The top two trends to combat climate change in 2022! Meet eco-artist Mariah Reading, and in climate tech, Greenlight Biosciences.
The Top Two Trends to Combat Climate Change in 2022! Eco-Artist Mariah Reading
TREND #2: BIPOC CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE SEEN AND HEARD
The #2 climate change-combatting trend to watch in 2022 is BIPOC CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE SEEN AND HEARD.
Momentum really began at COP26, or “The Conference of the Profiteers” as some Black, Brown, and Indigenous environmental justice activists described the 26th Conference of the Parties, or COP26, held last fall in Glasgow, Scotland. COP26 had an ambitious-sounding goal of achieving “net-zero” emissions by 2030, but ultimately, that goal of coalescing countries fell far short.
Keeping rich nations’ feet to the flames, Indigenous activists activists marched alongside an estimated 100,000 people denouncing net-zero as a “smoke screen,” during COP26, demanding that fossil fuels remain in the ground. Over the course of the global meeting, activists, including delegates from It Takes Roots, continued carrying out smaller-scale actions to bring attention to the false solutions of net-zero.
Alejandría Lyons, environmental justice organizer with the SouthWest Organizing Project, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said it’s important for activists like her to be present at global climate meetings because historically the voices of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people have been “completely left out.”
Expect to see more BIPOC organizations merge and form larger alliances, with more ambitious projects to mobilize our communities in 2022.
THE #1 TREND TO FOLLOW IN 2022 TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE? TREES, TREES, TREES!
Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.
Research lead Prof Tom Crowther of the Swiss university ETH Zürich, said, “This new quantitative evaluation shows forest restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one. What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed.”
But that’s not enough. In regions of the United States, nay, the world, legislators can change forestry codes to promote thinning and less frequent harvests, thus reducing fire risk, increasing lumber yields and maximizing carbon storage. So those are the stories we’ll look for this year.
CLIMATE CHANGE CHAMPION, ECO-ARTIST MARIAH READING
Mariah Reading is an eco-artist from Bangor, ME. An eco-artist, according to Maria, is “somebody who uses their craft to snap people out of complacency with the way the world’s turning.” Throughout her travels to native lands, Reading creates impressionist paintings on trash in order to depict the harms of pollution and climate change.
Her goal is to raise awareness of trash pollution plaguing America’s national parks.
Her method is this: Reading paints only on one side of the trash and intentionally leaves the reverse side untouched. That way the original piece of debris remains evident. Once completed, she photographs the painted object aligned with the physical landscape to both obscure and highlight the discarded object. Double entendre!
Her first piece? Painting a mountain landscape on a hubcap. Then she held it up in front of the real range and snapped a photo. It became the first in her ongoing series.
This is why Mariah Reading matters to us: This from her personal statement @ mariahreadingart.com:
“I have been contemplating my relationship with art and the vast amount of waste creating art can produce. Classically trained as a landscape painter, I pivoted to eco art when the parallel between painting landscapes and feeding landfills became overwhelmingly apparent. The landscapes that so richly inspired me were being hurt by the waste I created in order to depict them.”
According to her, it’s now more critical than ever to leave no trace. Her practice revolves around ways she can lessen my footprint upon Earth and leave it better than she found it.
DEEPER DIVE: Vimeo, MariahReadingArt, People
CLIMATE TECH, GREENLIGHT BIOSCIENCES
“The world is in peril and aching for solutions,” screams the headlines on the Greenlight Biosciences website.
The world is running out of arable soil. For years, farmers have used effective petroleum-based chemical pesticides. in the form of neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates. Over time, these non-targeted products can have unintended negative consequences, including damage to beneficial insects and plants, and they can linger in the environment for years, eroding soil quality and polluting water resources.
Greenlight Biosciences, the Medford, MA green biotech firm exists based on the premise that, “Clear cutting forests for cattle, chemical residues on food, in the water and in the soil, nitrogen blooms in rivers, declining soil productivity, the loss of bees and other beneficial insects—these are all clear signs that the current system is not sustainable.”
Their solution? Make RNA molecules designed to be an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides. Using RNA, Greenlight aims to create targeted biocontrols for agriculture.
Greenlight is using biotechnology similar to that of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines. The vaccines use mRNA tech. Greenlight uses dsRNA. That stands for double-stranded RNA which is frequently found in healthy plants. Rather than injecting the dsRNA into each plant like vaccines are injected into our arms, the goal is to spray it on them. Such dsRNA plant treatment is considered an appealing alternative to induce pest resistance in genetically modified crops.
But why does that matter to us? The success of dsRNA could spell the end of chemical pesticides, many of which kill pollinators.
DEEPER DIVE: GreenLight Biosciences, Blooomberg, Grantham Foundation