Woods & Wilds: The Podcast | Radical Dreaming

A Podcast Interview with Kaleia Martin and Nakisa Glover on radical dreaming.


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This week our hosts of Woods & Wilds: The Podcast, Kimala Luna from Dogwood Alliance and Elizabeth Lashay from SlayTheMic, talk with Kaleia Martin and Nakisa Glover about radical dreaming, changing our belief around what is possible, and how we’re all needed in this movement.

Woods & Wilds: The Podcast | Radical Dreaming

Listen to the full Woods & Wilds: The Podcast featuring Kaleia Martin and Nakisa Glover:

Kaleia Martin, MSW is a community advocate who firmly believes in the power of individuals and communities to make extraordinary change. She has a passion for working in an authentic, community-centered way that allows for typically excluded voices to be elevated. She is a forward-thinking leader who thrives to push everyone around her to dream up more radical possibilities. Kaleia is the co-chair of the environmental justice working group for the Southeast Climate and Energy Network (SCEN). She also has experience as a youth organizer, program manager, facilitator, and filmmaker. She is the founder and striving embodier of Disrupt Transform, LLC.

Nakisa Glover, is a climate justice practitioner, thought leader, tech advocate, and community engagement expert. Nakisa actively develops strategies across activism, films, music, and podcasts to help engage and activate millennials, Gen Z, artists, entertainers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and other climate experts. Nakisa has built a local to national track record as a community organizer, with years of experience in corporate, community and service-based roles. These roles include Sol Nation Founder, where she advocates for real SOLutions on behalf of the communities she serves; Girls Who Code as a former Regional Partnership Coordinator, where she closes gender and diversity gaps in technology; and as Think 100% Organizer for Hip Hop Caucus where she highlights solutions to climate change and environmental injustices, to help make Think 100% The Coolest place in the climate movement. Because of her expertise in climate justice, Nakisa has been called upon to share knowledge with media outlets, including Media Matters, Yes Magazine, HuffPost, Creative Loafing, Gizmodo, WBTV, Atmos, Lillian’s List, and Earth Gen. Additionally, Nakisa has been asked to be a featured speaker by the Black Women’s Health Imperative, DC Environmental Film Festival, Smithsonian Anacostia, US Climate Action Network, National Environmental Justice Conference, National Adaptation Forum, and the National Conference on Equitable Development.

You can listen to Nakisa on the #ClimateFriday radio show broadcasting on WPFW on Fridays at 9:00 am. Learn more about Nakisa at www.naktisaglover.com and connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Check out the full transcript of our interview with Kristan Pitts!

Full Transcript of What Freedom Tastes Like with Kristan Pitts:

Elizabeth Lashay:
Hello, everyone, I’m Elizabeth Lashay with Slay The Mic and, of course,I’m joined by my amazing co-host.

Kimala Luna:
I’m Kimala Luna from Dogwood Alliance and I have the greatest pleasure to introduce two incredible guests today. We have Kaleia Martin and Nakisa Glover with us today. Kaleia Martin has a masters of Social Work, is a community advocate who firmly believes in the power of individuals and communities to make extraordinary change. She has a passion for working in an authentic community-centered way that allows for typically excluded voices to be elevated. She is a forward-thinking leader who thrives to push everyone around her to dream up more radical possibilities. Kaleia is the co-chair of the Environmental Justice Working Group for the Southeast Climate and Energy Network. She also has experience as a youth organizer, program manager, facilitator and filmmaker.
She’s the founder and striving embodier of DisruptTransform, LLC. And Nakisa Glover is a climate justice practitioner, thought leader, tech advocate, and community engagement expert. Nakisa actively develop strategies across activism, films, music and podcast to help engage and activate millennials, Gen Z artists, entertainers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and other climate experts. Nakisa has built a local to national track record as a community organizer with years of experience in corporate community and service based roles. These roles include Sol Nation founder where she advocates for real solutions on behalf of the community she serves, Girls Who Code as a former Regional Partnership coordinator where she closes gender and diversity gaps in technology.

And as Think 100% organizer for Hip Hop Caucus, where she highlights solutions to climate change and environmental injustices to help make Think 100% the coolest place in the climate movement. Because of her expertise in climate justice, Nakisa has been called upon to share knowledge with media outlets including Media Matters, YES! Magazine, Huffington Post, Creative Loafing, Gizmodo, WBTV, Atmos, [Leans Left] and EarthGen. Additionally, Nakisa has been asked to be a featured speaker by the Black Women’s Health Imperative, DC Environmental Film Festival, Smithsonian Anacostia, US Climate Action Network, National Environmental Justice Conference, National Adaptation Forum and the National Conference on Equitable Development.
She has been recognized as a 2019 Grist 50 Fixer, with the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Growing the Dream Award and the 2016 Clean Air Carolina Air Keeper Award, joining North Carolina governor Roy Cooper, Dr. James Kinney, and other business leaders. Nakisa is from Charlotte, North Carolina, and holds a biology degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Welcome, y’all.

Elizabeth Lashay:
Whoa, hey, hey [crosstalk 00:03:36] and you found us, like Woods & Wilds podcast like to add on to this bio of both of you. It’s amazing. Welcome, first of all, we’re really excited to be able to sit down and speak with you. And I have a question that I want to ask both of you. Kaleia in your bio you were talking about being a radical dreamer, and then Nakisa you were also talking about dreams and accomplishing things and pursuing your passion. So what does it look like to be a radical dreamer?

Kaleia Martin:
For me sometimes it looks a little chaotic, right? But I think I’d say for me being a radical dreamer means daring to take the risk that everyone wants to take but is too scared to do. I like to think I’m trying to live my life in a way now where if there’s something that I want to do, instead of focusing on the reasons why I shouldn’t do it, I just figure out how to get that thing done. And I think, we often talk about that, but especially being like a Southern black girl living in this country, it sometimes feels like society has told us we have to shrink our dreams down to be more realistic.
And I’m just at the point in life where I’m rejecting what society tells me is realistic for my life and encouraging as many people as I can to do the same because I know that we all have the capability to live very full, very exciting lives. Whatever we want to do, there’s no reason why we can’t do it other than we think we can’t do it. So I like to encourage people to do whatever it is that they feel that they’re too small or less equipped to do, because that’s just socialization telling us those things. It’s not true.

Elizabeth Lashay:
Thank you for sharing that.

Nakisa Glover:
I love that definition, Kaleia and it makes me think of a term that I’ve learned and embodied lately of radical healing. So to be a radical dreamer, I think you got to have radical healing also, and embracing what that looks like a lot of people will talk about healing. But what does radical healing look like especially when you have been forced into so many different situations that have caused pain, trauma, you witness pain and trauma of your community and of your people, and you’ve got to be able to dream. Sometimes you can’t even get to the place of dreaming because you haven’t healed yet. So I really appreciate and embrace the term radical healing and [inaudible 00:06:16] couple it with radical healing.

Kimala Luna:
Can you talk a little bit more about what that process looks like for both y’all? Because it’s definitely it’s like, what was coming to mind when you were speaking is like society wants you to be disempowered, and is like pushing that on you. And so like, it’s really an internal shift between disempowerment and rejecting it, and then moving towards empowerment. But like, what is that? What does that? What clicks for you to move from that place to the more empowered place?

Kaleia Martin:
I can speak from my experience and say, I think for me reading and watching and just studying the works of Black woman, but particularly like Black, queer, and trans women, and just thinking about what it meant for those women to live their lives at a time when they were completely ostracize and be willing to just stand in their truth. I think being able to read the works of Audrey Lorde, or even just the reflections of Angela Davis, or Bell Hooks, and watch them process life. And understanding that even though they wrote these texts decades ago, they’re still very much applicable.
To me it was a lot easier to get to a point of healing because someone had already laid the blueprint for me, they already told me, they basically could tell me how I was feeling before I had the words to describe it. So I think for me, being able to identify what I was feeling, like even how you named feeling disempowered, it took me a long time to realize how that was showing up in my own life. So being able to put a finger on what I’m feeling helped me then start to unpack that and then overcome it and get to a point where I no longer felt that way.

Nakisa Glover:
I think what comes up for me is sometimes you just don’t have any other options, and the way in which systems have forced you into positions of disempowerment, you really you have no fear to take the risk, because what’s the worst that’s going to happen? You already know the worst, you’ve already experienced the worst. So really being empowered in being able to set yourself on a trajectory of being comfortable in the unknown, because the known, what you see and what you feel has created this amount of harm, or has disrupted your ability to find stability. Whether it’s job stability, or financial stability, but really finding yourself creating pathways where there are none, because it’s really survival. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. It’s really survival what it comes down to.

Elizabeth Lashay:
So I know that Juneteenth has passed, and it’s now something that is a conversational buzzword. And I also want to ask you all when it comes to climate justice, just like what we’re seeing with Juneteenth and other things that are happening in our society, how can we go past it just being a buzzword? How can we actually implement climate justice, environmental justice into our every day instead of just saying, “I’m going to wear a cool T-shirt and recycle on Wednesdays?”

Kaleia Martin:
Nakisa, I’m going to let you take this one first. I know this is your wheelhouse.

Nakisa Glover:
Oh my gosh, I saw you off mute. I was like Kaleia has got it. Okay. Kaleia got it to just hand it off to me. Well, I’m really glad that you asked. So I want to lead the conversation with actually a talk that I gave this past week around a case for climate reparations. And let’s talk about reparations from a climate perspective. Let’s talk about Black liberation. Like when we talk about the issues with the climate crises, we will not solve climate without solving racial inequities, and solving for racial justice. Like it’s just not going to happen, there has to be a centralization of the impacts and the harm that capitalism and racism. And as we’ll be talking about in our upcoming series with Dogwood Alliance, all the isms, we have to address how those isms have gotten us to where we are.

So it is a month that we center the harms that the previous errors have caused to Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. So I like to dig in a little bit around the climate reparations piece. Reparations overall, reparations is a need to repair the harm of the technical mechanism in which the repairing of harm that certain conditions have caused for people who were enslaved, and now present-day people who have faced environmental harms. So I didn’t come up with the term common reparations, but it was coined by Dr. Maxine Burkett in 2009. And I’d like to take a moment to just define it for you all. In 2009, Dr. Maxine Burkett came up with this in a paper, she’s a law professor. And climate reparations is the effort to assess harm caused by the past emissions of the major polluters and to improve the lives of the climate-vulnerable through direct programs, policies and or mechanisms for significant resource transfers, to assure the ability of the climate-vulnerable to contemplate a better livelihood in light of future climate challenges.

So I want to frame that because in short, a friend and colleague Tamara Toles O’Laughlin actually goes further to describe it as, a way in which we will move money and other resources to increase the likelihood that the climate-vulnerable will survive the crisis. It ultimately calls out the endless accumulation of wealth by fossil fuel companies and reroutes it to the people that they hurt. So when you talk about Juneteenth, and Black Liberation, and emancipation of the people, we can’t do it without talking about the emancipation and the freedom from pollution in our communities.

Kaleia Martin:
And that’s why I kicked it to her first, because I don’t really have anything to add other than, like you said, it has to be more than a moment. It can’t just be the one-off things that we do as individuals that make us pat ourselves on the back. And we really do things like that to like, give us this like moral high ground like this superiority complex of like, well, I recycle, so I’m not harming the planet. But I’m still using Amazon Prime and order things that I could just go to the store and get. It helps us absolve ourselves of the responsibility each of us has to do more. And then again, it also if we’re not attaching via Juneteenth or climate justice, we’re not attaching that to policies being an active thing. We know that policies are going to impact way more people than us recycling. So just helping folks be willing to understand that they have to do both and all of the above, like it’s going to take so much more effort. And it’s a great start, just like with Juneteenth is a great way to build awareness. But now the question is, now that we have people paying attention, now that people are talking about it, how do we capitalize on the moment to make sure that we can translate these people who are now interested in, who are now beginning to learn more about these issues, how do we get them to stay plugged in for the long haul? Because changing policy and then changing this culture, we’re talking about a complete societal shift from the way that we interact with each other, the way we interact with the natural world like this is a completely different world. We’re talking about creating if we want to have a planet that is sustainable for us, and for the rest of creation. So just getting folks on board and figuring out what the best way is to do that.

Kimala Luna:
That’s beautiful and tees up my question perfectly. So your training is going to be called Getting to the Root, Unpacking the Hidden Systemic Barriers of Forest Protection. Can you talk a little bit about those systemic barriers? Just a little more, and then maybe describe a little bit of like the world you would like to see?

Kaleia Martin:
Yeah, I think not the big one because they’re all interconnected, they’re inextricably linked. The one I spend the most time talking about though is just the connection between racism and capitalism and how we got to where we are in terms of the climate crisis. We know that Africans were the first capital that the people we now call Americans owned. So thinking about the original sins of native genocide, and then this stealing of enslaved [inaudible 00:15:49] people, Africans who were enslaved. We know that’s the foundation of this country. We know that this country’s wealth is built solely off the backs of free labor for 400 years. So if we can’t understand or if we can’t get folks to realize that when we’re talking about this climate crisis, when we’re talking about the fact that we are the number two polluter in the world, I argue that we’re one and two, because China’s number one, but they’re making stuff to send over here.

Kaleia Martin:
So I think we can take both crowns, honestly. But if we’re talking about those things, and not talking about our consumer culture, and not talking about the fact that our consumer culture is driven by a capitalistic model that says that you need to continue to build wealth to continue to extract and nothing bad is going to happen. And the best way to get those good profit margins is to have the cheapest labor possible, which means if someone is being exploited, then we’re not going to be able to solve this crisis. If we cannot connect all of those things together, when we’re talking about our forest, we were going to think of it as simple [inaudible 00:16:51] as we’ll just stop cutting down the trees, but we don’t fully understand why those trees are being cut in the first place, because someone’s benefiting from our forests being destroyed.

And oftentimes, when we’re talking about these issues, we tend to focus on the oppression, we focus on the people who have been harmed, which is great, right? But we tell those stories, but we don’t spend enough time looking at who is benefiting from this oppression. And we know that there are clear benefactors, there are people who are banking on the fact that we only focus on the oppression so that they can keep doing what they’re doing because no one’s holding them accountable. So that’s what we’re hoping to do with this series is to of course, highlight the oppression but then just make sure we shift to focus on the fact that someone is benefiting and it’s important that we name both.

Kimala Luna:
Yes. Say it louder.

Nakisa Glover:
Well, I think Kaleia just dropped the mic. I don’t know if y’all waiting for me but Kaleia dropped the mic. I don’t have anything else to add to that.

Elizabeth Lashay:
I believe that was very well said. And I’m really excited for that series to come up. So we’ll definitely be providing some more information on when and how you can be able to access that at the end of this podcast today. I have a question because we kind of just jumped into both of your expertise. But I want to back it up on to like, when did you fall in love with nature? At what age and describe the moment that you were like, “Yep, I’m in love with nature, this is it.”

Nakisa Glover:
I don’t know why, but like when you said that you took me right back to being in my grandparents’ driveway, looking up at the clouds and seeing all the shapes that they take and pointing out all the shapes that the clouds would take. You take me back to the fact that I’m now an aunt and I’m a mother but spending, I think it might have been last summer, spending the summer evenings teaching my niece and my son how to catch lightning bugs and let them go, and what’s funny or was beautiful I think about that is like not only did I experience that as a child, but being able to gift that experience to them and their youth. And she was my niece she was super scared to catch the lightning bugs last year. But this year, she’s like telling me how excited and brave like she’s like a whole different child when it comes to catching these lightning bugs.

Or some of y’all might refer to them as fireflies but I guess I’m really showing my Southern and country rules, calling them lightning bugs and I’m not even really pronouncing the G [inaudible 00:19:43] lightning but lightning bugs. Y’all hear me when I say that. But yeah, I think it’s always been there. I can even remember as a child, like whenever I would travel and still to this day when I travel by road like falling asleep like is something soothing about like just being outdoors. So I think it’s always been there but to Kaleia’s point from earlier, not necessarily having the language or needing a way to describe it is just it always has been, it always was and it always will be a love for nature because nature is what gives us the gift to be able to even exist.

Kaleia Martin:
I think for me, I was like a closeted nature lover. That’s the only way I can think to put it. I knew I always had this like affinity for nature. I was the girl who was like not really scared of bugs like everyone else, but I didn’t really let on that they didn’t bother me except for water bugs. I do not, just that’s a no. But every other bug, I’m like, Okay, I’m kind of scared, but you know I’m not running away frantic. Right? So growing up, I used to go camping, I had exposure to nature. But I think I was waiting for someone to give me permission to say I enjoy these things. So as I got older, I’ll honestly say I became like open and really cognizant of how much I cared about nature.

Last year during the pandemic, I started just like, going on hikes. I got this pass to the Whitewater Center because I’m based in Charlotte as well. So I would just go kayaking and spend hours just like laying on a paddleboard in the middle of the Catawba River. And it just hit me like, “Wow, I really love this. This is what fuels me. And I want to work to make sure that I can always come do this.” Because if you ride down the Catawba, I don’t know what type of industry it is but there is a polluting station as I kayak down that river. So even being faced with that as I’m just like, enjoying nature just continuously fuels me to keep working and I think… so this year, I decided to just kind of take a hiatus back to this radical dreaming thing. I quit the job I was working at and spent three months in Costa Rica. And there were times, most of the time when people asked me, “Kaleia, what did you do for three months if you weren’t working?” I was sitting outside on a beach chair watching the waves crash. And to me, it became this most mesmerizing thing because I kept saying to myself, “How do these waves just not come on shore and wash everything away?” So just like the mystery of nature, but also the constant like the fact that it can be predictable. Like when you have a garden, if you do the right thing, you’re likely to get crops at the end of it unless there’s some unforeseen natural disaster, which we know we’re having more of because of the climate crisis.

But being able to understand like the concept of you reap what you sow, literally, I learned a lot from nature, I’m paying more attention now. And I think as humans, we would all do a better job if we paid more attention to our natural world, because there’s so many things that’s trying to teach us, we’re just not listening.

Kimala Luna:
That’s beautiful. So you both are regarded as leaders. And I want to talk about how that looks really different for each of you and how you found your own sense of leadership and any advice you have for people who are still seeking their space in the world.

Nakisa Glover:
I think it’s in your sphere of influence. It wasn’t that I felt a calling to lead a number of people, although like people will try to say like Leos tend to be leaders or what have you. So there is that part, but it wasn’t that I felt called, I think for me it’s been like trying to figure it out really. I found this lane of work named climate justice and I knew I wanted to go deeper, but not necessarily having all the connecting pieces early on in my career trajectory. So like really put all the pieces together. So really like I’m clearing a pathway, like I’m clearing brush, like there is no road, there is no pathway. I’m just trying to like clear out the brush to be able to connect with like, this is where I want to be, this is exactly the work that I want to do and this is exactly the kind of meaningful impact I want to make.

And along the way, without even realizing it, I was clearing a pathway for other people. And by clearing that pathway for other people, there is a leadership aspect to that I suppose. But like where we’re collective, like we’re leading collectively. We’re leading within our sphere of influence. We all are leaders. We all are environmentalists. We all care about our ability to have clean air, clean water, and live on the land, like that’s our ultimate goal to be in harmony with the earth. And any deviation from our ability to have clean air, clean water, and live on the land is no one’s goal. There’s no one that says I want dirty water. There is no one that says like, “Give me that glass of dirty water. Yeah, that looks really appetizing to me.” There’s no one that’s saying, “Yeah, I want this terrible air.” Matter of fact, I think people are breathing in terrible air and thinking that it’s normal because you haven’t necessarily lived in a community that wasn’t being dumped on.

Like I was having this conversation recently and because Kaleia are both from the Charlotte area, Kaleia may or may not know this, but there’s like this area of town and this area of town could be any area of town, it could be your area of town. But there is an area of town in your town, that every time you go past it, you’re like, “What is that smell?” This area that I’m thinking about in particular is like right around the South Boulevard area is like a real metallic heavy smell, which I’ve come later to learn that that is a foundry. I didn’t know that growing up, I just thought that’s the way it smells are going to South Park and it would smell like raw sewage every time you will go over through that area. So I think the point is that back to the point of nobody wants to live in a community that’s not sustainable. Nobody wants to live in a community that’s not regenerative and that’s not providing them the basic necessities in life, which are air, clean air specifically, and clean water. And so in your sphere of influence, that’s what connects back to your leadership, and being able to have those conversations at the dinner table, at school, within your natural course of your day. So I’ll stop there but that’s kind of what that means to me.

Kaleia Martin:
And I think just as an example of what she just said, in terms of like clearing away, like Nakisa is the reason why I’m in this work to the extent that I am. My first job out of grad school was I got lucky, lucked into this job as an environmental justice program coordinator. And I went to this conference, and outside of Greensboro, North Carolina, and I heard this lady talk and I’m like, “Oh, she’s from Charlotte. I’m from Charlotte.” And then I just started seeing her everywhere. So I’m like, kind of stalking her. And she’s like, “Oh, you’re young, you’re Black, and you’re a girl, and you’re from Charlotte. You need to be aware of these things, I’m going to bring you into these spaces, like come on.” And I’m like, “Me.” [inaudible 00:28:06] she’s like, “Just come on, you don’t have to do anything, but you need to be here. You have what it takes to be in this room just because you care.”

So having people like Nakisa who’ve been in this worked for a long time, who don’t mind bringing other people along, because not only was I brought into the spaces, I was a youth organizer. I had six Black high school kids that I was working with on a regular basis. So as I’m coming into these spaces, so are they. So it’s just this chain reaction of bringing folks into spaces where again, we’ve been told we should not be and then just naturally taking them over. Like it’s just kind of how that works, but I think my I guess general brand of leadership comes from as my mom says, I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut. I’ve always been the person since I was a kid where if I can tell everybody’s thinking the same thing, I’m just going to be the one to say it. Like I’m going to name the elephant in the room.

I’ve always had a very strong, I guess you’d say urge or you call it intuition where if there’s a feeling in my gut about something that’s being said, and it doesn’t feel right, I’m going to speak up, even if that makes me nervous, even if that means I might face a consequence. It’s just something that I know is instilled in me, like I can’t really control it and I have learned to just lean into that feeling and it’s never steered me wrong. And it’s never caused me harm, even when I have faced negative repercussions that always worked out for my benefit. So that’s just how I am personally but I think that that skill lends itself well to being in this space, where you have people who have been in this work for a long time, and they think they can just assume that they know the right answer without asking the people who are directly impacted. Someone has to be willing to stand up and say, “I know you’ve been doing it this way, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.”

So I find myself doing things like that. But to answer your question around how to bring And other people, we don’t need 10 Kaleias, we don’t need 10 Nakisas. I’m a handful as it is like I can’t even deal with more than one of me. So just reminding people that whatever your skills are, whatever your talents are, those are needed. We need people who can be mediators. We need people who can draw. We need people who are good at note-taking, like things that don’t seem important, it’s going to take everybody in every skill in order to have a successful movement. So just I like to encourage people to think about the things they enjoy doing, the things that they feel good about doing, and lend those to the movement. I can guarantee you, they will be useful, and people will be so grateful that you brought it.

So just wanting to tell people, you don’t have to wait until you have a certain level of expertise about this issue in order to get involved. You can start right where you are, even if the only thing you know is I care about the climate, that’s the only thing you need. And you can do this work, and you will be a benefit to society and to the world.

Elizabeth Lashay:
Thank you. And that is something that’s really inspirational because there are so many times where I get overwhelmed. It’s like, “Where do I start? How do I navigate through this? How do I stay motivated?” That it’s just doing. So thank you to you both. I want to ask you in terms of, Slay The Mic is a hip hop and R&B radio show and I want to know like is there a song, is there an artist that like really helps you get through maybe a daunting task or makes you want to celebrate or get up and dance?

Kaleia Martin:
I mean, I’m just going to assume that we can’t say Beyonce, because that’s a given. I think that’s a given. Who am I listening to right now? I’ve been on like this wave, I think it’s called Future Punk, it’s an afro, it’s on Apple playlist. And when I’m feeling like I don’t want to do something, I’ll just put on that playlist and just listen to it because I need beats that are kind of up-tempo, they’re kind of singing about nothing like the lyrics don’t really matter. I don’t think I’m listening to like major artists right now, I’m just listening to music that gives me a good vibe or music that picks up my energy. Because there are times when you do this work where you really don’t feel like doing anything.

And so being able to push through that with music that just makes me feel good, no matter who the artist is, is kind of a reflection of the world I want to live in. I want to be able to just listen to something because it’s good and not because they are from a certain background. So that’s one of the ways that I practice that.

Nakisa Glover:
I love this question. I’m just going to shout out Tobe Nwigwe, Fat, and Nail, like I’m one of the cousins too, like that’s it for me. And if you’ve never listened to Tobe Nwigwe, Nail, and Fat, do yourself a favor, and it’ll be a rabbit hole. Like I found myself down the rabbit hole, I think I started with Dope. And I didn’t come up for like the whole album like all their songs all their material and content. So if you need a recommendation on where to start in their catalog, you can definitely start with Dope as a song and then you can move to Wavy, Black. Excuse me, you can move to Wavy, you can move to Hella Black, you can move to Try Jesus Not Me. So that’s my energy right there and I love not only the music that they’re putting out, I love the knowledge that they’re putting out.
And I love the framework in which they’re doing it in and like they are promoting family, faith, and community. They’re promoting all this front and center. And it’s an excellent model for the way in which I do my work and making sure that I’m connected in that way. So that’s my inspiration, that’s my theme music, my soundtrack, all that. So thank you for that question.

Kaleia Martin:
Well, I’m going to just throw in since she dropped one artists, I’m going to just throw in Megan Thee Stallion. That is my personal favorite as well. So I’m going to start her out there because she is also someone, when I really need to just get moving, that’s my go-to, that’s my girl.

Kimala Luna:
Yes. If you could choose one thing that people just innately knew and your words are magic, and you could just say that thing and people would just know it forever, what would it be?

Nakisa Glover:
That’s a good question. I might have needed that one before, so I could make sure to give it correctly. Okay, so aside from how to pronounce my name, because y’all recognize it ain’t no H in my name. So that would be like the one like it’s Nakisha, but it is spelled Nakisa, I get that. But I would say it’s possible. Being able to have that as the thing that when I say it, people innately knew it, especially as it relates to like our work. But then like, my work isn’t really isolated from my life, like I’ve gotten to a point where everything is aligned. So overall, to be able to say across all dimensions of life that it’s possible, I think that would be it for me.

Kaleia Martin:
This is hard, but I think I’m going to go with, you have to get to the root, if you want to see the fruit change. I feel like if we as a society could just understand that we cannot fix 400 plus-year-old problems with so… while only focusing on what’s happening today. If we can understand that that’s not a good strategy, I feel like we would be so much further along as a society as a human race. So I think no matter what issue we’re talking about if we want to see something different if we want to see a different society, we have to get to the point where we understand how we messed up in the first place. Otherwise, we’re just going to recreate it.

Elizabeth Lashay:
Well, both of that, that was extremely powerful. And I was just trying to process everything that you just said, and I just bought a sweatshirt that said it’s possible with Brandy from the Brandy version, or the Cinderella, the best version. And I’m also curious, both of you have an intersection with media, whether that’s filmmaker or activating entrepreneurs and entertainers. So how does that influence some of the work towards climate justice?

Kaleia Martin:
So to me you have to shift culture if we expect policy to be effective. One of my mentors always says that culture eats policy for breakfast. And so I think, if we’re only pushing so hard for policy change, but the community’s not aware of what’s going on, and why it’s important, we’re going to get trouble from buy-in not only from the people we’re trying to sell on it, but the people who would otherwise be on our side if they knew what was going on. So I think it’s important to get into the storytelling, the entertainment space, because we know that people like to be entertained. We know who holds power in that regard in terms of how our cultural identity is shaped as a country. So as we are trying to change policy, we have to also change what we consider common sense or the right side. So I think it’s important for us, the people who are trying to save this planet to also understand we have to meet people where they are, we have to give them information in a way that is going to be well received and that means we have to be creative. And that’s where the arts come into play. I’m someone, I don’t identify as a creative or even like a filmmaker in a traditional sense but I understand and respect the importance of addressing the cultural elements of this issue. Because, again, we have to change hearts and minds along with policy. We can’t just change policy, just like we also can’t just change hearts and minds like what we talked about earlier with Juneteenth where now people are aware, but they’re not mobilized. We have to find a way to marry these items because it takes all of the components in order to have a viable future.

Nakisa Glover:
And I’ll say creatives are the translators. If we were going to solve the climate crisis or if we were going to put an end to deforestation, based on facts and figures alone, that would have been happen, like it would have been happen. There’s enough data, enough reports, enough scientists that have shown us that climate change is real and we know what the causes are, we know that it’s terrible to destroy the forests and the flooding and other impacts of deforestation cause like we would have solved that a long time ago. But you need the translators and I’m so glad Kaleia spoke to people coming into the work with their gifts, whether you’re a note-taker, whether you are a teacher, whatever your gift is, like you’re needed, and you’re being called. This is your call today to engage in the movement for climate justice, and the movement for environmental justice, and the movements for social justice. This is your calling and you’re qualified, shout out to Lindsey Harper who gave me that. You are qualified to participate and bring your gifts and create the change. You are needed. There is space for you. And that goes for our creatives and artists too. And the thing about it is like as a creative or artist, you still want clean air, you still want clean water you’re not above those needs, and you live in the same communities that are being impacted by these issues. We could name a ton of artists and creatives out of North Carolina, and these same artists and creatives exist in a state that has more pigs than humans. They exist in a state that has permitted wood pellet manufacturers to sell off wood pellets as a false solution of biodiesel or biofuel, I should say. They live in these states or live in the same that is facing these issues. So you should care, like you live here too so you should care. You shouldn’t be using your platform, because your platform speaks to the same people who are being impacted.

Kimala Luna:I so appreciate you guys taking time out and being here with us today. This has been so meaningful and rich. And I just want to know, what are y’all currently working on and where can our listeners find you and follow along?

Nakisa Glover:
First of all, you can find us by coming to the training called, Getting to the Root, Unpacking the Hidden Systemic Barriers to Forest Protection. We’d love to see you. Those dates are July 29, August 5 and August 12. And I’m sure more details will be provided for you all to get that information. So definitely come out and join myself and Kaleia for that. And then what else am I working on? I wear many hats is what I tell the people, but actively as you heard in the wonderful introduction, you can find me with Sol Nation. You can find me with Hip Hop Caucus. You can find me out here talking climate justice any and everywhere I go. You can find me talking tech advocacy and closing gender gaps in technology everywhere I go. So follow me or to continue to engage with me, you can hear me on #ClimateFriday radio show, broadcasting on WPFW on Fridays at 9AM. You can also learn about me on my website Nakisaglover.com or you can connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. I hope to see you out here in these climate justice streets.

Kaleia Martin:
Well, I’m kind of a ghost at this point, so I’ll say you can find me tagging along with whatever Nakisa’s up to. You can also find me doing work with the Southeast Climate and Energy network. And soon you’ll be able to follow and keep up with all the things on Kaleiamartin.com, that website is in the process of being built because I think right now I’m rebelling against social media. I might change my mind but right now those are the places you can find me.

Elizabeth Lashay:
Thank you both for being here with us and allowing us to have a moment of your time and have a conversation that is really needed. And I’m just going to have to reiterate, it’s possible and you can start from anywhere and we’re all needed in this movement. So thank you so much.

Kimala Luna:
Yes. Woo-hoo.

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