What can I do?
The simple question is the underlying premise of everything we do here. It's often the easiest one to help people answer for themselves, but from the outside, it's often the most imposing.
All of which is why we keep coming back to it, and why I'm so excited about the fantastic new book, The Climate Action Handbook by Dr. Heidi Roop.
Dr. Roop is the Director of the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership and an assistant professor of climate science and extension specialist at theUniversity of Minnesota. She also serves as theDirector of Knowledge Transfer for the NSF-funded COLDEX Science and Technology Center.
Dr. Roop's research and extension programs have taken her fromAntarctica to Minnesota, and they combine cutting-edge climate science and effective science communication to increase the use and integration of climate change information in decision-making at a whole range of scales, from city and state to national and international levels.
Safe to say, I'm very into that and you're going to love her.
If you've struggled to find a way to get involved in the climate fight, this book and this conversation are for you.
Have feedback or questions? Tweet us, or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Quinn: [00:00:00] What can I do? What can I do? What can I do? The simple question, however you phrase it, is the underlying premise of everything I do and we do here. It's often the easiest one to help people answer for themselves, but from the outside it's often the most imposing, if not confusing, which is why we keep coming back to it and why I'm so excited about the fantastic new book, the Climate Action Handbook by Dr. Heidi Roop.
Dr. Roop is the director of the University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership and an assistant professor of Climate Science and extension specialist at the University of Minnesota. She also serves, and this sounds very cool, as the Director of Knowledge Transfer for the NSF funded [00:01:00] COLDEX Science and Technology Center.
Dr. Roop's research and extension programs have taken her from Antarctica to Minnesota, which is sometimes like Antarctica, and they combine cutting edge climate science and effective science communication to increase the use and integration of climate change information in decision-making at a whole range of scales, from city and state to national and international levels.
Safe to say, I'm very into that and you're going to love her. And if you've struggled to find a way to get involved in the climate fight, this book and this conversation are for you.
Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmett, and this is Science for People Who Give a Shit. In our weekly conversations, I take a deep dive with an incredible human like Heidi, who is working on the front lines of the future to build a radically better today and tomorrow for everyone. Along the way, we're going to discover some tips, [00:02:00] strategies, and stories you can use just like these to get involved, to become more effective for yourself and your community.
And that is exactly what we're digging into today. As always, you can reach me for questions, feedback, and more at email@example.com.
Heidi, welcome to the show.
Heidi Roop: Thanks for having me.
Quinn: Hmm. Okay, well, we'll see. We'll see how that goes. She's like, this was great. I've got to go.
Heidi Roop: Yeah. And, my phone is ringing. No.
Quinn: Oh, perfect. Yeah. Sorry. Have you ever seen, I, I think it's on Jimmy Kimmel, like every time it's like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, I can't remember who it is, but it's like every time Jimmy Kimmel has on Matt Damon and he walks out, he's like, well, that's it. We're out of time. And just like doesn't actually give him the chance to have an interview. It's amazing every time. It's amazing.
So I won't do that.
Heidi Roop: Well, unfortunately, I'm not Matt Damon. So, you know, I'm just [00:03:00] a lowly climate scientist. So you can have the interview.
Quinn: Maybe the Matt Damon of how to fix things with climate change books. You never know. You never know. Heidi, I like to start with, and this will surprise you after, after our conversation so far.
One, it's a question that I believe is important. I've asked 156 something, guests. It is preposterous, but eventually leads to something quite thoughtful, even if you're just like, who is this person? And the question is, Heidi, why are you vital to the survival of the species? And I encourage you to be bold and honest and also have a little fun with it.
Heidi Roop: Wow. So I, I got to go. Yeah. That's great. Got to go. Wow. That, you know, huh?
Quinn: A lot of people say, I'm not, and then they go into, well, I'm part of a team, or if I was, and this and that, and [00:04:00] whatever, whatever floats your boat, you know? No, nobody's holding you to it.
Heidi Roop: I guess maybe since this conversation is about climate change, certainly climate change will impact not our survival as a species, as it were.
I don't, I'm not that doom and gloom. But certainly it will challenge our species and the species we are reliant upon and with whom we are in the world with. And so I think what we live through and experience as a species, and also whether we confront the challenges that we as a species have created for ourselves.
I'd like to think I'm part of that conversation and that narrative and thinking about what is really at risk being, you know, one of many in a sea of people who are really working to try to champion change, quite frankly, for our species is, I guess a way in which I'm contributing that. Whether I'm vital, I don't know.
I think that, I think we're all in important agents of change in today's world and hopefully we can do that for the better. And in this context, do [00:05:00] that for climate action.
Quinn: Look at that. It was so easy. That was great. So great. You're not like, your palms aren't like, covered in sweat. It's fine.
Heidi Roop: They are a little bit. That's fine.
Quinn: A little bit. It's fine. It's the papers. That was fantastic. So let me start with this. Writing a book is so much work. I mean, it is a lot. You have to really wanna write a book. Why did you have to write this book?
Heidi Roop: I had a really convincing editor. So let me be clear. I never thought I'd write a book. I actually had very few desires to write a book. And then I said something stupid on a panel in front of a bunch of people. And in that room there happened to be an editor who challenged me to put some substance behind my words.
And so was on a panel about climate change in Seattle as part of a festival called Crosscut. And I [00:06:00] was there with a former person who worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, at the EPA with a world renowned health researcher who looks at climate change impacts on human health. And we are sort of getting to the end of every conversation that I had been part of about climate, which is sort of the Okay, great.
You all just painted this picture where like, everything's at risk, everyone is at risk. The things we care about are no longer going to be around or going to be, you know, just we're transforming the landscape and the world around us. What do we do? And of course there was a semi-academic debate around, well, you know, it's the systems that have to change.
And I sort of simply said, well, every action matters. And so then that was the thing that I said.
Quinn: If you're new to the climate movement or want to dip your toes in the water is such a fun thing for us to deal with every day.
Heidi Roop: Right. So then there's this very real and important [00:07:00] conversation that is this tug and pull between, is it individuals, is it systems?
Right? And I felt like, well, first of all, that's an important conversation, but it's both. So we can just, like, I can give you my position on that right now, which is that every action really does matter. And sure, systems are made of the collective and we are the collective and we all need to find agency in contributing to solutions no matter what that looks like for us.
So there isn't a one size fits all way that we can address this crisis because it means something different for every, for everyone. And yet I still stand behind, the words that every action matters. And so this book was born out of really the challenge that then, you know, this conversation, with an editor at Sasquatch Books, sort of, it made me think, oh wow, you know, I know a lot about the climate system.
I can sort of fake my way around the sort of bigger ways, the all the ways that we can do things, but found [00:08:00] myself also talking about actions that even I myself wasn't in a position to take, because of financial barriers, because I was a renter, not a homeowner. Things like putting solar panels on your roof.
So there were conversations I was trying to have, but didn't really even feel equipped myself. So while I can talk at length about the challenge, I couldn't talk at length about the opportunities and invite more people into the conversation. So I felt like I also wasn't doing my job. That was sort of what tipped the scales was like, wow, I need to do my own education. In that way, the book was worth the effort. I hope people read it, of course, but it really was about my own climate solutions journey and finding ways that I could contribute and sort of step into, I mean journey in a very, I use that word intentionally. I am on this journey to figure out how as an individual I can work in the world and around me, my house, my family, my [00:09:00] community, but also influence the systems change and be part of that broader conversation.
And so the book is in response to that and basically trying to be a welcome mat for people to sort of see all the different ways electric vehicles and solar panels included that we can all find ways to hopefully build agency and a desire for action and continued action and engagement in the space of climate solutions.
Quinn: I mean, that's great. And what you also did there was answer sort of this, I like to ask that question again, but emphasize different words that is usually like, why did you have to write this book? And you really answered that. You were like, this is what I do, but I kind of had to do more work, it turns out to live up to what you said on stage, which is often like one of the great, you know, realizations in life, what whatever it might be, which is like having a couple drinks be like, yeah, sure, I'll run that marathon.
I don't know. Now maybe you got to go out and figure out how to run, maybe buy some shoes.
Heidi Roop: Yep. [00:10:00] Accountability.
Quinn: Yeah. Accountability. Yes. Thank you. There's a word for it. That's so interesting. You executed on it marvelously and, and I was so excited. Besides just to give folks sort of a preview, I love the way you kind of, set it up, which again, seems so straightforward, but it really makes sense. You're like, here's what greenhouse gases are. Here's why an overabundance of them in our atmosphere and our oceans isn't ideal. Turns out. Here's how big the problem is at this point. Who's affected the most? And most importantly, here's what the hell we can do about it.
Because here's the impacts happening here and now and soon. And every topic is basically a page within a broader context. The visuals are awesome and I wanted to dig into those because they're so helpful always for people to be able to understand everything from the, you know, now very popular warming stripes to what you did with takeout containers, for example.
But I want to get into this personal versus systemic [00:11:00] issue because I have just so many issues with it, it drives me crazy and they're both justified and wrong and it pushes people away from joining this movement all of the time. Because the problem is usually, it's good guys doing that and that sucks because there's enough bad guys in greenwashing and shit like that.
Actual bad guys that are doing that as well. We can't do the same thing and yes, one is influenced by the other of course, but we've got to do a better job. And so I have a couple quotes here, but from your intro and I promise I read much further than that, the whole thing. It's so great.
All I do is highlight these things, but this is important because you set the stage for this. You said the climate actions presented here attempt to paint a picture of the breadth of opportunity, which I love, that balance for climate action. And you describe how you chose them and then you say, all have value and represent a form of impact, whether environmental, social, [00:12:00] individual, or collective.
And again, I love that because again, greenwashing as one of the things, is a nightmare. And there are bad guys and neither voting by itself or using paper straws or solar panels by itself is going to do it. But the gatekeeping has to stop because otherwise people aren't going to understand how social solar panels can be.
How important it is to take your best friend to the polls or to work with environmental, the Environmental Voter Project or whatever it might be. The answer is we got to do fucking all of it. So let's just, let's do it. Talk to me a little bit about how you, as a climate scientist got to that perspective of it all counts.
Heidi Roop: Most people would not call this a privilege, but I have the privilege to sort of be, have a front row seat to the science and the data, right? I've used my very own hands to collect evidence about earth's changing [00:13:00] climate. I have, you know, slept on an ice sheet in Antarctica for weeks on end without a bath, right?
It's not as glamorous as it sounds, but I think that is seeing the world change. And we all, I think if we all observe and are keen observers in the world around us, you don't have to be a scientist to see the world around you changing, something about what you care about and what you can see is changing.
And it's changing in part because of climate change, which we are causing. So I think I've been able to be trained as an observer, that's sort of my job, but I've been trained to have an eye of observation towards how has the world changed and what did it look like in the past. And so coming to this desire and this urgency to welcome more people into the conversation is really born out of being part of generating the information, not only about what we've observed, [00:14:00] but in generating information about what we can expect in the future.
And it's not great, right? It is really, the science is so abundant and also so painfully clear that the opportunity to change the trajectory of climate change and what we experience and live through as a global society. That choice, that choice is ours. That choice is ours now, and we have a rapidly closing window in which to make the most profound impact, not only for ourselves in the sort of, we talk about mid-century a lot.
That's the 2040s and 2050s. That's just not that very far away. Most of the people hopefully listening to this right now will be alive then. We're talking about our shared future. Really, I think the science for me is, and observing the world around me changing. Right. And really being deeply concerned about that.
When we use words like [00:15:00] urgency or urgent, and we do that a lot, increasingly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses that word. They've now used the word unequivocal, which is that we know that it is greenhouse gases produced by humans. Have unequivocally caused the planet to warm, that if we gatekeep to use your words around who could be part of the solution or what constitutes what is meaningful or what has an impact, then we're not going to get there.
That's my opinion. We need everyone doing whatever they can and finding themselves in this space and being welcomed into this space, or we're not going to get there. And of course, you know, the systems that we operate in can inhibit our abilities to act and quote unquote, have an impact. There's no question, I'm not pretending that there aren't bad actors out there.
I'm not pretending that the fossil fuel industry isn't trying to lean into and blame individuals and put that position of [00:16:00] action on individuals. But at the same time, if we don't see ourselves as part of the solution, then how do we use our individual agency, the communities in which we live and operate, right?
These can be faith groups, community has a multitude of definitions, right? If we don't find ways to connect into why we care or what we wanna see done, then we're going to miss a profound opportunity and not just an opportunity to address climate change. Like an opportunity to shape and create the places and the spaces that we wanna live in and call home.
And those are at risk, but that's also the conversation they can be having right now, which is climate change might motivate you to do something, but what is the thing you're working towards creating? We are all experts in the future we want to see and create. I know you're an expert in what that vision looks like for you.
I have my own vision. Addressing climate change as we work towards that vision is [00:17:00] essential to achieving it because climate change impacts everything.
Quinn: Sure. Yeah, no, it's very easy to see a headline like the jet stream might slow down or, you know, sea level rise is going faster than we thought because the fucking icebergs and be like, what am I supposed to do about this?
And the answer is, you can't. But there are 7 billion other things you can do because climate change really is, of course, it affects everyone around the world in so many frontline communities that are historically marginalized 10 times more than everybody else. And they've been feeling it for a while.
But in the end, climate change is the heat you feel on your back. It's the temperature, it's those warming stripes in your hometown. It's, it's your water, right? It's the air, it's all of these things. And you're going to notice the most change in these places that you're living in now. Or you've seen change if you move back home like I did.
Or you're trying to raise kids in a place that has less green space or should have more green space but has never had it before. Again, that's the whole thing, like you're saying, it's an opportunity to make it better. Where [00:18:00] there's going to be a lot of suffering, but it's an opportunity to make it better. And here's what I want.
Another one of your quotes that I really liked, which was, and this applies to the whole thing in this, my version of this is much dumber, but yours is so much more eloquent. And you said, and this sums up the whole book, find ways to engage and act that keep you contributing in ways big and small for the long haul where you are personally inspired and motivated.
And there's a thousand versions of this. One of our earliest guests, incredible, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson has her Ted Talk and Venn diagram about the whole thing. That's so beautiful.
Heidi Roop: Yes. Mine is. I adore her.
Quinn: Yeah, she's amazing. She's amazing. But mine is just like, I don't know. Again, I spent 15 years living in Los Angeles.
It got much hotter in that time. Our home insurance policy got canceled 10 times, even though fires weren't near us, but they could be. The insurance policy guys were like, we're not going. No, no, no, thank you. Eventually, we left for a thousand other reasons, but how many times I was in the back of an Uber or something [00:19:00] and somebody's like, Ugh, it's hot today.
Yes, I know. What do you do? And you tell 'em and they go, what can I do? And the most basic answer, again for morons like me, but you know, I work across climate, which is everything, and COVID and public health and biotech and medicine and all this shit, AI, whatever. Itâs for me to say, what are you into, literally?
Like what? What gets you going? What are you good at? And if you tell me those two things, I can tell you 7,000 places where you can contribute. And like you said, feel motivated and inspired for the long haul because none of these things are going away anytime soon. But we can start to contribute.
And if you're really feeling it, if you're just pumped to have some solar panels, even one, it's very difficult to drive an EV and then go back to a gas car. Because like, why does this suck? Why do I have to go to the place where it drips the gas on your shoes while you're trying to fill? I did this. Like, what are we doing?
You know, if that's not social, I don't know what to tell you. I [00:20:00] understand you're scared to call voters. You don't have to anymore. It's 2023. You can just text them. It's fantastic. That's what all the kids do, or they snap them. I don't understand. But the point is there's so many ways to make these things social, and I really like that, again, you made such a big, whether intentionally or not, and I'm assuming it's intentionally, is breaking this thing down into sections, but then really like each subsection is a page of like, this is the specific thing, this is why it's a problem. And at the end it's like, what the hell are you going to do about it?
In gentler terms than that. But it's very specific. So that three or four of these in, I don't remember how many there are, it must have been a hundred. You get it and you're like, oh, she's going to ask me what I'm going to do at the end of this thing. How did you settle on that format? Because again, you know, there's, the big fix came out recently.
There's 70 different versions of these. Not that, I'm not comparing your others, but it seems like we're continuing to hone in on the best way to message to people, to approach them so that they can flip through and go, well, that's something [00:21:00] I'm involved in, like you said, could be faith-based, whatever.
How did you settle on that format as being what you feel is effective, hopefully?
Heidi Roop: I'd say teamwork makes the dream work on this one, right? I am, I'm a climate scientist with a passion for communicating. I am constantly on an improvement process in my own communication and what's effective and how to have conversations.
Some of them go terribly, right? I'm learning.
Quinn: I just started, what are you talking about? I'm a great guy.
Heidi Roop: Some climate conversations are really challenging, so like I'll put that out there. That is one of the actions in the book and I know there are several of my colleagues, Dr. Katherine Hayhoe among them, talks frequently about having conversations and that is born out of science.
So our collegues study these things, and those are conversations. Climate conversations are important, but I also was finding, you know, my own desires to write this book were born out of having climate conversations. That then sort of the, so what, how do I empower you? Well, not knowing who you are, [00:22:00] knowing what your passions are, what are your strengths?
How can I engage you in a way to commit? So this book is a tool for, was again, as I said, really sort of my own education process, but in response to sort of the design. I also, you know, I love climate change, insofar as it's my career. I don't love that the climate is changing, but I'm very passionate about the subject.
It is my career, right. I really enjoy working with people in the solution space. I've sort of pivoted my career in that way and really fortunate to be doing less of the basic science, which is sort of the collection of the, like, how is the planet changing? And I do some of that. But now I really work with like, okay, well how do we respond to this crisis and what information do we need?
But I think I too, while I love all those books, and one of the actions is like diving more deeply into topics you care about because the book is structured right. I had about 300 words per action [00:23:00] chapter, which for a scientist was like deeply anxiety producing because I wanted to reference every single thing.
So when the book first went into the publishers, there were 812 footnotes. So that was like an average of 14 per 300 words.
Quinn: You know, when you're starting to write, like one of the most basic communication things is like picture one person and that's who you're writing to. It's like for this book, they're not interested in 812 citations.
Heidi Roop: Right. Quite frankly, this sort of, I'm not being very articulate here, but like I too don't necessarily wanna sit down at night with my, at my bedside table or my comfy couch wrapped up in a blanket reading a chapter book about climate change. Like I appreciate the work. Right? I do read those books on occasion, but they're not necessarily the thing that welcomes me in.
I guess the hope with this book was that for those of folks who are climate concerned, but maybe not climate passionate in the way that I am or that some of us might be, where that long format chapter [00:24:00] book is really the thing that's going to spin our wheels and get us excited. This was really meant to be just sort of, like I said, a welcome mat.
Hi. Here's some information and a visual that might hook you or might challenge you to think in a different way, or, I didn't know checking my insurance policy might actually be a prudent climate action. Right. To your point of losing your insurance coverage. Most folks don't appreciate that we don't necessarily have the right riders on our insurance policies to be protected from the climate impacts that we're exposed to.
So you might find yourself in a position where had that been considered or you understood both your risks and what you were covered for or not, that reflects your own sort of climate preparedness. And then also how you're situated in your community, the sort of resources you need to rely on the systems that then need to support you in a recovery process.
Right? And we need to advocate those systems are in place, but we also, for those of us who can or have the ability to or interest to consider [00:25:00] sort of how we fit into this broader puzzle. And that for me constitutes climate action. The book was really meant to welcome people in, to not have, require you to sit down and read a long format book.
You can start this book. There's no wrong way to read it. You can enter at any point. You can start in the middle, the beginning, the end. You could read one a day. The intent was really to be a resource that you would return to again and again. And that didn't require this massive upfront commitment. Like an electric vehicle, right?
Quinn: No. No, it's not. But what I really love about it is so many of the problems which are both systemic and in the context of a human lifetime going to be pretty evergreen, are also opportunities. So among all of these chapters and sections, they're not really going anywhere. So you can return to it. You know, this isn't like the science is suddenly out of date.
[00:26:00] This problem is what it is, and we're going to hopefully make some progress on these things. But that doesn't mean the actions you can take are going to be that different or your interests are going to change and be that different whether it's anything from investing to insurance, to battery recycling, you know, to I don't know, maybe let's stop living in areas where we have crossovers with animals.
Because that didn't work out great. There's a thousand different things. So before we, I want to get into some of the more specific things, not all of them, of course, and also talk about some broader things. But let's touch on the insurance thing for a moment because I can tell my story, which I haven't gotten into too much, just because I feel like, you know, even when I talk to my wife about stuff, she's the greatest person on the planet of the earth, but she's married to me.
So like her eyes glaze over like a shark at the time when I'm talking, which I get. But it's also an important contextual thing because I'm also having a conversation tomorrow with Washington post reporter Brianna Sacks, who did the recent reporting on how all of the Ian's payments were like cut in half.
Like [00:27:00] it's, it's a whole thing. So, let me start with my story. So we were living in Los Angeles in an area of town called Studio City, which is halfway down towards the actual city. But we were also sort in one of those canyons, which are great except for the fact that they are among the very few places in Los Angeles surrounded by trees, there aren't many other real trees.
Palm trees don't count. And for a period there obviously, and it's going to keep continuing besides the most recent rains, which we'll get to in a second, everything was very dry and could burn and a lot of things did burn for a while. There was a lot of like fires of Mordor type stuff in San Francisco and in places that you know of Los Angeles that you wouldn't imagine, trees don't discriminate about whether how wealthy you are.
Neither does heat or dryness or vegetation. So about four years ago, I get a letter in the mail and we had had pretty good insurance, right? Typical home insurance. I think it cost, our house was not very big. It was not very [00:28:00] expensive. We were very privileged, but it was still like, I don't know, 1500 bucks a year.
2000 bucks a year, right? To cover what we got. Never had an incident, never had any claims, so it was jacked up for that reason. Get a letter in the actual mail that's like, Hey, we're going to cancel your insurance because the fire risk is just too high. And I was like, oh, geez. Well, I mean, I work on this stuff all day.
You can see what's going on. I get it, fine. We have this wonderful broker, I call her. She's so smart and she's really in tune with this stuff. And she's like, yeah, I know we're getting a lot of these. Don't worry. The governor's going to kind of talk to the insurance industry and they're going to try to put a stay on these things so people can't just bail on you.
Great. Sounds good. I don't have to worry about that. Week later, letter in the mail. They're like, actually, we're canceling because of earthquake exposure. And it's like, you know, motherfuckers like you, of course you can cancel for earthquakes. It's California. So they're just like, we're going to do the other thing.
So they bail, we go to try to get insurance again. The next nine providers turned us down. And this is when I was like, oh, I should probably pay a lot more attention broadly to this. So I started talking to the broker more. I tried to [00:29:00] get involved with the just fact finding and informing people about, the California Commission they had built with reinsurance and insurance and residential and commercial and all this stuff.
And it's not great. Right? And this was four years ago. And part of the reason was they were starting to cancel these things even though they were not allowed to use the time, and I believe the term was catastrophic modeling. Basically, they were like, we're still operating on data from the past and we're starting to bail on these things.
So I finally get a policy. It's like four times as expensive I think, not great. Right? One year later, letter in the mail. Not only are we canceling, we're canceling because we're leaving the state entirely. This is the next insurance company. Okay, now I know much more about it, I get it. But this is nightmare.
Call our insurance broker back. She's great. Three more policies cancel us down. Our final insurance policy, I don't mind sharing this now because it was a few years ago. Our final insurance policy before we left Los Angeles was $30,000. And it was either that [00:30:00] or it was the California Fair Plan, which to all credit to local, state government is basically like, we will come and vacuum up the ashes of your home when it's gone.
Like, that's it. Sorry. And you're like, well that's not great. I mean, I could afford that. Most people clearly cannot. And the fair plan is not made to handle what's coming so, cut to California gets all these atmospheric rivers. I think they said it was, I can't remember how many they got in the past six months.
97% in California do not have flood insurance. The flood maps haven't been updated like anywhere in the country. Ian comes and crushes Florida and Brianna's going to tell us all about tomorrow, and she did in her reporting, all these policies are just cut in half if you even got them the payments, were very unprepared for this.
The point is, when I got to your chapter about like, please check your insurance policy, it may be among the biggest blaring red flag alarms that we've got because the secondary systems related to that, from your mortgages to landlords, to renters to commercial insurance. We are very [00:31:00] unprepared, and I'm not trying to be a nightmare about this, but it truly is one of the most significant action steps you can take for your family.
Heidi Roop: Your story is, it's a reality check.
Quinn: Oh yeah. And I work on this shit every day.
Heidi Roop: Right. And I think, you know, I was, I remember writing that chapter and California is an example, the insurance commissioner in Washington State and California and many other states increasingly are having these conversations with the insurance and reinsurance industries.
But I guess my point, cause we could talk all day about that and all of the issues there, right? One of my messages that people may really disagree with me here, but like sometimes a selfish like self-protective action that is a perfect reason to engage in climate work. Right?
Quinn: It's also social. The person in your backyard has as an insurance policy. I literally knocked on my neighbor's door. I was like, Hey, I don't wanna pry, [00:32:00] like, I don't know who your provider is, but you should check on your shit. You know, it's crazy and that was fire. And again, no one had flood.
Heidi Roop: Right? And those, you know, that is precisely check the riders on your insurance policy, understand your climate risks, and then see if you're protected.
And in most cases, like for me, my personal answer was sort of. But not really. And now I'm having conversations in the state of Minnesota because they, insurance industry is actually really interested here. There's some examples in Louisiana, and other places where they're incentivizing sort of weatherization and like building resilience into your home, whether that's, you know, sort of your, the shingles you choose and the siding.
But there's some issues there too is like, are we actually planning for the right risks? Are we only incentivizing the use of materials that make us more exposed to other risks or actually contribute more to climate change, like asphalt shingles? So there are these really interesting, complex conversations that even that sort of like, okay, my insurance policy.
But if you start thinking [00:33:00] about it, it's like, oh wow, it's lots of these things. So there was a billion dollar weather disaster in Minnesota in May of last year. I need to get my roof replaced. I can't get my insurance company to actually call me back or address some of the issues that the adjuster saw damaged.
Can't figure it out. It's been, you know, almost 12 months. Multiple phone calls, hours and hours of work, right? Most of us don't have that flexibility to step away from our job and do that. I mean, it's a nightmare, right? It's a personal nightmare. I'm living, I can still live in my house.
That's not the case for a lot of hurricane survivors, right? I can wait for my roof to be replaced, but I mean, I can't even get a phone call, can't even get an email, and yet I still pay and they still are charging me, but they can't be bothered to, I mean, I've sent like so many emails. A contractor, anyway, so don't have my new roof.
But I also can't get, say like a metal roof on my house, even though it's more wind resistant and more fire resistant. We're not going to incentivize those materials, but we'll incentivize other material. It's just very backwards. So this is where sort of being engaged in the conversation and identifying some of these things, those can be the talking points, right?
Those can be ways that we can [00:34:00] get riled up, right? Clearly. Like I just, inefficiency is one of my least favorite things. The insurance industry and this process is deeply frustrating. So I think those are, can be motivations. I mean, right now, the thing I am most excited about for climate action, it's not in my book, it should be, I didn't think I could come up with a bunch of things, but there are more things that I could fit in the book, but I am going to bury the cables.
We're getting our system, our electrical systems updated, so I had to get a new line to my property because I wanted to put an induction range in and I live in a really old house. And anyway, had to finally bite the bullet. I'm getting 200 amp service. And as part of that process was like, well, I'm going to bury a strategy for my house, in the Midwest, is to actually bury the electrical line from the pole to the underground service.
So we're going to move from an overhead cable to one that's under the ground, which in theory is also going to provide us with this -
Quinn: Sorry, overhead from the street to your house?
Heidi Roop: From the pole, [00:35:00] from the power pole to the house. A lot of us have it tied in, so we're pay to bury it. Yep.
So we're going to bury it, in this case for storm protection and sort of weatherization purposes. So that's one of the things that I'm doing right now that gets me super excited. But I also never realized that like, A, you could do that and B, while electricity is going up in price here in Minnesota for a variety of reasons.
Even though for the power company, it is better for me to have a buried cable, right? Less chance of failure in terms of the line being blown down or knocked over by a tree. All these things. I suspect that servicing it is more complicated if the line does fail. But they almost tripled the price per foot to bury it between last year and this year.
And I get like labor is more expensive, all the things. But it's one of these things where we aren't having these conversations. So I was meeting with a legislator actually, and I said, we were talking about, she had just put solar panels on and got a new electrical line. She's like, you should talk to my electrician.
I was like, you know, you should know that our energy provider [00:36:00] just jacked up the rates, but we want more people to be able to do this because it's good sense. It makes good sense. So at any rate, that's a bit of a tangent, but that's all to say that climate solutions surround us and you never really know.
And I'm very excited about not necessarily likely my neighbors might be without power, but we might. So we're making an investment in us, but it also means we're going to be better able to help our neighbors in the moment of disaster. And for me, that has climate value as well as sort of personal social value. And so there are multitude of reasons why we might do certain things or invest in certain things that maybe have climate as part of the motivation, but not the soul or only, or leading motivation for doing or behaving in a certain way.
Quinn: To caveat, but also it's the fundamental premise of this thing.
There are the people who are, have been exposed to impacts already, who are Venn diagrams, just a circle of the historically marginalized as it is. And then there's kind of everybody else who's just now starting to [00:37:00] see what's going on. But even if you're among the second group, which is many Americans, and among the privilege, so, and I wanna get to this, you know, most Americans fall within the most wealthy, 1% of the world. Itâs pretty straightforward. It's just being born here, but you're just not alone in this. And it doesn't matter if you don't live on a coastal city like Houston and petrochemical plants that'll flood or Charleston or Norfolk or New York, San Francisco airport, which is just going to be an underwater tour at some point. It doesn't really matter because you probably near a river or it turns out you're downstream of a mountain or you've got fire risk or drought or the crops aren't going to work or whatever it might be.
Heidi Roop: Yeah. Or you eat food and you drink water.
Quinn: Yeah. Congrats, do you like air? Can I interest you in drinkable water?
A lot of people don't have that. And you might not have that at some point because when the big storm [00:38:00] comes, or fire or earthquake, whatever it is, drought, you're going to find out what that's like. And the more you can do to prepare yourselves, the more those can become social things, because like you said, and we talk about this all the time.
And again, I understand the hesitation to go to like a city council meeting if you've never been, but you should. Or public utility commission meeting, which is like the ultimate move. It only takes trying to do the right thing to bury your cable. PG&E ran the money on like burying all their cable, which they need to do in California.
And they were like, it's 70 trillion dollars basically and it'll take us a hundred years. And everyone's like, yeah, well guess what? You got to do it because your shit keeps exploding and burning everything down. It's, it's crazy. But we keep doing this math of, like you said, I'm trying to do the right thing by burying this cable so we're protected and so I can be helpful in my neighborhood.
Meanwhile, they jacked up the price because it's more expensive, you know, I get it, whatever it is. But it's also pretty social because again, whatever storm comes and those lines go down. Mine in California got knocked down by [00:39:00] trucks all the time. Because 10 feet off the ground, it's not going to be very long before your neighbor's like, How come Heidi has power?
What happened? What did she do? And you're like, well, we buried our line. And that's a social action. Congratulations. Like you've done it, you're participating. Like, and there's a thousand different things like that. But it also means like that's where you go to your city council and go, Hey guys, like did you know, like this is what's happening?
Did you know our insurance doesn't cover water? Or whatever it is. So those are the sort of adaptation things, right? But there are so many mitigation things we can be doing, and I would like to focus -
Heidi Roop: It's also important. Also important, right?
Quinn: Yes. Walk and chew gum. We got to do the thing, right? Yes, it's really important.
We're here now. Now we got to do the thing. And both of them again can be great and can help people, especially people who are already exposed and dealing with this stuff on a day-to-day basis. I get a lot of incoming calls from captains of industry or whatever, in which I tell [00:40:00] them, here's the deal.
Very broad, inch deep, like the inches getting deeper, obviously I've done 157 of these. I've been writing about it for years, but they go, what's going to happen? What's this? How do I do this and this? And I'm not shy about saying, guys, the science about what industry or the top 10% worldwide, or the 1% of Americans, how much your footprint represents compared to the rest of the world is like how much of an impact your life has and your work has versus everyone else.
And here are the things you can do, because those are really big levers to pull among a slightly fewer group of people. But it really does matter. So I wonder if we can talk for a moment about that because it is sort of this, we've got people on Twitter, I don't know if Twitter till it still exists like 1155 this morning.
But people are like, yeah, we're following personal jets now. Like, fuck those guys. Like, we're like, this is crazy. You know? The point is there's been a bit of a rebellion about this stuff. As usual, [00:41:00] eat the rich because more people are just aware how much emissions the 1%, the global 10% are driving.
And I know what some of these levers are that they can be pulling, but I wonder if you can dig into that a little bit. Sort of what are the most common drivers among those folks? Because again, those are a lot of conversations I have from folks who are just not really affected by this stuff yet, but driving it much more than they really should. Does any of that make sense?
Heidi Roop: Right. And in some cases, right, the systems exist and can better protect them from experiencing any of the negative consequences, right? And so, this is where the sort of systems pieces come into play and the inequitable distribution, not only of climate change, but its impacts and also who gets to recover and how quickly from these impacts, right?
Whose life gets quote unquote back to normal, if you will. The pandemic is also another really salient example where sort of privilege and class and who you are and where you live really influences sort of how you experience the pandemic and also the extent to which it's still a major through line in [00:42:00] your life, your personal or family health, your career choices and options.
There's no question. I think New York Times published an amazing piece a couple of months ago precisely unpacking Americans' emissions, right? Historically, our nation, has contributed most to the problem and we therefore, I think, in my opinion, right, and we still are burning a lot of emissions, they're going up, in fact, in most cases, we have an imperative to act.
We live in a society like you said, right. We in some cases, just by pure virtue of being born here and living here in the United States, we produce more emissions. Our lifestyle and the systems that support us tend to be greater consumers and producers, you know, consumers of fossil fuels and producers of the of the subsequent emissions.
And so, there's no question that there is a correlation between sort of income level and lifestyle and emissions produced. So yes, flying a private jet, trying to not do that would be great. I appreciate their limitations. It also reflects a very, very small fraction of us who get [00:43:00] to do that. Or who have a choice in that matter.
I think so, yes, it does boil down certainly to personal choices. And that is for all of us, right. Some of those choices, by a few people, a few times can certainly make up the entire greenhouse gas emissions footprint of a household. Right. Or many households, a community just by changing those behaviors.
So, you know, to the extent that you can have those conversations with folks, very much, I don't necessarily swim in those seas, so, would love to have climate conversations. I think the other thing there, right is this, and we've been sort of talking around this, which is are the systems change and there are lots of big corporations likely that employ or are run by those very same individuals that are part of the problem, whether that's, and could be a major part of the solution. That for me is where there's a lot of richness to try to unpack. And I think there are some folks who are really, really trying to do [00:44:00] that. But I'll be the first to admit, it can be really intimidating.
Like I don't know how to talk to the CEO of I don't know what right. But when I'm welcomed into a conversation, in fact this morning I was just having coffee with someone who works in the agricultural business on a national scale. Great opportunity for both reducing emissions, for innovating, and also my contribution to the conversation was like, I'm not sure your company really understands it's risks and you are basically a risk management company. I mean, yes, you're producing commodities and you're distributing them globally and supporting farmers and farmers support you. Right. It's feed the world.
All these things that I inherently, yes, I agree with, but like when I think about the climate picture, right? Yeah. There's an opportunity and an imperative to reduce emissions from the sector. Some of that is much harder to do, harder to decarbonize sector. Some of those things are harder to transition away from fossil fuels.
Doesn't mean we shouldn't rapidly work towards that, but we also have to be thinking about [00:45:00] this other side of the equation, which is that we know we've already changed the climate system. So this gets us back to the preparedness piece and risk management, because ultimately being an effective risk manager in the context of future climate, means all sorts of things like your bottom line, whatever motivates you, we're going to be better prepared.
And we can think about the impacts and the systems if we think about how they have to operate and perform in a warmer world. And a lot of people and industries are not yet doing that. It is very focused on mitigation, very important. But in, you know, talking about a Venn diagram, there is a Venn diagram of climate solutions and it's very, very clear from the scientific community, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
We have to do two things at the same time. We have to prevent the problem from getting worse. That's mitigation, greenhouse gases, right? We have to prevent the problem from getting worse while also preparing for the changes that we know we've already committed to. We can choose, but we will bear the burden of [00:46:00] not choosing to do enough in both of those spheres. And of course there are things like improving soil health. There are lots of opportunities that are sort of, they're a twofer as we like to say, right? You get there, bring co-benefits. You could be doing something primarily because it reduces emissions, it might also build resilience or prepare a system.
And so I think that was a long way around your original question. As we think about systems, there are individuals who produce a lot more emissions than others. But the extent that we can also be thinking about how these systems, these broader corporations, the sort of levers of power, right? Those also then in turn manage not only our emissions, but create an opportunity to be thinking about risk management in ways that are currently not happening, which is the thing that keeps me up at night.
Quinn: Sure. It's like Siri, what's the opposite of gatekeeper? That's Heidi. It's great. You're just like, I'm going to take your question about how people got to stop flying first class because we could fit 10 more people in there. That's in the book. It's fantastic, right? But also think about [00:47:00] what else does that person, and I've written about this and thought about this a lot, but I call them the new externalities, which is like, what else is that person exposed to?
What do they make? What do they invested in? What is their property? You know, what are their, literally their loans? What are their other lifestyle things that, again, in isolation don't seem like much, but they are a lot, not just at their company, but again, like literally what are you investing in, not just from build a better world, and doesn't that seem great?
But the ESG thing drives me completely insane because as you said, it's literally just risk management. There's courses about this. It's what my mother-in-law taught at UCLA for 10 years. Like you can call it whatever you want. We can talk about get rid of ESG and call it like risk management for cheese puffs.
It shouldn't, doesn't your company inherently manage brand reputation? Doesn't it manage real world exposure to whatever might be happening, doesn't it try to get ahead of regulations [00:48:00] typically so that when the regulators actually come knocking on your door, you're not caught, completely screwed. These are all things that companies have done to improve shareholder value for a very long time. And now Siriâs actually replying to me. Like this, it's the same thing except for it's just going to happen. So yeah, you should do it and these things can be social and you can be a leader, but also like you should do it because like the checking your insurance policy thing, which can extend your city council or to who you vote for in the federal election.
It is social and it really does matter. And again, the levers from like, please stop flying private and further first class and things like that, please stop making loans. Please push your bank to divest from these things or just move to a different bank. We've got a thousand tools to do that kind of thing.
There are so many levers that can be pulled on this stuff and it's reallyâ¦
Heidi Roop: And you don't have to be a CEO to pull the lever, which I think is the point, right? There's accountability. There's quote unquote impact, right? In this context we've been talking a lot about like who produces the most emissions and therefore who has the most potential [00:49:00] through behavior change to reduce those emissions.
All very important. And finding more ways to engage in those conversations and really understand and communicate effectively the realities without finger pointing. Right. Yeah. I do think we have to point some fingers. I'm here for accountability, right? That's a theme for sure, that's emerged in this conversation.
But I also wanna encourage people to think about their own accountability. And that really for me was the origin of the book and the origin of my story, and is still a through line in my own journey. Right. I don't have it right all the time. I am trying to understand what are my levers of power, influence.
If you have a job that should be a climate career, right? Climate change is in how every business, industry, school, hospital, you name it, podcast, operates, right? We should be thinking about and having these conversations and using our own strengths and where we show up every day as agents change, we can change those things.
We have to know what we're trying to change, what we're trying to achieve, because people [00:50:00] grasp onto to that more than they do the doom and gloom, right? We know that narrative doesn't work. So I think that right there, we have to be then that was the motivation really, is that I hope that everyone sees themselves as part of the solution.
Even if the thing that gets you through the door is your insurance policy or thinking about your diet or wanting to be picketing and protesting as some people who want to, should very much, should be, right? There's a portfolio of options. There's a breadth of opportunity, and we have to just embrace it in whatever way that looks like for us.
And that is impact, right? Even if you can't say, I avoided this much methane from being produced or this much CO2 from being produced, but maybe it's I've, you know, engaged my community in this way, or I feel more connected to my community. These are all things that in time will emerge as being really important assets for how we weather the storm and how we shape the future we [00:51:00] want to create.
So even just knowing what future you want and what you want the future to look like, that is a first step. And I really wanna invite people into that conversation. Because if, again, if we gate keep and we say what you're doing doesn't matter. It doesn't matter enough. Or it doesn't matter in the right ways.
We're assigning value, and we're assigning judgment at the same time. And there's nothing, there's no greater demotivator than feeling like you're not doing enough or you're not really welcome. There's no seat for you at this table when in fact, it's the collective table that's at risk. And we need as many voices and perspectives moving us towards a different future state than the one we have.
Right? The one we have doesn't really work. So why would we wanna maintain the status quo? Right? Yeah. So I think whether the book is a good attempt at that or a poor attempt at that, it was an attempt nonetheless. And so it, you know, I think that's sort of where I stand and I know that some of my colleagues probably challenged that or think it's not enough or too incremental.
Quinn: No, [00:52:00] but this is what I loved about it is because one of our original, not original premises, but like somewhere between original and secondary was these action steps, which is literally people going, what can I do? And I was like, fine. I don't know shit about shit, but I'll try to figure it out and I'll try to think about these things systemically and I will do the work to figure out this charity actually pays their bills, they spend their money wisely.
Do they have an impact? I talk to people, this and this, and among the whole sector, and as opposed to Consumer Reports, we kind of do the Wirecutter version, which is like, no, this is the one, do this one. Right? Whatever it might be. And again, that could be a piece of legislation, could be a candidate, could be a legislator, could be a company, could be a product, could be a non-profit, whatever it is.
I try to do the work to do all those things so that when you, Heidi open the newsletter or hear me yammer on about things, you know that you can just smash your finger against the button and do it because here's the thing. We are all being pulled constantly in 10,000 different directions. In 2008, I did a bunch of cancer fundraising using a little tool called Facebook.
No one had ever [00:53:00] really used that for fundraising. It was great. It was so helpful. Now GoFundMe is like three quarters and it's wonderful company, three quarters of our medical system basically at this point, and it's necessary. It's a nightmare. It's ridiculous. So it's easy to feel pulled in those directions.
But what I'd love about the book is you're like, let's talk about takeout containers. Here's the thing, here's the visual of all the takeout containers and instead of making you feel like shit about it, the best way to look at it is to go, beep boop boop boop, Papa John's like, Hey, can we do the better pizza box?
Or like, do we have to keep using the single takeout plastic or you know, the whatever it is. Because if you're ordering all the time, like so many of us are, once you know, and you look at that, you go there's probably a better version of this. And it doesn't take much effort to find out that there are better products and to call the local restaurant or to a bigger change, or again, to your city council and say like, can we do this thing?
Because that helps. And that's a hook that gets people in. And again, what your book does such a marvelous job [00:54:00] of is showing like there are 10,000 different versions of that. Because when you've got an all-encompassing problem, it's an all-encompassing set of opportunities for you to get involved. Like you said, every job is a climate job.
It can be, and it doesn't have to be depressing, it can be amazing and wonderful and imaginative and social and inspiring. But that's what I really love about this. And also that you think carbon offsets seem to be bullshit, which makes me incredibly happy.
Heidi Roop: Without third party verification, right? Oh, I think the, beware greenwashing. I think that is one of the things I really struggled with in the book because it felt like every time it was like, ah, well make sure you do your research and make sure you sort of look under the hood as it were. And that is just really disheartening to be like, oh, right, I can't really just take on face value a lot of these things, which is the easier path, right?
Which is what a lot of companies and others are assuming will do because it put it [00:55:00] introduces friction and the outcome will likely be that people will avoid it at all costs. And I think that for me was one of the really sort of sobering pieces is that a lot of this still, unfortunately, the burden falls to individuals to do that research.
So we're lucky to have folks like you that help us navigate and wade through those complexities and help boil it down because it can feel really disheartening on all fronts.
Quinn: I try to empathize, like this is a business, it's not a non-profit, one because non-profit paperwork's a nightmare. I got no time.
And two, because I think I can make a little bit of a bigger difference doing it this version by, you know, indirectly and directly supporting all these different non-profits. The point is, I try to empathize with where someone or a company or an institution is coming from. Before I tell people how we should take it apart or support them or whatever it is, these companies are going to try to survive and to drive shareholder values as much as they can.
Of course, that is set in [00:56:00] stone. That's what it's going to be. So I understand why they all say like, click this button and you offset your sneakers you ordered overnight that you didn't need. Sure. We've all done that. It's great. I understand it, but it's not real. And it's not real though again, trying to empathize for a few reasons that are all linked together.
One is which, like we, haven't agreed on how to measure these things much less how to standardize them, much less how to regulate them much less by a third party. I mean, look at the New York Times thing about Bitcoin this week. I mean, they're just like, the receipts are in, it's pretty bad. And everyone with Bitcoin's like, well, my power plant says this.
It's like, buddy, nobody cares what your power plant says. Like your Bitcoin power plant. Like no one's going to trust that. Just like no one's going to trust you know, this and that. It's, I understand why we're not there on these things like ESG and whatever it is, it's been overused. But that doesn't mean you can't do better and inspire people to buy your product if they need underwear or socks or whatever it is.
And it doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing the risk stuff because you do it [00:57:00] for everything else. So whether it's burying your power lines, or doing wastewater analytics for COVID or insurance or fire or clean air, whatever it is, everybody wins. You know, it's like the electrifying, the school buses things. I don't care if you got kids, there's a school bus in your neighborhood and it's making your air not great.
Everybody wins with these things. They're inherently social because that's what we've built and that's who we are. And that's where I feel like books like this and communicators like yourself can really start to move the needle. I hope to give people a very tangible way to say like, oh, this is something I do every day.
Let me get in on that. So, anyways. I thank you for that.
Heidi Roop: Yeah, well I appreciate that it's a journey and it's one I hope more and more of us see ourselves on and part of, and feel like we have other people alongside us in the journey. It can feel pretty lonely or it can be feel pretty isolated in terms of it's a small subset of folks doing good things.
And, [00:58:00] I think to the extent that we can welcome more people in, broaden that conversation and showcase to people what we're doing and why, whether climate's the primary motivation or not, I think that's a way we build towards solutions. And, I will say I have had to, one of the things I've been doing in my journey, in addition to the cables on the electrification, right, that's my sort of mitigation contribution.
I have been thinking a lot about how to engage elected officials and I will say I'm the first one who would, was very hesitant to engage personally. My job has now put me in a position where it has become an opportunity, one that I've really enjoyed for all the pros and cons of that and the tough realities of the political context of the United States right now, which is that I have heard, and I believe there are a lot of legislators out there in order to get their attention.
You don't have to necessarily go in person and take time after work or whatever it may be to go to a meeting that is encouraged, right? Your[00:59:00] presence matters too. But engaging an elected official can be as simple as knowing who your elected officials are and sending an email. And that email need not be long-winded.
It need not be aggressive. In fact, a note of gratitude could go a long way, acknowledging maybe a positive behavior or decision that you'd like to see made. Maybe it didn't happen at the scale or the pace you wanted to, but you wanna see more of it. All of those things matter. Our elected officials are people too.
I encourage folks to not only know who their federal elected officials are and their state elected officials, but our federal officials represent only 0.1% of elected officials in the United States. There are over 500,000 elected individuals making decisions on behalf of our communities every. Those are our county commissioners.
Oftentimes there are folks who manage our water utilities, our school boards. There's an abundance of opportunity for influence and change, and that can be as simple as [01:00:00] knowing and engaging. And that engagement can be an email with a clear and simple ask. Email the people who are, that are accountable to you, they are more likely to respond.
They take note. There are systems to note how much people are or are not in support of things. An email is an indication of support. Form letters matter, individual emails matter more, and those can be relatively simple. Granted, you have to be sort of on the pulse and know what's going on. Being in the loop on decisions that are being made or not in your community really matter because those can determine whether you have clean, safe drinking water in your tap or you can flush your toilet or not, or whether those electric school buses become a reality in your community.
So there's a lot of opportunity to influence the systems and I think we overlook the people who live and work in our own neighborhoods and who are working in theory on behalf of us, rarely are folks considering conversations with those elected officials who are more likely to take you seriously and who [01:01:00] are more likely to relate because you share a geography and a scale of influence together.
That's, you know, I work with federal officials as well and they're fabulous and they have big systems that they manage and lots of power. But there are local officials who are our neighbors, who also have lots of power too.
Quinn: And I think it's helpful to understand too that these are typically people, like you said, they're going to be among the most connected because they're breathing the same area you're breathing, they feel that it's getting hotter when they take their kids to the community pool or whatever it might be.
Heidi Roop: Mm-hmm. They're driving over the same potholes.
Quinn: But they're also people that are like terrified of being fired and feel like they're constantly behind on everything and open up their to-do list and feel like they're going to have a great day. And then some shit goes down. It's a job in places like Virginia, it's a part-time job.
So one of the most effective things you can do is do some homework for them and come to them and say, this is what's not sure if you're aware. Totally understand you got a lot on your plate, this is what's going down, or what could go down here and here's how we're [01:02:00] prepared or not. But actually here's how we could become not just more resilient and prepared, but actually better.
You know, we've never had neighborhoods without gasoline school buses and UPS trucks and or USPS trucks. Fact is those could be cleaner than they've ever been. Everybody wins there. That stuff really matters. And they will be like, thank God somebody brought this shit. Like, I don't have time to read this stuff.
You know? But it really does matter and it can go a long way. That's, I'm such a huge fan of, one of my good friends, Amanda Litman runs Run for Something, which is a incredible organization. And of course her answer to all this is like, or you could run for something, which is like the other email to send.
That's a different conversation, right.
Heidi Roop: At a minimum vote for something if you can. And you can vote with your feet. You can vote with your dollars. You can vote with a ballot.
Quinn: Yeah. Thousand different ways. Okay. This has been in so much of your life that you're never going to get back. I'm going to ask you three questions that I ask everyone, and then you're out of here.
Does that work? You got time?
Heidi Roop: Yes, it works. [01:03:00]
Quinn: You have so many papers to shred. Okay. All right. Let's do it.
Heidi Roop: Yeah, I do. Well, yeah. Actually I'm missing a meeting about the National Climate Assessment, but that's okay. I can catch up.
Quinn: Heidi, you got to tell me that kind of shit. Come on.
Heidi Roop: There's a makeup meeting on Thursday morning, so it is okay. They scheduled multiple, so don't worry. I'm going to do my makeup homework later.
Quinn: This is a nightmare. Okay.
Heidi Roop: It's not. This is, this is the point. Right. Alright. Three hard questions. I'm ready.
Quinn: They're not hard. When was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or to do something meaningful to move the needle?
Whether you yourself running for school office in elementary school, or with a gang of friends, or maybe it was weeks ago or when you started to write this book or did your first climate science, when was the first time where you were like, oh shit, look what I can do.
Heidi Roop: Well, I don't know. My response is going to be a little bit skewed by my current reality, which is that I have a toddler at home, and I would say probably when I figured out I could influence my [01:04:00] parents.
Which is, you know, probably like earlier than I even think my daughter realized she could totally manipulate me, and informed me. She taught me something yesterday. I can't remember what it was, but it was, my husband and I both looked at it one another, and weâre like, wow, we didn't know that word or something.
At any rate. Yeah. But I think the reason I say that in part is because it's my current reality. But also, there's some really interesting research that shows middle school girls have the strongest influence on their often conservative fathers in changing their perceptions of climate change and their understanding around climate change.
So young influence, as young people honor parents, there is actually research that bears out that, that can be meaningful in terms of climate change concern, and beliefs if you will. So right now I'm living in a toddler who clearly knows how to manipulate me. So that was probably when I also realized I had power mostly over my parents.
But, you know, they were making all the decisions so they were [01:05:00] paying the bills and buying food. So I became a vegetarian for a while when I was in high school. Stayed a vegetarian for a long time. I've working my way back in to that lifestyle, but, sort of forced my household. So that was when I realized I actually really had power over my parents.
Quinn: I've never gotten that one. That's an amazing answer. But it's also like not surprising because haven't throughout human history, like middle school girls been the most, like driven more culture than anyone in ever, like, they're like, that's it.
Heidi Roop: I don't know. I hated being a middle school girl, so I tried to black out from that life. I just try to disremember all of it.
Quinn: Of course, middle schoolâs a nightmare. But I feel like whenever, you know, again, like my oldest is 10 and he goes to swim practice and then he talks to middle schoolers and this and this and he comes back with literally words that don't exist in the human language that I didn't know, but I'm the idiot for not knowing them.
And then I Google it and like 7 billion people have watched this video and it's like, great. Of course. Yeah, of course. So if they can do it for climate, yes.
Heidi Roop: Let's don't discount the middle schoolers, let's just say.
Quinn: Yeah, [01:06:00] a hundred percent. Who is someone who's positively impacted your work in the past six months?
Heidi Roop: Ooh. Representative Patty Acomb, she's a state elected leader in the House of Representatives in the state of Minnesota.
Quinn: Why have they impacted your work positively in the past six months?
Heidi Roop: Sheâs been mentoring me in how to actually work with elected officials, which is, I've been working with her on some work, helping to do some education related to climate risks in the state.
And, she's been really supportive of our broader work at the University of Minnesota as well as climate work broadly across the landscape. And so it's been a really nice relationship of shared learning and education.
Quinn: I love that, always helps to have someone who walks the walk, and who does it every day to be like, no, no, no, no. This is the right way to do it.
Heidi Roop: Well, and we can talk about the realities of how hard that work is, right? It's easy to say, do this thing. And then another, to really try to understand like [01:07:00] how do those things and the systems work and how can we be creative in ensuring positive outcomes for, in this case, Minnesotans.
Quinn: Awesome. Last one. In all of your free time, what is a book you've read in the past year that has influenced your thinking or some in some way or opened your mind to maybe a topic or a perspective you hadn't considered before? We got a whole list up on bookshop for people. Love it. People love the books.
Heidi Roop: Oh, well, can I say my own book? No.
Quinn: I mean, obviously, it's been five minutes talking about your book before we even get started, but continue.
Heidi Roop: Oh yeah. Well, I don't, I read a lot of kids books now with my toddlers, like six a night. I don't have time toâ¦
Quinn: Great. Well, name some. Which ones do you love?
Heidi Roop: Oh, which ones do we love?
Oh man, they change all the time. Well, I will say one book that my daughter loves and that I love because my parents wrote it and my daughter is named after it, which is Keep the Lights Burning, Abby. That's a fan favorite, [01:08:00] for a variety of reasons in our household.
What else are, is she in love with right now? It changes every day. She's a real reader. So this is embarrassing.
Quinn: It's not embarrassing. It's not live. Who cares?
Heidi Roop: Well, I should just be able to be like, this is the book that inspired me.
Quinn: You can send it to me later if that's easier. It's all good.
Heidi Roop: Well, I mean the Climate Action Handbook.
Quinn: The Climate Action Handbook. Look, here's the deal. Here's all that matters. None of the other books, we're going to wipe away the rest of the list.
Heidi Roop: Yeah, there are no other books that matter.
Quinn: There are other books. At this point. This is the bed we've made. We, this is your book.
Congratulations. Climate Action Handbook by Dr. Heidi Roop. What is the release situation? Is it, when is it everywhere? Obviously I got a version of it forever ago.
Heidi Roop: Yes, it is released. The official publication date was March 21st. So it is out in the world. It's a few weeks out in the world.
Quinn: Is it, both sides of the Atlantic, is it out? Cause we have guests, it's sometimes it's one and the other one's six months later.
Heidi Roop: Think it's only being [01:09:00] released here. I apologize. This was one of the interesting things. I thought, oh, I can write a book for all continents. Of course I did. You know, that is a challenge.
But, it ended up trying to navigate the data for across. So there are data sprinkled in from a variety of places. It's mostly US centric. There is talk, I've thought about, you know, how do you write a different book for different geographies, but nevertheless, the book is out in the world.
You can buy it online. You could also buy it preferably at your local bookstore. A life goal has been unlocked. A friend just sent me a photograph yesterday of it at Powell's books in Portland, Oregon. My heart. Never thought that would happen. And my former neighborhood bookstore, Finny books in Seattle where I used to live also had it at the cash register.
So it's a very exciting moment in my life, for this book to be out in the world. But I think more the important than anything is hopefully I can inspire at least a handful more [01:10:00] people to think and do differently.
Quinn: I love that. Well, we're going to link to it in 70 different places for sure.
In the show notes and everywhere else plastered on my face.
Heidi Roop: Hopefully you have a hundred episodes that you can unlock now. You can start one by one.
Quinn: It'll be great. I'm just literally going to go down the list. It's going to be fantastic.
Heidi Roop: I'll listen to all of them.
Quinn: Oh God, it's enough. My poor wife last night, I walked in, she was listening to one of my other episodes and she's like, I got fake Quinn in one ear, and then the real one's asking me to do something.
I was like, I'm very sorry for all of your decisions that you've had to make in this life. Nobody needs that. Jesus. Thank you. Please go back to your Save the World meeting. I really appreciate it. You got to shred those papers, Heidi. It's next time we talk.
Heidi Roop: I know it's embarrassing.
Quinn: Donât be embarrassed. I'll send you a picture of mine. It's, they're in a bin. I had to move them to another bin because it was too much. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. [01:11:00] That's it. Important, Not Important is hosted by me, Quinn Emmett. It is produced by Willow Beck. It is edited by Anthony Luciani, and the music is by Tim Blaine.
You can read our critically acclaimed newsletter and get notified about new pod conversations @ importantnotimportant.com. You can also find t-shirts, hoodies, coffee cups, and other fun shit at our store there. I'm on Twitter at Quinn Emmett, or at Important, not imp. I'm also on LinkedIn. We're on Instagram.
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