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Week of August 10-16: More interviews and brainstorming!

Hi! This week, I continued brainstorming and began planning a final product and got the opportunity to interview more really amazing people!

First, I spoke to Dr. Anantha Aiyyer, a professor at NC State who studies atmospheric dynamics, specifically focusing on Easterly waves, climate dynamics, hurricane formation, and more! It was so interesting to hear an academic’s perspective on the climate change debate–I learned so much about the rewards and struggles of explaining climate change from a more scientific lens. He mentioned some really interesting facets of climate science that I hadn’t even thought about; for example, the amount of uncertainty surrounding climate modeling and the lack of knowledge from the general public. Many of us can understand the conclusions scientists draw from climate models, but we don’t understand how they’re created or used, causing lots of misinterpretation and confusion. When we discussed how science could be made more transparent, he highlighted the unwillingness we often have to even TALK about the issue, largely because of the lack of “excitement” surrounding the issue (especially compared to technological innovations like AI and big data), the politicization, and the depressing nature of climate change. One observation he pointed out really opened my eyes to the problem: we have dozens of political pundits commenting on every news channel, but barely any public science speakers! All of these insights changed my view on climate change and gave me direction on how to move forward with solutions, and I really enjoyed speaking with Dr. Aiyyer!

climate modeling
An example of a climate model. This is a very simplified, generalized image, and it still looks incredibly complicated! It just goes to show how little we know about these issues and how overwhelming they can be…

Source: Selin, Henrik and Mann, Michael. “Global Warming.” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/science/global-warming. Accessed 17 August 2020

I also got a chance to talk to one of my friends at Cary Academy, Sydney, who’s involved in their environmental club: the CA Seeds. They’ve organized events ranging from carpool challenges to spirit points, and I’m so in awe of their dedication to solving this problem! We talked about many different issues, including how online climate events are perceived by classmates, what gets people interested in fighting climate change, and how sustainability could be built into the curriculum. We also discussed how difficult it is to connect with climate activism, especially because it’s not a personal issue–we can’t see how individual people are being impacted. On a more positive note, though, it was really interesting to hear about the diversity of background and thought among the members of the club and how that has helped them bring in more ideas! Check out the CA Seeds on Instagram to learn more about what they’re doing

Please take a look at my interviews page to learn more about the discussions I had with Dr. Aiyyer and Sydney as well as other interviews I’ve conducted!
Also, along with one more interview, I’m hoping to make more tangible progress on my final product next week. I will keep you updated on how everything goes, and thank you so much for reading! 🙂