Anna Michel

My Lightbulb Moment

In summer 2017, I met Chad Frischmann, Project Drawdown’s Research Director, at an event I co-hosted through my then-employer, the UC Berkeley Student Environmental Resource Center. Chad introduced the audience to the many active, tangible solutions— not to mitigate or prevent climate change, but actually reverse it— while also solving countless other social and economic problems.
After his presentation and talking with him one-on-one, I realized I had found the precise narrative of opportunity, empowerment, and hope I’d been searching for. I no longer felt doomed; as crazy as it might sound, I actually felt blessed. Blessed to be alive in this critical, powerful moment in history— to make the most of this beautiful chance (likely humanity’s last) to heal our broken relationship with nature, and with each other.
Drawdown’s message resonated with me on a deep, existential level. After six years of volunteering and working in the environmental movement, I could see the future I want for humanity— a new age of ecological resilience and shared prosperity. It’s just over the horizon, and I can help us get there. Now I enjoy the conversations that follow when I say to people, “I’m happy to be alive in these times.”

Organizations I Work With & Support (alphabetically)

About Me

I grew up in small towns along California’s coast, most at home in the majestic redwood forests of west Marin County and the vibrant kelp forests of Monterey Bay. My upbringing gave me a deep love and respect for nature, a catalyst for getting involved in the environmental movement. At ten years old, I started participating in community beach clean-ups and citizen science, testing water quality in rivers. As a young teen, I was an outreach volunteer for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. I spoke with visitors from all over the world about how healthy oceans support a stable climate and most life on Earth, including human well-being and livelihoods. One summer during high school, I made a PSA video on solutions to the crisis of plastics in our oceans (which continues to air on local public access TV).

It wasn’t until adulthood that I started living in urban areas, and meeting people whose experiences with their environment differed vastly from mine: air pollution, water contamination, toxic dumps, and countless other violations of the basic human right to health and safety. Through these conversations, my education in environmental studies, and witnessing humanity’s estrangement from nature firsthand, I came to understand that yes, we should protect nature for its own sake— but also for ours, especially those of us who suffer most if we don’t. The principles of equity and justice expanded my vision. What’s the point of solving climate change if the world we recreate isn’t one where all can thrive?

I’m fascinated by how people feel, think, and communicate about humanity’s relationship with our environment, and how these attitudes, philosophies, and narratives inform action. After doing my undergraduate thesis at UC Berkeley on the strategic communication of climate change, I worked for climate leadership nonprofit Strategic Energy Innovations, giving workshops on climate communication that focus on common values and actionable solutions.

If you want to learn more, discuss, and/or get involved in climate solutions (including careers and networking) join me in the Climate Solutionists Facebook group. You can also find me on LinkedIn, and check out some of my work on Medium (more coming soon!).

Climate Change in Northern California (alphabetically)

People I Read & Follow (alphabetically)

Climate Media (alphabetically) 

  • Climate Progress for updates on climate-related studies, policy, and politics. 
  • Deep Adaptation for a thoroughly-researched framework of restoration and resilience based on climate crisis consequences.
  • Earth Repair Radio for energizing stories of people working on permaculture, regeneration, resilience, etc. 
  • Grist for engaging, well-reported climate news, including our Climate Hope Media Project
  • Inside Climate News for Pulitzer Prize-winning climate journalism. 
  • NYT’s Climate Fwd for a weekly emailed newsletter of the New York Times’ latest climate-related stories and insight. 
  • Our Climate Voices for inspiring stories of how climate change is impacting people’s lives, especially those most vulnerable, and ways they’re involved in the movement.

 

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