Episode 171: Where There’s Smoke 

Climate Change & Outdoor Adventures

Sponsored by IKON Pass, Danner, & Betterhelp

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Every outdoor adventure we go on is affected by climate change. Listen to the experiences of two women, Dani Reyes-Acosta and Doreen Wong, as they share specific ways their adventuring has been impacted by extreme weather, wildfires, and glacial ice melt.

Dani Reyes-Acosta is a storyteller, mountain athlete, and a member of the Protect Our Winters athlete alliance. Along with sharing the most obvious change she’s experiencing in the backcountry year over year, Dani provides insight on how we can all take a more collective approach to outdoor recreation and climate solutions.

Doreen Wong is passionate about driving toward a more sustainable global future for all. She tells a story of her recent attempt to summit Mount Whitney that was interrupted by climate change.

Banner image by Doreen Wong

Full transcript available after the photos and resources.

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Featured in this episode:Dani Reyes-Acosta and Doreen Wong

Hosted by Gale Straub

Music is by James Childs, Wil Pearce, Gracie & Rachel licensed via MusicBed.

Resources

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Featured in this Episode

Doreen Wong

Mt. Whitney Summit Day – At Trail Camp
Driving away from Mt. Whitney

Dani Reyes-Acosta

Photo on left by Johnny Francisco; Both of Dani Reyes-Acosta

 

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TRANSCRIPT

Note: This transcript was lightly edited and created using a transcription service. As such it may contain spelling errors.

Gale Straub – Narration:

I’m Gale Straub and you’re listening to She Explores.

Gale Straub – Narration:

A friend and I were talking the other day about those landscapes that are fixed “just so” in our memory, waiting for us to return to in person. And in our memory, they’re constant, immovable. For me, I love to wander to the Oregon Coast, just north of Pacific City. The trees stretch tall and lush, and a fog isn’t so much an interruption, but an extension of the ocean. For my friend, it’s the Eastern Sierras, rock and snow, a carpet of delicate alpine flowers in late August. Right now, we’re far away from these special landscapes during this COVID pandemic, our orbits have shrunk down to the short miles around the place we rest our heads each night. It’s tempting to think: at least that trail will be there, waiting for me. And yet. If we love these places, we also need to reconcile with the fact that their existence, as they are, isn’t a given. That they’re always changing. And that climate change could just make a place you love unrecognizable.

Gale Straub – Narration:

On today’s episode, I talk with two women who share memorable stories of instances their outdoor adventures were impacted by climate change. And as you listen, I hope you’ll think about those instances in your own life. Talk about them with your friends. And keep brainstorming ways to come together to address climate change. First up, Dani Reyes-Acosta. Dani is an avid mountain athlete – a split boarder, rock climber, and trail runner – among other activities. Dani also recently joined the athlete alliance at Protect Our Winters. She describes her approach to storytelling as being Earth-first and inclusivity informed. When I talked with Dani, she had limited internet connection because a snowstorm had blown in. It felt fitting, because I wanted to ask her about her experience with climate change and cold weather. A mountain near Mammoth Lakes in California immediately came to mind.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

Near Convict Lake out in California. This is out in the Sierra Nevada, where I did some cutting of my teeth as it were as a, in the bigger, the bigger mountains of the, of the Sierra. And I had spent, gosh, I’ve I skied a lot back there. And even some of my, you know, even going out with friends, going out occasionally on some of the metal or train on my own mission. And some of the things that I noticed weren’t what were related to like, uh, like an event that would happen like in that moment, right? Like maybe the snowpack should have been a little bit deeper in a certain zone, then it would have been your year or the year before vice versa. But one of the things that, how should I say this? So like, yes, snow melts every year, especially in the spring. Like you really have to be aware of how the sun and the weather impact the safety of snow and weather. What ha what slides will occur or not, but deeper than the snow path is like how some of these chossier mountains are held together and the ice, like underneath rocks, that makes something most to do stable. Like particularly when you’re scrambling around in different lines, like it’s easier to scramble from one place to another, if all the rocks are adhered together by ice. Does that make sense?

Gale Straub:

It does. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like the foundation is, um, dependent on that ice.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Dani described the rock as chossy, which is another way of saying loose or unstable. Typically ice is the glue that holds these mountains together and makes the kind of back country adventuring, Dani likes to do possible, but that’s changing.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

There, unfortunately is. I mean, we, we literally see like there’s Mount Curry up in BC and it’s really being affected by, um, like those mountains are falling apart. If you’re a mountains out here in Colorado, some of the glaciated terrain that normally would be bound together by the layer of ice that holds it all. But because of global warming and the water melting, it’s not it’s tightly adhered. And so that increases objective, hazard and risk. And, you know, I, I lost a friend out in this area in conduct late, like past, past this drainage, like years, um, at the end of this, I guess the next season, because she she’d been ice climbing on some unstable rock. And it’s, it’s really tragic to see that. Um, I think as a woman who finds a fair amount of empowerment and grow and community in the mountains, like I want to be able to go into spaces and know they not, they’re not just safe, like in a moment, right. Or in any one specific season. But if I know that the foundation is shaky underneath me, then that doesn’t just give me pause about like the decisions I’m making on a day-to-day basis. But it also like really forces me to think about like, well, what else is missing? Because the foundation is what everything else is built upon.

Gale Straub:

Hmm. And it definitely makes it harder to plan. Right. It makes it harder to, to choose where you’re going to go because you don’t, you can’t really know what to expect year over year.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

Oh my gosh. Absolutely. I mean there, so climate change is, is we’re now directly linking climate change to rock ball landslides and instability in the permafrost and the ice that lives underneath the snow pack. Right. So we’re buying binds together the foundation upon which snowpack lids. Right? So, I mean, this isn’t just an issue of like, of people that are going to, uh, increasingly disappearing, cliched a terrain. This is also a topic that people going into kind of really any mountain settings should be aware of because you’re right. If we can’t plan because our foundation is shaky like that really calls into question all the other decisions we’re making the backcountry, right? Because back country skiing and snowboarding or split boarding, there are so many unknowns right there. There’s the unknown of, of the weather of our group dynamic of maybe our energy for the day.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

You know, if we’re going to, into a new area, like what we’re going to expect. And so the way that we can mitigate hazards and mitigate risks is by trying to understand our environments. But if we have these factors that are completely unknown, like how’s the permafrost affected, right? We’re able to be a huge landslide. Like I’m not talking about an avalanche talking about the landslide that happens underneath the snow because the permafrost layer has been weakened. And that’s not something that you can learn in your Avvy One class like this, isn’t like, you can’t dig a snow pit and say like, Oh, I’m safe because this is far, far deeper than the snow.

Gale Straub:

And so why did you, why did you decide to sign on as an athlete with Protect Our Winters?

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

As a woman and particularly as a woman of color, an opportunity to join the ranks of, you know, living legends that are passionate about standing up and fighting for climate action within the snow sports community, within the climb community. And, you know, for me within communities of color, uh, to, to really advocate for healthier communities and sustainable changes in opportunity, I couldn’t miss out on, I had to take it like it. There was not really a question. I mean, to me, recreation and community health and environmental justice are all intrinsically linked. And so I think as an outdoors community, we’re just starting to see the, start a conversation about how systemic oppression isn’t, doesn’t just happen within education systems or social systems or workplaces. It also happens in the places where we, and it happens in our backyards. And I am not afraid to say that. And as a person that does recreate in the outdoors, but also has family ties to the fields of California’s Central Valley. And to Eastern Plains of Colorado, like this opportunity to, to show up as my intersectional self is really, really special.

Gale Straub:

Yeah. Yeah. It’s so, so important to be expanding that story because it can feel so over simplified, you know, especially within an organization that is using, you know, outdoor recreation as a way to, to tell that story as a way to like open the door to a deeper climate story, it’s really helpful to have people who are able to, you know, share their own experiences that are a little more dynamic than just, you know, I couldn’t make the amount of money as a professional skier that I wanted to because I, you know, there wasn’t as much snow this year or something like that.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

Yes. I mean, sorry, I’m just giggling because it’s, it’s very true. As I’ve said in my presentation with palace, which is available online and linked on their Instagram page, the like, I am, I’m a product of my environment, right? So that means like as a person that loves hiking and camping and back country skiing and rock climbing, all of these things have helped me become who I am today, but I’m also a product of my mother, who, of my mother and my father who worked really hard to, to give me this life, to be able to make these, these bougie forceful decisions. They didn’t have the type. I mean, not my mother didn’t have the type of opportunities that I’ve had now. No, the way that my father, I think, uh, grew up in the world, he lived in with a lot different as well.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

And so like if I turn away from those experiences, I’m not only dishonoring my past. Um, I think neglecting a very rich part of my heritage and, and, uh, I don’t think that I’m unique with this kind of story. I think all Americans have the rich heritage of the, who they are and where they came from. You know, some of us are maybe just a little bit closer to it, so yeah, that’s, I mean, we’re in a really exciting time where I think as in the United States, we’re questioning, you know, what does it mean to be an American, right. And what does it mean to be an individual or a member of a community? And how do we show up for these spaces.

Gale Straub – Narration:

That individual vs. collective mindset comes into play when we talk about our economy and public health, and it also matters when we talk about climate change. Earlier this year, we had Leah Thomas, founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, on the show. We talked about how people of color are disproportionately affected by environmental injustices. Back to Dani.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

When you think about what kind of world you live in and the world kind of world, you want to live in, really need to be thinking about how are we caring for other communities health? Because those communities, even if we don’t know them for a second, a third person, there are still communities that can impact all of us. And that is where we all have a little bit of work to do around the whole school of thought of collective liberation. Because, you know, as our, I think, you know, Laila, Leatherman, it’s Laila says, you know, like in the game of the Olympics of oppression, no one wins. But if we all think about how to lift each other up, then we can really address not just climate change, but the feet of our nation. And we need to be thinking from a community-minded aspect and community minded perspective.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Dani emphasized that as outdoor lovers, it’s easy to feel entitled to a mountain, or entitled to a powder day. You invest money in a sport, you invest time training and traveling to a mountain. But we still have to think about the greater community – the towns that surround the mountains, the economy that keeps it going, the hospitals that keep its residents healthy. And It doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy our time in the mountains, too. Dani is all about that. But we’re a product of our actions.- After the break, we’ll hear from a longtime listener of the podcast about how a carefully planned hike up Mount Whitney was turned upside down by smoke.

Gale Straub – Narration:

We’re back, with Doreen Wong and a story of a big hike, interrupted by climate change. Doreen lives in San Francisco and works in tech. She’s passionate about driving change towards a more sustainable global future for all.

Doreen Wong:

It was interesting how it all started. My friends and I had done half dome at Yosemite about two years ago. And it was with a great group of friends who we all love the outdoors. And we actually met each other while we were living in Washington, DC

Gale Straub – Narration:

Doreen’s group of 10 friends decided to plan a 2020 hike of Mount Whitney. Of course, they didn’t know then what 2020 had in store.

Doreen Wong:

We entered Into this lottery, which started in February and train for this, not knowing like what to expect. We weren’t even expecting about COVID. And we were just like, let’s just try this out and like get us all together. And so that’s what we ended up doing was just in February, we apply for this lottery that we saw on recreation.gov. And we actually looked up the trail and realize how it’s like even more strenuous than half dome. And it would be hiking 22.5 miles, um, with the 6,000 I think 600 elevation gain. So I was like one of the lower 48 fourteeners.

Gale Straub – Narration:

They entered the lottery in February and ended up getting an overnight permit spot for labor day weekend in early September, as uncertainty swirled in March and into the summer due to COVID-19, that felt like the biggest unknown in making this adventure happen.

Doreen Wong:

We decided that we would all quarantine and also take COVID tests before deciding to go and start our hike. And we had planned everything out logistically. There were three captains, I would say. And, um, my friend and I, she and I were helping with the logistics and we put together this like, document of like all the training things that we could do, like why we need to get, get started and like, and like making sure that we’re running like, you know, a route five miles every other day or something, or doing very long bike rides and just making sure that we were getting ready for that altitude change.

Gale Straub:

So when, when you are preparing and you’re getting yourself physically ready, did you think a bit about what could go wrong on your hike? Like what was like a worst case scenario for you?

Doreen Wong:

We plan for a couple of things. One, you know, if we can’t meet up, not all 10 of us that had decided to sign up for this were able to meet up due to COVID. What would that look like? And we just decided that we’ll just keep it a smaller group. And actually a lot of times it’s, it’s easier to work with a smaller group when you’re hiking. But the whole preparation part of is that we had prepared for like altitude sickness was one. And then also just like, if we weren’t able to meet together and then the other one was just like, if someone gets injured, what would happen? Cause a lot of times when you’re going back country is that you don’t have access to like a network or anything. So you’re kind of just like out there. So just trying to figure out, like, what would we do?

Doreen Wong:

And we got some walkie-talkies because for each pair we paired off. And so we had walkie-talkies so that I have something happens. We can use your walkie-talkie to talk to each other. And then, um, one of our friends also got like an emergency horn to help call for help if needed. But those are the things that we prepare for it, but we didn’t really think about what the extreme impacts would be with dealing with the wildfire. And we know that there have been wildfires in the past, but just nothing to the level that we experienced at Mount Whitney.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Wildfires. In a year when “unprecedented” is a word we’ve heard over and over to describe the impacts of a global pandemic, the same can be said for wildfires in California. The title of an article from the Los Angeles Times says it well: “The Worst Fire Season…Again” So far, 4.2 million acres have burned in California, the highest number on record. There are a lot of factors that are contributing to increasingly devasting wildfire seasons, but, undeniably, climate change only multiplies the severity. So, as we learned with Dani earlier in the episode — climate change makes it difficult to know what to expect when you plan for a trip. Doreen’s trip was before San Francisco woke up to an ominous red sky that lasted all day. She and her friends could only take their plan day by day.

Doreen Wong:

So coming into this that’s when all the wildfires were ongoing for a while. And it actually took about, like I say, like six, eight weeks of our time where we could have been training, going to like desolation wilderness or like Lake Tahoe to be training. All of that. Our trips were like impacted by this. We had to kind of reconfigure like how we were going to train for Mount Whitney. We did keep an eye out. So we did like, you know, stays see like where the fires are, what were the air quality? And, um, at the end of the day, like everything looked fine up to the point when we decided to go acclimate in mammoth first, before we went down to Mount Winnie. And that’s just kinda how everything got started with, you know, not knowing to prepare for the impact of wildfires. And that was something that I really didn’t plan carefully for.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Doreen and her friends spent two nights camping and acclimatizing at Mammoth.

Doreen Wong:

On Saturday when we were there, we saw that, you know, I start to get a bit hazy, smelled. It wasn’t like a campfire smell. It just smells kind of like definitely like a wildfire kind of smoke, but it was very faint that you couldn’t really, really smell it. And then our hike for Mt. Whitney was supposed to start on Sunday that morning. And we woke up in our, where we were acclimating to like smoke being filled in our tents and also some Ash all over our cars and our tents. And that’s when we realized that what is going on, we don’t have any service, you know, at this campsite. And yeah, so we, we ended up driving out and as we were getting our making our way, uh, around like six in the morning to Mount Whitney, uh, it’s about two hours South. And as we’re driving South, we got service and then saw that there was a fire that has started on the other side of the brain from us. And we kept an eye out. And then we were like, you know, let’s just drive down there and check out what the conditions are like at what new portal, which is where, um, the trail starts and we can reevaluate there. So that’s what we ended up doing. But that was the first time we got the wildfire signal and realized that maybe we shouldn’t be doing Mount Whitney.

Gale Straub:

Hmm. But you’re taking it step by step, like one team decision at a time.

Doreen Wong:

Yeah. And we, you know, that’s all we can do cause you never know what nature brings you. And I think a lot of times when we go on these trips, like something could happen, but you have to like start thinking about like, how are we going to approach this? We also have to share that our safety is most important and we want to make sure that everyone on our, in our group is safe.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Their team made incremental decisions based on air quality and their own personal comfort levels. By the time they were high enough to make the decision to summit or not, there was just 5 of their 10 member team making their way up in N95 masks.

Doreen Wong:

We actually had our permit that was up to trail camp, which is about six miles up and about for a little over 4,000, the elevation game. So we originally thought we were going to camp at lone pine. We’re like, okay, we’re going to eat lunch when we hang out. But then we’re like, Oh, this, you know, the air quality is improving. Like let’s just keep going. And then we kept coming across people on, along the trail that were like coming down from their high of being on top of the summit. And we’re like, this is the most amazing experience. Like we really love this experience. And we also came across a ranger and he said like, you know, today is actually looking clear up there, but he said, you never know like how the winds could blow, like, because of this new fire plus the one that’s already existing that was down near Sequoia, like we’re expecting the winds to blow in some of the smoke.

Doreen Wong:

So we kept them in the back of our mind. And so we had to go all the way to trail camp, which is about 12,000 feet. And so once we got there, it was just gorgeous. Like you could see the peaks of Mount Whitney and you could see everything. And so our plan originally was that we’ll go up there and we do still have this permit. If it is clear, we would like to attempt it. And, but we’ll start early in the morning. So like we’ll wake up at like four in the morning and then get hiking and then come back down and then regroup with our friends that are waiting at the bottom of the mountain.

Gale Straub – Narration:

They went to bed that night, feeling hopeful with dreams of clear skies and what is for many, a once in a lifetime opportunity,

Doreen Wong:

We woke up at four in the morning and we looked outside and saw that it was so smoky. It felt like a very foggy environment where you can kind of see the headlamps are going up towards the summit, but you can really barely make it out because it just so foggy from the smoke. And the other piece was, um, that night actually around like one or two in the morning and our tents, we had felt something was off. Like it got really smoky and we’ve been wearing these like, um, and 95 mask. And we also brought the COVID masks. So we were wearing, we put our masks on at night just to sleep. Cause we were worried that, you know, it might get bad and like, you don’t want to be breathing in like in a closed environment with the smoke. And so we woke up again at four, we saw that and we’re like, okay, well we can’t really worry about like, you know, we don’t know we feel safe about this, so we’re going to wait for maybe, you know, when the day when there’s sunlight.

Doreen Wong:

And so we’ll wait for when there’s more light and then kind of reevaluate there. So, so you slept in until six in the morning. And when we woke up at six, we looked outside, it was, it looked terrible. It was like, you can, you can see the peak still. We actually saw a couple of people cause you know, a lot of them were day hikers. So they would do like the, you know, start her trail around like two, four, and then you’ll see like a group of people go up and then come down. And a lot of people also enjoy like seeing the sunrise from the summit. Like we’ve heard amazing things about it. So like, we’re like, Oh yeah, like this is the first group. And we were kind of lingering around near our tent and trying to side, we should attempt it at all. And because of how hazardous, we’re pretty sure that Eric was hazardous. We didn’t think it was a good idea for us. And we actually talked to validate this. As we saw some of the day hikers, they were coming back down who decided to go up to the summit. Um, one of the, the hikers that we spoke to said I was jogging down and was like, Oh my God, I felt like I was breathing out of a straw and at a high elevation like that, it wasn’t, it wasn’t worth the rest for us.

Doreen Wong:

We decided to turn back and um, Started making our way down. And then we also wanted to get back at a reasonable time. So if we decided to start at that point, when we were deciding it was like 8:00 AM, nine-ish is getting close to where, like we wouldn’t be getting back until very late.

Gale Straub – Narration:

The crew was disappointed. But they knew that they’d made the right decision for themselves. And there was still one more surprise on the trail:

Doreen Wong:

Interesting enough, as we were making our way down, it was a surprising moment. Our friend proposed to at a friend at this beautiful waterfall part that we’ve, we saw that, um, we call it the Marmot paradise. Cause there’s a lot of like, it’s just out of blues, like a bunch of rocks. And like, and then all of a sudden there’s like a waterfall. And then there’s like little green grass. It’s just like a little random like corner, uh, where we saw this on our hike and our friend proposed. That was a great silver lining was during this experience. You have to see this happy moment,

Gale Straub – Narration:

Some final reflections on outdoor recreation and climate change, after the break.

Gale Straub – Narration:

We’re back with Doreen.

Gale Straub:

You know, it’s interesting to hear you say, you know, you said it a couple of times throughout our conversation that you never know what nature brings you, but there is a piece of that where this isn’t all totally natural. How does that make you feel? The fact that like, yes, you’re kind of at the whims of, of weather and nature, but it’s also, it’s worse because of humans.

Doreen Wong:

Yeah. It’s, it’s disheartening to see this all happen. I could say like having been born and raised in California, we have all the different climates or like the little different environments, like from the ocean to, to the mountains. And I’ve never seen anything like this before and working in the field too, is just that it’s, it’s like an invisible thing you don’t know until you’re you’re around it. And it’s, if everything was normal, it wasn’t because of climate change things. The trends wouldn’t show that it would just be like, Oh, like every summer it will be like this every, you know, winter every now and then you might have the work, but we’ve been getting more and more extreme events and occurrences that have been happening that are really pointing to the fact that it’s climate change and it’s caused by humans. I think that that is also an inspirational point for us to, to think about how we as humans can take action and it’s better to take action now than wait for a while.

Doreen Wong:

And I can recall like several years ago it was just like, Oh, like everything’s okay. But until something really bad happens, I’ve never been in a wildfire situation where you’re, or in fire season situation where you’re like have six or eight straight weeks of an orange sun or no sun, or just like the air quality is so bad that you came and leave your house because of what’s been happening outside. Yeah. It just really shows how important for us to take action. And I think as humans, we’re all part of the ecosystem. It’s not just the outdoor environment. It’s like, we are a part of the ecosystem and we have an impact on those around us. And so we also need to be accountable for what we’re doing.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Doreen drove back to San Francisco to that red sky, an eerie city that never really woke up. But it was a sight on the way home that really got to her.

Doreen Wong:

That was the other piece that really broke my heart was just seeing how, the way you have somebody look very eerie, just like the smoke was filled across the Northern part of Yosemite. And you couldn’t see Half Dome. You couldn’t see all the, the, you can kind of make out some of the trees, but it’s just, it was just not how you see a, somebody and all our like films and like photos and stuff. Like you send me this beautiful place. And like, it was just covered in smoke. And that day when we drove back to San Francisco, we’ve already been seeing like news updates and people asking if we were okay, because they’re like, Oh, it’s like the apocalypse in San Francisco with the orange sun. And, um, when we got back, I just felt like we were in a whole nother planet. Like, are we actually back? We thought we were, when we were by the coastline, you know, a lot of times the winds would blow and like clear up the air quality, especially around the coast. But it was definitely not the case when we came back.

Gale Straub:

Hmm. Wow. Oh my gosh, that visual of Yosemite is, is because I feel like we have such idealized visions of like what we think nature should look like and like what these special places should look like. And we don’t necessarily accommodate in our brains for what could happen to those special places.

Doreen Wong:

[inaudible] and that’s, that was the thing. It was just like, we see how beautiful it is, but then you don’t realize like this could keep happening for, and this will actually keep happening over the next years if we don’t do something about it. And, um, if you want to keep these places beautiful. And like, I think it’s a lot of during this whole pandemic too, is that something that you can only do outside is go outside and to have that taken away from you? That that’s just like another part of our ability to enjoy the outdoors and our ability to like find ourselves and like really embrace it. And I think that’s something that we often take for granted is like, this is all what we love. And like, this is where we live. And if you want to be able to enjoy these things that we need to take care of our earth.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Reflecting on her trip, Doreen looks back on the bright spots on what she and her friends learned about listening to their limits and not necessarily sticking to the plan. Doreen’s also hopeful that raising awareness will have a cumulative impact.

Doreen Wong:

I think something I’ve been seeing lately is just like how resilient are young and passionate, very passionate mission-oriented our younger generation, our next generations are, and just seeing how they have this energy. And so I hope like that our older generation will realize like what we are doing now. And like, Oh, everything seems fine. It’s like, think about our children or grandchildren. Think about the future for those who will be left with this earth. And so, like, I think that’s something I have hope for is just like knowing how passionate and mission-oriented this next generation is. Like, I I’m hoping for a lot of change. And I think there would be a lot of inspiration. There is just making sure that we are communicating and bringing awareness in our local communities and like making sure we can talk, relate to like everyone of all generations.

Gale Straub – Narration:

Before we wrap up, I wanted to share some final words from Dani, who we heard from in the first half of the episode to underline the importance of sharing our climate stories and folding in our communities in the process.

Dani Reyes-Acosta:

As a splitboarder, I want, I want to have a safe and solid student path. I want to have a community of people that I can ski in split board with that are positive and supportive. I want to be able to have good food on my table. And all of these things are linked. They’re all linked to the FA whether it’s environmental justice and like the farm workers that have been picking our food during a pandemic and wildfires, we still have food on our plates. I have the privilege to be able to go and do these really cool things in the moment, but only because of other people that are also doing their work. So it’s, it’s my work. It’s part of my work to, I think, advocate for we’re doing what’s right. And you know, if we go back to the idea of collective liberation, like really just thinking about how can we show up for all communities, because unless we’re thinking about everyone, then we’re really just thinking about ourselves and that’s kind of mindset that doesn’t serve anyone.

Gale Straub – Narration:

As the editor of this show, I’m always looking for an ending. Words of inspiration, a call-to-action, something to leave you listeners with that is both an opening and a resolution. I can’t help but be a little at a loss here. Wildfires will continue to rage, permafrost will continue to melt. But talking to Dani and Doreen, I’m reminded that we don’t have to resign ourselves to these changes. I’m reminded that we don’t stand alone in the face of this, that collective action through voting, organizing, supporting grassroots organizations can make a difference.

As the sun shines here in my home state of New Hampshire, I can dream of my favorite landscapes and leave room in my mind for their adaptation, just as we all will continue to grow and fight and change.

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