Crowdsourcing Sustainability

Educating the world on climate solutions with Dr. Elizabeth Bagley

September 11, 2020 Ryan Hagen, Mikayla White, Dr. Elizabeth Bagley Season 1 Episode 3
Crowdsourcing Sustainability
Educating the world on climate solutions with Dr. Elizabeth Bagley
Chapters
0:00
Elizabeth's intro, background, and story of how she got to where she is today
9:15
What is Project Drawdown? And why does it matter?
13:15
Climate solutions are win-wins & the Drawdown Review
15:00
What is Drawdown Learn? (Deep dive on who it's for, the strategy behind it, projects, partners, etc.)
29:20
Bringing global solutions to the local level (with some advice for students & teachers specifically)
39:15
The "why" that keeps Elizabeth working on the climate crisis
41:10
What Elizabeth would put on a billboard
42:55
Book recommendations
45:35
What can listeners do to help out and/or connect?
46:40
Elizabeth's key takeaway for listeners
Crowdsourcing Sustainability
Educating the world on climate solutions with Dr. Elizabeth Bagley
Sep 11, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Ryan Hagen, Mikayla White, Dr. Elizabeth Bagley

Hear from Dr. Elizabeth Bagley of Drawdown Learn in this episode as we discuss:

0 - 9:15: Elizabeth's intro, background, and story of how she got to where she is today.
9:15 - 13:15: What is Project Drawdown? And why does it matter?
13:15 - 15:00: Climate solutions are win-wins & the Drawdown Review.
15:00 - 29:20: What is Drawdown Learn? (Deep dive on who it's for, the strategy behind it, projects, partners, etc.)
29:20 - 39:15: Bringing global solutions to the local level (with some advice for students & teachers specifically)
39:15 - 41:10: The "why" that keeps Elizabeth working on the climate crisis.
41:10 - 42:55: What Elizabeth would put on a billboard.
42:55 - 45:35: Book recommendations.
45:35 - 46:40: What can listeners do to help out and/or connect?
46:40: Elizabeth's key takeaway for listeners


Resources:
-Drawdown Learn Website: https://drawdown.org/programs/drawdown-learn
-Elizabeth’s LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-sowatzke-bagley
-Elizabeth’s Book Recommendations: Drawdown Review, A Sand County Almanac, Zen Ties

-Sign Up for the Crowdsourcing Sustainability Email List: https://crowdsourcing-sustainability.ck.page/c34a46ed01
-Crowdsourcing Sustainability Website: https://crowdsourcingsustainability.org
-Our Instagram: @crowdsourcingsustainability

Support the show (https://crowdsourcingsustainability.org/donate/)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Hear from Dr. Elizabeth Bagley of Drawdown Learn in this episode as we discuss:

0 - 9:15: Elizabeth's intro, background, and story of how she got to where she is today.
9:15 - 13:15: What is Project Drawdown? And why does it matter?
13:15 - 15:00: Climate solutions are win-wins & the Drawdown Review.
15:00 - 29:20: What is Drawdown Learn? (Deep dive on who it's for, the strategy behind it, projects, partners, etc.)
29:20 - 39:15: Bringing global solutions to the local level (with some advice for students & teachers specifically)
39:15 - 41:10: The "why" that keeps Elizabeth working on the climate crisis.
41:10 - 42:55: What Elizabeth would put on a billboard.
42:55 - 45:35: Book recommendations.
45:35 - 46:40: What can listeners do to help out and/or connect?
46:40: Elizabeth's key takeaway for listeners


Resources:
-Drawdown Learn Website: https://drawdown.org/programs/drawdown-learn
-Elizabeth’s LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-sowatzke-bagley
-Elizabeth’s Book Recommendations: Drawdown Review, A Sand County Almanac, Zen Ties

-Sign Up for the Crowdsourcing Sustainability Email List: https://crowdsourcing-sustainability.ck.page/c34a46ed01
-Crowdsourcing Sustainability Website: https://crowdsourcingsustainability.org
-Our Instagram: @crowdsourcingsustainability

Support the show (https://crowdsourcingsustainability.org/donate/)

Mikayla White :

Hi, and welcome to the crowdsourcing sustainability podcast. My name is Mikayla.

Ryan Hagen :

I'm Ryan,

Mikayla White :

and we're your co hosts. This podcast exists to help inform, inspire and empower people to take action on climate. We'll do this by bringing on wonderful sustainability leaders listening to their stories and exploring meaningful actions we can all take.

Ryan Hagen :

Today we're lucky enough to speak with Dr. Elizabeth Bagley, who's been working at the intersection of climate and education for the last 20 years, starting out with sea turtles and coral reefs and Kenya to working in Glacier National Park, teaching high school science designing online courses and being in charge of sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences Museum in San Francisco. Most recently, Elizabeth joined project drawdown which is the world's leading resource for climate solutions to lead their drawdown learn program. Elizabeth, welcome to the show.

Elizabeth Bagley :

Oh my gosh, what a pleasure. Thanks, everybody for having me.

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, absolutely. We're thrilled to have you here. So, to start off, I just want to dive in a bit on your background. It sounds like you've had this wide ranging and super interesting path to get to where you are today. And I'd just love to hear more about it in your own words, and hear really what some of those key moments were in decisions and your thought processes that led you down this path to actually get to drawdown learn.

Elizabeth Bagley :

Thanks for asking. I mean, I can you know, let's go back. Let's go back to when I was three, how about that? But actually, in all in all Ria, in all seriousness, it kind of does go back to some of my earliest memories. And you know, I grew up on a sheep farm in western Wisconsin. And, you know, we didn't you know, we didn't have screens back then outside from television once in a while, but we spent a lot of time outside and a lot of time connecting with me. And I just really loved exploring. And I think that that experience so young really shaped the way that I that I see the world. And you know, that kind of that thread pulled through into high school where a couple of friends and I organized the first Earth Day cleanup for our school, and we got a day off of school to go clean up the town, which is pretty awesome. And that that's continued since which was pretty great. And then in college, I thought I wanted to study medicine part. And this was partly and this is something that, you know, I think crowdsourcing sustainability is so helpful with showing what kinds of professions and are out there related to sustainability but I had no idea I just, you know, basically knew I could be a lawyer or a doctor or a teacher or you know, I had a really limited view of what what I could do as a job and so, I don't know did you did you fall into that at all? Reiner? Did you have a bigger a bigger view when you were going to college?

Ryan Hagen :

I had no idea what I wanted to do going, just floating along. Yeah,

Mikayla White :

being in college, I still don't know exactly what I want to do. I just know that I want to do something involving sustainability.

Elizabeth Bagley :

And I love that, you know that like, I didn't even know that was a thing back then. Now granted, that was like 20 years ago, right? So I was pretty set on wanting to be a medical doctor and then took a class with a bunch of other undergraduates who wanted to be medical doctors. And I was like, ooh, I don't fit here. I want to be, and we in that class, we actually had a whole unit on ecology, and I didn't know what ecology was when I got to college. And we did this. We worked on this prairie and did some prairie restoration work and everyone hated it except me. And I was like, Oh, hey, I think I like this I think I want to do more related directly related to the environment. And I don't know what that's gonna look like yet, but I don't think I want to be a doctor like a, like a medical doctor. And, and that kind of offended me a little bit and I ended up studying in Kenya for a year. And I would highly recommend to anybody listening to study abroad if you're in college or take a gap year and go abroad or if you know, wherever you're at in your life, like live somewhere else for an extended period of time, because that experience for me, was really, really transformative, right? Like, I got to see how people in another part of the world lived and live, you know, I was part of the community with them. And just that experience, helped shape my perspective on these interconnected systems that we're all part of. Right. So there's the ecological systems there, the social systems, economic system, and all of these interwoven and overlapping systems and some of them we create and others we don't and figuring out, you know, what levers, we can pull To make those systems more equitable for everybody and to make those systems stronger so that both people in the planet can thrive together instead of choosing one over the other, really came, came come top of mind when I was living in Kenya. So, I mean, I guess we started when I was three. So this could go on for like three hours. step wise every step, but a long, long story short, I realized that I going to Kenya really widened my view of the world right? It made my my worldview so much bigger, so much more. I was gonna say accurate, but I mean, I don't know if there's ever accuracy in a worldview, but it just made it also much more empathetic where, you know, I wasn't, I wasn't as righteous as it was before because everybody has their own story. And everybody's on a different place on their sustainability journey, and to make assumptions about other people and how their lives And why they're doing what they're doing without really understanding or connecting or empathizing with them. isn't cool. Like, that's not how that's not how our, our society needs to work. So, you know, coming back from Kenya, I really realized that one of the leverage points that I could focus on was actually through education. I really love connecting with people, I love meeting them where they're at on their sustainability journey, and, you know, helping guiding them to that next step on their journey. And, you know, realizing that some people, you know, have never ever thought about or necessarily even heard about food waste as an incredible climate solution, and helping them figure out, you know, what's the first step that they could take that would make sense in their life today, versus people who, you know, already advocated for curbside composting in their local community, right, but then also guiding that person on to like, what's the best next step that you can take so that kind of all led me to two graduates to teaching. So I taught middle and high school science for a couple of years. And then realized I didn't actually know a whole lot about how to teach and how to effectively communicate with with people. And I went back to graduate school. And that was where I studied educational psychology. So basically looking at how people learn, and marrying that with environmental science. So how do people learn about the environment? And that, can that foundation launched me into a summer internship at The Walt Disney Company, which was incredible. And that, to me, that was a huge turning point for me, in terms of working with really a really diverse group of colleagues, who were we were making, you know, we were making video games. And we, you know, I was working for the first time with artists like real artists, like people who went to art school, and I was like, Oh my gosh, I want to work, I don't want to be an academic, I don't want to work mostly in the traditional sense kind of by myself in an ivory tower. I want this kind of interdisciplinary collaborative workspace. And so kind of I've eaten from that point, I've always kind of sought out jobs where I can work with a really interesting, unique, diverse skill sets of up from other people and interact with the public in really meaningful ways. And that's where now at Project drawdown, and leading up drawdown learn, I have the immense privilege of thinking about how do we connect different audiences with climate solutions that really inspire them to take action, right in their homes, in their communities. You know, regionally globally locally, how do we make sure that these solutions are really approachable and the three R's I like to think about how do we make sure that they're recent searched which we we know their research because that's what product drawdowns been doing for a while, and how do we make sure there the solutions are really relevant and relatable, so researched and relevant and relatable like that.

Mikayla White :

Thanks. So could you give a brief summary of what drawdown is? For those of our listeners who do not know?

Elizabeth Bagley :

I sure can. Project drawdown is a nonprofit organization. So we have been around since just since about 2014. And in 2017, the group came out with the publication New York Times bestseller drawdown, which was a compilation of the climate solutions that are in hand today. So on the ground in action today, and the incredible impact of those solutions if they were scaled globally. So we, you know, we work with all sorts of folks see Universities, corporations, philanthropies, policymakers, communities, educators, activists, and many more people to really turn the project drawdown solutions into climate action. So we're supporting efforts to really move solutions forward and move the world towards drawdown and drawdown is actually a scientific term that that is focused on that future point in time when levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere finally stopped climbing and start to steadily decline. And our mission is to reach that point, that point of drawdown as quickly, safely and equitably as possible.

Ryan Hagen :

Love it just like completely speaking my language, the mission resonates so strongly with me and I remember reading the book, like within a year, so when I came out and I found it really eye opening, just how much I think that helps kind of change the conversation a little bit. So it got people looking at the solutions and gave an actual goal. So like, the goal being drawdown is like, okay, now there's a specific moment in time that we can just say in a word. And I found all of that to be very powerful. So I'm grateful for all that work. And just super happy to see that the team keeps growing.

Elizabeth Bagley :

Thanks, Ryan. Yeah, and I have to say, I mean, I wasn't on the team. I joined the team in March of this year. So actually, in two days, it's my my five month anniversary so I'm pretty new on the team and so I you know, I I got the book when it first came out too. And just really savored not only the language, the shift, away from doom and gloom, and really toward towards hope and opportunity and possibility and just calling out, hey, look, look here, like look over here right in this area, we are going to show you that there are so many solutions that we have in hand today that we can scale up to reach drawdown. Like let's do it. And so this invitation for writing the next chapter of life on Earth, the invitation for creating the future, we want instead of the pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep and hide from the world, the kind of world that I think we'd been. We'd been hearing from a lot of environmental organizations for a really long time. Yeah,

Ryan Hagen :

yeah, it also just completely underscored the fact that climate solutions are almost always win win wins. So you know, it's good for the planet, obviously, but it's almost always good for people and it's almost always profitable. So I just loved how it kind of laid that out and showed you so many different avenues to getting to where you need to go. Like, it also opens it up to almost anyone can pitch in and be a part of this says yeah, beautiful overall.

Elizabeth Bagley :

Well, thanks for saying that. And I think, you know, I'll give a lot of credit to our editor of Chief Editor in Chief rather of the drawdown review, Katherine Wilkinson, she wrote the most recent publication from project drawdown is called the drawdown review and that came out in March of 2020. And it's available for free on our website drawdown org. And in it we write a lot about coal benefits, which is exactly what you're talking about Ryan, right. Climate solutions are rarely just climate solutions. They're almost always climate solutions, or and Public Health Solutions, climate solutions and biodiversity solutions. And you know, on and on, there's all of These amazing co benefits that come with him with implementing climate solutions. And so we write much more about that in the drawdown review. And, and I love that that's the direction that our communications are going in. Because it's not like, okay, just it's, it moves away from the, the fallacy of IRA cycle. So I'm done. Like, I'm a good person, and I've done my job. And we know there's loads of research that shows that there there are, you know, there, there are groups of people where that is how they function, right? Like you do one thing and you've checked the box, and so you're good. And then you move on, and you don't think about it again. But really, this is thinking about a tapestry of solutions, right, or a mosaic of solutions. And we need all of them. And we can work together to implement them all at different scales. And it's going to make the world an awful lot better. When we as we implement all those solutions.

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, hundred percent. So, so kind of pivoting into your specific role at drawdown, you're the director of drawdown learn. Could you could you tell us more about what that is specifically kind of why it exists and the strategy behind it?

Elizabeth Bagley :

Absolutely. So drawn on learn is really the next step with Project drawdown in terms of connecting with different audiences in really researched, relevant and relatable ways. Right. So when we think about what does you know, what does the general public need from project drawdown? It looks different from what university professors might need from project drawdown. So right now we're creating different we're looking at different audiences and figuring out you know, what we can provide for them to help them take the next step on their climate journey or on their sustainable journey. So to give you a really concrete example, we are working on a series of videos about climate solutions. So in our drawdown solutions framework, we talk about the three S's and I won't belabor this point too much I can point everyone to the drawdown review, but I love this new framing that we have in the drawdown review, where we focus on reducing sources. So the first S is sources, the second S is supporting sinks. So reduce sources support sinks, and improve society. So sources, sources, sinks and society are the three S's of solution. So all of the climate solutions that we have as part of the drawdown framework fit into those three buckets and some of them fit into multiple buckets right some, some of the sources are also could be sinks as well, especially when we think about food, agriculture and land use and land sinks and So when we think about communicating with educating the public, you know, that framework is really helpful. But it's there's still a bit of activation energy to really get people to, to understand it. So these videos are going to dive into each of what we call our sectors. So for example, I mentioned food, agriculture and land use. So we'll have a video that talks about so so what is food agriculture and land use? Like why should we care about that as a source of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere? And what are the solutions that we already have in hand that we can put into place? So kind of really just spelling out the science behind climate solutions, and bringing people along for the ride in terms of showing solutions in action, talking to some of the experts who are implementing them, and inspiring hopefully people to take action in their own communities.

Mikayla White :

That's awesome. So what is the impact of integrating lessons on climate and sustainability into school curriculum? How does that help spread knowledge about this huge topic? And do you have any success stories that stick out to you?

Elizabeth Bagley :

Mikayla there's so many great things in that question that I am excited to talk about. So we've been talking for the over the last five months that I've been at Project drawdown, I've been talking to lots of different folks in both formal and informal education spaces to figure out what's needed. And what I get excited about when I think about what project drawdown can give to the world and most specifically to like k 12, education or even to be a little more nerdy, like p 21. Which is from like pre kindergarten through college, is really thinking about how can we change the conversation from just being about The science behind the problems, to really focusing on the science behind the solutions and really inspiring, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking around what needs to be done. And I don't mean that I want every student to become, you know, the next tech Rockstar in a solutionary. Because we know that technology alone is not going to, it's not going to save us and we have the solutions that we need right now, to actually reach drawdown. We need the will and we need people who are actually going to step up and take action. And so when I think about what we need an education is we need more project and Problem Based Learning that's tied to real world phenomena that people actually care about, right. So that's where we talk about it being relevant and relatable. Like let's not let's move beyond kind of rote memorization and, and worksheets and science labs that don't actually mean much Maybe they explain a phenomena but they're completely disconnected from a student's real life. So how can we connect climate solutions to the kinds of content and skills and values that we really want the leaders of tomorrow to to hold? And so that's something that I get really excited about. And I think, you know, beyond k 12, I think a lot about community college, and how can we support people who are moving maybe more into a trade rights and how can we get more solar panel installers and wind turbine operators? And how can we inspire more people to go into those fields and to be really proud to be in those fields? Because they are absolutely, you know, climate solutionist on the ground every day, right? I think there's really a cultural and identity shift that needs to happen where you don't need to be a climate scientist or an activist. To be involved in the climate movement, right? We need everybody. We need everybody from, you know, and every job that anyone has can have something to do with climate. Right. And I created this course with LinkedIn learning that was, it was a super fun experience, called the employees guide to sustainability, really thinking about any employee anywhere from finance to custodial to, you know, the CFO, and I guess that's finance but, and everywhere, everywhere in between, can can have sustainability and climate work as part of their job. And we encourage them to do that, right. So when we think about supply chains, and how climate change is likely going to disrupt supply, change, supply change for any number of products, like that's everybody's, everybody cares, right? So when we can't get iPhones or we can Get toilet paper, whatever it is, like if climate change is part of what's disrupting that supply chain, like, let's make sure that everybody who's working at those companies making those products really are thinking about climate change as being and climate change solutions as part of their job and something that they, they need to be thinking about.

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, that would be fantastic. So like, Can you take me a bit deeper into these videos? And how you're thinking of getting them out there and how they help make this happen? Like, are you going to universities mostly, or just a little bit more about the strategy of how you get from A to B, on that?

Elizabeth Bagley :

So you know, videos alone are not going to inspire behavior change, and I don't know, you know, we aren't kidding ourselves and thinking that just by putting videos goes into the world, we're going to inspire action. I mean, there's loads of incredible research. Some of my favorite research comes from rare rare.org. And the folks there who do just really great behavioral science research about how do we change behaviors related to climate, and but the videos for us are meant to be kind of knowledge builders, about climate solutions with the target audience being Yes, definitely for, you know, students and professors and probably High School plus, right. And, and as well as some audiences that I hadn't necessarily considered before, but audiences like philanthropists and you know, people who run who are in charge of funds at foundation so new program officers who all of a sudden their foundation decides that they want to fund climate, well, where do they go to learn about climate solutions, right. We we actually get asked by a lot of philanthropists and foundations pretty pretty frequently to kind of give them a primer. So this will help with that. I think it could also help with venture capitalists who want to figure out whether or not the latest and greatest, you know, startup related to a climate solution has legitimacy. Because you know, we're completely you are nonprofit, where we were in the business of making sure that the science is accurate. And we want to communicate it well. So I think that the videos will have a number of different audiences who will be interested in them, and then what our plan is to start thinking about what kinds of supports do we want to build around them? And also, what kind of partnerships do we want to build with other organizations to really amplify climate solutions in new areas, and I can talk more about that if you want to hear more about what the partnerships are likely to look like.

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, that that'd be awesome. We'd love to hear about that.

Elizabeth Bagley :

So one of the partnerships that we have had for a while and continues to just be awesome is with a group called eco challenge.org. And they have a specific challenge called the drawdown eco challenge. And we get asked by the by people really often like, well, it's great that you're, you've got all these climate solutions, but a lot of them I can't I can't do anything directly about and that's, you know, that part partially true. I mean, we model the solutions at a global level. And it's hard to move from a global level into your personal life. But that's exactly what our partners at the drawdown eco challenge have done. They've taken all of the solutions that we have identified as being, you know, really viable climate solutions that can get us to drawdown and they've made them applicable to individuals. So for things like refrigerant management, which you might not think about as something that we can do, they they have resources about how you can learn more and and they have, you know, other ways that you can get involved in these solutions that people might not initially think of. And so that's a really great partnership with them for people who are interested in learning more about the project drawdown framework and the specific climate solutions, and also interested in kind of tracking their behavior changes over time. So drawdown eco challenge is great. We also have a partnership with the solutions journalism network. And the solutions journalism network is a really great group of journalists that curate content from around the world that's focused on solutions. So they have a whole track focused on climate solutions. And they've also aligned those to the project drawdown framework and the climate solutions that we have. And so for people who want to learn about Solutions inaction in the world. That's an incredible resource for them to look at. And for educators, they've actually created discussion guides that you can just, you can either use whole, whole hog, or you can modify and make it your own and share that with your students. So there's, you know, really great opportunities for reading critical, like critical news articles about different climate solutions in action. And so those are, you know, there are a couple pieces of the puzzle. We also have a new partnership with the environmental sustainability rotary Action Group, which is part of Rotary International, the rotary clubs that are all over the world and they have about 1.2 million Rotarians around the world. Yeah, yeah. And you know, one of the things that's exciting about that project or that partnership is that they are people of action, right like they are in their communities. They are trusted. leaders in their communities, and they have decided they want to make the environment, one of their areas of focus one of the areas that they fund projects for, and they're now looking to offset project drawdown as partners in helping create the framework and also the content around why people should care. Because a lot of us, I mean, let's be honest, we've got a million things going through our head at any given time. How do we, you know, capture a little bit of that attention and inspire someone to care about a climate solution, and then actually do something about it? It's not super easy, right? I mean, I think, you know, the three of us are part of that choir, but there's an awful lot of people who aren't part of that choir and understandably so, you know, they've got a whole lot of other things, especially in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, where they're trying to figure out what they're going to do with their kids and schooling, and work and on and on, like juggling These things I think the reality is that climate solutions can unfortunately take a backburner and and we need to, like, you know, make sure we're meeting people where they're at and also inspiring them to keep climate solutions as part of what all of us are thinking about every day.

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, and I think that's where the the multi benefit aspect of it comes in. And I'm hopeful that in the trillions of dollars that are going to be spent in recovery in the coming months and year, I hope a lot of that goes to these wind winds of putting people back to work on climate solutions. So that's, that's what I'm holding out hope for on that front.

Elizabeth Bagley :

I am on your team for that Ryan, for sure. And just really hopeful that when we think about what the Civilian Conservation Corps did write in terms of just being able to build incredible infrastructure related to Our state national parks, right? And how might we use that model or a similar model to really rally everyone around climate solutions that to your point have these incredible co benefits that help help both the planet and society thrive?

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, totally. I had a one other thought from a little earlier, but still still relates, and that is getting this down to the level of why does this matter to me, like the individual personal level of how does this play into my life or my situation? And I think, especially for for universities, if you can kind of bridge that somehow because you know, there's 80 or 100 solutions and drawdown and if there's a way to let people know what the most impactful solutions are, and there City or their university, for example. I think that's a fantastic way to get people going on. Okay, here's the top five, that we can kind of tangibly get our hands around and do something about. And I think there's a real opportunity there for climate work to be integrated with the curriculum and people actually learning by doing and pushing solutions forward. So I'm something you said in there, struck that thought with me, and I hope more and more universities start doing that, and students maybe ask for it. We'll see.

Elizabeth Bagley :

Well, so what what I hear you saying, Ryan, and what I really love about that is just that integral, first of all, taking global solutions and making them local and making them relevant and then also really aligning action within institutions and cities, right. So one way while you know our solutions Set is at the global level. Some are applicable in some areas, others are not right. But you know, the people who do that work and who are best positioned to figure out which local solutions make sense, are actually people at the local level, right. And so giving them the space and authority and just the agency to do that is really critical. And so I would recommend for anybody trying to figure out what they can do in their local area, to look at to first reach out to your local government and find out whether or not they have a Climate Action Plan. I was really fortunate to get to work on San Francisco's latest climate action strategy that will be unveiled later this year. I specifically worked on the sustainable consumption aspect of it, which was a whole new area for me to think about as we think about how do we ensure that the things we're consuming in the San Francisco Bay Area specifically in the city of San Francisco have the lowest climate impact possible? So as part of that process, we come up with goals, right? So how might a, you know how might a student or how might just a citizen in San Francisco use that climate action strategy to inform the actions that they can take not only in their personal life, but also the actions that they can either lead or be part of within their community. And I would also say so for, I would say that makes that's a good step within the community space. And then within universities or schools, even for example, San Francisco Unified School District has a Climate Action Plan. And so if teachers want to really align their curriculum and make it really relevant and relatable, they can work with the sustainability team at San Francisco Unified to align to the actual goals the district is trying to meet. And that's the same at the university level. Lots of universities now have climate action plans, and so forth. Professors are for students who are looking for ways to have meaningful connections to climate work, reach out to the sustainability office or the office of the president and find out what the goals are, and really leverage those goals to put more solutions into action.

Ryan Hagen :

Love that was just gonna ask you about that too. So

Mikayla White :

that's awesome advice.

Elizabeth Bagley :

So to reinvent the wheel folks, right, like, let's not there are so many wheels out there. Where my you know, my perspective is like, let's just make sure that we find the wheels that are appropriate to our local contexts. And let's use those wheels.

Ryan Hagen :

Hundred percent. So for for students or teachers, who think of this in two ways, like some schools have a Climate Action Plan, others might not or the Climate Action Plan could just be kind of fuzzy depending You know Who made it? But say there isn't one yet? Do you have any recommendations for students or teachers of where to look to kind of jumpstart that process? Is there any, like examples that stand out as like, Oh, this? Is this kind of the gold standard, or these are the best practices? And getting in touch with these folks over in San Francisco or wherever else? Is there any recommendations you would have for people who just want to get started?

Elizabeth Bagley :

Sure, I think, you know, I'm not very familiar. And so this is all with like, a very limited view finder from from my perspective, but the the two groups I've worked with a bit in the Bay Area are actually the San Mateo Office of Education. And so they're the the San Mateo County has a sustainability team. I think it's just two people, but they do incredible work within the K 12 space. I've mentioned San Francisco Unified School District. They also do incredible work in the K 12. space. In the higher ed space. I'm not as familiar. Ryan, what's the group that that you mentioned about the the association with higher ed and sustainability?

Ryan Hagen :

Oh, they're called he I think they have this like the stars

Elizabeth Bagley :

program. You got it? Yeah. So I'm not super familiar with that. I mean, I know a little bit about Stanford and UC Berkeley's programs and just kind of the whole UC system, University of California system. They did a cool campus challenge where they were working on some student and staff and faculty engagement related to their climate goals, which I thought was was really great. So they, you know, have their system wide sustainability goals, but they know they can't meet them without everybody actually stepping up. And so they came up with the cool campus challenge. And had all of the campuses compete against one another. So, um, you know, I think they've got some great, great plans Stanford does as well. And just also recognizing that taking a first step is, is amazing, right? Like, you're not going to necessarily have a perfectly baked plan with everybody aligned and ready to go and fully funded within a year. And for those, those students who are at an undergraduate institution for maybe four years, or maybe they're just there for three years, if they're studying abroad or something, and just know that you are part of a much bigger puzzle, right. And while it might not, you might not see the fruits of your labor, within the time that you're at that university. The work that you're putting in will be part of the of the change that needs to happen in the system. So I think it can get a little discouraging in this age of instant gratification where we all want to see something real soon from The work that we've done. And unfortunately, just because sustainability and climate solutions writ large, are really interdependent and interconnected with lots of other parts of these complex systems, it can take a little bit of time. Now that doesn't mean give up. That means keep pushing hard, but also don't get discouraged if something that you're pushing for gets derailed because these systems are super complex and sometimes they're just dependent on like one person approving something and if that person had a bad day, it might not get approved but don't give up like just figure out how to get through to another person who can improve it or something right like keep keep going keep putting one one foot in front of the other. And I would say what I do often because climate can get can be a bit of a bummer sometimes is just kind of remember the the reason why you're doing what you're doing right like what is it? Yeah, why do you wake up in the morning and care about working on climate solutions and keeping close to you and hold on to that when the going gets tough.

Ryan Hagen :

So true. What What is that for you? The Why?

Elizabeth Bagley.:

You know what I? I'm trying to think if it changes. The why for me on one kind of weird level is just that. Like, I'll take myself up to Mars or even just the moon, let's say and look down on the earth and just be like, wow, We are so fortunate that we get to live on the only planet in this whole universe that we know that can support life, what a gift and how can I be the best steward possible on this incredible gift? And so it's part of a gratitude value. And then it's part of and to be totally honest, I don't use this one very much because it makes me really sad. But I have two young boys. And you know, sometimes I'll think about leaving them, leaving them, you know, a healthy planet and a healthy society to live in. But quite honestly, that is not as motivating to me because then I start to kind of spiral out and I'm like, Oh my god, but what if it isn't? Right? Or what if it? What are the things and there's just, there's just so much I can't control in that. So I don't hold on to that. And I know that does work for a lot of people, right thinking about their children or their grandchildren or, you know, their, their loved ones. For me, it's more of a sense of awe, I think and gratitude for being able to be on this third Rock from the Sun, that is part of something so much bigger than us, and really wanting to be the ancestors that our descendants deserve. Right? So making sure that we are stewarding this place, you know, in the most incredible way to make sure that many many many future generations can enjoy the, you know, two spaces that we've been able to enjoy?

Ryan Hagen :

Yeah, very beautiful

Mikayla White :

Indeed.

Ryan Hagen :

I said I'd love to know Elizabeth this kind of just a fun question, but if you had a billboard theoretically that millions of people would see what would you put on that?

Elizabeth Bagley :

Millions of people would see my billboard wow see this is where this is where welcome to my brain but this is where I'm gonna get a little paralysis by analysis because I'm gonna like think through every because initially I came first with Candemind and maybe maybe you should just give me like five seconds but was be kind right? I think being kind is so important especially now when we've all got, you know, extra layers of complexity that we're dealing with and I think it relates to the planet as well as to people right let's just become. Fine but then myself and then my brain also went to like take a deep breath and and think and thank the trees and the ocean and the land like something to tie in our survival to the health of the planet, right and how there's that intertwined, you know, very critical connection there and I don't have the right words for it because then I started thinking about oh well, this is where mine educator brain went like okay, wait, do we have the scaffolding possible in most people's schemas to understand whether Or not that how that would how that would hold with their mental models that's what happened to my brain so you're welcome welcome my brain we're gonna get you a few billboards then and you can do a lot, you know, how much those costs in San Francisco anyway

Ryan Hagen:

my other question that I planning on asking everyone who comes on here is what is what are the top couple books that you recommend people read and why that can just be like you are favorites or some that you give as a gift the most what comes to mind.

Elizabeth Bagley :

So I'll definitely recommend the drawdown review which is the latest publication we have from project drawdown because I just think it's the pros is beautiful the research is rock solid, you know talking about why we need solutions what are some of the accelerators we need to be thinking about to ensure the co-benefits of these solutions. So that one's kind of a of course, I'm going to say that right. One of the books that was a really and still is really transformative for me is is quite old. It's actually you know, I don't I think he wrote it in the I don't know 1940s or something a sand county almanac by elderly uphold and he just has these beautiful essays one of which one of my favorites is called thinking like a mountain and really grounding ourselves in how does a mountain think right? Like what has that mountain seen over the course of it's many many centuries and how can we think more like a mountain? And so that that from kind of a, Grounding in the environmental movement could connecting us to nature. I would highly recommend I love love that book and then you know, I give a lot of kids books away just because I have friends who have kids and there's a lovely it's a lovely children's book by an author named John Jane Luth and it's called Zen Thai is and the reason I like Zen ties and it's not particularly it's not specifically about environmental topics, but it's um, it's actually there's, All of these stories based on compassion and a friendship that really is a beautiful way to think about what we hold on to in life and what we let go of and how to kind of move through this world more lightly instead of so tightly. Does that make sense?

Ryan Hagen :

I think we could all use some more of that. I might have to get that for myself.

Elizabeth Bagley :

I love that book. It is my all-time favorite children's book. I think I'm going to go find it and read it over lunch actually.

Ryan Hagen :

Thats's awesome.

Mikayla White :

If there are people in crowdsourcing sustainability who love what you're doing love, what drawdown is doing and want to help get involved what should they do?

Elizabeth Bagley :

I would love to have them reach out to us. We've got a contact form on our website drawdown.org. Feel free to contact us and we we actually do check it. So it's it's not a necessarily a black hole. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn Elizabeth Bagley and I'd be happy to you know, I'm always happy to do informational interviews and kind of pay it forward right and and pay it backward. S too, right? Like I've had so many incredible people mentor and shepherd me through this journey and I am really happy to to reciprocate and and support other folks on their journeys and also think about how I love thinking about the connective tissue among different organizations. So if you're looking if you're interested in partnering with something with with something you're working on. I'm always happy to think through that as well.

Mikayla White :

Awesome and if there's one key takeaway, you could have the listeners remember what would it be?

Elizabeth Bagley :

That solution climate solutions are all around us and find the best place where you can start and start putting them into action.

Mikayla White :

Awesome

Ryan Hagen:

love it.

Mikayla White :

Elizabeth thank you so much for coming on the podcast,

Elizabeth Bagley :

oh my gosh, it was absolutely my pleasure, thank you to for being so fun to talk to.

Mikayla White :

Of course!

Ryan Hagen :

So that is the end of our show thank you so much for joining us today if you enjoyed this conversation you may also appreciate signing up for the crowdsourcing sustainability newsletter that I write most weeks this will also give you access to our CS slack community and there's a link to that in the show notes along with several other links we refer to today lastly, please do consider giving us a review to help us grow this community and get this information out to more people we would really really appreciate that and I think that is all we've got for you today, so thank you again take care and what We'll talk to you soon.

Elizabeth's intro, background, and story of how she got to where she is today
What is Project Drawdown? And why does it matter?
Climate solutions are win-wins & the Drawdown Review
What is Drawdown Learn? (Deep dive on who it's for, the strategy behind it, projects, partners, etc.)
Bringing global solutions to the local level (with some advice for students & teachers specifically)
The "why" that keeps Elizabeth working on the climate crisis
What Elizabeth would put on a billboard
Book recommendations
What can listeners do to help out and/or connect?
Elizabeth's key takeaway for listeners