Sep 2022 Collab
Rachel Woods-Robinson is a Postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory interested in solar energy technology research, and communicating research findings and the need for renewables to the policy community, the general public, and K-12 students.
Join Rachel in sending 3 letters to Congress prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
10 minutes total • @September 1, 2022 → September 30, 2022
Use the links below to take action, then track your participation in Decarbon. You can also discuss, ask questions, and share progress in r/decarbon.
- Urge Congress to Investigate the Fossil Fuel Industry
- Tell Congress we need swift, equitable, significant, and effective climate action
- Demand Congress invest in a clean energy future
Hi. I’m Rachel Woods-Robinson.
I’m a scientist studying new materials to make solar panels more efficient and reliable. I got into this research because I’m passionate about addressing the climate crisis, and wanted to combine this challenge with my fascination with crystals, and now I study the tiny crystals inside of solar panels. But, research progress is slow, and addressing climate change will involve way more than just tech solutions. We all have actions we need to take. But I’m concerned that we are not acting fast enough to address the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
Sometimes the task ahead feels so overwhelming and brings up all sorts of emotions for us, and one of the strongest for me is a phenomenon psychologists call “learned helplessness”. Learned helplessness acts as a feedback loop: we feel so overwhelmed that we feel helpless, like our individual actions don’t matter, and this serves as a barrier that makes us less likely to take action, which will in turn scale up to exacerbate the climate crisis.
Learned helplessness acts as a feedback loop: we feel so overwhelmed that we feel helpless, like our individual actions don’t matter, and this serves as a barrier that makes us less likely to take action.
So for this first ever Decarbon “Co-lab”, let’s confront this barrier and take some action together. But what’s the most impactful way to do this? There are so many problems, how do we know what to focus on?
Since I’m a concerned scientist, I often seek guidance from the Union of Concerned Scientists, or UCS. UCS is a US-based nonprofit science advocacy organization bringing together scientists and citizens, and they have outlined a series of small but impactful actions that you can take as a concerned citizen. I trust UCS to prioritize the most impactful actions we can take in a given moment. I really like these actions because they don’t require any money or travel, just a few minutes of your time from anywhere in the world.
So, the challenge is for us to each take three small actions this month. We’ve selected three different topics related to climate action, and we’ll be writing letters to Congress about these topics together. You can use the UCS script or write your own. For example, my first action this month is a letter to the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to urge congress to Hold Big Oil accountable for climate deception and harm, and I used the script that UCS has written. When you’ve completed your action, then log it on the Decarbon App, and afterwards we’ll add up all the actions we’ve taken together as a community! We note this a US-based action, but if you live outside of the US and would like us to add a similar action for participants in your country, please reach out to the Decarbon team.
These actions may seem small, but I see taking action like a muscle, building a habit that you can then carry forward in your life. Just how science research on small crystals in solar panels can scale up into impactful technology, your small actions in our democrazy are important and can scale up into impactful change.
I encourage you to see this as a starting point, if you’d like I challenge you to reflect on this question: What other small actions can you take in your life right now that can scale up and help build a more sustainable and just world?
Just how science research on small crystals in solar panels can scale up into impactful technology, your small actions in our democracy are important and can scale up into impactful change.
Hope you can join me and Decarbon this month to act on climate change, let’s goooooo!
- Follow Rachel on Twitter
- Visit Rachel’s website
- Visit Decarbon’s website
- Learn more about the important of impatient optimism
Did we miss something? Want to collab? Email us at email@example.com