Youth Climate Activist–Mya-Rose Craig, 2022 MIT Solve Global Challenges Semi-Finalists, Paleoclimatologist Wins $1M Award, Listeners Call to Action

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Meet youth climate activist, Mya-Rose Craig, plus 2022 MIT Solve Global Challenges semi-finalists announced. U. of Arizona paleoclimatologist wins $1M award, and listeners call to action.



Meet Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl. Craig is a British Bangladeshi who became a birdwatcher at an early age. Her own early experience often found her the only brown birder in the wilderness. She felt that isolation might be preventing other teens like her from taking up the hobby. So back in 2015, at only age 13, Craig founded Camp Avalon to attract more kids of color—or as she calls them VMEs (visibly minority ethnic) out into the natural world and become birdwatchers.

Her Camp Avalon is a two-night camp for teens 12-19, from all ethnicities and backgrounds, from inner-city Bristol. The camp itself is set more in the country, near Glastonbury, about 27 miles south of Bristol.

A year later, she founded Black2Nature. It’s since become an umbrella organization under which she runs Camp Avalon and Camp Chew. Camp Chew is a single overnight camp for children 8-11 at the Chew Valley Lake, just south of Bristol. The goal is to make the nature conservation and environmental sectors ethnically diverse.

Activities include birding, mothing, night birding, wildlife sketching and photography. Discussions about the environment, and topics like the impacts of climate change.

Why does Mya-Rose Craig’s work matter to us? Her work introducing VMEs to nature, many of those attending will have never seen a cow or a sheep, have never stroked a dog and are frightened of anything that moves is invaluable to creating a new generation of climate change champions.

 Craig has also published a book. Called, We Have a Dream. In it, she interviewed 30 Black, Indigenous and People of Color climate champions including; Autumn Peltier, Vanessa Nakate and Lesein Mutunkei. In February 2020 Mya-Rose became the youngest Briton to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science D.Sc. h.c from Bristol University. She received it for her five years of campaigning for diversity in the environmental sector.

DEEPER DIVE: BirdGirl Blog, We Have a Dream, Black2Nature, I’m Overheated!



Earlier this year, The Climate Daily reported on MIT’s sixth annual Solve Global Challenges competition. Solve Global Challenges seeks social entrepreneurs who are using technology to solve today’s most pressing problems. Over the past six years, it has received 9,600+ solutions from 160 countries.

Last week, SGC announced 227 semi-finalists from the over 1,100 solutions submitted from 117 countries. Those semifinalists break out into five categories.

Between now and September 18, the Challenge Leaders will review these solutions to determine which are the most promising. Finalists will be announced between now and then. We’re invited to join the live stream of Solve Challenge Finals on September 18, when both winning Solver teams, as well as MIT Indigenous Fellows will be announced. They’ll all be eligible for over $2 million in funding. 

The MIT Indigenous Fellows program is sponsored by the MIT Solve community. The program seeks eight technology-based solutions that help Native communities in the US thrive. Specifically, those that

  •   Drive positive outcomes for Native learners of all ages while supporting culturally grounded educational opportunities on or off reservations.
  •   Promote holistic and culturally informed mental or physical health programming for Native youth, elders, or families.
  •   Strengthen Indigenous-led sustainable energy sovereignty and support climate resilience initiatives.
  •   Support the creation, growth, and success of Native-owned businesses while promoting workforce programs in tribal communities.

Why does the MIT Solve Global Challenges competition matter to us? According to its website, SGC supports 228 Solver-selected teams who have collectively impacted over 120 million lives. These teams are 64% women-led and headquartered in 49 different countries.

DEEPER DIVE: SGC, Indigenous Fellows



University of Arizona researcher Jessica Tierney received the Alan T. Waterman Award, a $1 million award from the National Science Foundation for her work in “molecular paleoclimatology.” The award ceremony was held last month in Washington DC at the National Science Board meeting.

The Alan T. Waterman award is “the United States’ highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers, and it recognizes outstanding individual achievements in foundation-supported research.” It was established in 1975. She is the first researcher for University of Arizona to receive the award. 

Tierney’s research focuses on how prehistoric climate signals can reconstruct ancient conditions and help the future. She specializes in teasing organic climate clues from fossil molecules known as biomarkers preserved in sediments and rocks.

Why does Jessica Tierney’s research matter to us? It’s helping to redefine the process of how scientists understand the influence of carbon dioxide levels on prehistoric changes in climate; how to apply that to this climate change era, and hopefully help humans adapt to what’s coming.




Recently, one of our listeners shared her story of how listening to the climate daily helped her deal so well with her climate change anxiety, that she got out and started working with the local community based group. Then she challenged us to ask you all to share any stories you might have of how listening to the climate daily might have inspired you into action, so we can share them with the world.

Remember, we’re all about sharing stories of people taking positive action to combat climate change. And that’s you listeners. You can hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at #wetheclimate or Jeffrey at The Climate dot org or Maude at The Climate dot org, also.