Hello, Climatetech Media followers,
I have been quiet for some time, and I want to let you know that the site isn't stale, I've just been taking a much-needed break.
In May, I learned of a friend’s passing due to an overdose of fentanyl, a terrible scourge coursing through the United States. Tragically, nearly 100,000 Americans have died from opiate overdoses this past year. This news gave me a strong sense that I needed to take some time off. Simply being alive and paying attention to the vibrancy of the world, feels like a full-time job.
Today, we are facing the hottest wildfires ever seen, the reopening of society, even as COVID19 variants spread, renewed violent conflict in Israel/Palestine, the fallout from Brexit, the assassination of the Haitian president, the arrest of the former South African president, the drought in New Mexico, Donald Trump’s continued hold on the American Republican Party… the list goes on and on. There are some good things too, like concerts and cookouts. It's not all bad. But there's a lot of difficult stuff coming to the surface right now.
To me, being someone who does the work of climate innovation and regeneration, means being someone who is paying attention to the world, understanding the baseline upon which the future is built. In the midst of the turmoil, with my break from publishing, a couple of months elapsed.
But really - these stories are just points in time along a continuum of constant change. The stories live on, even between posts. The post is just a slice of the picture, one moment in time. The stories change moment to moment. Always-on media is an addictive force in our world, but it doesn't have to be that way. Media-off is perfectly normal; the world outside our doors has many of the answers we seek.
I feel a pressure to address the lack of activity on this site, because I am fully aware that climatetechmedia.com is on the keyword search list of anyone who researching the climatetech space. Amirite? Tweet at me if you found the website that way - @ctaadv. I imagine those people, perhaps that is you, visiting this website, finding a handful of posts by me, and then leaving, having felt an impression in some way.
I'm going to be honest: I didn’t attend journalism school. I studied engineering. I’m not even necessarily a prolific blogger. But I am aspirational, was taught to dream, and I know how to use a computer and snag internet domains. This is how I ended up leading this “Climatetech Media Project” thing. Timing.
Timing. Timing, aspiration, and a touch of artistry.
Recently, I've realized that I don't actually want to run a media company, especially not alone. Even while collaborating with the host of the Carbotnic podcast, James McWalter, I found that my hesitance to fully jump into the concept of a climate media platform is based in a reality that is not changed in the presence of a close collaborator. When I reflect on this initiative, I realize that what I do want, is better and more climate media to exist.
But the role I should play within it is unclear. Am I creator? Organizer? Leader? Follower? Hobbyist?
What I do know is this - I am myself. I am Matthew. The thoughts and perspectives I write are my own, and are gathered from people who I speak to and learn from. The desire to bring a squadron of writers and content creators together, to lead the charge of climate innovation narratives, is an enormous bite of the pie, when I have barely even put it in the oven for the first time. It's raw.
I am planning to migrate all of my content to a website under the brand of my own name. This way, I will be free to express my opinion and build my portfolio of work without being tied to an entity that collaborates with others. My mentor, teacher, and friend, zero-waste leader Katie Patrick, advised this of me last year, when she told me that people can relate emotionally to you as a person, more than they can to your brand.
At this moment, my success or failure should perhaps not be dependent on my ability to uphold a high standard of journalistic and scientific ethics for an organization that publishes views on climate from many different people. Don't get me wrong - ethics are of the utmost importance for me and the work I do. But getting into the business of publishing the work of others; that's a whole other ballgame, that, frankly, I am not ready for. That day may come soon, but it's not today. It's not tomorrow.
So, what happens to climatetechmedia.com?
Once my content migrates over, the site will be empty.
From emptiness, comes wholeness.
It is my hope that the new whole will achieve the original mission behind the climatetech media project: a place to share cutting-edge climate and related media. The new version will have another chance at becoming a destination for interesting climate media.
A new iteration.
Millions of dollars would help. It would've helped with the previous iteration, but, I try to be Zen about all this. Go with the flow. Let it just be. Everything is perfect, as it is.
Yes, and ... Real Talk, in the year-and-change since I've been working on this project, I've seen a female-empowerment sports media company come into being with tens of millions of dollars, and media companies started by veteran journalists, with millions of dollars backing them.
In the climate space, Canary Media came into being, with former writers from Greentech Media, and the backing of RMI. That's all groovy and all, but they're only publishing blog posts! No film, no music, no visual art, no theatre. Just blogging. This is not interesting, folks. We need INTERESTING! We need NEW! FRESH! ENERGETIC RESONANCE, PLEASE! The Impact (https://readtheimpact.com/) is a peer volunteer-driven climate media site, but it succumbs to the same problems as Canary: writing only.
EarthX TV is looking pretty good, like a Netflix of climate media. They're a nonprofit, as are many of the newest media companies. I like EarthX because it looks as good as Netflix, and design matters. They get my kudos (for now at least...).
The west is burning. The east is infested with ticks. The south is dried out. It's hot. It's cold. All at once. Earth is communicating to us.
There is an opportunity for us to channel new stories through new channels to help people tune in, turn on, and drop in.
New times demand new media.
But it's not going to happen with a thousand bucks and a prayer. It needs a team. It needs stipends and honoraria. It needs software and servers. It needs advertising budget.
I'm one person, and I've found doing it all to be straight-up impossible, especially while caring for myself and my family. I am not willing to trade my autonomy for building this media platform on a volunteer basis. We all need more self-care and less work. Climate innovators, as with all social-justice workers, need CASH UP FRONT, so that we can eat good food, rest well, and have healthy relationships (a sentiment echoed by the inimitable Lilly Tong of Make Peas Not Beef).
Thank you for tuning in. Whenever you feel a desire for unique and modern perspective on climate innovation, come find me.
My publishing days are far from over, in fact, I'm just getting started. There's never a better time than now, a better place than here. Catch you later.