah, you're talking to tow Webby nominated hosts here. We're going to pronounce this name correctly.
Katharine: I know. I'm like, you know who spelled her name like this? Katharine Hepburn. You better get it straight.
Quinn: She was perfect.
Katharine: Yeah, she was.
Quinn: All right. Let's do this. Here we go. Our guest today is Katharine Wilkinson. And together, we're going to discuss, Brian, how, this is crazy, how not treating women and girls like shit can also help save the world. You would think that this would be obvious. Katharine, welcome.
Katharine: Hi, guys. Thanks for having me.
Brian: We are thrilled to have you.
Brian: If you wouldn't mind, just tell everybody who you are and what you do.
Katharine: Sure. Well, you know, there's like the professional title side of things. I am vice president at the nonprofit Project Drawdown. I am an author and environmentalist and generally heartbroken but determined lover of this planet, and user of words to try to help it out.
Quinn: I like it. Its sounds like kitchen sink essentially, like whatever the things are. So you said that that's the professional version. Are you Batman on the side? What's the other version?
Katharine: Oh, you know, like, if the planet wasn't burning, like if there was not important work to be done on that front, I would probably be riding and training horses, which is like the great love of my life. Yeah.
Quinn: How much time do you have for that these days? And do you feel an overwhelming guilt that you're not saving the planet while you're doing it like I do?
Katharine: I have not ridden in a year, which is not, that's not a great record. I was riding a lot before that, actually. And it's a good counterpoint I think to this climate work because it just, you know, it gets me like present and much more focused than I'm ever able to be meditating. Animals, like animals are just good medicine.
Quinn: She's pretending as if like this year has been something exceptional, as if a bunch of shit has been going on that's keeping her from riding her horses. It's just lazy. That's awesome. You know, I think maybe we should add to that question to our list of like, hey, guest, if everything wasn't on fire/underwater, what would you be doing with your fucking life?
Brian: I'm into that.
Quinn: Yeah, Lord knows you wouldn't be here, Brian. Good god.
Brian: No, no, no.
Quinn: You would have ran way from here a long time ago. That's good to know. Okay. Noted. Awesome. Well, we really appreciate you being here and what you're doing and that you're not, we're keeping you from your horses at this moment.
Brian: Are there wild horses running around the Smoky Mountain. Is that a thing?
Katharine: No, but that would be great if there were.
Brian: I'm just living in a world now where that's happening and we're both, and everybody's happy.
Quinn: Brian, how would you approach a wild horse?
Brian: With so much love and with probably like a high pitched voice? You know, like, hey bud. They're so beautiful, they're gorgeous.
Katharine: I'm pretty sure that the government will pay you to adopt a wild horse.
Quinn: Should we get a fucking horse?
Brian: Oh my god, where do we put him?
Quinn: We don't even have room for a new water thing in here.
Brian: Baby steps, baby steps.
Katharine: Baby steps, baby steps. I have a friend too, adopted a wild mustang.
Brian: That is, holy shit.
Quinn: I don't know man, I got three toddlers, I effectively have wild mustangs.
Brian: We'll put it in our 10 year plan.
Katharine: That's a wild herd.
Quinn: My youngest child is basically, do you remember the Kool-Aid man who just burst through a wall?
Quinn: That's my youngest kid. The answer to everything is physicality. Same thing, I approach him with like a high pitched voice. Hey, don't do that, please.
Katharine: Like an outstretched hand with a snack?
Quinn: Exactly. No sudden movements.
Brian: Oh my god. All right.
Brian: So okay, Katharine, here's what we're going to do. We are going to go over some quick context regarding the question at hand today or the topic I should say. And then we'll dig into some questions, some action oriented questions, that get to the heart of why we should all care about it and care about you and what you're doing. Does that sound good?
Katharine: That sounds great.
Quinn: All right, Katharine, we start with one important question to set the tone for this whole fiasco. Instead of telling us your entire life story, as much as I would love to know, we'd like to ask, Katharine, why are you vital to the survival of the species?
Katharine: Oh, my lord.
Quinn: Should we just stop it right there? Be bold, be honest.
Katharine: Be bold. I'm not vital to the survival of the species. I mean, none of us is, right? But I am, I am sort of hell bent on trying to steer humanity like away from the Kamikaze mission that we seem to be on at the moment. You know that scene in Dr. Strangelove where the guys like cowboy bucking bronco riding the bomb to, you know, like I sort of feel like that's what we're trying to kind of steer things away from. And our work at Project Drawdown and my work on climate generally is like, there's actually a different, we could go down a different path. That would be more fun, probably, certainly healthier. So let's like, yeah, why don't we go this way over here instead of kind of catapulting to our death, which feels like what we're doing at the moment.
Katharine: I'm sort of a hopeless interdisciplinary. So I think the, you know, the sort of useful skill set that I bring to the whole thing is like being able to do sort of landscape level perspective, knitting together and translating things that are often really wonky and impenetrable and dry, into something a little bit more digestible, at least that's what I try to do.
Quinn: Well, that's important, because I think if we've learned anything over the past, I don't know, 37 years, when was the Exxon thing, the facts aren't cutting, and we need people who can do that translation and knitting, especially interdisciplinary stuff. Because it turns out, everything's tied together and can tell those stories in effective ways. So we're glad you're here, metaphorically, spiritually, physically on the podcast. So thank you.
Katharine: My pleasure.
Quinn: Okay. Let's do this thing a little bit. This is not, sometimes these little contextual things that I throw into the world are very wonky, sometimes they're more, metaphysical is not the word, coffee hasn't kicked in yet, that's interesting. I think maybe we'll get there because we're going to have some questions that ask about why Drawdown is what it is and how it's built the way it is. But just to take a big step back again for everybody who's texting and driving and turning left when they shouldn't be.
Quinn: Here's the deal as far as how we are currently and should be in the very near future dealing with this thing called climate change or climate crisis as everyone is changing their vernacular appropriately. There are a huge variety of touted and in some ways, very proven ways for us to slow and by the grace of all that is holy, perhaps someday, over the fucking rainbow, begin to actually stop climate change. The most common and I guess superficial that is, not superficial, but the ones that listeners can see with their own eyes on a day to day basis are probably electric cars and residential solar panels. And then there's stop flying so much, please eat plants, mostly plants. Use mass transit or scooters or bikes. Stop wasting food, which we do just a tremendously bad job of here.
Quinn: Further out from that, you've got a wind power farms, both onshore and offshore, solar farms, whether the huge ones in the deserts or in your neighborhood in that tract the land that nobody ever developed. Replanting forests, hydroelectric, cutting out coal of course, electrifying the grid, demolishing industrial agriculture, yada, yada. And we can skip ahead to actual carbon removal, sequestration, not quite pipe dreams anymore, but also still such a long way from being both scalable and affordable.
Quinn: But there's one or I guess two related items near the very top of the list that are rarely discussed, I guess, when it comes to fighting climate change. In 2019, I think in the past five years or so I feel like they've certainly gained prominence, which is great, but maybe not necessarily for this specific mission among the most common chatter about how to deal with this existential crisis we're facing, which is kind of fascinating because like many of the methods discussed that we talk about every day and the Green New Deal and things like that.
Quinn: We're realizing that, like you said, in sort of an interdisciplinary way, these missions are not inherently nor should they be segregated from one another. Fighting climate change and for example, building an economy of equitable clean jobs inherently turns out go together. Planning millions of trees in big cities reduces urban heat and cleans the air, reducing cardiovascular diseases, early deaths, classroom issues that we've seen in Los Angeles and I know DC is dealing with. Horrific rates of asthma among children and the elderly. Everybody wins, which is great.
Quinn: I understand how some people it can seem overwhelming and arguments already against things like the Green New Deal, like trying to do all these things at once is too much, we need to save and flavor. First of all, that's wrong, but it's also vital that we see these things as a challenge, yes, but also, an opportunity to make a new world, a healthier, cleaner, more evergreen and equitable world. And it turns out, and I just love this and I'm fascinated by this and want to dig into it, that a lot of that starts with little girls across the world.
Quinn: So, with that, I want to talk about, again, how not treating women and girls like shit can also help save the world. But I want to leave people hanging for one second longer. Katharine, tell us what Project Drawdown is.
Katharine: So Project Drawdown is kind of a small but mighty nonprofit that really came into existence because the problem statement of climate change is so big and so overwhelming. And we've needed a really comprehensive assessment of what the solutions are that we can actually bring to this crisis to slow it and hopefully ultimately turn things around. So that's what we've done at Project Drawdown. We've done a global kind of all sectors assessment of the technologies and practices, what we call "solutions" that are already in hand. So these are not someday maybe if we're lucky and Elon Musk figures it out. It's like, no, this is the toolbox we have today. It's scientifically valid, it's economically viable, and all we need to do is scale it real fast.
Quinn: All we need to do.
Katharine: All we need to do. Yeah. So we're kind of a resource for climate solutions and what we hope is some wisdom and some inspiration about what we can do in this moment as we face probably the biggest challenge the human species has encountered to date.
Quinn: Not much. It's just like a day to day side project sort of thing.
Brian: I can probably take care of that today.
Katharine: It's really kind of like a curation of humanity's collective wisdom. And if you're feeling sort of-
Quinn: You keep reducing it to nothing, it's just weird.
Katharine: But like, if you're feeling sort of bummed about humans, which I think that can be a thing that you feel, Drawdown is like, oh wow, we're not just terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, greedy, lazy creatures. We're also creative and collaborative and committed and compassionate. And I think, you know, that's really the story that we have to lean into in this moment. And Drawdown kind of tells that story from a place of data and science and rigor.
Quinn: I don't understand why we have to bring data and science.
Katharine: I mean, personally, I'm much more into poetry than data, but you know, I think there's a role for both.
Quinn: I love it. I love it. It is essential, and it is, it really feels like the necessary tip of the sword for this so called resistance is like, guys, look, here's the list of shit we can literally do and some of which we're already doing and it's measured and measurable. And yeah, we're way fucking behind the eight ball but look at these things and look at this, like you said, cross-disciplinary look, because it is such a fascinating list of things that are, it really reaches across the board. But turns out, if we do a lot of these, boy, it might not get so hot.
Katharine: Yeah, and I have to give a little asterisk to your intro, which I thought was fantastic and I may steal some things from it. But one is that, you know, on the sequestration side of things, we have this incredible technology that nature has been working on for 3.8 billion years, which is photosynthesis. The planet has exactly the tools that are needed to keep carbon and balance. We're sort of dead set on burning it real fast, sending a lot of it up into the atmosphere and into the oceans. But on that front, we actually, there's so much that we can do now to actually bring carbon back home and regenerate ecosystems and soil and all that good stuff.
Quinn: Yeah. So, let's talk about the surprising ones here and the point of it today. So I think what's most fascinating about the whole thing, and I really keep using that because I think people are going to, when they hear this, they probably go, huh, that's interesting, because it's not what you hear about. Hearing them on the list, you're like, okay, that makes sense. But it's where they are on this very measurable list that's really interesting. Educating girls in family planning are numbers six and seven on the Drawdown list of the most effective actions we can take to fight climate change based on, per the book and the website, the plausible scenario, which models the growth solutions on the drop down list based on a reasonable but vigorous rate from 2020 to 2050.
Quinn: So, it's obviously not as simple as this. But again, trying to give people context. Educating girls in family planning both rank above rooftop solar, regenerative agriculture, afforestation, geothermal, nuclear, offshore wind. There's some big names in there. Let's talk about educating girls first. Give me some more context for why that's number six. What that means, again, treat us like kindergarteners, and then give us some context for why it's ranked where it is and how it's being deployed.
Katharine: Sure. So the kind of caveat that I have to give upfront is that educating girls and access to reproductive healthcare are things that we should be pursuing, period because they are fundamental rights of women and girls. And within Drawdown, we look at like, oh, also, guess what, there are these other positive ripple effects of securing the fundamental rights and opportunities and well being of women and girls. So, caveat upfront.
Katharine: So what we see with education is that when girls and young women have more years of school, it changes their lives. They are able to make different choices about who they become and what they do and what the contours of their life looks like. And one of the choices that we see super consistently is that more years of education is correlated with smaller families. So, among the choices that girls and women end up making, marrying later, having fewer children and having more control over when they choose to have those children, and so sort of size and spacing. And if you add up the choices that individual women and their partners make around the world and over time, you end up having a big impact on fertility rates, and then sort of the growth of the human family at large.
Katharine: So our individual family choices add up to what our human family looks like to the tune of millions and even a billion or so people. And education of course is very tightly linked with family planning, with access to high quality, voluntary and comprehensive reproductive health care. So if you want to have a smaller family or if you want to postpone having children until later in life, you need some means to do that. Birth control, condoms, contraception of various stripes, you know, all the dimensions of reproductive health care. And that's why you see those two solutions sitting really closely together in Drawdown because they're in fact so entangled that it's very hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. And so, what we did was actually look at the integrated impact of education and reproductive health care. And then we just split it between the two.
Katharine: So actually, if you look at them together, they turn out to be a top if not the top Drawdown solution. Certainly on par with solar and wind and forest and regenerative agriculture.
Quinn: Is it incredibly lazy to say they just add up to fewer babies and healthier women? Let me delve back. I guess what I'm trying to help myself and and other people understand is I guess, so let's talk about education, educating girls. What is the I guess the current mark where we need to do better? Like, what is a threshold? And what are we trying to get to? Is it like we need to get girls to a seventh grade education, we need to get girls to a fourth grade education? We need to, like to have a measurable effect, is it they need a high school education? Obviously, there's a huge variety of circumstances across the world and across demographics. So I just, I'm trying to visualize this a little better so people understand when they're taking action, what we're trying to get to.
Katharine: What we're looking for. So, I mean, again, my caveat will be like we should be getting girls as much education as girls want.
Quinn: No, no, no. Of course.
Katharine: I know, I know. But I have to say this because it can become, it can become a little, it can become a little like, you know, sort of, like, well, how many years of education do we put in to get fewer babies out? We have to be I think careful about this stuff. It's a tricky topic.
Quinn: I mean, the correct answer is like, Beyonce is correct, like girls should run the fucking world. Like our podcast is 60% lady guests because no one needs to hear more fucking white guys. And we get in arguments with white guys on like our Twitter feed and stuff all the time, they're like, what's the matter with white guys? I'm like, do you want to have that conversation? Do you really want to get into that pal? But it's true. So of course, the answer is like, as much as they want, more than enough, run the whole thing. You and Rihanna should be fucking dictators for life. That's great. Just be done with the whole thing.
Quinn: But for the people who are just like, I want to measure where my dollar goes and know where this is going and like, I also think it just helps to paint a picture of like where we are right now, which is like, why is this, this wouldn't be so high on the list if it wasn't such a fucking problem. Does that make sense? So tell us about the problem.
Katharine: So here's some good news. Some good news is that the world has actually made some really good progress in primary education and basically getting girls into elementary school and through elementary school. The biggest gaps that we continue to see are in secondary school classrooms. And of course, you can imagine, that's at the same time that bodies are becoming adult bodies and there are lots of different dynamics at work. That's when you can start to see early marriage dynamics emerge.
Katharine: So we know that it's really, really important for girls to get all the way through a secondary school education. And then, you know, anything beyond that is fantastic. And we know that we have sort of the most work to do, still to close that gap in secondary school. And for folks who are like jazzed about this particular topic, I would love to just mention the work of [Christina Kwok 00:27:07], who's at the Brookings Institution, and she does work on this intersection of girls education and climate change, and really trying to understand the full suite of intersections there beyond what we looked at in Drawdown, which really is, what's the impact of shifting this variable of the population size over the coming decades?
Quinn: I'm going to definitely have to hit you up for an intro to her, I would love to talk to her as well.
Katharine: Yeah, she's awesome.
Quinn: Interesting. Okay. I mean, it makes so much sense. Again, like you paint the picture of the problem but understanding that, of course, that's when, if we can just get them through these last few years because yeah, that's when a young girl who's turning into a young woman can start to help around the house and it seems like an easy answer until all sudden, she hasn't been in school in three years and she's just behind.
Quinn: And you understand this short term fix of we need her to help or to do these things, but in the long term, yeah, it is what it is, we are where we are now.
Katharine: Yeah, and you can understand the ways in which the kind of ripple effects throughout a girl's life means that she has a lot less choices if she's not educated and the doors that sort of open because of that are not open to her.
Quinn: Because there's so many doors open for women.
Katharine: I mean, the doors are just, they're so abundant sometimes. I'm like, could we close some of these? It's just too much.
Quinn: Let's just back it up.
Brian: Too many doors.
Quinn: Let's do it all again. This was a fun video game to play.
Quinn: Related but semi off topic. I know she's been a huge influence in a lot of ways in this world in the past 10, 15 years. Have you checked out a Melinda Gates' new book?
Katharine: You know, I haven't read it. I have not read it. Have you?
Quinn: I did. I'm so inspired by them. It is just incredible what they do. But I'm really, it's kind of not what you think. It's actually sort of, instead of like a, hey, this is how we're changing the world and what we should all go do. It's a really interesting, it's almost like when Bruce Springsteen's book came out and everyone's like cool rock and roll biography, and he was like, actually, this is a 400 page therapy session about how fucked up I am and why it's influenced what I do and how it's come a long way and the demons I'm wrestling with and why people should talk about mental health. And you're like, what.
Quinn: And hers is really interesting introspective about like how it took her a long time to come around to feminism and how she made her way into it and where she has chosen to make an impact and why along the way. And I think it's actually helpful in that respect to see this person who has literally all the resources on the planet and how she came around and what she's doing with it for people who, I don't know, again, I feel like I should just send it to these idiot white guys we argue with online and go like, yeah, I get it, but come on, pal. Please just shut up.
Katharine: Please just shut up.
Quinn: Please just stop. You're making it so much worse. Awesome. So let's talk about, and like you said, they really do add up into one thing but I think it's important to discuss them as two. Let's talk about family planning. That's obviously a hell of a topic right now in the US. You wrote about it very eloquently on Twitter recently which I don't know if anyone said that out loud before because that's not that cesspool is. How does family planning affect climate change? We've talked about that, you know, fewer babies. How do we come to understand this as a specific method?
Katharine: Yeah. I also, now I'm thinking about the angry white guys. So I'm going to also like, I know, I'm just going to like cut off at the pass. Some sort of commentary that may come flying your way, which is that these guys they like, they fucking love the term population control. Which just, I'm like, please, all listeners, like stop texting, keep driving, but like, for fuck sake, please never use that term. If you've ever used it before, like, let it go. Never use it in the future. Like no one wants their population to be controlled. It's just offensive. And it is, frankly, sort of flip side of the battles that we're seeing in the US, particularly in my part of the country around choice. Anytime you're venturing into language that's about controlling the decisions women make about their bodies and the children they do or don't have, like you're venturing into some super shitty territory. So just get out of there.
Katharine: So with that said, and remembering that we can't ever think about the variable of population without thinking about affluence and consumption and production, these are all sort of knit together. And yet, it's a variable that matters, how many of us are on the planet, eating and moving and building and wasting and all of the things that we do, these all end up having an impact on the environment and on emissions that impacts the climate. So, that's what we're thinking about and it turns out that there is still a lot of unmet need in the world for reproductive healthcare. There are still a lot of women who say they want to be able to decide whether and when to become pregnant but don't have good access to contraception or to healthcare.
Katharine: We know that it's harder and more expensive than it needs to be to get birth control, for example. And this is, as you mentioned, like, this is not just a problem "over there." This is a problem in America. And so, this again is just looking at, what's the ripple effect we see if women are able to access basic health care that they say they want and need, and in too many cases, don't have? And then what does that mean for smaller families? And then ultimately, slowing the growth of our global population? So that's, it's not rocket science really.
Quinn: You'd think?
Brian: Yeah. That's wildly interesting. And treading carefully because of population control, I read a report recently that said that the US is starting to fall behind the replacement rate. So by some measures, we're not having enough babies. Could this also be a good thing?
Katharine: So I think there are, usually when we think about sort of those replacement rate questions, that's usually about economics and keeping things like social security solvent and that sort of thing. Actually turns out that immigration could be super helpful on that front.
Quinn: Just stirring up all kinds of shit here today, Katharine.
Katharine: Just getting right into it. I know. Yeah. I think what's interesting and what's, you know, I think has mostly been sort of surmising and not yet super kind of data driven yet is the thought actually that one of the reasons people are choosing to have fewer children or not have children is actually that they don't feel good about the state of the planet. When there's sort of kind of low confidence in the future and a lack of optimism about the future, that tends to show up in the choices folks are making about making babies.
Katharine: And it's certainly, it's something that I'm hearing a lot more women talk about, at least so far than men. That's in that "eloquent Twitter thread," which I will take that compliment. You know, I was kind of like trying to capture the incredible tension here. To talk about a "right to life" without a livable planet doesn't make any sense. And also a livable planet is an absolutely essential foundation for reproductive justice. What does it mean to be able to say, like, yeah, I can have a baby, I have good health care. But like, do I have a healthy planet for that human to spend their life on is a big question.
Quinn: Yeah. You know, we had a really interesting conversation I think with a woman named Julia Steinberger professor. I think it was Episode 55-ish. Everything has a black hole in my life. It sounds kind of funny but it was about the energy requirements of well being. And she reached out to me on, I think she kind of shouted into the ether on Twitter and basically said, like, whose podcast can I go on to talk about fascism and climate? And I was like, oh, I'm in.
Katharine: We'll take you.
Quinn: All day. We had this real interesting talk. She's working on something called the energy requirements of well being, which is basically what is this the floor, the measure that, or what is the requirement that everyone is entitled to? Sort of this new bill of rights, the fundamental number, which sounds impossible to come to of what is each person is requires now and kind of going forward? And what does that look like in the context of how much energy each baby boomer has used and been allowed to use when there was no cap versus what their grandchildren, my children will get to use, which by some measures is like a 10th or 20th.
Quinn: And how does that apply so vastly differently across the globe and what do we need to do to ensure that each person is allowed to utilize that requirement and has the resources in their country and locality and on their person to have that, and that is interesting to me, like you said, when we talk about this replacement rate, which is mostly economics driven, which is true.
Quinn: I mean, you look at what Japan and China are going to be facing which China from the one child policy, like they're going to see the ramifications of that for years, and in Japan with so many older folks. But we're going to be facing something really interesting too. And it does come down to looking at it and going, okay, if we're having fewer, and this is similar and this is just pure fucking left turn here, which is, people giving millennials shit. They're like, oh, they don't stay in a job and they're not having kids and they don't buy a house.
Quinn: It's like, well, we ruined everything. So why the fuck, they can't buy a house because they can't afford them. We destroyed that. Everyone says we're going to live in cities. They can't afford to do that so they have to move every year. There's a report that said, and you can say like give them time, it was like, millennials cheat on their houses a lot less than baby boomers. And one, like, well, the bar is pretty fucking low. And two, I don't know, maybe, maybe they're just really into seeking comfort because the fucking world is burning and they're looking for raises because everything is unaffordable. But it just comes down to you look at them, and you look at Generation Z below them, and again, like my kids' ages, which is what do they do? What do you do? And what do they do to build that world and to earn it because it's just going to be a fundamentally different equation.
Quinn: It seems insane and which is what makes the stuff that is happening in America literally like this week so insane is like it's just common sense. Like, of course, women should be the ones making the choices about their bodies and what they do with their bodies, both sexually and reproductively and whatever the fuck else they want to do, school wise, or athletics. Who cares? They should do it. But it does have a bigger effect at how we look at this thing and go, what is everyone given and how do we build a system that is given to them so that they can do those things?
Quinn: So we say like, oh, these children are supposed to save the world and Greta Thunberg is out there, and it's like, Yeah, but what are the resources we're giving her to go save the world? And we're like, sorry, we fucked it up, you got to do it. I don't know. This is a terrible five minute diatribe but I think about this all the time in the context of sort of my own kids. They're going to have a harder world. It's like, okay, but what's the reality and what's that going to look like and what are they going to have to operate with and the choices they're going to make?
Katharine: These kids, wise people in their teenage years, let's call them. They're angry and they're sad and they're scared, and they damn well should be. I mean, it's an incredible injustice that's been done to them. Most of the damage that we have done to the climate we've done since we have known what we've been doing. We've done most of it in the last 30 years. And that's just, it's unconscionable. It's interesting too thinking about the abortion bans that are kind of making their way through state legislatures and then climate inaction. In both of these cases, it's like, we're not talking about the choice of a majority. We know that in every congressional district in the country, a majority of people support staying in the Paris Agreement. And we know that in no state in the country just support for overturning Roe v Wade go above 25%.
Katharine: And yet you have these kind of small cabals of mostly conservative white men who are like holding the whole thing hostage, which, you know, I think speaks to this point about different leadership and throwing our weight and support and dollars and platforms behind other voices. And I think Greta is, she is emblematic of the really catalytic leadership that we are seeing from women and girls on climate right now really across the board, but they're not getting enough, they're not getting enough support particularly when you kind of dip like just below sort of superstar status.
Quinn: I can't remember she wrote this or put it in a speech a month or two ago, I think she gave maybe a talk somewhere where it might have literally been standing on a street because she just doesn't give a fuck, which is fantastic. She basically jumped on this mantra that everyone's taken up, which is like, kids are saving the world. And she's like, yeah, we're trying to, but it would also be great if you just fucking helped. Hey, you don't get to just be like, oh, thank god, they're going to save the world. It's like, no, no, no, because we still can't run for office because we're fucking 16. Do your job. Do your fucking job.
Katharine: What tools other than being like the moral barometer for humanity, like what other tools do they have to save the world? They don't control capital, they don't control rulemaking. They're changing the paradigm, they're changing the stories, but we need everybody else to grab the other levers for change that we've got that frankly kids don't have access to.
Quinn: Yeah. Because you technically can't run for office.
Katharine: Or be an CEO.
Quinn: We can fucking march all we want but we can't draft legislation, we can't vote on things. We can't even be like the mayor of a fucking town and in kick out the coal plant. It's like, just do your job, do the thing.
Katharine: Please, please.
Brian: It's a team effort here.
Katharine: I've been sporting recently a pen that Mary Robinson, who was the first woman to be president of Ireland. She has these wonderful little pens that say angry grannies for climate justice. And I'm not a granny, I'm only a dog mom. But I've been wearing it because I feel like an angry granny. And I also feel like it's a good kind of permission slip for whatever might come out of my mouth.
Quinn: I think it's good. Just putting it out there, my wife recently got a shirt that says "I cry at work." Which I think is great.
Katharine: Yeah, me too.
Quinn: She's just like, here's the deal. Here's the deal. This is what you're getting.
Katharine: Yeah, I think the better question is like who are the people who don't cry at work?
Quinn: I for sure cry at work, to be clear. Brian knows, he walks in sometimes, he's like, oh boy, it's one of those.
Brian: Here we go. I'm usually fine but then I get here and then I start crying.
Quinn: Yeah. Did I tell I think, we have these like side shows, it is really a fucking side show called Fun Talk, which is just Brian and I chatting about whatever. I think I told the story about Brian, the misogyny shirt. I don't know if I did on the main one. So my children are small and we like to dress them in things that they don't understand yet because they don't have a choice. They also don't have shame yet, which is really fun. My wife got this shirt for, I have boy, girl, boy. And my wife got a shirt for our youngest that says, it's just a picture of a cartoon Fox. But it says, "I don't care for your misogyny." To be clear, like, he is very young and doesn't know any of those words, much less the biggest one.
Quinn: I was driving him and my daughter to their school. And she who is also young and doesn't know those words looked at the shirt and just very innocently said, "What does that word mean?" And I was like, well, I clearly knew which one she was asking about because it just looks like a complicated word if you're trying to sound things out, it's fair. And I just tried to dial it down as much as I could, which is more or less what I have to do 24 hours a day, and I just basically said, "Well, honey, some people think, and it's mostly men, think that boys are better than girls." She looked over to brother who was basically just like covered in fucking avocado and food and like shoving a fist in his mouth. And her other brother wasn't, he was already at his school, not in the car, but he's just like constantly lying about washing his teeth and brushing, like all of the things, and just covered in mud and just, you know, they're just idiots.
Quinn: And her, she just literally started laughing because the math didn't add up. She was just like, how would that be possible that boys are better than girls because I live with animals. She just started cackling. The sight of him, she was just like, that's not true. And I was like, look, I know, I know, it's ridiculous. But I'm so happy that's like her starting place is like, you got to be fucking kidding me, man.
Quinn: So anyway, I thought that was pretty fun.
Brian: So Katharine, let's get a personal real quick here. How did you come to Project Drawdown?
Quinn: What attracted you to this?
Katharine: Yeah. Well, okay, so I spent a super formative four months when I was 16 living in the woods in western North Carolina, which was kind of like, that was my sort of deeply politicizing, like kind of officially step into the life and work of being an environmentalist. Carried that with me. I ended up doing a PhD looking at what was at the time this sort of burgeoning climate movement among evangelical Christians in the US. And that work left me with a lot of critiques of the climate movement, kind of the secular climate movement, the mainstream climate movement. And honestly, kind of the, I finished that work, I turned it into a book. And then I really was, I found the climate space depressing and frankly not super friendly to women and not super friendly to other ways of thinking beyond kind of science policy economics. And so it was hard for me to figure out, like, where should I fit in that world.
Katharine: So I ended up doing about five years of work in consulting and sort of Aristotle meets Dr. Seuss for business, like trying to help companies find their purpose. But really was kind of tugged back into work on climate, and ended up kind of crossing paths with Project Drawdown through a client of mine interface. And I just thought, this work is addressing so many of the gaps that the climate movement has struggled with. It was really kind of an exciting opportunity to go from thinking about the stories that we tell about climate change and humans on the planet to actually being part of writing those and shaping those. So, that's kind of a slightly long and windy detail but that's basically it.
Quinn: I don't know why you feel like long and windy would be inappropriate in this conversation. I wanted to take this sort of left turn just because it is for so many people, and I feel like I want to get into this in a minute, it is a personal mission, there is a reason why people tend to get in this and get involved in some way. Because the thing about it is, there's no really other way to put it, it's pretty fucking traumatic being in this job. Whether you're an actual scientist working on it or a communicator or both, like so many of these people like Katharine Hayhoe, Michael Mann, or you've just got a dumb fucking podcast. It's a lot and it's a choice every day to get out of bed and keep doing it because it can be really, really hard. And we are now thankfully in the news seeing more and more of it. Unfortunately, it's because more and more of it is happening.
Quinn: There is so much positive action happening, if we can just jump onto it and turn things around and throw investment into it and get people on board, you know, etc, etc. So, projects like Project Drawdown are so important and people like you are so important. So, I'm curious, knowing all of that, is there a specific relationship that you can point to that was a catalyst for your actions to get you where you are today? Is there someone who really drew you to this or inspired you to do this?
Katharine: So I would say, I had kind of a cluster of really influential teachers. And some of those were actual teachers whose classrooms I found myself in or whose out of doors classrooms I found myself in. But I would say also, there were writers who had a really big impact on me as well. I started reading Mary Oliver at 16, during those months of living in the woods. I read Daniel Quinn's classic book, Ishmael, at that time.
Brian: Great book.
Katharine: Yeah, great book. And that really was the time where I started asking like, yeah, what are these stories were telling about this place and our responsibility to it or lack thereof. I would say, you know, I had grown up spending time with my grandmother on my mom's side of the family in the mountains in Tennessee. So I had had a real kind of sense of connection to the like beyond human world. And I think some formative experiences of like coming out of a national forest and into a fresh clear cut, and just kind of feeling the intensity of what of what humans are doing to this planet and to ourselves as entangled as we are in the living systems of this earth. It's really heartbreaking.
Katharine: And I think, you know, your point about this work being hard, it is like, for me, I just have sort of come to accept that like, part of my work is just to hold the grief and to do the work of holding and honoring the grief and creating space for possibility at the same time because if you're awake and aware and paying attention to what's happening, like it is going to break your heart. It absolutely fucking well. And so, instead of that being like heartbroken like curled on the couch in the fetal position, which like, there's time for that, like how does it also kind of break open into something more generative, into a space where like vision and action can emerge?
Katharine: I think other social movements have been better at kind of grappling with and addressing the soul dimensions and the emotional dimensions of the work. And I think the climate space has not been so great with that. You're really talking about kind of tangling with existential questions every day. It's a lot.
Quinn: I mean, you're totally right. Tangling with existential questions every day is a hell of a fucking life choice to make. It is much easier to put our head in the sand, which I think we all collectively did for a long time. I've said before here, I understand why people do it now seeing some of the news, especially if you're, sometimes I don't know what's harder, being exposed to it every day and reading like embargoed climate reports, or you wake up on a Tuesday and you're like, what's the Trump bad news, and then you see some other shit where you're like, oh, we're fucked. Which is weird because I thought last Monday I got news that we're fucked. Turns out they were off by a magnitude or whatever.
Quinn: So I have totally been in, and we were talking about this recently and we had a pretty amazing conversation that's coming out with a woman named Nikki Silvestri about being the person on the couch under a blanket when you're supposed to be working on this, which was me. But it is important to eventually do whatever your fucking self care is, do what the thing is, and then get back to being, like you said, generative, which is I think such an important world.
Quinn: But for our listeners who are invested in this, they're taking action. If they're white people, they're marching in the street for the first time in their life. There's this interesting question among like climate nerds, and of course, it's mostly online, where everything is in concrete, but whether like, for everybody else, whether personal climate actions or clean energy actions, whatever, whether those actually matter. Reducing food waste, getting solar on half your roof, getting an EV, used one or a new one, or just driving less. First is the obvious much larger industrial actions that need to be taken. The things that are going to actually move the needle.
Quinn: Some folks are very fervent, and I think understandably believe that personal actions are really just like a drop in the proverbial bucket, literally the biggest bucket of all time. And I do get that if we're talking about measurable things. But my argument, which I've tried not to dip into too much because then I look up and it's three in the morning and I've got to get up my kids in a couple hours, is that having skin in the game makes you a hell of a lot more likely to hold other people, particularly your representatives or the industry itself to task. If anything, it's a motivator. Whether you buy a 2014 Nissan LEAF or get some panels or you start, dealing with food waste is like fucking annoying. Composting is another thing you have to do in a busy fucking life.
Quinn: And so, to me, it makes me feel, and I feel like pushing this on other people because that's all I do, it's a motivator where you're like, again, whether you're talking to a friend who just doesn't get it or doesn't want to get on board or your representative, whether they're local, or your city council, or your representative from Congress who just doesn't fucking listen, it's an opportunity and a reason to say like, hey motherfucker, I'm doing my part and it's really annoying. Let's go. Tick tock, tick tock. And to me, that's where the generative part comes in. It might feel like you're fighting this overwhelming fight but it might be the thing that moves the needle in the end and gets that other stuff done. But I understand that it's hard. I don't know.
Katharine: Yeah. I think it's such a, maybe one of the things I hate most in like business school world is like you can't manage what you can't measure. And it's like, as if like manage, like, what, what? But there is, I think there is bias towards like the only things that matter are actions that have measurable results, which then limits you to really narrow kind of A to B to C sorts of orientations. And to me, there's so much that happens in how we choose to move through our days that is like where the rubber hits the road of values and beliefs and integrity, in like the deepest sense of the word of actually having what we say and what we do line up in some fundamental ways. And it's where we participate in shaping stories and shifting norms.
Katharine: So I guess I come to a lot of this work with more of a humanities and social science hat on than anything else. And I think even about my own experience, I've been vegetarian for 20 years. Do I think that that's having, like can I measure that impact on global emissions? No, I can't. But it is a way for me three or more times a day to like get grounded in my values and to remember that I am a part of the living systems of this planet and that means I have a choice about whether to be a more kind of beneficial participant in those systems or a more destructive one.
Katharine: So I guess I just, these debates I think can become so binary in a way that I think is really unhelpful. And I really like that notion that like if you personally have more skin in the game, you're going to show up to make sure that other people do too. I mean, I think that that makes sense to me, and that the more we can, the more we can sort of live into the future that we're trying to bring about, even if it's in small and imperfect ways, I think those are still sort of, I don't know, maybe it's overly hopeful, but I like to think that they're sort of talismans of something to come.
Quinn: You'd hope so, right? Look, not everyone in America is going to, like, you choosing to compost and to not throw away and not order that extra fucking side of delivery from Postmates that you're just going to throw away like is not going to immediately make 400 million people stop doing the same thing. If it did, yes, that would be the thing that moves an enormous piece of the needle. But it is going to make you feel like I am doing something, this is frustrating, we should be doing more. And these are the people I can talk to about it. I don't know.
Brian: Totally agree.
Katharine: I think in some ways, like if you really sort of probe like so why would you say it's not worth doing those things, right? Then you would start to ask, like well, none of the more systemic work that we're doing in the climate space has any guarantee of success. So if absolutely guaranteed outcome of a measurable large size is what you're going for, then like you would stop all of this work immediately. Because like, the odds are long and the bar is high and like we're, some days I just have to remind myself that it's like you just show up to do this because it is the right thing to do.
Katharine: You don't show up because you know you're going to get the outcome that you're hoping for. There's so much uncertainty, but to me, like it feels a hell of a lot better to be in alignment with life than to be standing on the sidelines or like actively thwarting it. And there are so many ways to be participating in creating a life giving future, like I just, like, why wouldn't you want to come to that party? That's a good party.
Quinn: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. And it just, if it's all too depressing, guess what, this is the thing that can make you feel good. It can make you feel like you're doing something.
Brian: Yep. All right, let's get back to girls, to educating girls and family planning.
Quinn: Moving towards the action segment.
Brian: Yes, yes. Where have we seen gains and where have we seen the biggest obstacles?
Quinn: For these two specifically?
Katharine: Yeah. So we talked a little bit about good gains and securing primary school education for girls. More work to still be done around secondary school. There are many, many, many different interventions to help keep girls in school all the way through high school. And there's so much good work being done on that, again, Brookings has some really great resources for folks who want to dig a little bit deeper there. And similarly, on access to reproductive healthcare, we are seeing sort of some gains. We've seen, for example, a small drop in the number of women globally who say that they have unmet need, for example, for contraception. But we're still talking about more than 200 million women who have need. So, it's like we're kind of inching along in some of these areas but there's still some more work to do.
Katharine: And not to get kind of overly in the policy wonky space, but what the US does around what's called the Global gag rule ends up having a big impact on family planning for women around the world.
Quinn: What is that?
Katharine: Global gag rule is kind of the sort of like slang term, the Mexico City policy is another way, if you want to give it a give it a google. But it has to do with US dollars going into reproductive healthcare globally. So right now, the Trump administration has sort of brought the global gag rule back into alignment, which means no money from the US can go to provision health care in any setting where there's even so much as a mention of abortion. So you can imagine this has a really big impact, a kind of pulling development dollars out of of areas where they're really needed to provide reproductive health care. So, this is something that has, that sort of generally flip flops Republican to Democratic administrations, and we're in a not great scene on that right now.
Katharine: Yeah, it's not enough, it's not enough just for us to like control the choices of women in America, we just seem to be hell bent on doing it around the world.
Quinn: There was, and this is just so dark, there's someone on Twitter who posted, maybe you saw this, that they called the police, they were in a city and this guy looked like down a city block 40 flights up and saw standing on the edge of a roof what seemed to be a woman basically dressed as a handmade from Handmaid's Tale standing on the edge. And so, he immediately fucking called police thinking like, this would be a first just on a personal level, this person hurting themselves or killing themselves would be terrible, but in the Handmaid's thing, like this is where we've come to, the policeman texted him back 20 minutes later, it was just an umbrella. A red umbrella with a white cap on it. It was not a person. But it just makes you go like, wow, is that where we are? Is that where we are? Man, boy, that's not great.
Katharine: Yeah, I live in Atlanta and there were people in Handmaid's outfits all during the legislative session that ultimately resulted in the abortion ban in Georgia after six weeks, which is effectively a total ban. Like that's happening. That's happening in in my backyard in John Lewis's congressional district in one of the largest cities in America. This is the world that we're in and I think, yeah, it's a really unsettling and scary time I think to be a woman in America. And for folks who don't live in the south, don't live in a state where these abortion bands are being debated or coming into, or getting passed, I think it's really easy to think that you're somehow insulated, but this is a national strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade. And we need to be showing up right for our rights and ensuring that elected officials have a game plan because it's a, there's absolutely no guarantee that the courts are going to protect this right in a way that they have in the past.
Katharine: Yeah. All that to say, maybe like, I'm probably jumping ahead but maybe a good possible action item is also just to like see who's working on reproductive justice in your backyard, almost certainly Planned Parenthood, but lots of other fantastic local and state organizations, almost all of them have. Well, I won't say almost all of them. There are lots of great lobbying efforts. If you've never gone down to your state capital and lobbied before, they will hold your hand and show you how, it's pretty fun, it's kind of weird. But a lot of this is like, a lot of this is playing out in state politics right now. It's a good moment to dip a toe into that for folks who haven't.
Brian: Yeah, that's, I'm glad you brought that up, that's exactly where we want to go with this conversation right now is to come up with some specific actionable questions that we can all ask our representatives and our elected officials.
Quinn: So yeah, what are the, again, we try to treat everyone like kindergarteners, which is just like make it easier for them to mash their fat finger against the button, which is why I personally love tools like fivecalls.org. What should our typical listener say to their, let's say their state representative? What is the question they should be asking to put them on the spot to move the needle? Whether they're in an Alabama or they're in a Connecticut?
Quinn: Again, coming, looking at it through, and I think this conversations been really helpful, especially because I think there's a lot of people, not a lot of people, I don't want to say a lot of people are monsters, again, when there's so much going on and there's so many problems and everything is fucking terrible and have these huge existential crisis, and you see an abortion ban, and you're like, that's a nightmare, but we also have climate change. Turns out, they're fucking related because of these two things. So, how does someone frame that specifically talking to their representative? We're in Connecticut, they might not think, or New York, Oh my God, we're never going to see something like this. How do they How do they frame that question whether it's about education or family planning or both?
Katharine: Yeah. God, you know, I hate, I sort of get twitchy about like giving people marching orders when I think that there are, there really are groups on the ground who are thinking about what is, like what's the legislative landscape in this particular place. To me, the most important thing and that's like actually super simple is simply to reach out to elected officials and say like I care about this. I care about reproductive health care, I care about reproductive justice and I want to know what you're doing to not just secure that right but to expand it. I mean, this is the other thing we're seeing right now in places like Illinois, is actually an expansion of reproductive health care and abortion access, partially as a counterpoint to what's happening in other states.
Katharine: This is not a world that I spend my days in, but when I do, I'm also, like I'm often struck by how few men are engaged. Men are also having abortions, they're just not having them on their own bodies. So it's like, come on, guys, let's like, like, you can simply show up and listen, but showing up is important. So that feels like a half-assed answer.
Quinn: No, that's great. We're very skilled in half-assed answers so thank you. Welcome to the team. So I think the vote makes sense, right? Put good humans in office here. What about their dollar? Can you help us get specific about the places that are having the most impact for educating girls and similarly for family planning? Because like you, for instance, for family planning, we all know Planned Parenthood, which is under threat every fucking day. But there's also a bunch of great local organizations, things like that. So let's just, let's do educating girls first. Anywhere they should, you know, and we're going to give them the actual website address, where they should be sending their dough?
Katharine: Sure. Again, I mean, I think in both of these areas, there's no shortage of good places to support. The Malala Fund is one that might be sticky for folks because it's got it another young save the world woman associated with it. The Global Girls Alliance is Michelle Obama's kind of more recent initiative that is supporting a number of different organizations that are doing great work on girls' education. On the family planning side, there's great work that is done by groups like Marie Stopes International, which is in many places maybe the only provider of reproductive healthcare. Groups like Pathfinder International, also great, and they're both thinking about the intersection of reproductive justice and planetary health. So those would be two good ones to check out. And, of course, Planned Parenthood, which is operating in the US but also outside of the US.
Katharine: I hesitate to sort of limit, I hesitate to limit the the gender climate nexus to just education and family planning. As I've said, we're seeing so much fantastic catalytic leadership from women around the world. And there's lots of interesting work at the nexus of climate and gender equity. Groups like Solar Sister, for example, are harnessing the power of women's entrepreneurship and then distributed solar technology, LED lighting, for example, is a great one. Groups like wedo.org, which for a long time has been an advocacy organization working at the intersection of gender equality and the environment and human rights. They do fantastic work, kind of getting into the arena. Things like the the climate negotiations and the UN.
Katharine: So I would say, the things that we have in Drawdown and in these areas are the sort of the things that are particularly measurable but I think there are super, super powerful efforts that are harnessing the power of women's leadership and moving Drawdown solutions forward at the same time. Another great one to take a look at would be Root Capital, which does fantastic work with women, smallholder farmers, which is another area that that we looked at within Drawdown. I don't want to go on and on and on. Those are a few.
Brian: That's awesome. That's a ton. That's great.
Quinn: There's some great stuff there. The specifics are helpful.
Katharine: Yeah. The one other like assignment that I might like to leave people with, especially sort of climate folks, is we really need people in the climate world to up their game on gender equity and feminism, which means doing some learning. It means reading the work of folks like Bell Hooks, and Rebecca Solnit. It means listening to Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins' wonderful feminist climate podcast, Mothers of Invention.
Quinn: Oh my God, it's so good.
Katharine: It's so good.
Quinn: It both makes, it inspires me and makes me want to just quit, and just be like, well, why can't they just do the whole thing, they're amazing.
Katharine: And I mean, again, sort of if you're looking for organizations or efforts to support, just go take a look at who's been on Mothers of Invention, really incredible women doing incredible work on climate, on everything from divestment to litigation, to wave energy, really kind of everything across the board. And I worked my little fanny off last year on TED talk about this intersection of gender equity and climate and it is hopefully kind of a good like 13 minute orientation to the topic. And I hope folks will think about using that as a way to start a conversation. If you're spending your time thinking about environmental policy or climate solutions and gender hasn't been on the table, maybe worth kind of taking a step back and just thinking about that.
Quinn: I loved your TED Talk.
Brian: Yeah, I was just going to say we should make sure to put it in the show notes.
Quinn: It's fantastic. We will. Brian, that's your job.
Brian: Oh, right. Got it.
Quinn: Super enjoyable.
Quinn: Wow. We've taken seven hours of your day so we apologize.
Brian: We have a take a lot out of your day, you're trying to chill in the mountains.
Quinn: She's never going to get to ride a horse again.
Brian: All you wanted to do was find a wild horse to adopt and we've kept you.
Katharine: I know, I feel like I got a little rambly at the end, so sorry guys.
Quinn: No, no, you're fantastic. All I do is ramble.
Brian: We want all of the thoughts that are in your brain. Thank you for that. Yeah, seriously, thank you very, very much for your time. We have just a few more questions.
Quinn: Last little things here.
Brian: Yeah, yeah.
Quinn: Katharine, when was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?
Katharine: Maybe it's just because of where I am up on this mountain. But it's making me think about a summer here when I was, you know, I was probably five or six and there was actually a horse barn that burned down. And I think I didn't have any concept of how much money you need to build any kind of structures, but I hosted a lemonade stand to raise money to rebuild that barn. And still there's like a twister box, the inside of a twister box somewhere up here that says 25 cents, whatever, tax dedudible.
Quinn: That's great. We might need a picture that.
Katharine: Yeah, I'll see if I can find it. Tax dedudible.
Quinn: There you go. Always thinking about the economics.
Katharine: Yeah, I'm sure like some adult was like, you know, put that on there, that'll be funny.
Brian: I love the also, dedude, like, we talked about men getting the hell out of the way all the time. Dedude the situation.
Brian: Dedude it.
Quinn: Go pure Thanos. Who is someone in your life that has positively impacted your work in the past six months?
Katharine: In the past six months. Okay, so, I was extraordinarily resistant to getting on Twitter. I had a very sort of philosophical, well, I think I didn't actually know how bad some of it was until it was too late. But part of me was like, you know, the last thing the world needs is more sound bites, I will absolutely not participate in this. And our comms manager was like, no, you just, like you have to, you have to get on. And so, I did and the silver lining of that has been connecting with all of these amazing women who are working on climate. Rhiana Gunn-Wright among them, Kate Marvel and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, who, if you, have y'all had her own?
Quinn: We've had all of those-
Brian: Everybody that you've mentioned so far.
Quinn: And they are again among the cabal of just like you're in charge now. No one else gets to do anything, nothing. Unfortunately that means you guys got to do like trash clean, you got to run the whole thing. But I'm fine with that. Kate Marvel, her twitter feed makes uncontrollably happy.
Katharine: I know. She's so good.
Quinn: It is like the driest zero fucks attitude and perspective on this thing. I mean, yeah, they're fucking great.
Katharine: They're fucking great. And Ayana has just been, she's been like such a gift in my life in the last six months and we're cooking up some fun things together. And I don't know that this will ever come to pass but we do, Ayana, Kate, Rhiana and I do have a vision of a TV show that like instead of The View would be like the long view.
Quinn: Oh my god.
Brian: Can you please tell us how to help make that happen?
Quinn: Hold on, I know so many people. We might have to chat about that because that, oh my god, I would be so happy.
Brian: That's a super team.
Katharine: I know. Kate was like, I don't want to be in front of the camera. We were like, yeah, sorry. You're going to have to be because you're just that good.
Quinn: The trail of evidence is way too fucking long. Oh god.
Brian: That is so crazy to hear.
Quinn: We'll chat about that one offline because now I'm just, can't think about anything else. Great. Brian, take it home.
Brian: Katharine, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed? What is your Katharine time?
Katharine: My Katharine time, mountains, rivers, dogs, horses when possible. I'm a bitter southerner so bourbon.
Brian: This is wonderful.
Katharine: And I have a like monthly circle that I'm a part of that has become like a really important sort of grounding and nourishing practice in my life.
Brian: Wow, that's really nice.
Quinn: That's also reasonable.
Quinn: All right. Ask her your favorite question.
Brian: My favorite question is, if you could Amazon Prime one book to Donald Trump, what would it be?
Katharine: I mean, I have to say Drawdown.
Brian: I mean, right?
Katharine: Right. Because also it has a lot of pictures. He might open it actually.
Brian: You're really thinking about this.
Quinn: It's in like an easy to understand list. You can just go right down it.
Katharine: Yeah, just like flip about. You can start wherever you want. I also just think there could be something wonderful about sending him like one of the children's books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That also feels like just-
Quinn: There's some good ones out there.
Katharine: ... something he should have.
Quinn: Right. Love her so much. Where can our listeners follow you on the online that you reluctantly joined but have been great?
Katharine: Yeah, I gave into the tweets. I'm @Drkwilkinson. And ProjectDdrawdown is @projectdrawdown. Same thing on Instagram @Drkwilkinson. Don't do as much on there but I am there.
Quinn: It's like the kids are on there doing their stories and such.
Brian: Kids love it.
Katharine: Yeah. I mean, I love, I love Instagram. But sort of like a professional public version of Instagram is a slightly newer thing for me.
Quinn: That's fair. Yeah. Nobody needs to see the other feed Katharine, we don't need that.
Katharine: It's too much Arthur the dog probably.
Quinn: There's never enough Arthur the dog. Holy shit, we've kept you for long enough. Thank you so much for your time today and everything you're doing out there in the world. I hope you get some horse time soon. Everybody needs it. It actually, I try to fight against this thing of like, oh, time off means I'm not doing the thing but it actually makes you better at your job and a fuller person who can manage these things. So, whatever it is you need, let Brian know, he will help facilitate it.
Brian: Anything you need, ever.
Quinn: We appreciate you, keep kicking ass out there. And we're going to have a side chat about the Long View.
Quinn: Yeah. We're going to hash this thing out. Awesome. All right. Let's let her get out of here. Thank you so much and we'll talk to you soon, Katharine.
Katharine: That sounds great, guys. Thanks again.
Brian: Thank you. Enjoy the mountains.
Quinn: Thanks. Take care. Bye.
Quinn: Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute or awesome workout or dishwashing or fucking dog walking late at night that much more pleasant. As a reminder, please subscribe to our free email newsletter at importantnotimportant.com. It is all the news most vital to our survival as a species.
Brian: And you can follow us all over the internet. You can find us on Twitter @importantnotimp.
Quinn: So weird.
Brian: Also on Facebook and Instagram at Important Not Important. Pinterest and Tumblr, the same thing. So check us out, follow us, share us like us, you know the deal. And please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this. And if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple Podcast. Keep the lights on, thanks.
Brian: And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website, importantnotimportant.com.
Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blaine for our jamming music to all of you for listening, and finally, most importantly, to our moms for making us. Have a great day.
Brian: Thanks, guys.
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