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Sticky Weather Is Evolving
I'm changing my approach to make the newsletter more engaging, informative, and sustainable
I hope you’ve been enjoying the cooler temperatures and lower humidity as fall seems to be here now. And not just the “false fall” we tend to get in the South, despite slightly warmer weather this week — I mean real fall.
Let me start by apologizing for the radio silence at Sticky Weather over the past two months. This is a new project for me, one that’s quite different from others I’ve pursued in the past, and I’m still trying to figure out the best approach for how I can accomplish what I want to do with it while still making something informative and enjoyable for you, the reader. I sincerely appreciate your support thus far and hope you’ll stick with me through some of the growing pains that accompany a project like this.
Here’s why I wanted to get in touch: the format of Sticky Weather is changing. Don’t worry, it will still be a newsletter hosted on Substack (I’m not getting back into podcasting just yet), but instead of the newsletter being a sort of round-up of various climate stories across the South with one short featured story, I’m shifting focus to share one story per issue with much more editorial input from yours truly. Meaning, that future newsletters will be just as informative but will be written more in my writing style as opposed to the objective, journalistic tone of past issues.
I think this will afford me more opportunities to dive deeper into individual stories that you may not hear about elsewhere, and, just as importantly, lower the risk of me burning out. I hope the result is ultimately a better reading experience, and I hope you’ll take a chance on me and keep an open mind while I work out some of the kinks.
What is Sticky Weather, anyway?
Following a brief conversation with a coworker in the restroom the other day (there’s the new writing style already — aren’t you excited?), I decided it might be worth revisiting the purpose of this newsletter just so we’re all on the same page.
I recently started a new job and am going through the process of getting to know a bunch of new people all at once, which is really fun and not at all overstimulating for an introvert like myself. That entails getting to explain the climate writing I do, which usually comes up sooner or later. I’m glad people feel comfortable asking me about this, but it is always a little challenging for me to decide how I’m going to respond.
What if I come across as fanatical or alarmist and accidentally turn them off from what might otherwise be a productive and catalyzing conversation?
What if they are in the small minority of people who still believe climate change is a hoax?
What if this somehow impacts my job or employability?
In this case, my coworker asked me a question stemming from a misconception I think a lot of people have: “So, how long have you been an environmental activist?”
I completely understand why someone would label what I do as activism, and I don’t hold anything against people for thinking this or asking me about it. But I don’t consider myself an activist. In this situation, I tried to gently correct them by explaining that I don’t consider myself an activist but that I do write and think a lot about sustainability and climate change.
(Perhaps why I don’t consider myself an activist is a topic for another discussion. The short answer is I don’t think I’ve earned that title.)
Which led to a follow-up question: “So are you interested in the weather, or just the way the world is changing?”
To which, of course, the answer is both. But I also explained as best I could that climate change really touches everything, so in a way it’s hard for me to pin down one specific area that I focus on the most. Sure, I have this newsletter where I write about climate change from a regional perspective, but climate change is perhaps the most intersectional issue of our time.
You could easily cover climate and hardly write about detailed aspects of climate science just as you could cover climate and hardly write about the intricacies of zoning laws or immigration policy. Climate is hard to write about because it requires knowing a little bit about a lot of complicated subjects at once and being able to tie them together in a coherent narrative that demonstrates a connection with the climate and ecological crisis.
That being said, it’s a fair question, and one I will posit to myself as the author of this newsletter. What is Sticky Weather all about?
My annoying answer — here’s a list of the things Sticky Weather is not about:
Sticky Weather is not…
A place to get breaking news about climate change
Written by a climate scientist (or a bona fide climate journalist, for that matter)
Intended to present you with objective, Associated Press-style articles that don’t take a side or share a personal point of view
Just about extreme weather
Just sharing information about depressing stories (although I can’t promise that won’t ever happen — it is climate, after all)
Trying to appease everyone, and certainly not everyone in the South
Instead, it’s written by me, a guy with a business degree who probably knows more about climate issues and climate science than the average person on the street but who has no formal background or training in climate science and precious little formal background and training in journalism. I happen to be from the Southern United States (Georgia, born and raised), and my thinking is often framed in terms of Leftist or progressive economic/political ideology and materialist-leaning philosophy.
That might ruffle a few feathers, but that’s what you’ll get with this newsletter. I’m a woefully uncredentialed dude with an abiding interest in/fear of climate change and all the ways it is impacting the world. Sticky Weather is my way of looking at how it impacts my little corner of the world, the Southeastern region of the US.
How often can you expect updates?
That’s a good question, and one I’m still working through. My goal is to at least publish one story per month, but I’d ideally like to publish more often than that.
As I’ve previously alluded to, however, I have a family, a full-time job outside of climate, and climate-related volunteer commitments — which, on that last point, if you’re in the Atlanta area, come to one of Work on Climate’s monthly Atlanta meetups!
The most important thing to me here is flexibility. I don’t want to hold myself to a rigid publishing schedule I can’t keep up with. As I mentioned earlier, burnout is a concern of mine when doing any new project like this.
I think that’s all for now. If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will reply as soon as I can. Until next time, thank you for reading — your support means so much!