Color the Water, Climate Comedian–Dan Illic, Glass Half Full NOLA!

by | Feb 20, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Color the Water, plus climate comedian–Dan Illic, and Glass Half Full NOLA!



Color The Water is a community for BIPOC to reclaim space in the ocean through joyful, defiant anti-racist surf lessons, celebrations, education, and media. Color the Water began as a way to fight racism after the murder of George Floyd. It also ties together the concept that racial justice is climate justice, and climate justice is racial justice. Helping people of color feel safe, seen and heard at the beach will encourage more BIPOC to care about saving the ocean/shore climate.

It was started by David Malana and Lizelle Jackson. Malana is a first generation Filipino American educator and creator. Born and raised in LA County, he has lived with passion his whole life. Whether that be fighting for equal opportunities for communities of color abroad, or now as he strives to create institutionalized anti-racism, Malana dedicates his life to the service and justice.

Active is probably one of the best ways to describe Lizelle. A former collegiate athlete and professional volleyball player, she spent almost a decade guiding cycling and hiking adventures across the globe.The two wanted to fight racism with joy, so they started to offer free surf lessons and media for BIPOC in the LA area. Now we are a diverse, inclusive, anti-racist safe space for hundreds of BIPOC surfers.

Why does a bunch of BIPOC surfer dudes and dudettes matter to us? Because the unintended consequence of creating Color the Water is BIPOC group of marine conservationists. Now that these new surfers of color have been part of the ocean, they’re all in to preserve it, and to offset the worst effects of climate change.

DEEPER DIVE: Color the Water, YouTube



Australian Dan Ilic calls himself an investigative humorist — somebody who tries to take the saddest stories and bring them to life with comedy in order for them to reach a wider audience. According to his Substack, ARationalFear, Ilic has a long history of making climate related stories accessible. He’s well known in Australia for work in climate related stories, as well as comedy work in television. 

Ilic gained fame in America in 2021, when just prior to COP26 in Glasgow, he purchased time on a massive electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square. On it he aired a 10-minute “advert/video” skewering Australia’s government and its climate change policies. The video featured among other things, a kangaroo, hopping along with its tail on fire next to the words: “Australia: Net Zero by 2300”; and another image showing the iconic Sydney Opera House next to the words, “Visit Australia: We’re rich in sunshine, wind and climate denial.” And then there’s, “Cuddle a Koala before we make them extinct.” 

Ilic also hosts the podcast series A Rational Fear. It’s funny, informative and many times downright educational. I really enjoyed an episode he recently dropped where he interviewed Richard Duke, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate whose boss is former Secretary of State John Kerry who leads the SPEC. 

Why does investigative humorist Dan Illic(h) matter to us? It’s well-established that humor helps break down barriers, and climate denial is one of the biggest barriers existing today. Plus, back in 2020, he began using his A Rational Fear Substack to tell the personal stories of people who are affected most by the change in climate, and also those who benefit from inaction. Revolutionary!

DEEPER DIVE: ARF: The Richard Duke Episode, The Guardian, A Rational Fear Substack, YouTube



As seniors at Tulane University, Franziska Trautmann  and Max Steitz  were disappointed and frustrated by two things: the lack of glass recycling in New Orleans; and Louisiana’s coastal erosion crisis. As reported before by The Climate Daily, Louisiana loses about more than a football field a day of land from erosion and flooding. 

One night, over a bottle of wine–that they knew was destined for the dump unless they did something about it—the pair we hatched Glass Half Full. The concept is simple—it’s a glass recycling system that’s transparent, accessible, and most importantly, actually recycles glass into something functional, instead of trying to take on the unrealistic task of reforming the current system. Recycling glass bottles into more glass bottles is an energy intensive, inefficient and expensive process. One reason is the dearth of foundries in the United States. 

How do they do it? They collect glass “waste” from residents across Louisiana. Once GHF diverts this glass from the landfill, they sort it by color and remove all plastic and metal parts. Then it’s processed by being pulverizing with hammer-mill crushers. Once the glass is crushed, the company is left with two unique parts: sand, glass cullet (or broken glass pieces within a certain size distribution). Finally, GHF allocates the sand and cullet. From flooring and new glass products to disaster relief sandbags for mitigating flood damage, they work to creatively integrate its recycled materials into every day life.

Why does GHF matter to us: One it’s helping solve the sand crisis. Did you know that sand is the second most-exploited natural resource on the planet? And did you know, the Earth is actually running out of coastal sand? That’s right. Thanks to the construction industry, sea level rise and coastal erosion. And two, Glass Half Full NOLA is a case of two Gen Z folks seeing an opportunity to contribute to the circular economy and just going for it, not waiting on anybody!