Episode 74: What Are LGBTQ+ Responses to Climate Change?

Speaking with five different guests, host, Peterson Toscano, takes a deep dive to explore how climate change and extreme weather affect lesiban, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-binary, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. 

Episode 74: What Are LGBTQ+ Responses to Climate Change? Leo Goldsmith (he/him) of ICF is one of the co-authors of Queer and Present Danger: Understanding the Disparate Impacts of Disasters on LGBTQ+ Communities. Together with Dr. Michael Mendez, Assistant Professor of Environmental Planning and Policy at the University of California, Irvine Vanessa Raditz from Out in Sustainability who is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia, they researched the unique vulnerabilities of this community in disaster relief; the myth of gay affluence; how faith-based groups have a history of discriminatory practices in disaster relief; how cohesive is the LGBTQ community and how race is a problem even in LGBTQ groups. Leo also provides practical ways community members and leaders can build stronger, more resilient LGBTQ+ communities that can bounce back from extreme weather events. 

Nokwanda Maseko is a South African economist who identifies as a Queer Black person. As a senior economist at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies, she has written position papers about what a just transition can look like, especially for women and the large sector of the Black South African population. Because of unemployment and informal employment, these populations are not often part of the conversations around just transition. 

Episode 74: What Are LGBTQ+ Responses to Climate Change? Isaias Herandez (he/him) aka Queer Brown Vegan was born in Los Angeles, California, also known as Tongva Land. As someone who grew up in a community that faced environmental injustices, Isaias developed an interest to learn about his environment. Living in Section 8 affordable housing, using food stamps growing up, and witnessing pollution affect his body, Isaias turned his anger and sadness to become an environmental educator. He earned a B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and is involved in a variety of diversity inclusion work in environmental spaces, academic research, and creative work. Isaias’ work is centered on environmental justice with a lens of localization. Isaias works as a full-time content creator and public speaker on QueerBrownVegan.

The Art House

EJ Baker (they/them)  and Rae Binstock (she/her) tell us about Good Energy Stories, a story consultancy for the age of climate change. Their mission is to inspire, support, and accelerate stories in scripted TV and film that reflect the world we live in now —and help us envision a better tomorrow. 

They talk about the kind of stories and approaches to storytelling that move audiences to feel empathy for those suffering and an enthusiasm for solutions that make the world a better place.  

Rae Binstock is a playwright and screenwriter. Her plays include That Heaven’s Vault Should Crack (The New Group, Lark Development Center, T. Schreiber’s Studios), Land of No Mercy (Landing Theatre Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, Princess Grace finalist), and WALKERS (The Shelter, O’Neill Conference semifinalist, Jerome Fellowship finalist). Her work has appeared in Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, Jewish Plays Project, and the Fresh Fruit Festival, among others. Rae’s pilot Homecoming was selected for the 2020 WriteHer List, and she is a two-time semifinalist for the Sundance Episodic Lab.

Rae is a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Rita Goldberg Playwrights Workshop Fellow at the Lark, and a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow. She has attended numerous residencies, including the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, PLAYA Summer Lake, and the Ragdale Foundation. Rae served as the Writers’ Assistant on both FX Networks’ FOSSE/VERDON and Apple+’s shows Schmigadoon and IF/THEN. She is also one of the two authors of the Climate Storytelling Playbook, a writing guide for climate change stories published by Good Energy. She lives in Los Angeles with her cat, Black Cat.

As creative director, EJ Baker talks about the unique color palette they chose for the Good Energy website. They explain why you will not find a spot of green anywhere! They are a co-founder of Maybe Ventures, an art and strategy collective focused on envisioning more just, sustainable, and beautiful new worlds. EJ’s work has been featured in Fast Company, Variety, Typewolf, and Fonts in Use. Hailing from the forests of upstate New York, they now live amongst the urban cottontails and sidewalk dandelions of Somerville, MA. 

Dig Deeper

Good News Report

Leo Goldsmith tells us about QReady, a new resource created by Out for Sustainability (Out4S.) QReady began as a disaster-prepared packing list specific for the LGBTQ+ community, which you can access below. They are now planning to expand the program to provide multi-scale offerings for individuals, organizations, and disaster professionals to foster the resilience of LGBTQ+ communities, with a focus on the needs of queer and trans Black and Indigenous people of color (QTBIPOC).

This program expansion was developed by Vanessa Raditz through a multi-year fellowship with Out4S and serves as the official Qready Project Director. Vanessa is also the director of Out4S’ first fiscally-sponsored project: “Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the era of Climate Change”. The completion of this project is the first step of Out for Sustainability’s expanded Qready initiative!

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To hear a preview of the conversations from this week’s episode, watch the video below.