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Art as Climate Action
By Nicole Kelner, MCJ Collective Artist-in-Residence
Like many MCJ’ers I’ve spent the past several years thinking about how I can be the most useful as I pivot my career into working in climate. Painting watercolors about how whale poo is related to carbon sequestration is the last thing I imagined, yet here I am!
My own climate journey began several years back when I decided to live zero-waste for a month. It was my eye-opener to the global crisis we were facing. From that month on, I knew I wanted to devote my life to making an impact in this space.
I joined the MCJ community when there were about 500 members in late 2019. At the time, the company I had co-founded, an afterschool program to teach kids how to code, had just been acquired. I was a climate newbie and eager to get involved. I started facilitating “Climate Chats” in the community by crowdsourcing questions on specific topics and finding experts to be on a panel.
I met Joel Armin-Hoiland on a panel about non-dilutive funding and he offered me my first climate job as Chief of Staff at Climate Finance Solutions. From there I moved into my most recent role as Head of Operations at Dashboard.Earth, an app connecting individuals to the actions necessary to thrive in the face of climate change.
As a side project this January, I created a piece of art everyday for 100 days. On day 10, I made a watercolor painting about kelp and carbon sequestration and it seemed to resonate with people on Twitter. I decided to make climate-centered art for the rest of my 100 days. Since then, I have made educational paintings about heat pumps, induction stoves, offshore wind, global temperature change since 1850, mangroves, carbon capture, pumped hydro storage and many other climate topics.
As I explore this vibrant medium of watercolors, I see how it encourages people to really look at the information I am sharing. Using art as a tool for communication allows this information to be accessible to a wider audience than just climate experts.
Over the past few months, my art has taken off on Twitter and I quickly started getting commissioned by climate tech companies, climate VCs, and institutions to create educational art for them. I decided to leave my full time job and pursue climate art full time.
My goal is to help communicate climate information in a beautiful, shareable, and educational way to inspire climate action all around the world. I believe art can be a tool for helping our society visualize the future we want to live in, providing inspiration and hope to make change.
I feel grateful to have found a sweet spot where I can use my passion for art, love for education, and desire to make an impact in climate change. I am more than excited to be joining MCJ Collective as their first Artist-in-Residence.
✍️ The Draw-down
Speaking of Nicole, here’s her weekly climate art, also on Twitter.
📢 Climate Action of the Week
Want to do more? Sign up for the next Climate Changemakers Hour of Action.
This week, we're directly urging our members of Congress to ban new fossil fuel projects both on public lands and offshore. Fortunately, there's already legislation introduced that would accomplish that. Use the Climate Changemakers advocacy tool to email, call, and Tweet at your senators and representatives.
🍿 The Leanback
Learn about Loam Bio this week with Pique Action’s mini-documentaries.
🎙My Climate Journey Podcast
This week Jason spoke with Cam Hosie of 8 Rivers Capital about how climate infrastructure projects receive funding. He also caught up with Neeka Mashouf, Co-Founder and CEO of Rubi, about her journey into climate tech and how Rubi is transforming the fashion industry by creating carbon-negative textiles via synthetic biology.
🗞 Community News Congrats to the 15 carbon removal companies named as milestone winners for the current phase of the $100MM XPRIZE for Carbon Removal, including multiple companies run by MCJ community members.
👩💻 Climate Jobs
For more open positions, check out the #j-climatejobs channel in MCJ Slack.
WattBuy is seeking a Director of Business Development among other open positions to help consumers switch to more affordable and renewable sources of energy
Lightship is hiring a Product Manager and Head of Marketing among many other roles to help them bring RVs into the electric future.
Kiel Berry has completed the first close on Mission One Capital and is seeking a part time (to full-time) Associate to help with climate tech investing. Interested applicants can email him at kiel [at] missionone [dot] capital.
For more climate events, check out the #c-events channel in MCJ Slack.
“How to Get a Job in Climate” (Virtual, Tuesday, April 26th, 12PM EDT)
“Carbon Removal Innovators at the Cutting Edge of HardTech” by AirMiners (Virtual, April 27) featuring leaders from Remora, Twelve, Heirloom, and Carbon Direct
“Project Drawdown: Earth Day Special” with Dr. Jonathan Foley (Virtual, April 27, 9pm EDT)
“The Future of Grid Energy Storage” (San Francisco, CA, Thursday, May 12th, 6PM EDT)
“For ClimateTech Summit 2021” (Virtual, September 15-16)
💭If you have feedback or items you’d like to include, feel free to reach out.
🌳If you’d like to become an MCJ community member, apply today.
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