Climate champions Brady Seals & Gretchen Daily, plus the Blue Planet Prize, and Generation Green.
Climate Champions Brady Seals & Gretchen Daily, the Blue Planet Prize, and Generation Green
CLIMATE CHAMPION, BRADY SEALS
We first met Brady Seals when she played comic “straight man” comic foil to Samantha Bee’s “banana man” antics in her sketch mock interview, “Why Your Stove is Killing You.”
So who is Brady Seals and why does she matter to us? Well, when she’s not playing comic set up for Samantha Bee, Seals is manager of RMI’s Carbon-Free Building program. Her whole purpose in life is to transition energy use in buildings, both old and new from fossil fuels to non-carbon energy alternatives. And that’s a great thing for us because she works at the junction of air quality, buildings, and human health.
After all, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, burning gas, wood, and biomass in buildings now has more negative health effects than burning coal in many states.
Seals has contributed to several research efforts to study, quantify, and communicate the climate and health benefits of air pollution-mitigating technologies and strategies. She was a participant in the 2021 Women’s Earth Alliance Grassroots Accelerator program, and she is a speaker at the June 2021 East Bay Green Home tour. That was a 2-day, virtual tour of San Francisco Bay, East Bay homes, which also included short presentations by climate and health subject matter experts.
Seals also contributes to an RMI blog. Articles well worth reading. Check out all those links by visiting the Deeper Dive section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes.
CLIMATE COMMUNITY, GENERATION GREEN
Here’s a great group working at the bleeding edge of climate change and environmental justice. It’s called, Generation Green, and according to its website, it’s “an ecosystem that strives to foster an intergenerational network, community, and platform that fortifies the leadership of young people in the environmental liberation movement throughout the Afrikan Diaspora.
It continues: Generation Green is 100% Black youth and womxn-led. Our staff is partially composed of Black folks who are queer and gender non-conforming.
Members of the group envision a world where Afrikan people are liberated through collective power building and collaborative ideation. This work connects a plethora of environmental and social justice movements that strive to reimagine a regenerative and abundant world.
Generation Green currently works two ways. First, it does diasporic organizing. Diasporic organizing consists of connecting strategies, problems, solutions, actors and actions to build collective power between Black/Afrikan people in their respective geographies (the diaspora). It is a mix between cultural organizing, grassroots organizing, and digital organizing.
They also operate off El Manifesto, a framework which furthers Black liberation especially where it intersects with land, environment, climate, and place. Generation Green offers periodic meet-and-greets along with other community-building concepts, too. Check out their Instagram for more information—instagram.com/generation_green.
GRETCHEN DAILY, CLIMATE CHANGE CHAMPION
Gretchen Daily is an American environmental scientist and tropical ecologist. She has contributed to understanding humanity’s dependence and impacts on nature, and to advancing a systematic approach for valuing nature in policy, finance, management, and practice around the world. Daily is co-founder and faculty director of the Natural Capital Project, for which she was awarded the 2020 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
The Natural Capital Project is a global partnership that aims to mainstream the values of nature into decision-making of people, governments, investors, corporations, NGOs, and other institutions. Together with more than 300 partners worldwide, the Project is pioneering science, technology, and scalable demonstrations of inclusive, sustainable development. In other words, its goal is to wean capitalist nations off of GDP as the primary driver of economic health, and to fully incorporate the value of Nature in the ability of humans to enjoy a capitalist (or socialist, or communist or agrarian) society.
Daily is also the 2017 winner of the Blue Planet Prize. That prize recognizes outstanding efforts in scientific research or applications of science that contribute to solving global environmental problems.
Daily’s seminal work is the book, Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems was published in 1997 by Island Press. In it, she first defines the concept of “ecosystem services,” and then argues for their recognition in economic theory and practice.
According to environmental law professor, James Salzman, Daily’s book calls for “explicit recognition of ecosystem services because of the direct, tangible benefits they provide. Such recognition could provide a more integrated and compelling basis for action than those suggested by a single-species or biodiversity protection for the simple reason that the impacts of those services on humans are more immediate and undeniably important.”
That’s reason enough to add Nature’s Services to your holiday shopping list, or at least your library.
ASAHI’S BLUE PLANET PRIZE
In 1992, two major events occurred regarding the climate. It was the first year of the UN Earth Summit. It was also the year the Asahi Glass Foundation established the Blue Planet Prize.
The Asahi Glass Foundation “strives to contribute to the creation of a society that can transmit the genuine wealth of human civilization and by recognizing efforts to solve environmental problems that call for global solutions,” according to its website.
The Blue Planet prize is an annual award recognizing outstanding achievement that offers a clear vision for the realization of a sustainable society by contributing significantly in observation, analysis, prediction, assessment, remediation, and practice for realizing conservation and restoration of the global environment toward the solution of all aspects of global environmental problems.
Its name was inspired by the remark “the Earth is blue,” uttered by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and the first human in Space – the first human to see our planet from Space.
Generally, two prizewinners are chosen each year, nominated by an international group of nominators. The award is open to individuals, groups of individuals, and non-profit organizations. A nominated individual must be currently alive, and can come from any country. You cannot nominate yourself.
The 2021 Blue Planet Prize winners are Scripps Institute Climate Sustainability Prof. Veerabhadran Ramanathan and Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, Founder/Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Munasinghe Institute for Development.
Prof. Ramanathan said of the award, “This prize is like the North Star for me since it will amplify my climate solution efforts – bridging gaps across political chasms and bringing science into alliance with policy and faith for climate actions.”
Prof. Munasinghe added, “Drawing on… the global platform provided by the prestigious prize, I will continue my modest efforts to make our planet more sustainable for all.”
Why does the Blue Planet prize matter? Maybe it doesn’t. It doesn’t come with any money. Just prestige. Maybe it’s just nice to know people care enough to honor those who are trying.