60 Seconds on Earth with Mikaela Loach

60 Seconds on Earth with Mikaela Loach

Photograph courtesy of Mikaela Loach

 

Words by Elie Gordon

Video by emma blackman

Climate Justice Activist Mikaela Loach joins us to chat about Jamaican food, Zoom crushes, and her advice on taking climate action.

From taking the UK government to court to co-running the YIKES podcast to pursuing a degree in medicine, Mikaela Loach has proven herself to be an unstoppable force in the climate movement—is there anything she can’t do!? Her infectious laugh and joyous attitude are unrelenting and go further to remind us how centering hope, happiness, and optimism is essential in the fight for our climate.

 

In our latest edition of 60 Seconds on Earth, Atmos asks Loach a series of rapid-fire questions to help you get to know her a little better. Join the activist in sunny Jamaica as she opens up about childhood memories, her personal mantra, and her somewhat ‘controversial’ opinion on cats.

 

The video includes only a few of the questions, but you can read the full interview below.

ELIE GORDON

Where are you at the moment?

MIKAELA LOACH

I am in very sunny Jamaica, which is the place where I was born.

ELIE

Do you have a favorite memory of Jamaica?

MIKAELA

I think cooking ackee with my grandma and fried dumplings in her kitchen is probably one of my favorite memories. Picking the ackees from the trees and then making them after was really lovely.

 

 

ELIE

Great answer. My next question, as well: do you have a favorite Jamaican food?

MIKAELA

I think living here has changed how I feel about some different Jamaican foods. I’ve actually had ackee so much now because I was so excited that it’s got less exciting, whereas it’s now Otaheite apple season. It’s just a fruit, but it’s so good, and I’ve never been able to find it outside Jamaica.

ELIE

What do you do to unwind?

MIKAELA

Good question. I don’t think I’m very good at resting, but watching Drag Race, reading books, going for a swim, and now that I’m living here, going scuba diving. Definitely the best things for unwinding for me.

ELIE

Summer or winter?

MIKAELA

Summer, definitely. Absolutely.

ELIE

I know the answer to this. What’s your favorite color?

MIKAELA

Black. No, obviously not. Definitely pink. Pink is my favorite color. Most of my wardrobe is pink. I am fully obsessed.

ELIE

Introvert or extrovert?

MIKAELA

I don’t know. I thought I was becoming an introvert, and the reason why is because I told my friends that I had one hour on my own and I felt amazing, and they were like, “That’s not what an introvert would do. You’re definitely an extrovert.”

ELIE

Are there any exciting projects that you’re working on right now?

MIKAELA

There’s something I’m working on, but I’m keeping the cards close to my chest for now. Sorry. That’s such a pants response.

ELIE

I knew it.

 

Beach or mountains?

MIKAELA

Beach, if you include the sea, because of diving.

 

 

ELIE

What’s your climate vice?

MIKAELA

I guess I have to fly to see my family, so that would be a climate vice. I don’t know if that counts.

 

This is a side note, but someone I know would always have this phrase where they’d be like, “Oh, I’d love to do that, carbon-aside”, as if the carbon wasn’t included. “Carbon-aside.” I just found it such a funny phrase that I now think about it all the time. Like, “Oh, wouldn’t it be great to go skydiving, carbon-aside?”

ELIE

Is there a mantra that you live by?

MIKAELA

Good question. Something I say to myself a lot is that “You’re already more than enough”.

ELIE

How do you stay hopeful?

MIKAELA

I think hope is an active stance. It’s not something that we just have to feel or has to be there spontaneously. It’s something that we make together through movements and through action.

ELIE

That’s nice. Who’s your biggest inspiration?

MIKAELA

I think I’m inspired by movements and by collectives of people a lot. But if I was going to have to say one person, I think Angela Davis is someone who inspires me a lot. Predictable answers from me on all accounts.

ELIE

Favorite book of all time?

MIKAELA

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.

ELIE

A good choice.

MIKAELA

I met her and embarrassed myself so much, which was bad. I was just too much of a fan. It was actually not good.

ELIE

Any songs that are stuck in your head right now?

MIKAELA

Pussy is God by King Princess, but I don’t know if I can say that in this video. I don’t know. It’s such a bop.

 

It’s because I was watching one of those TikToks where it goes up to people on the street. It was like, “What are you listening to right now?”. The woman did not look like the kind of person who’s going to say “Pussy is God”, and she just went, “Pussy is God by King Princess” and then carried on walking. I was like, I am obsessed with you. But also this is a great song.

ELIE

One piece of advice for someone wanting to take climate action?

MIKAELA

You already have skills that are so important and so needed. Just work out what you love, what brings you joy, and how that can help the movement.

ELIE

Any hidden talents or party tricks?

MIKAELA

I always wish I had a hidden talent because I think it would have made me more interesting. The only thing is, when I was younger, I used to be able to… I don’t know if this is even a thing, or if this is even a talent, but turn my tongue upside down.

 

Oh my gosh. I don’t think it’s even a talent.

ELIE

I knew you were going to do something with your tongue. I can’t even roll my tongue, I’m useless.

 

What is your most precious thrifted or secondhand item?

MIKAELA

I think definitely this beautiful pink dress I have that I got in a vintage store in Amsterdam for 30 euros, I think it was? I remember seeing it on the mannequin and being like, I need this in my life, I bet it will never fit me. Since [then] I’ve worn it to everything.

 

 

ELIE

Cat person or dog person?

MIKAELA

Dogs, 100%, no questions asked. I don’t understand cat people. I don’t get it.

 

It’s because cats are plotting to take over the world and kill all of us. They’re too smart.

ELIE

Yes. Agree.

 

Who is your climate crush?

MIKAELA

Are you talking about Zoom crushes? No. Everyone has had a Zoom crush over the pandemic while being in a meeting. That is just the truth, but this is not what we’re talking about now.

 

Probably my friend, Vanessa Nakate, who is just a brilliant human being and does such brilliant important work.

 

 

ELIE

A place you’d love to visit and why? Carbon-aside.

MIKAELA

Carbon-aside, I would love to go to Tonga and go diving with whales there. It’s a bucket list dream thing that I think will probably never happen to me, but I would love to do it.

 

Seriously. Swimming with whales is… I can’t even. I don’t even have the words to say.

ELIE

So incredible.

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