As we try and find solutions that can address climate change and ecological degradation, we do realize this cannot just be confined to the small confines of research, projects run on grant funding and pilots and experiments. The current structures around our choices, our food, our economies, our industries are a very big part of the problem, and must be a part of the solution as well. Business as usual cannot continue if we hope to truly reduce and adapt to the massive changes that are already here and showing up in an increasing number ways all the time.
One of the problems is that the problems, solutions and especially the acknowledgement of the scale of changes needed is not part of mainstream imagination and discussion. It will start to seep into our collective action including our daily jobs, choices and policy making only if we connect with the problem in a very tangible, immediate sense. The Nth order impacts of climate related changes and benefits of action and investments towards addressing them have to be brought into the realm of the here and now, and the dots between what the world of academics, policy makers and folks trying to create change and our everyday lives needs to get connected. We just have to start seeing the connection between PM2.5 and the health, quality of life and shortening lifespan of our kids (which we would readily pay a lot for, right?), and of bad agricultural practices and worsening food security, water tables, nutrition and financial status as a farmer.
At Rainmatter, we realized this problem of messaging needs addressing if we are to successfully take these ideas to a larger mainstream, and have all of us solve for the biggest challenge our species has ever faced. Towards this, we have decided to support journalism, storytelling and messaging for various stakeholders in the mainstream. We are doing this through grants (as opposed to investments in lieu of equity) since we believe these are public goods, and hence should be non-profit and editorially free, and have as wide a distribution as possible. We are also trying to bring multiple folks working in these domains and get collaboration going so the messaging is backed by evidence, both from research and from the reality at the ground level.
As part of this, we are delighted to announce grant support for the next 3 years for the Chaos section of The Morning Context which will be available outside the paywall for everyone.
As Priya Bubna puts it –
“Last year, we took a hard look at what we’d published, over 50 pieces, and decided there was a need for a sharper Chaos 2.0. Where we focus on fewer but important subjects, where our writing can make a difference. Quietly, we’ve been on that journey for the past many weeks now. Chaos 2.0’s mission is to write the best stories on: A. Environment and climate change. B. Conflict.”
We are also supporting through a 3 year small grant FactorDaily where Pankaj and team are starting to do deep dives into stories with a 360 degree focus on issues that touch our fellow citizens – climate and ecological degradation are very much connected to these issues.
Pankaj adds :
FactorDaily is a nonprofit media lab that aims to raise public consciousness around issues at the intersection of technology, science and society. We plan to achieve this mission by combining FactorDaily’s deep story projects with our media labs, where we experiment, build tools, and open source all the learnings.
Citizen Matters is also creating a team focused on research and stories around climate and ecology in the urban context and we’re happy to support this through a 3 year grant as well. They are also committed to an open data platform where a lot of findings will be made available for folks to use. CM is also happy to share their stories with other publications for republishing, and we would very much like to see these reach a larger audience.
We need a lot many more such efforts, in voice and video as well, also reaching across India beyond the bigger cities. We’re positive this start will add up to a larger conversation and hopefully egg every thinking Indian to get involved in whatever capacity they can.
Please also join the discussion at Grove, where the community has started to have an amazing set of folks sharing ideas, experiences, getting help, and collaborating to get together and address climate challenges.