Meet Kenyan climate champion Anita Soina, and the Mycelium Youth Network. Have you heard of My Green Doctor or the Climate Psychiatry Alliance?
Kenyan Climate Champion Anita Soina, Mycelium Youth Network, My Green Doctor, Climate Psychiatry Alliance
CLIMATE PSYCHIATRY ALLIANCE
Thanks to COP26, people are going to begin to feel a lot of cognitive dissonance—that’s where a person experiences a perception of contradictory information and is unable to process the contradiction. Unlike the seeming contradiction between peanut butter and chocolate—which turn out to be two great tastes that taste great together…and cause you to feel comforted, sated, even happy, cognitive dissonance elicits feelings of unease and tension.
If you have it, you know it, and you might try to explain things away to relieve your CD, but the unease doesn’t disappear with the rationalization you concoct. Here’s one: You love the environment, but you still use single-use plastic garbage bags. That feeling of mental discomfort about using single-use plastic garbage bags with the full knowledge of their destruction of land and marine environments. Because your beliefs and your actions are clashing, your are in the throes of cognitive dissonance. Until you align your beliefs and your actions, you will continue to feel uneasy, anxious, even depressed and angry
Or here’s another one. Say you live between New Orleans, Gulfport and Jackson, MS and in one hurricane season alone, you had three Cat 3 and above roll through the same area as if they were on train tracks, leveling, flooding, decimating all in their paths.
Everything in you tells you this is not normal and this won’t be the end of it. And yet all your neighbors, civic leaders and even the governor recite the same mantra: “We’re gonna build back stronger.” Who you gonna call to help you deal with that?
The Climate Psychiatry Alliance, that’s who. They’re founded on the belief that “Climate change is recognized as one of the most significant threats to health worldwide. Mental health is profoundly impacted by the disruptions associated with climate change.” And that mental health professionals need to get in front of this for their own, and for their patients’ sakes.
For non-medical professionals, CPA matters to us most on their Climate Psychiatry 101 webpage (climatepsychiatry.org/climatepsyciatry101). There is profound information neatly packed accessible to the lay person offering a groundwork plan for developing resilience.
Check it out people, because thanks to the failure to lead at COP26, shit just got real.
It seems a little counterintuitive in 2021 to need a website like mygreendoctor.org. After all, people have been touting the cost-saving benefits of becoming green, sustainable and more energy efficient for over a decade now. But when you take into consideration how the pandemic has thrown sustainability all to hell, and all the trash it’s produced, it quickly becomes clear why medical offices in particular will need a substantial refresher.
Don’t let the totally late 20th/early 21st century design of mygreendoctor.org deter you from taking in all the good on it. MGD has been in existence since at least 2010. In 2021 the My Green Doctor Foundation was established with executive director Dr. Todd L. Sack at the helm. The mission of the foundation is “to promote the charitable, non-profit, educational functions of My Green Doctor to help educate health professionals and their patients, and to motivate them to make changes in their lives, on topics of environmental sustainability and climate change.”
And that’s why MGD matters to us non-medical types. Their trainings and online workbooks and other resources go beyond making our doctors’ offices green, sustainable and healthy. They also give our care providers the tools to discuss climate change and its health impacts with us. After all, for the obstinate and the deniers, a trusted source is the only thing that will get through to them. Who is more trusted than the family MD?
What I also love about MGD is that it provides the basic resources necessary to understand and apply things like energy efficiency principles (Energy Star). In other words, it doesn’t take one’s climate/eco/enviro knowledge for granted. I recommend adding their resource page to your MGD site surfing.
MYCELIUM YOUTH NETWORK
Mycelium Youth Network (MYN) prepares youth in the East Bay Area — who are most vulnerable to and already feeling the effects of environmental racism — for climate change. It uses an artisanal blend of indigenous environmental traditions that emphasize youth environmental stewardship and relationship building combined with a rigorous STEAM curriculum that focuses on practical hands-on skills to climate resilience and mitigation that youth create and implement in their homes and local communities.
Mycelium Youth Network (MYN) provides high-quality Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) programming with a focus on ancestrally-grounded climate resilience that is free or low cost to low-income youth in the Bay Area.
It was founded in 2017 and uses Next Generation Science Standards in its program and curriculum development. While the focus is currently on California’s San Francisco Bay area, the programs are designed to be adaptable “across a range of geographic locations.”
Leading into COVID, Mycelium was poised to drastically expand the reach of its programming by teaching courses through Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), among others. They had secured the contracts and built the curriculum—then the pandemic turned the education landscape upside down. Now the organization has moved education online.
In November 2020, MYN hosted an online conference, “Apocalyptic Resilience: An Afro-Indigenous Adventure,” There, they gamified the educational experience, and participants gained abilities and skills with each conference session attended by over 140 participants.
Conference content spanned Indigenous fire management practices, how to write environmental legislation, herbalism and plant first aid, channeling somatic focus for resilience, and live musical performances. And this year, they did it again, hosting, “Apocalyptic Resilience 2021.” We’ll let you know how it went.
According to the San Francisco Estuary News, despite recent challenges, Mycelium has found their stride, developing a new partnership with the Exploratorium and a game plan to share their lessons beyond Oakland and San Francisco Unified School Districts.
“Mycelium is the part of the fungus that grows underground in thread-like formations. It connects roots to one another and breaks down plant material to create healthier ecosystems. Mycelium is the largest organism on earth. Interconnectedness. Remediation. Detoxification.”
KENYAN CLIMATE CHAMPION, ANITA SOINA
For her 18th birthday, way back in 20-aught-18, Kenyan Anita Soina decided to dedicate all her birthdays going forward to growing back the trees that her community had cut down, and also to educate theSHOWm about the importance of conservation.
As of 2021, she’s personally planted 3,000 trees. And she’s a volunteer warrior in the Green War, coincidentally the name of her first book. But listen, Soina didn’t just celebrate her 18th by pledging to plant trees. She also started SpiceWarriors, a project to protect the environment under the mentorship of Erick Matsanza.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Erick Matsanza is a social change catalyst who employs disruptive means in challenging the status quo at the backyards of society. He’s founder of Spice without Borders, a global leadership academy and incubator for social change innovation by those at the margins of society.
2021 has been a busy year for Ms. Soina. In November, she attended COP26. In May, she gave a TEDx talk, and she also just published her first book, The Green War. All this while pursuing a BA in PR and Corporate Communication at the Multimedia University of Kenya.
In The Green War, Soina “shares her current journey, challenges and future plans to stop environmental degradation,” according to her website. Her TEDx talk is inspiring and just a little bit longer than The Climate Daily podcast, so easily digestible on a break. Visit theclimatedaily.org/episodes and click on the links in the Deeper Dive section to get to know Anita Soina even better.