Student Journalists: 2021 Great Plains conference
Climate change is both a humanity-scale issue and, when it impacts you, a deeply personal story. Hear from a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln student journalists and their mentors who spent a year diving into what climate change looks like on the ground for the "Climate Change Nebraska" depth reporting project. Moderated by Joe Starita, UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communication with Jennifer Sheppard, UNL CoJMC.
Part of the 2021 Great Plains conference: "Climate Change & Culture in the Great Plains" held April 1-2, 2021.
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[00:00:00.877](gentle music playing)
[00:00:09.057]Hi, to all of our panelists
[00:00:10.780]and hello to all of our attendees.
[00:00:12.860]Thank you so much for joining us for this afternoon session.
[00:00:17.300]We really appreciate all of you being here today.
[00:00:21.572]For this particular session, we are talking
[00:00:24.120]with some student journalists who have spent, gosh,
[00:00:27.760]more than a year at this point,
[00:00:29.360]putting together an amazing project
[00:00:31.680]that they're gonna tell you all about.
[00:00:34.860]During the presentation,
[00:00:36.080]if you have any specific questions for them,
[00:00:38.280]feel free to drop it in the Q&A,
[00:00:40.750]and we will be monitoring that.
[00:00:43.320]And let us know if you have any further questions.
[00:00:46.540]And also this is being recorded, it will be posted
[00:00:50.180]on our site within a few days after the conference.
[00:00:53.860]So if you, as well as the other presentation,
[00:00:57.070]so if you're missing with the other one
[00:00:58.400]that's happening right now,
[00:00:59.320]you can see it later and vice versa.
[00:01:01.540]People will be watching these for months, I hope.
[00:01:05.140]So, thank you so much again
[00:01:06.550]and I'm gonna throw it over to Professor Starita.
[00:01:10.705]Thank you very much, Katie.
[00:01:11.630]On behalf of my colleague, Professor Jennifer Sheppard,
[00:01:14.650]and our four amazing students, we are very happy to be here.
[00:01:17.920]We are very honored to be here,
[00:01:19.760]and we want this to be mostly student-driven
[00:01:22.310]but we'll give you an overview of how this all came about.
[00:01:26.280]And it's relatively simple.
[00:01:28.660]There was an extraordinary weather event in March of 2019,
[00:01:32.887]"the bomb cyclone" that rearranged rivers, streams,
[00:01:38.950]Another indication that it's not a once
[00:01:42.160]in a hundred year flood, that there is something happening
[00:01:44.710]and that something is climate change.
[00:01:47.280]And so we wanted to do what good journalists do,
[00:01:49.990]we see an event out there that affects everybody,
[00:01:52.620]and we wanna grab a hold of that,
[00:01:54.040]we wanna slow it down and we wanna drill into it
[00:01:57.440]and find out the DNA composition
[00:01:59.990]of what is happening and what we can do about it.
[00:02:03.070]So we, very meticulously, sent out flyers
[00:02:08.100]all over the campus.
[00:02:09.140]Traditionally, when we do these kinds
[00:02:10.700]of intense, depth reporting projects, it's all in house.
[00:02:14.000]It's only from the Journalism College.
[00:02:15.880]We wanted to make this a university-wide event.
[00:02:19.700]So we sent out a very detailed application
[00:02:23.760]and we solicited applicants and we were very picky.
[00:02:26.660]The bar was very high.
[00:02:27.740]You had to have the chops to get into this class
[00:02:30.520]because we knew it was gonna be a lot of work.
[00:02:32.110]And we ultimately selected 15 students, 15 to 18 students.
[00:02:36.610]And what we did is we took climate change
[00:02:39.530]in Nebraska and we spread it out over a year-long continuum.
[00:02:44.270]We had the entire first semester devoted with a laser focus
[00:02:48.490]to the impact of climate change on Nebraska,
[00:02:51.490]in terms of the problems.
[00:02:53.200]The problems, droughts, weather changes,
[00:02:57.940]weathering corn stalks, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:03:00.700]And then we spent the entire fall semester
[00:03:03.320]with the same kind of laser focus on,
[00:03:05.157]"Okay, we've told you about the problems,
[00:03:07.490]now what are the potential range of solutions?
[00:03:10.560]How do we use solar?
[00:03:12.070]How do we use carbon sequestration?
[00:03:15.010]How do we use wind?
[00:03:16.070]How do we use the best of technology
[00:03:18.880]to solve the problems that we laid out
[00:03:21.400]over the 16 week, first semester?"
[00:03:24.060]And we put all of this on a website,
[00:03:26.710]the website has just been something really special.
[00:03:30.820]You just don't see this kind of quality journalism
[00:03:34.650]on a website created by 21-year-old students.
[00:03:37.950]So home cooking aside, we are just very proud
[00:03:42.550]of the effort that these extraordinary students made.
[00:03:45.630]And now I'm gonna turn it over to my colleague
[00:03:48.690]and then we're gonna just let the students really talk
[00:03:52.230]about a number of things, why they're interested
[00:03:54.900]in this, a little bit about their stories,
[00:03:57.710]how you balance passion with good journalism
[00:04:01.400]and what the ultimate results are,
[00:04:03.610]and where we wanna take it from here.
[00:04:05.920]So, professor Sheppard, tell us more.
[00:04:09.775][Professor Sheppard] Yeah, hi, thank you.
[00:04:12.060]So we're really fortunate
[00:04:13.380]to meet non-journalism students and I think,
[00:04:16.270]that's what makes this project particularly special to me,
[00:04:20.090]is that I've had this group of students
[00:04:22.540]in particular change my life.
[00:04:24.360]So we're kind of working on multiple levels here
[00:04:27.560]and as a whole we're serving the public with journalism.
[00:04:31.190]And that's, you know, part of the reason Joe and I got
[00:04:33.970]into journalism, we're at a land-grant university
[00:04:37.500]and we wanted just, you know,
[00:04:40.210]make as much of an impact as possible
[00:04:42.400]and just fortunate to meet students outside
[00:04:45.370]of the Journalism College.
[00:04:47.170]And we'd love to introduce them to you now.
[00:04:50.611]So, team, if you could just introduce yourself quickly,
[00:04:55.970]your name, where you're from,
[00:04:58.430]your major, it's very important.
[00:05:00.340]And then also like, what's a brief summary
[00:05:02.960]of kind of your role in this project.
[00:05:05.210]And we have a multiple semester students here too.
[00:05:09.510]So who wants to go first, any takers?
[00:05:17.040]My name is Lindsay Johnson and I'm from Aurora, Colorado.
[00:05:21.070]I am getting my PhD in natural resources,
[00:05:24.050]specializing on climate assessment and impacts.
[00:05:30.310]My story's work, 'cause I did both semesters.
[00:05:32.730]So I did the science of climate change
[00:05:34.900]and specifically here in Nebraska.
[00:05:37.670]And then my second semester I worked on carbon pricing.
[00:05:50.027]Hello, my name is Carmelo Latuka.
[00:05:52.230]I'm from Chicago, Illinois.
[00:05:54.150]My major is meteorology and my story was
[00:05:57.870]about climate solutions.
[00:05:59.420]So I was in the class last semester
[00:06:01.310]and I focused on the wind energy in the state of Nebraska.
[00:06:06.170]All right, excellent.
[00:06:09.853]Hi, I'm Brittni McGuire.
[00:06:11.080]I'm a senior studying wildlife conservation
[00:06:13.860]and urban forestry at UNL.
[00:06:15.690]And I was in the very first semester
[00:06:17.410]that was focused on climate problems.
[00:06:19.020]And my story was based along the Platte River Basin.
[00:06:23.900]And we kind of looked at three conflicting uses,
[00:06:27.720]the sandhill cranes, Front Range farmers
[00:06:30.160]and then of course, urban expansion
[00:06:31.707]in and around Denver, Colorado.
[00:06:34.400]I'm just looking at all those expanding uses
[00:06:36.050]for the water and how to make good decisions
[00:06:39.450]in the face of climate change.
[00:06:45.320]Hello, everyone, my name is Kat Woerner.
[00:06:46.940]I am a junior majoring in economics,
[00:06:49.230]environmental studies and natural resources economics
[00:06:52.620]here at UNL.
[00:06:53.750]And I was also in the same semester as Brittni,
[00:06:56.250]where we focused on why climate change is a huge issue.
[00:06:59.290]And my story specifically was about national security
[00:07:03.400]and how climate change is gonna impact
[00:07:05.540]and is impacting national security
[00:07:07.680]within America and across the world.
[00:07:10.920]Yeah, and just very briefly, one of the things
[00:07:13.600]that is really, I think, something that we can learn from
[00:07:18.510]is that there are very few papers in the world left,
[00:07:23.820]including the New York Times and the Washington Post
[00:07:25.660]and the Wall Street Journal, that can afford
[00:07:28.120]to expand the resources that we did on this project.
[00:07:31.550]They don't have 20 reporters that they can cut loose
[00:07:35.570]for a year to examine problems, solutions.
[00:07:39.970]And it's just something, I think, it's worth noting,
[00:07:43.370]is that journalism colleges increasingly
[00:07:45.880]can be more and more valuable to their communities
[00:07:49.440]by being able to take a project like this,
[00:07:52.400]stop it in its tracks, drill down
[00:07:55.630]and get these 20 motivated students who have a passion
[00:07:58.730]for this topic and specific areas of expertise
[00:08:02.210]and examine the DNA issues that cause problems.
[00:08:06.677]And that result in solutions.
[00:08:08.820]Tell me a newspaper anywhere, that has 20 reporters
[00:08:12.120]that can cut loose for a year to do a single-focus topic,
[00:08:16.550]and I will thank them among other things,
[00:08:20.580]but I will be very surprised.
[00:08:23.190]And it's a really increasingly important role
[00:08:26.290]that journalism colleges can do to backfill local journalism
[00:08:31.050]and state journalism and present this kind
[00:08:33.480]of very in-depth analysis,
[00:08:36.380]very sophisticated in-depth analysis
[00:08:38.440]that is far and beyond what you'd normally would expect
[00:08:41.620]to see from 20 and 21, 22-year-olds.
[00:08:46.202]And so we're just very proud about that.
[00:08:48.690]I think one thing that we would like to ask you
[00:08:51.020]to start with is, yes, we look at you, you're older.
[00:08:57.170]We are much older than you are.
[00:08:58.930]And so I think it's interesting to note off the top,
[00:09:03.040]what is it, what is it about this topic
[00:09:07.230]that has inspired and energized you
[00:09:11.010]and also your counterparts across the globe?
[00:09:13.770]What is it?
[00:09:14.603]What gives it, why are you so passionate
[00:09:16.280]and interested about this topic
[00:09:18.240]that you kind of eat, sleep and breathe it?
[00:09:22.470]Kat, you got an answer to that?
[00:09:24.260]Yeah, of course I do.
[00:09:25.380]I've been thinking about...
[00:09:27.690]This is a hundred percent my area.
[00:09:28.900]So climate change is something
[00:09:30.230]our generation will have to live with
[00:09:31.827]for the entirety of our lives.
[00:09:33.970]We are feeling its impact as we speak.
[00:09:36.340]And it's only getting worse year after year.
[00:09:39.720]And so our generation has grown up learning about this topic
[00:09:43.940]and learning about how it's going to impact us.
[00:09:46.500]And we understand that if we don't fight
[00:09:48.260]for our future now, we won't have one.
[00:09:51.270]We won't have the American Dreams
[00:09:52.980]if extreme storms were taking out our food supply.
[00:09:55.610]We won't have the American Dream
[00:09:57.210]since diseases and viruses like COVID
[00:09:59.980]are only gonna happen like, more and more frequently.
[00:10:02.880]We won't have the American Dream because we understand
[00:10:04.980]that our actions now will impact future generations,
[00:10:07.540]like your generation has impacted us.
[00:10:10.320]And so, what does energize us
[00:10:12.570]and what has really energized me is, we wanna be the answer
[00:10:17.480]to the solutions and we want, we need to be the adults
[00:10:20.460]in the room to make decisions about our future.
[00:10:23.590]And we need to take it into our own hands
[00:10:25.230]and fight for what we wanna see in the world
[00:10:27.720]that we want to live in and that is our future.
[00:10:31.000]Okay, all right.
[00:10:32.930]Somebody else run with that.
[00:10:34.740]Lindsay, you wanna take to the dawn?
[00:10:36.870]Yeah, so, I'm a little bit older than everyone else.
[00:10:39.540]So I got into it a little bit differently.
[00:10:42.330]I've been lucky enough to travel around the world.
[00:10:44.740]I've seen the Great Barrier Reef, I've been to Antarctica,
[00:10:47.520]I've seen the Amazon rainforest.
[00:10:49.600]And kind of like what was talked about earlier today,
[00:10:54.300]the idea that those places are going away breaks my heart.
[00:10:58.580]And so I actually have always wanted
[00:11:01.240]to be a climate scientist since high school,
[00:11:03.800]but then you get the reality
[00:11:05.560]that scientists can do so much.
[00:11:07.690]So that's why, you know,
[00:11:09.090]you become so interested in this because throwing,
[00:11:12.070]like, data at people, doesn't do anything anymore.
[00:11:15.910]You have to touch them where it matters,
[00:11:19.140]and kind of like Kat saying,
[00:11:21.190]you just really have to dig in and show why you care.
[00:11:24.650]And passion brings more passion, so...
[00:11:28.300]Okay, all right.
[00:11:30.120]Carmelo, you wanna take a shot at answering that?
[00:11:32.559]What's in it for you?
[00:11:35.285]So for me, the big thing is it has everything
[00:11:38.170]to do with what I wanna study
[00:11:39.830]and everything that has to do with my career.
[00:11:41.900]As a meteorologist, I'll have to relay the information
[00:11:45.670]to the public about forecasting and one way or another
[00:11:48.610]climate change is gonna impact
[00:11:50.120]how I forecast a certain event and amplify the impact
[00:11:53.920]to the public and I will just gonna have
[00:11:55.520]to demonstrate that to everybody.
[00:11:57.590]So I think it's just, has everything to do
[00:11:59.960]with what I wanna study
[00:12:01.000]and I hope I can do a good enough job
[00:12:03.950]'cause right now it only seems
[00:12:06.840]like the effects are gonna amplify,
[00:12:08.940]but I surely hope we can band together.
[00:12:12.110]This generation of students is so passionate
[00:12:15.550]about this subject.
[00:12:16.410]I see them marching and doing the sit-ins.
[00:12:18.765]It's really shocking how prevalent the movement is,
[00:12:24.621]with the youth of our age.
[00:12:26.620]Okay, thank you, Carmelo.
[00:12:27.960]And Brittni, you wanna wrap it up
[00:12:29.550]by giving us some thoughts on why you are so involved
[00:12:33.470]and you really are, you and,
[00:12:34.880]all of them are really involved in this project.
[00:12:37.940]Yeah, so for me, as a wildlife major, when I think back
[00:12:41.500]to when I first started getting involved with this stuff,
[00:12:43.600]it didn't come down to these natural places in wildlife
[00:12:46.730]and just seeing, just the destruction that humans have done.
[00:12:50.020]But as I got further into the advocacy work that I do,
[00:12:53.320]whether it's through activism or journalism,
[00:12:55.510]like we've done with this class,
[00:12:57.410]it just comes down to, this impacts our communities.
[00:13:00.570]This isn't just a nature problem.
[00:13:02.700]It's a people problem.
[00:13:03.660]And I think those are one and the same to be honest.
[00:13:06.300]But I think one thing I wanted to point out
[00:13:09.100]is that I always say that this is our future,
[00:13:12.090]you know, this is our future we're fighting for,
[00:13:13.620]but I wanna point out that there is a little bit
[00:13:15.670]of privileged in that statement because climate change
[00:13:20.760]and the impacts are not far out for a lot of people.
[00:13:23.100]They're the reality, specifically for, you know,
[00:13:26.000]the Global South, coastal communities,
[00:13:27.930]low-income and minority communities.
[00:13:30.760]They're feeling the pressures of climate change right now
[00:13:32.860]which is, I think, particularly why you see young people,
[00:13:36.340]because this is our future.
[00:13:38.070]And even more so, young people of color
[00:13:40.760]at the forefront of this fight for climate action
[00:13:43.180]which is a really important thing to make note,
[00:13:46.110]which is, I think, a reason
[00:13:47.420]why a lot of us are in this, so...
[00:13:49.760]Okay, all right.
[00:13:51.900]I think it's worth noting
[00:13:55.600]that the quality, again,
[00:14:00.210]of this project and the work and effort
[00:14:02.230]that went into it has not gone unnoticed.
[00:14:07.030]It's been something that we harped on
[00:14:09.070]with these students from day one,
[00:14:11.300]is that this is not some abstract class
[00:14:14.850]where you sit in a corner and you cram
[00:14:17.410]and then you take a quiz and then you take a midterm,
[00:14:19.500]then you take a final and you get a little red grade
[00:14:21.590]in the upper left-hand corner, is entered
[00:14:23.210]into a book and then you throw it away.
[00:14:25.550]It is totally detached from the real world.
[00:14:29.530]On the other hand, this was not a class about grades
[00:14:32.720]or getting little red letters in the upper left-hand corner.
[00:14:35.910]This was a 16, this was like a 16-week holy war
[00:14:42.340]where you made this the priority.
[00:14:45.010]We kind of suggested that would be smart
[00:14:48.140]because it's connected to the real world.
[00:14:50.280]And everything you did in this class,
[00:14:52.520]both on the front end was problems
[00:14:54.840]on the back end was solutions.
[00:14:56.770]It had a footprint out there in the real world.
[00:15:00.290]It echoed into the real world
[00:15:02.390]in a way that other classes don't,
[00:15:04.460]and that's kind of the magic of it.
[00:15:06.050]And I, my colleague, Professor Sheppard,
[00:15:08.410]can tell you about just how far out,
[00:15:12.870]what you did in a classroom on the second floor
[00:15:17.030]of Andersen Hall on the south end of the UNL campus
[00:15:20.670]and what you created in that room, how far out it spread.
[00:15:25.220]And that's why we are just thankful for your effort in this
[00:15:30.370]and how it's inspired and educated so many others.
[00:15:33.430]Did anybody else besides our class hear about this project?
[00:15:37.086][Professor Sheppard] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:15:38.410]And we're still going, including being right here,
[00:15:40.900]right now with you all.
[00:15:42.980]But through Joe's vision, we created, you know,
[00:15:46.090]realms, locally, regionally, nationally, globally.
[00:15:50.740]We were able to earn media from people like,
[00:15:54.510]Katie Currant and Bill McKibben.
[00:15:57.730]You know, we had a non-profit organization
[00:16:01.390]based in Bonn, Germany, stumble upon our website,
[00:16:06.270]connect with us, be super impressed
[00:16:08.620]by the work these great students did.
[00:16:10.900]And now there's a partnership with another department
[00:16:13.920]on UNL campus that actually Kat is involved with.
[00:16:17.860]Do you wanna speak to that a little bit?
[00:16:19.230]But this organization is called "ECLI"
[00:16:21.800]and they go around helping communities
[00:16:24.530]become more sustainable.
[00:16:26.110]And now there's a Nebraska partnership with ECLI,
[00:16:29.680]one of only two universities, Indiana is the other one,
[00:16:34.410]but we're really fortunate that this good work
[00:16:37.200]that, you know, we spent weeks and months and years,
[00:16:42.760]honestly, posting toward, has reached levels
[00:16:46.810]that we never dreamed of.
[00:16:48.010]And now it's continuing to morph.
[00:16:51.900]And one thing we're working on this semester,
[00:16:54.550]that Carmelo can speak to a little bit,
[00:16:56.770]is a magazine version of all of the written work.
[00:17:00.620]So we've had extensive conversations
[00:17:02.990]with Nebraska science industry stakeholders,
[00:17:06.940]and we want to extend this magazine
[00:17:09.040]to public school, private school, science classrooms.
[00:17:12.640]And, you know, I think to Ken Hart's question
[00:17:15.920]in the Q&A, "How do you communicate to the...",
[00:17:20.140]he says, "hard-headed old white men?"
[00:17:22.990]I think you do that through the youth, to be honest.
[00:17:26.410]And that's really one of the things
[00:17:28.240]that has inspired me as an in-betweener,
[00:17:32.399]you know, I'm right there with Lindsay,
[00:17:33.530]but, yeah, Kat, do you wanna kind of speak
[00:17:36.150]about what you're doing with ECLI
[00:17:37.620]and then, Carmelo, how the magazine project is going?
[00:17:42.510]Yeah, so to speak on ECLI, so...
[00:17:45.620]This class (indistinct) to another class for me
[00:17:47.760]and so a project that I'm working on
[00:17:49.070]for another one of my grades,
[00:17:51.000]is we're getting out into the community
[00:17:52.880]and doing a greenhouse gas inventory.
[00:17:54.730]So the community I'm specifically working with
[00:17:56.590]is Norfolk, Nebraska.
[00:17:58.020]And so I actually have a meeting next week
[00:18:00.010]with some city administrators to meet with them
[00:18:03.010]and figure out what they're doing in the community
[00:18:05.490]and to build the recommendations
[00:18:07.710]on how they could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
[00:18:11.650]with what they're currently doing.
[00:18:13.430]And Norfolk is one of the ones that's already so far ahead
[00:18:16.580]but, compared to other Nebraska communities,
[00:18:19.010]but we are able to work with them
[00:18:20.687]and talk to them and converse with them
[00:18:22.980]to have real impacts and be able
[00:18:26.140]to reduce their greenhouse gases within, yeah,
[00:18:29.000]within Nebraska cities.
[00:18:30.810]And so we're working with Norfolk
[00:18:32.300]and then we're also working with Grand Island
[00:18:34.690]and we're also working with the University
[00:18:36.800]of Nebraska, Lincoln, within the Office of Sustainability
[00:18:40.270]'cause we're also have over 30k students,
[00:18:45.757]And so we're also a little town of our own
[00:18:47.700]working all of this stuff.
[00:18:49.666][Professor Sheppard] Awesome, thanks, Kat.
[00:18:51.050]Okay, all right.
[00:18:55.193][Professor Sheppard] Carmelo was gonna add one word...
[00:18:56.550]Yeah, Carmelo, add something, add something,
[00:18:58.560]jump on top of that one.
[00:19:00.740]Absolutely, I just wanted to talk a little bit
[00:19:02.380]about how the class is going this semester.
[00:19:04.980]So I'm in the class, we're designing the website
[00:19:07.830]that we created all those stories
[00:19:09.580]and we're turning it into a magazine.
[00:19:11.450]We've already been in some contact
[00:19:13.070]with a Department of Education, some schools.
[00:19:15.450]So we're hoping to get it into schools,
[00:19:17.350]on students' desks in the fall.
[00:19:19.900]That would be amazing for them to see
[00:19:21.150]this really thought-out story, these, year-long research.
[00:19:26.350]I mean, it's important, (static audio) to see this education
[00:19:29.260]and class is going really well.
[00:19:31.430]I've seen some of the designs of the,
[00:19:33.145]how it's gonna look in the end
[00:19:34.079]and I just can't wait to see a physical copy of it.
[00:19:38.407]Yeah, just to kind of tie up some loose ends
[00:19:40.450]in the last five minutes, it may be partially
[00:19:42.450]answering Ken Hart's question as well is,
[00:19:45.790]we're not spending a lot of effort and energy
[00:19:49.750]trying to crack-open 78-year-old heads
[00:19:52.250]that are set in their ways.
[00:19:54.770]We are devoting the energy of most of these students
[00:19:58.720]and what they're doing to their own age group.
[00:20:01.930]Specifically, and what Carmelo's talking about,
[00:20:04.970]we have spent a year generating content,
[00:20:07.700]content that has appeared in the New Yorker Magazine,
[00:20:10.160]content that was tweeted out to Katie Kurtz,
[00:20:13.051]1.7 million followers, content that attracted the attention
[00:20:17.580]of a international global organization
[00:20:19.840]that you've heard about, headquartered in Bonn, Germany.
[00:20:22.480]What this class is doing now,
[00:20:24.420]is taking all of that online website content
[00:20:27.120]that was created, problems and solutions
[00:20:29.330]over the course of a year and converting it
[00:20:32.220]into a 140-page full color magazine
[00:20:36.170]that we want to spread out to the state of Nebraska.
[00:20:40.530]So that that fact-based, year in the making reporting
[00:20:46.470]ends up in the hands of 16, 17, 18-year-old science students
[00:20:51.240]in McCook, in Chadron, in Scottsbluff,
[00:20:53.812]Beatrice, North Platte, Norfolk,
[00:20:55.790]Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha,
[00:20:57.890]so that they will have a go-to research vehicle
[00:21:03.440]in their science classrooms when that curriculum pivots
[00:21:07.880]to climate change and the environment.
[00:21:11.380]That their teacher will have magazines to pass out
[00:21:14.880]that tells you and gives you an enormous amount
[00:21:18.530]of factual information about climate,
[00:21:22.120]about Nebraska specific climate,
[00:21:25.070]both the problems and the solutions.
[00:21:28.431]So that's really where a lot of our effort
[00:21:30.850]and energy is going to educate
[00:21:32.960]and inspire this younger generation.
[00:21:37.620]But we certainly want as many people as possible
[00:21:41.030]to read these stories that are built
[00:21:45.700]on a foundation of scientific facts.
[00:21:50.680]In that vein, what issues did you all have?
[00:21:55.560]And trying to cover stories and issues
[00:22:01.440]that have so divided the American public?
[00:22:05.010]Not only in this class and in these stories
[00:22:07.190]but what issues have you faced
[00:22:09.330]being pretty passionate climate advocates?
[00:22:12.690]When that climate passion and advocacy bumps up
[00:22:17.260]against somebody who says "Climate change is a hoax,
[00:22:23.380]it's a Chinese lie, it's an exaggeration,
[00:22:26.940]it's a liberal conspiracy, it's over-exaggerated"?
[00:22:31.180]We've all heard those narratives.
[00:22:32.930]So when you, in your 20, 21, 22-year-old heads bump up
[00:22:39.370]against that kind of wall of resistance,
[00:22:43.700]how do you deal with that?
[00:22:45.260]How do you handle that?
[00:22:50.580]Anybody want to take a shot, Lindsay?
[00:22:52.270]I'll go first.
[00:22:53.440]So, one thing is, it's been very hard for me
[00:22:57.810]because as I progressed through academia,
[00:23:00.990]my, I guess my world has gotten much smaller
[00:23:04.320]and we all believe in climate change.
[00:23:06.160]We all hold the same opinions.
[00:23:08.050]So we don't ever debate about that.
[00:23:10.260]Like, we talk about facts and figures.
[00:23:12.780]And so stepping out of that, it's very hard
[00:23:15.560]'cause, as I said earlier,
[00:23:16.890]people don't wanna hear about numbers.
[00:23:21.510]And so that was very difficult, stepping out of that
[00:23:24.567]and then talking to people who don't see the world
[00:23:28.610]the way me and my colleagues see it.
[00:23:31.870]Definitely some times I had to bite my tongue,
[00:23:34.970]but at the same time it's really important
[00:23:36.610]because you get an insight
[00:23:38.810]to what other people are thinking.
[00:23:40.380]Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our bubble
[00:23:43.380]that we don't understand where other people are coming from.
[00:23:46.080]I may not agree with them,
[00:23:47.690]but getting their perspective might actually help me
[00:23:50.100]as a scientist, find better ways to communicate with them.
[00:23:54.270]And relating that to like, personal relationships,
[00:23:57.130]I have a lot of conservative family members
[00:24:00.370]and one them being my family, they're much more attuned
[00:24:03.600]to listening to me,
[00:24:04.780]whether or not they think it's real or not,
[00:24:07.540]but also, you know, finding out what matters to them.
[00:24:12.100]A lot of my family, it's about economics.
[00:24:14.070]It's about, you know, jobs.
[00:24:16.110]And so that's why I wanted the story on carbon pricing.
[00:24:19.270]'Cause it's all about using economics
[00:24:21.730]to help fight climate change.
[00:24:24.130]And I actually had family members say, "This makes sense".
[00:24:30.257]"I get why this could work".
[00:24:31.900]And it's not about climate change.
[00:24:33.770]It's about the economics.
[00:24:35.900]So they didn't care what the problem was,
[00:24:38.380]but the increase in money they cared about.
[00:24:41.000]So those were some of my problems
[00:24:42.854]and some of the things I came up against.
[00:24:48.470]Anybody else wanna talk about
[00:24:50.310]when you encounter someone whose view
[00:24:53.440]of climate change is 180 degrees off of yours?
[00:24:57.060]You're trying to put facts on the table
[00:25:01.790]but you're not getting any attraction.
[00:25:04.760]How do you handle that?
[00:25:05.820]How do you deal with that?
[00:25:06.890]Is there a successful way to do that?
[00:25:09.717]Has it been anything that you've learned and can pass along?
[00:25:15.490]I can take this one if you don't mind.
[00:25:18.890]I think there is a successful way to deal with that.
[00:25:20.620]I think the only true, essential way to deal with it
[00:25:24.810]that I've found is you have to frame the issue
[00:25:28.240]to what they care about.
[00:25:30.440]How climate change is gonna impact what they care about.
[00:25:32.620]If you're talking to someone who's a farmer,
[00:25:35.690]and in my case, it's someone
[00:25:37.740]who might not want a wind turbine on their farm.
[00:25:41.240]You know, they don't wanna put it on their property
[00:25:42.660]or they don't wanna see it on somebody else's,
[00:25:44.010]they don't wanna see it disrupt the natural landscape.
[00:25:47.690]You have to frame it to something they care about,
[00:25:50.730]that if we don't put this up,
[00:25:52.020]we're gonna release more emissions.
[00:25:53.410]It's gonna connect to the droughts.
[00:25:55.660]We're gonna kind of connect
[00:25:57.070]to how you're gonna be able to survive, the...
[00:26:01.940]It's all about framing it to what they care about.
[00:26:04.230]And if you can show that it's gonna be impacted severely,
[00:26:08.060]then I think it's enough to convince them
[00:26:10.080]to at least have an open mind and say,
[00:26:12.397]"Wow, this is something I have to start considering".
[00:26:15.540]Okay, all right, good.
[00:26:16.796]Thank you, Carmelo.
[00:26:17.930]Brittni, when you hit that wall, what do you do?
[00:26:24.607]I think, speaking less to about hitting the wall
[00:26:27.150]and just more in general about these kind of conversations.
[00:26:30.835]I think storytelling is truly the key
[00:26:34.340]and I think that's why this class is so powerful,
[00:26:36.740]because we're telling so many stories.
[00:26:39.020]I think, in today's time, while it's unfortunate
[00:26:42.770]that science isn't enough, I think these stories
[00:26:45.290]of a farmer who is experiencing more drought
[00:26:48.160]and it's impacting their crops,
[00:26:50.090]I think stories like that can come across better
[00:26:53.290]to people and help them relate,
[00:26:54.870]just like Carmelo said, those values
[00:26:57.880]and hitting people where they care on these topics,
[00:27:01.190]meeting them where they're at, is really important.
[00:27:04.870]I just think the general shift away
[00:27:07.130]from talking about the science
[00:27:09.510]and more towards, not even just stories of climate impacts,
[00:27:14.120]but stories about solutions, like,
[00:27:17.080]how is a wind turbine going to affect this community
[00:27:20.690]and stuff like that.
[00:27:21.523]I think shifting the conversation to solutions
[00:27:24.500]rather than the science is really powerful.
[00:27:27.980]And it's a shift that is very overdue, I would say.
[00:27:32.320]I think it's time that we start focusing more on solutions
[00:27:35.130]which is why I loved this class so much.
[00:27:38.400]Okay, all right.
[00:27:39.233]Kat, you wanna jump in and give some thoughts
[00:27:41.780]on where you're coming from?
[00:27:44.520]Yeah, so I'm very lucky 'cause with my story,
[00:27:46.770]everybody interviewed, everybody talked to
[00:27:48.730]and with national security, acknowledges climate change.
[00:27:52.300]And so it was the poorest on the spectrum
[00:27:54.100]but everybody acknowledged it and worked with me on it.
[00:27:57.080]And I didn't have to be fearful
[00:27:58.580]about saying the words "climate change",
[00:28:00.220]like I have to, with every other situation in Nebraska.
[00:28:04.530]As many of us know, and also many, of course,
[00:28:07.010]of the participants here now, saying "climate change"
[00:28:10.530]in Nebraska is very toxic.
[00:28:12.510]And so working on this effort,
[00:28:13.880]and a lot of these efforts, especially as activists,
[00:28:16.920]it ends up getting, and as journalists,
[00:28:19.380]like, it ends up getting really confusing what to do.
[00:28:22.370]And so I was very lucky with my journalism project
[00:28:25.020]but with my personal life, like Brittni was saying,
[00:28:29.250]I don't talk about the science of climate change anymore.
[00:28:31.780]I talk about the economics of stuff.
[00:28:34.640]As Lindsay was saying,
[00:28:36.695]two of my majors here are economics
[00:28:38.510]and natural resource economics.
[00:28:40.350]And so it doesn't really matter what room you walk into,
[00:28:43.330]when you talk about economics, most people listen.
[00:28:45.860]And so that is why I decided to go
[00:28:47.330]into these specific professions.
[00:28:50.070]And so I talk about the solutions with them
[00:28:51.913]instead of the science
[00:28:53.440]and how it's gonna impact the economy,
[00:28:56.080]how it's gonna increase jobs, how it's gonna do all of that.
[00:28:59.430]And, in a lot of cases, if that doesn't work,
[00:29:02.200]I don't talk to those people,
[00:29:03.210]and I don't work with those people.
[00:29:04.270]Sometimes you have to and there's no way
[00:29:06.010]to get around that, but there are a lot of situations
[00:29:09.000]where people want your help.
[00:29:10.210]They want your energy, they wanna work with you
[00:29:12.760]on these projects.
[00:29:15.610]So I focus my efforts more on those people
[00:29:17.900]rather than just constantly hitting this wall,
[00:29:19.920]trying to break it down.
[00:29:21.130]I'm into a different wall
[00:29:22.450]where they give me a key where I can get in.
[00:29:24.900]And so those are more what I work with
[00:29:26.560]rather than just trying to climb, get over it,
[00:29:30.350]punch through the door,
[00:29:31.550]or if it doesn't have a door, climbing through the window,
[00:29:33.650]all that stuff.
[00:29:34.483]Doing all of that can get exhausting.
[00:29:36.360]So I try to go to the ones with the key.
[00:29:39.081]And your story that you focused on
[00:29:41.740]as a part of the class,
[00:29:42.790]was the impact of climate change on national security,
[00:29:45.400]on national defense, specifically, the extreme amount
[00:29:50.070]of flooding that occurred at, off at Air Force Base
[00:29:53.160]in the spring of 2019.
[00:29:54.920]And one of the people you interviewed for that story
[00:29:58.270]was former U.S. senator, Chuck Hagel,
[00:30:02.680]former U.S. secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel,
[00:30:05.050]who's a rock red Republican.
[00:30:07.020]And he was very alarmed at the potential
[00:30:12.950]for climate change to wreak havoc with national security
[00:30:15.910]and was also somebody who completely embraced the science
[00:30:21.220]of climate change and wanting to get on with,
[00:30:23.647]"Okay, we're not, that's not even debatable anymore.
[00:30:26.440]We've got to figure out..."
[00:30:28.000]The Russians for sure know that off at Air Force Base
[00:30:31.010]was under four feet of water at one point in March of 2019.
[00:30:36.300]That's what we need to focus on, so...
[00:30:38.720]Yeah, it was very wonderful being able
[00:30:40.542]to interview Chuck Hagel because of the fact
[00:30:42.220]that he was one of the first ones
[00:30:43.360]that wrote all about it for the Department of Defense.
[00:30:45.870]And also along with that, I interviewed Don Bacon,
[00:30:48.940]who is a retired general in the Air Force
[00:30:51.290]and also represents district two in Nebraska
[00:30:53.420]in the House of Representatives.
[00:30:54.750]And so then I was able to talk to him
[00:30:56.300]and get his opinions on it as well
[00:30:57.800]about how he thinks about climate,
[00:31:00.490]about what he thinks about climate change
[00:31:01.990]and how it's happening,
[00:31:03.930]and what he is doing specifically
[00:31:06.820]at the national level to mitigate all the impacts of it.
[00:31:11.180]It was actually, it was such a wonderful experience.
[00:31:13.910]One of the things that we did in the class
[00:31:16.280]and we talked about was, just how words matter
[00:31:21.800]and words have tremendous power.
[00:31:25.890]And the phrase "climate change", just those two words,
[00:31:30.380]we analyzed those and how evocative they are.
[00:31:35.260]We did an entire story, a very long 3000-word story,
[00:31:39.450]just on the word "climate change".
[00:31:42.340]And we discovered that one
[00:31:43.770]of the Legislature's more prominent and powerful senators,
[00:31:47.150]Patty Pansing Brooks, told us
[00:31:50.000]that she literally cannot use that phrase
[00:31:53.320]on the floor of the Legislature.
[00:31:55.330]She has to avoid saying "climate change"
[00:31:58.880]because just those two words will shut down so many
[00:32:03.750]of her colleagues' minds right away
[00:32:06.630]that then you don't get to first base, forget about scoring.
[00:32:10.280]You don't even get to first base if you use that phrase.
[00:32:14.550]Why do you think there is such resistance to the science?
[00:32:21.080]Why do you think there is such pushback
[00:32:25.270]against a phrase which seems to be somewhat innocuous,
[00:32:32.270]Do you have any theories on what produces
[00:32:36.990]that kind of angst, anger, wall,
[00:32:42.940]that people throw up when they hear that phrase,
[00:32:46.540]to the point where Patty Pansing Brooks,
[00:32:49.610]is not politically safe to use that phrase
[00:32:53.160]on the floor of the Legislature in 2021,
[00:32:56.170]according to Lincoln Senator, Patty Pansing Brooks?
[00:32:59.510]Why is that?
[00:33:01.510]I can start for this one.
[00:33:04.060]I think it's hard, first of all, for us to think about why,
[00:33:07.040]since we're not in that person's shoes,
[00:33:08.740]but I think one of the things is like,
[00:33:11.900]humans in general, like, change is really hard.
[00:33:14.760]And I think when we think about climate change
[00:33:17.220]and what the science is telling us is that,
[00:33:20.160]we really need to alter our way of life
[00:33:21.940]in order to mitigate and adapt to the changes
[00:33:24.360]that we know are coming.
[00:33:25.730]And I think that can be really hard for people
[00:33:28.440]to digest or internalize and like, come face-to-face with.
[00:33:35.260]So I think really, the easier option, of course,
[00:33:38.930]is always the status quo, to maintain the status quo
[00:33:41.440]and just keep doing business as usual.
[00:33:43.690]So I think it really comes down
[00:33:45.380]to the hesitancy and uncertainty around change,
[00:33:50.110]not only the changes that are happening to us
[00:33:52.140]because of climate change, but the changes that are required
[00:33:55.330]of us in order to have a future, for example.
[00:33:59.650]So I guess the one thing that I always say
[00:34:02.070]is that we need to embrace change, if I leave a message
[00:34:05.130]for you all today.
[00:34:06.910]But anyone else have thoughts on that?
[00:34:10.120]Yeah, for me and this, I'm not a sociologist,
[00:34:13.660]I know very little about, you know, social sciences,
[00:34:17.200]but I think there's this element of fear and almost...
[00:34:23.820]People, when they hear it's our fault,
[00:34:27.160]then it's kind of this fear of, we really screwed up.
[00:34:30.160]And if you admit climate change is real,
[00:34:32.220]if it's happening, you're also admitting
[00:34:34.280]you did something wrong, and whether directly or indirectly,
[00:34:39.020]but it's very hard for us to admit
[00:34:41.600]that our lifestyles have hurt things.
[00:34:45.180]And, so what do you do?
[00:34:47.500]You deny, because that's...
[00:34:50.180]The first thing you do when you're scared of something
[00:34:51.670]is you deny it.
[00:34:53.170]So I think that's where a lot of it is.
[00:34:55.220]And kind of like Kat was talking about,
[00:34:57.360]that's where the solution comes in.
[00:34:59.480]Because if you stop talking about the things
[00:35:01.420]that people are scared of then you kind of,
[00:35:05.320]like, you can talk about solutions
[00:35:06.860]without ever mentioning climate change.
[00:35:09.070]So kind of, you take away that fear
[00:35:12.280]and you take away those triggers, because unfortunately,
[00:35:15.250]they will probably always be trigger words.
[00:35:18.470]Okay, all right.
[00:35:22.430]Anybody else wanna answer that question?
[00:35:24.380]Why is that phrase so toxic?
[00:35:30.480]For me, I think it's that people
[00:35:33.510]just reinforced some missing information.
[00:35:35.960]You know, they hear the same, you know,
[00:35:37.920]base point over and over.
[00:35:39.910]And if that's not accurate, they're gonna reinforce that
[00:35:42.070]in their mind and internalize that as the truth
[00:35:44.600]and then they reinforce their truth as the only truth.
[00:35:47.610]So they're gonna think, "Oh, you know,
[00:35:49.100]climate changes over thousands of years,
[00:35:52.300]how can we be changing it?"
[00:35:53.470]And if they reinforce that so many times,
[00:35:55.430]they can't believe that we could have changed it ourselves
[00:35:58.170]or, "Oh, you're exaggerating those impacts,
[00:36:01.030]that can't possibly be right".
[00:36:02.540]So we have to work together to be kind of on the same page
[00:36:07.150]'cause I think a lot of the times our truths are different
[00:36:10.970]from what we think is real or not.
[00:36:14.303]You know, the thing that you've all heard,
[00:36:15.580]we've all heard multiple times
[00:36:18.400]is that the American political landscape,
[00:36:21.660]the American social landscape,
[00:36:23.870]has increasingly been divided into tribes.
[00:36:28.010]Do you think this issue also could be one of identity
[00:36:31.660]that if your tribe, the tribe that you belong to,
[00:36:34.690]says climate change is not man-made
[00:36:37.330]or climate change is a hoax,
[00:36:40.230]do you, if you're a member of that tribe,
[00:36:42.650]then feel obligated to go along with it?
[00:36:46.620]Because the fear of not going along with it
[00:36:49.070]means you're excluded from the tribe
[00:36:50.980]and then you lose your identity.
[00:36:53.670]Yeah, this is...
[00:36:54.503](indistinct) A member of the tribe then who am I?
[00:36:56.120]Is that an issue?
[00:36:57.670]That, this is something that I was gonna hit on.
[00:36:59.890]And so, with our interview with Chuck Hagel,
[00:37:02.090]something that he brought up
[00:37:03.110]when we asked him of why this is such a divided thing,
[00:37:06.410]at the time is when Donald Trump was president.
[00:37:09.860]And something that he brought up
[00:37:11.310]is Republicans were terrified
[00:37:14.100]of their political career being annihilated
[00:37:17.720]by going against the president
[00:37:19.080]because of the fact that the power that he had,
[00:37:20.570]the power he had over the Republican Party,
[00:37:22.220]the power they had over the media
[00:37:24.790]that primarily Republicans watched.
[00:37:27.110]And so having that leader who was denying the science
[00:37:30.130]of what all of us are working on
[00:37:32.120]and what this project is about, is really,
[00:37:34.190]just puts everybody against us
[00:37:36.220]and against the words "climate change".
[00:37:38.440]When you have a leader of like, the free world
[00:37:42.130]saying "Climate change isn't happening,
[00:37:44.010]my gut tells me so", saying those sorts of things.
[00:37:46.760]And then people have to identify with that.
[00:37:49.180]Then there's also the fact
[00:37:50.170]that something that we can't deny in this conversation
[00:37:52.750]is the mass impact that media has on everybody,
[00:37:58.890]And so when media campaigns came out
[00:38:01.580]saying that climate change wasn't happening,
[00:38:03.590]that scientists were wrong.
[00:38:04.790]Like initially started in the 1970s
[00:38:06.800]when ExxonMobil figured out
[00:38:08.790]that, oh, climate change is happening,
[00:38:11.400]but they didn't wanna to impact their bottom line,
[00:38:13.080]their business plan.
[00:38:14.910]And so that's when they set out a mass media campaign,
[00:38:18.910]saying it wasn't happening.
[00:38:20.560]And then, since then, have been questioning the science
[00:38:24.170]or questioning, "Oh, are these scientists actually,
[00:38:27.540]like, right though?
[00:38:28.580]What practices are they using?
[00:38:31.270]Here's what the 3% of scientists
[00:38:33.250]that don't believe this is happening, say",
[00:38:35.600]and they'd even like, pay them.
[00:38:37.010]And there's like, media articles
[00:38:38.430]that've been written on this as well.
[00:38:40.200]And so tracking that, and then people over time
[00:38:43.180]since that's what they heard in the 70's,
[00:38:44.650]just grew up with that in their head.
[00:38:46.980]And so then they'd have confirmation bias
[00:38:48.790]with each article they read.
[00:38:50.150]And so now they're 70, 80, 60, 70, 80-years-old.
[00:38:54.220]And that's what they said.
[00:38:55.670]And they watch media that feeds them that as,
[00:38:57.820]that continues to feed them that as well.
[00:38:59.460]And they're not nearly as open
[00:39:00.930]to listen to young people that like us,
[00:39:03.450]or other people who say anything differently,
[00:39:05.740]because they have that confirmation bias.
[00:39:08.450]Okay, thank you for sharing that.
[00:39:10.170]Let's pivot to another topic that we also discussed
[00:39:14.010]and that I think all of us found really interesting
[00:39:17.720]in a number of ways, on a number of levels.
[00:39:19.910]And that is, we were continually surprised
[00:39:24.780]to find evidence all across the landscape
[00:39:29.520]that this is often a female-driven,
[00:39:35.110]a female-driven topic, a female-driven passion,
[00:39:41.050]a female-driven interest.
[00:39:43.520]It's not Greg Thunberg, it's Greta Thunberg.
[00:39:49.130]Why do you think that is?
[00:39:50.610]If there is a case to be made
[00:39:52.110]why the whole concept of climate change could be viewed
[00:39:58.150]as women, females pushing that boulder up the hill?
[00:40:04.610]Why do you think that is, what accounts for that?
[00:40:09.040]Any theories on that?
[00:40:13.660]Well, I think, this isn't my own personal quote
[00:40:17.210]but I remember when we were talking
[00:40:18.610]to our mayor, Leirion in Lincoln, she said, what was it?
[00:40:24.570]It was like, "It's not Father Nature, it's Mother Nature".
[00:40:28.010]You know what I mean?
[00:40:30.500]It's not Father Earth, yeah.
[00:40:32.020]Yeah, Father Earth, it's Mother Earth, stuff like that.
[00:40:35.230]And I just, I think, I mean, I think it's not hidden
[00:40:40.740]that, like, men and women are raised up
[00:40:44.170]in our society differently with different expectations,
[00:40:47.120]in these kind of boxes that we're supposed to be put into.
[00:40:49.590]And I know that as a society, we're breaking through that
[00:40:51.750]and having a more fluid gender norms and stuff like that.
[00:40:54.980]But I think just as women in general, we are more nurturing.
[00:41:01.890]You know, I don't, I really don't know how to pinpoint it.
[00:41:04.420]I just, I think those words of,
[00:41:06.637]"It's not Father Nature, Father Earth, it's Mother Earth".
[00:41:09.410]I think that just kind of hits it right on the nose.
[00:41:11.300]I'm not gonna try to expand further than that.
[00:41:16.180]Anybody else wanna take a shot at that one?
[00:41:20.390]Yeah, I was just gonna add in,
[00:41:21.800]a lot of environmental work is empathy
[00:41:24.200]because of the fact that majority of the time
[00:41:25.760]it's not impacting you.
[00:41:27.530]Because the fact that I'm sitting in my house right now
[00:41:30.570]if it were 80 degrees outside, I could have AC.
[00:41:33.640]But there are places all over the world,
[00:41:35.190]even across the United States, even across Nebraska,
[00:41:37.960]even in Lincoln, where they don't have that ability.
[00:41:40.180]So being able to empathize with them of the fact that,
[00:41:43.687]"Oh, I may have food on the table
[00:41:45.250]but someone else might not".
[00:41:46.380]Because of the fact that the farms
[00:41:47.700]that would supply the food,
[00:41:49.849]got hit by a major storm that took it out.
[00:41:52.110]And so it's definitely a huge empathy issue.
[00:41:54.410]And so, as Brittni was saying,
[00:41:57.250]she and I have had this conversation before
[00:41:59.180]of like, that nurturing heart
[00:42:00.830]and worrying about future generations of like,
[00:42:03.430]oh, shoot, what I'm doing right now,
[00:42:05.910]I'm trying to do the best I can to raise my kid,
[00:42:08.030]and I'm spending so much time with my daughter, son,
[00:42:12.100]like, nephew, like, whoever and know acknowledging them,
[00:42:16.660]my actions, the actions of people around me
[00:42:18.430]is impacting their future.
[00:42:19.960]And so it'd be also working with those kids
[00:42:21.437]and like, working with your kids and saying,
[00:42:24.177]"This is gonna hurt them in the future,
[00:42:25.607]I need to change it".
[00:42:26.870]And so then, there you got a bunch
[00:42:28.860]of women trying to work the change.
[00:42:30.890]Okay, let's have a lightning round.
[00:42:33.040]One question, one answer.
[00:42:35.360]We'll start with Lindsay.
[00:42:36.610]The question for each of you is, in our lightning round,
[00:42:39.330]before we go to a Q&A is, Lindsay, what gives you hope?
[00:42:45.340]The youth and just the activism.
[00:42:50.813]Youth and activism.
[00:42:53.050]What gives you hope looking through the lens
[00:42:56.430]of climate change and your 21-year-old presence?
[00:43:02.780]I just think the number of people who it's reached.
[00:43:04.980]I've never seen a movement so large and, I mean,
[00:43:08.623]I've never seen so many people so passionate about it.
[00:43:10.690]So the passion is my answer.
[00:43:13.740]Okay, all right.
[00:43:15.630]Brittni, what gives you hope?
[00:43:19.649]On the stuff.
[00:43:20.903]Leaders that actually understand the crisis
[00:43:23.980]of climate and the intersections.
[00:43:26.100]And to me, seeing the narrative
[00:43:28.700]of the whole climate movement, recognizing intersections,
[00:43:33.230]whether that's with racial justice, food security,
[00:43:36.410]stuff like that, the shift to being more intersectional
[00:43:39.850]gives me a lot of hope that we can actually come up
[00:43:41.443]with solutions for everybody.
[00:43:43.980]Okay, good, Kat, same question.
[00:43:46.240]What gives you hope?
[00:43:50.920]Okay, all right.
[00:43:53.042][Professor Sheppard] Yeah.
[00:43:53.875]I don't know if you wanna answer, Joe,
[00:43:54.708]but what gives me hope is journalism.
[00:43:56.890]And, you know, one of Joe's mantras is, we,
[00:44:00.270]it's probably like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or somebody,
[00:44:04.110]but we don't, we want smart students
[00:44:06.630]so we can teach how to do journalism.
[00:44:08.940]You know, the passion is priceless.
[00:44:10.600]And what gives me hope is, to the point in the Q&A
[00:44:15.490]about our next goal after the magazine (noise) published,
[00:44:18.870]you have such a ripe student body
[00:44:21.060]that are passionate about these issues, you know,
[00:44:23.130]as a land grant, agriculturally-based institution,
[00:44:26.470]what if Nebraska UNL became the center
[00:44:30.540]of climate journalism?
[00:44:32.640]And that's, you know, kind of what we ran with.
[00:44:35.030]What if we focused on this year after year after year?
[00:44:38.700]Because, you know, what gives me hope,
[00:44:40.790]back to my point, is journalism and storytelling
[00:44:43.610]and student journalism in particular, there's no agenda.
[00:44:47.810]We don't have to appease our audience.
[00:44:50.990]You know, we want to afflict our audience
[00:44:52.950]so we want to make them uncomfortable with the truth.
[00:44:55.950]And I feel like in this day and age
[00:44:58.480]student journalism is the only pure journalism
[00:45:01.300]and that's my opinion, but I'm pumped for it, so...
[00:45:05.660]Okay, all right.
[00:45:07.820]Amen, all of that.
[00:45:09.400]Why don't we pivot from this to entertain some questions?
[00:45:16.760]Katie Nieland, are we good to go on the Q&A segment here?
[00:45:21.310]You can scroll through and pick out a few of those
[00:45:24.140]if you like and we'll start the questions.
[00:45:26.240][Professor Sheppard] There's something
[00:45:27.073]about Teslas in here.
[00:45:29.530]But make sure you read them,
[00:45:30.760]not everybody can see the Q&A,
[00:45:32.160]so just read them before you answer.
[00:45:34.629][Professor Sheppard] Says Ken Hart, "Joe,
[00:45:35.710]when can we bring the Teslas over?"
[00:45:41.707]Let me think about that.
[Professor Sheppard] Soon.
[00:45:43.490]As soon as everybody's vaccinated.
[00:45:46.307]As soon as everybody's had their second shot,
[00:45:48.380]the next day we'll get into Teslas.
[00:45:54.420]Let's look at these questions.
[00:46:01.355][Professor Sheppard] One of the questions
[00:46:02.188]for the students, I think Lindsay answered it in the chat
[00:46:06.550]but, Emma Hastings, thank you.
[00:46:09.730]How do you think this experience with this project
[00:46:12.283]will carry over into your future career?
[00:46:14.710]I think that's really important to touch on.
[00:46:16.990]I know Carmelo and Lindsay answered it,
[00:46:19.260]but kind of build on that.
[00:46:21.290]Maybe, you know, how do you think it extends
[00:46:23.220]into your career?
[00:46:26.860]I can answer that one real quick.
[00:46:28.490]Well, my, I think as seniors upon graduation,
[00:46:33.050]we don't really like the question
[00:46:34.100]of what is our future career.
[00:46:35.850]I'm still trying to figure that out
[00:46:37.260]but something I know that will be constant
[00:46:39.510]in my life is my advocacy work, my activism.
[00:46:41.860]And I will say that this class
[00:46:44.520]really, really helped bring the impact that I can have
[00:46:48.360]in my community to the next level,
[00:46:50.850]because writing can reach a lot of people.
[00:46:53.520]For example, like, I just wrote my first op-ed
[00:46:56.200]and it got published across the state
[00:46:57.700]and just putting things in writing
[00:47:00.360]can reach so many different people
[00:47:02.550]and words have so much power.
[00:47:04.680]So for me, this class, I came into this class really
[00:47:08.930]without a lot of confidence in my writing
[00:47:10.890]and through writing and a lot of good commentation
[00:47:15.100]from Jenn and Joe, I've built up a lot of confidence
[00:47:19.010]in my writing to where, now,
[00:47:20.480]if I need to do a press release,
[00:47:21.900]if I need to write an op-ed,
[00:47:24.040]I feel really comfortable doing those things.
[00:47:25.840]So it's almost like another lever of advocacy
[00:47:28.840]that we can tap into when fighting for change.
[00:47:33.410]Oh, great, thank you.
[00:47:34.414][Professor Sheppard] (indistinct) To say that either.
[00:47:37.950]Okay, looking at some of the questions.
[00:47:49.480]This is just an interesting, it's an interesting comment.
[00:47:55.450]I don't think she'll mind.
[00:47:56.560]This is from Ann Hubbard who is somebody
[00:47:59.160]that I think all of you know,
[00:48:00.780]and she just makes the comment,
[00:48:04.057]"You've done a great job with this project",
[00:48:06.110]meaning you, students, "as we approach the 60th anniversary
[00:48:09.190]of the publishing of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring',
[00:48:13.250]how would you like to get involved
[00:48:19.314][Professor Sheppard] Contamination.
[00:48:21.037]"How would you like to get involved
[00:48:23.230]in environmental contamination,
[00:48:25.190]such as what's going on in Mead, Nebraska?
[00:48:29.540]Another issue that is dismissed by older people?"
[00:48:33.940]You all know about what's happening in Mead, right?
[00:48:36.020]You've read those stories, pretty horrifying stuff,
[00:48:40.060]really, and they're not contested.
[00:48:41.350]I mean, not just, it's not maybe that happened
[00:48:44.470]or maybe didn't know it happened.
[00:48:48.020]What, do you have thoughts on that
[00:48:49.900]about getting involved in environmental contamination?
[00:48:55.400]Do you see a route to do that,
[00:48:58.870]in looking at where you wanna go
[00:49:00.780]after you leave the university?
[00:49:03.130]Well, I will just...
[00:49:04.500]I really wanted to hit on this one
[00:49:05.617]because I'm right now in the middle of that one
[00:49:07.323]because I am a executive member of the Nebraska Sierra Club.
[00:49:12.050]And so the Nebraska Sierra Club has been working
[00:49:14.640]on this issue a ton, on getting out media attention
[00:49:18.260]for it, getting journalists on it,
[00:49:20.690]getting natural resource districts,
[00:49:22.340]emailing and getting the Nebraska Department
[00:49:26.870]of Environment and Energy involved.
[00:49:28.380]Like, doing whole campaigns on the Mead issue.
[00:49:33.440]And so working with them, I've been able
[00:49:35.380]to get my hands on, working with organizing, planning,
[00:49:39.350]the Town Hall, figuring out the workings
[00:49:42.260]of how you could potentially sue somebody
[00:49:45.150]and sue plans for inflicting environmental damage.
[00:49:48.400]And so learning about that,
[00:49:49.780]that is how I've been able to get involved
[00:49:51.430]through an independent organization
[00:49:53.990]that is working on the issue
[00:49:55.440]and has people passionate about it,
[00:49:57.040]and has lawyers and has experts within,
[00:50:01.100]within the community working on solving this issue.
[00:50:04.820]And so that's how I've gotten involved.
[00:50:08.480]Anybody else wanna piggyback onto that?
[00:50:11.060]The issue of contamination?
[00:50:13.370]Yeah, I just, I kind of wanna say,
[00:50:16.230]I think that what we're hearing about Mead
[00:50:18.950]just really shows that, like, these rural communities
[00:50:22.320]in Nebraska are kind of on the front lines
[00:50:25.850]of climate change and also the levers, like,
[00:50:28.590]the fossil fuel industry that are causing climate change.
[00:50:31.530]And I think the dynamic of...
[00:50:33.880]I think journalism is a really powerful way to inform...
[00:50:38.180]Like, for example, I didn't really understand the Mead issue
[00:50:40.580]until I read some Lincoln Journal Star articles
[00:50:43.160]where I could really deep dive into that,
[00:50:45.270]'cause I don't have access to that community.
[00:50:46.920]So I think it's important to recognize that,
[00:50:51.120]as "city folk", if you wanna call us,
[00:50:53.850]we have really good access
[00:50:55.130]to our legislature and stuff like that.
[00:50:56.790]So we really have to connect with the Mead community
[00:50:59.680]and stand up because we can fight for them
[00:51:02.550]in a way that they can't because they don't have easy access
[00:51:05.660]to the legislature like we do.
[00:51:06.920]So, I think, number one,
[00:51:08.510]journalism plays a really important role
[00:51:10.790]in connecting rural and urban Nebraska.
[00:51:14.750]But also we have to recognize that,
[00:51:18.550]like, we gotta, I don't know,
[00:51:20.980]we always have to stand up and fight for rural Nebraska
[00:51:23.440]and lower-income marginalized communities
[00:51:25.640]because, yeah, I don't know
[00:51:28.320]where I'm going with this, but I think you get my point.
[00:51:31.633]No, I just, I would just say,
[00:51:32.760]kind of a jumping in here real quick,
[00:51:34.760]is that, tying up some of the loose ends
[00:51:37.740]that you've just mentioned is that, again,
[00:51:41.460]words matter, words matter.
[00:51:43.810]You've talked about your ability to take that passion,
[00:51:47.940]go out and find your research tools
[00:51:51.200]and gather the information.
[00:51:52.420]But then the key part is being able to put it
[00:51:55.200]into a coherent story, being able to write it,
[00:51:58.870]whether it's an editorial that then appears
[00:52:01.720]in a multitude of papers
[00:52:03.700]or whether it's one story that Bill McKibben notices
[00:52:08.940]and likes the damn story so much
[00:52:10.880]he puts it in the New Yorker Magazine.
[00:52:13.560]Come on, that's an indication that words matter.
[00:52:19.160]And your ability to write
[00:52:21.430]beyond a 40-word tweet is still a valuable tool to have.
[00:52:28.000]And as long as you are able to absorb a lot of information,
[00:52:32.650]condense it and write it in coherent fashion,
[00:52:37.440]you are going to be employable.
[00:52:39.380]I don't care what you do.
[00:52:41.620]And that's one of the takeaways, I think,
[00:52:43.660]that maybe is appropriate too.
[00:52:46.610]There's an interesting question here,
[00:52:49.280]kind of cut from that cloth and that is, do you all,
[00:52:54.070]the four of you, do you have particular climate metaphors
[00:52:58.640]that you use to explain climate change
[00:53:00.960]to yourself or to others?
[00:53:03.330]We often hear them in public dialogue,
[00:53:05.627]"runaway freight train", "moonshot",
[00:53:08.227]"jumping from an airplane without a parachute",
[00:53:10.377]"boar", "running a fever".
[00:53:13.110]I'm just curious how metaphors help you interpret
[00:53:16.170]and communicate a really complex challenge.
[00:53:22.470]Any metaphors that you like and you use
[00:53:26.330]because words matter?
[00:53:28.790]And this particular metaphor is one
[00:53:31.650]that you have a special love affair with?
[00:53:39.633]I don't think this is directly answering the question
[00:53:41.710]on how to communicate to people about climate change,
[00:53:43.860]but more communicate my feelings about climate change.
[00:53:48.170]So I live in like, the north bottom's neighborhood
[00:53:50.660]in Lincoln, and I can hear it right now.
[00:53:52.850]There's a coal train, like, four houses away
[00:53:55.810]that is constantly going.
[00:53:59.280]It's really loud.
[00:54:00.610]Like, at night I can literally feel it shaking our house.
[00:54:04.950]And to me that's a metaphor,
[00:54:06.970]like, that train is a metaphor to, just...
[00:54:10.370]As young people, I think we're constantly thinking
[00:54:12.550]about the climate crisis, it never goes away.
[00:54:15.140]It is like, haunting almost.
[00:54:17.830]You know, I think as a student, you know,
[00:54:20.330]there's times where I sit in class,
[00:54:21.750]not the journalism class, of course,
[00:54:23.210]but some classes where I'm not even able to be engaged
[00:54:27.910]in the class because I can't stop thinking about it.
[00:54:29.500]So, to me, the coal train that's constantly driving
[00:54:32.560]by my house, and I know I'm not the only one,
[00:54:34.580]it's in so many communities,
[00:54:35.860]whether it's the train or the actual coal stacks,
[00:54:39.420]it's just a good metaphor for how I feel
[00:54:41.490]about the constant pressure of the crisis.
[00:54:45.553]And we know that that coal to continue the train
[00:54:49.430]of logic as it were...
[00:54:54.060]I was just there for the taking, low-hanging fruit,
[00:54:58.040]that train and that coal will end up in part
[00:55:06.480]in a smoke stack in North Omaha
[00:55:10.650]where the burning of that coal and the release
[00:55:13.700]of that CO2 in North Omaha, accounts for a life expectancy
[00:55:22.060]that is the lowest in Douglas County.
[00:55:24.900]A life expectancy that is a full 13 years less
[00:55:30.450]than if somebody in North Omaha were just
[00:55:33.250]to move 10 miles west.
[00:55:38.800]So that's a metaphor of kind to go off
[00:55:42.880]of the coal stack and what that means.
[00:55:47.240]Well, for the people who live in North Omaha
[00:55:48.960]it means you are dramatically more inclined to be asthmatic.
[00:55:58.300]And you have now acquired the ninth worst city
[00:56:02.620]in the United States to live in,
[00:56:04.720]if you have asthma, is Omaha and the epidemiologists
[00:56:09.900]and scientists at University of Nebraska Medical Center,
[00:56:13.660]there is no doubt in the research they've done
[00:56:15.940]that there is a very specific link
[00:56:18.620]between the shorter, the shortest lifespan
[00:56:22.810]in Douglas County that is produced by that burning
[00:56:25.450]of coal and also looping 680 through North Omaha
[00:56:28.990]and acquiring also, not only the coal fumes,
[00:56:32.030]but also the CO2 emissions from buses, trucks, and cars.
[00:56:36.610]So that is another grounded reality issue
[00:56:44.030]that comes from that coal train.
[00:56:46.000]It has very real, on the ground, consequences,
[00:56:51.690]particularly for people of color in Omaha.
[00:56:55.850]So anybody else wanna answer
[00:56:57.840]or take on the metaphor challenge?
[00:57:02.240]Sure, I'll go ahead.
[00:57:03.750]So I kind of have two main ones that I use.
[00:57:06.870]One of them was mentioned by Andrew Hoffman last night
[00:57:10.480]and it's the base bomb and steroids metaphor.
[00:57:14.531]'Cause that's just the easiest way
[00:57:15.700]because a lot of people say, "It's happened,
[00:57:17.950]it's always happening, why do we care?"
[00:57:20.730]And it's just like, well, if you're injecting this steroid
[00:57:25.840]or this amplifier, it's gonna increase
[00:57:29.470]and it's gonna unnaturally increase.
[00:57:31.210]And that's all we're doing.
[00:57:32.280]And, like I mentioned earlier, I try and use that
[00:57:34.670]to kind of shift that blame mentality
[00:57:37.660]of, "It's our fault" to saying, you know,
[00:57:40.000]it's just happening too fast and we need to pull that back.
[00:57:44.200]Another one I try and use,
[00:57:45.760]because the whole "It's happened in the past,
[00:57:48.430]it's gotten warmer than it is now",
[00:57:50.317]and I'm like, yeah, but think about it.
[00:57:53.240]If you run five miles, you know, in an hour, easy run.
[00:57:57.120]But if you run five miles in like, 25 minutes,
[00:58:00.490]it's much harder.
[00:58:01.323]And that's pretty much what we've done,
[00:58:02.630]is we've just squished that timeline down
[00:58:05.640]and we can't adapt, animals can't adapt
[00:58:10.560]because it's just too fast.
[00:58:11.940]So I try and use those.
[00:58:14.120]I have some other ones for different audiences
[00:58:16.300]because, as a scientist,
[00:58:18.260]I get to answer these questions quite a lot.
[00:58:21.290]So, but again, it's the whole framing, the metaphor
[00:58:24.900]to match the people, find what they care about and I...
[00:58:26.810]Okay, great, that's a great answer.
[00:58:29.873]Let's pop in one more that, this is a really,
[00:58:32.200]this just came in, this really excellent question.
[00:58:34.490]Maybe we'll close out on this.
[00:58:36.350]The question for you all is,
[00:58:37.827]"How will the knowledge you've gained
[00:58:40.100]impact your future career directions and expectations?"
[00:58:47.310]Somebody wanna jump on that?
[00:58:49.380]How will your knowledge, the knowledge you've gained,
[00:58:52.390]impact your future career directions and expectations?
[00:58:56.630]Good question, take a shot at some good answers.
[00:59:02.690]Yeah, Kat, go ahead.
[00:59:04.080]Okay, so for me specifically, this is my entire world.
[00:59:07.590]I actually quit my job in the fall,
[00:59:09.460]so I could be a full-time environmental activist.
[00:59:12.100]And so the knowledge that I've learned
[00:59:13.660]impacts what I'm doing right now,
[00:59:15.067]and the fact that I'm unemployed,
[00:59:16.440]doing all sorts of volunteer work,
[00:59:17.890]to be able to like, really try to change
[00:59:20.330]and impact the way we do things in Nebraska, in Lincoln
[00:59:24.300]and all over the state and all over the U.S.
[00:59:25.847]And so that's me specifically.
[00:59:27.660]And my future career is, right now,
[00:59:29.150]I'm starting my own sustainability consulting company.
[00:59:31.900]And so I have a lot to learn
[00:59:33.510]and to be able to work with businesses, with schools,
[00:59:35.900]with gyms, and whoever wants to hire me
[00:59:38.570]and use my knowledge to help them reduce their impact
[00:59:41.750]on the world as well.
[00:59:42.900]Great, wonderful, thank you so much.
[00:59:44.190]Brittni, can you jump on that real quickly?
[00:59:45.810]How's this gonna impact your future?
[00:59:48.700]I think it's just important
[00:59:50.280]that through all the many different stories
[00:59:52.290]that we wrote these past few semesters,
[00:59:54.960]climate is intersectional, it's weaved into everything.
[00:59:58.020]So no matter what career path you take after graduation,
[01:00:01.960]you can bring climate into it and advocacy into it.
[01:00:05.110]It doesn't have to be your career,
[01:00:06.270]but it can always stick with you.
[01:00:07.480]So that's the big one for me.
[01:00:08.760]Okay, well, thanks.
[01:00:11.360]Same question, you're answering?
[01:00:12.928]Thanks, (static audio) for me were
[01:00:14.611]in communication skills.
[01:00:15.671]It's really gonna help me in my major and my career.
[01:00:19.500]I really think it's gonna help and (indistinct).
[01:00:22.352]It's so interwoven with all these careers (static audio).
[01:00:26.330]So it's there for the taking.
[01:00:31.057]Again, for me it's the communication.
[01:00:33.410]I wanna break away from that, you know,
[01:00:34.920]white tower view of scientists
[01:00:37.340]that we only talk to each other
[01:00:39.310]and be able to talk to anyone at any level,
[01:00:42.830]no matter the education
[01:00:44.590]and talk to what is meaningful for them.
[01:00:49.335]I think we're out of time but...
[01:00:50.168][Professor Sheppard] We can go another hour.
[01:00:52.850]We're out of time.
[01:00:54.290]Katie Nieland, thank you so much and (indistinct)
[01:00:57.210]for Lindsay, Carmelo, Brittni, Kat, thank you so much.
[01:01:01.010]Thank you so much for all of your hard work,
[01:01:03.040]for participating in this
[01:01:04.580]and as a number of people have noted,
[01:01:07.040]yeah, what gives us hope?
[01:01:08.900]You give us hope.
[01:01:10.740]That's what I wanted to say too.
[01:01:12.170]We've got a little, the next session starts at 3:15.
[01:01:15.060]So I wanted to take a minute to thank you all
[01:01:17.980]for putting so much time and effort
[01:01:20.770]into a project like this.
[01:01:22.650]And I just wanted to point out some of the comments
[01:01:25.130]for the rest of the audience who can't see them.
[01:01:26.887]"I am just so impressed learning
[01:01:28.380]about the Journalism Department
[01:01:30.310]and the students tackling climate coverage.
[01:01:32.300]Thank you for your time and dedication".
[01:01:34.487]"Thank you all, you...", is separate comment.
[01:01:36.187]"Thank you all, you've given me hope.
[01:01:37.873]I am a boomer living in NP, North Platte, Nebraska,
[01:01:41.270]and it's exciting to know
[01:01:43.780]that there are young people like you, doing this work".
[01:01:47.610]Another, "You give me hope".
[01:01:50.220]So I just wanted to encourage everybody,
[01:01:51.530]I dropped the link to the website in the chat,
[01:01:54.660]as well as their Facebook page.
[01:01:57.460]And so please check it all out there.
[01:02:00.200]Some really, really impressive work.
[01:02:02.110]And we just thank all the students again.
[01:02:04.470]And the recording of this will be up on the website
[01:02:07.850]in a few days after this, but we really appreciate it.
[01:02:11.700]So thank you so much.
[01:02:13.319](gentle music playing)
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