To Net-Zero & Beyond: What Atmos Editors Hope For 2021

PHOTOGRAPH BY RODIN ECKENROTH/GETTY IMAGES

 

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Well beyond 2021, civilization will have differing recollections of what 2020 was. But the planet endured irrefutable wins and losses. Ahead of the new year, Atmos editors are reflecting on the present and the future—our favorite pandemic memories of nature and our hopes for the climate movement.

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Jake Sargent

Founder

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

My partner Ryan and I got married on Halloween on a sand dune off Hatches Harbor in Provincetown. Looking out over Cape Cod Bay, Race Point Lighthouse, and an expansive salt marsh, we felt like we were at the edge of the world. That night, we bundled up and had dinner at Sal’s–a local favorite–on the beach with our feet in the sand, just steps away from the waves. There was a blue moon that night, and it was the largest I’ve ever seen. I was reminded of our place in the Universe–a place that’s infinitely small, but that Ryan and I get to share together.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

My hope for 2021 is that it is a year of reimagining and reinvention. The concept of emergence describes when a collective has qualities that are greater than the sum of its parts. In 2020, the pieces fell apart–let’s not put them back together, but use them as building blocks to create something entirely new.

Willow Defebaugh

Editor-in-Chief

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

My favorite memory in nature this year was a weekend in which a friend and I were able to steal away to Woodstock. We wandered through woods, sifted through streams, and walked through fields of flowers without shoes. After so much time spent indoors, I was reminded of how healing it is to feel the Earth beneath your bare feet. Amidst all the uncertainty, it was a gift to remember that the ground below us, the grass growing between our toes, can be enough.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

My vision for the climate movement in 2021 is that it becomes more holistic. When it comes to the ecological crisis, we often try to change people’s minds, but what about their hearts? We need a shift in peoples’ core values, in their worldviews, in their beliefs. When we see the Earth as one being, a symphony of biodiversity that connects all of us, sustainability becomes the seed from which all of our actions stem.

Laura Genninger

Creative Director, Studio 191

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

I am happiest when I am in nature. Unfortunately in 2020, nature has been out of reach. I have spent very little time physically in nature because of COVID-19 restrictions. My trip to Patagonia that was planned for last March is on hold for a while.

 

This spring, I quarantined for four months and did not venture outside for 107 days.  Luckily, I live in an open space with many windows, so the light and sky have been my nature experience: watching the weather and seasons change, the clear blue skies and rainbows (thanks to little air and street traffic), watching the days go by, waking to the beautiful sunrise and watching the sunset.

 

Not being physically in nature this year has made me dream about it. Strong memories of nature have come from creating stories with photographers. The visualizing, research, discussions and planning stories for Atmos Volume 04. This issue is full of amazing nature experiences.

 

Another strong nature moment was when David and I finally visited my mother, who is in her 90s. We had a picnic by the bay near her house on Long Island.  The view, the breeze, the sand and smell gave way to the freedom of childhood memories. We shared our lunch with the local seagulls who now owed back their beach. The gulls were no longer afraid of cars or people. They would not move for incoming or out going cars, so everyone had to drive out of their way around the gulls if they wanted to reach the water’s edge. I love animals and prefer that the animals have their Earth back so this period of time has made me very happy.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

I visualize going back in time when the world was less over developed and humans relished in the nature of this beautiful planet. I hope more people find the understanding in the urgency to change the way they are currently living in respect to their personal and collective impact on climate change.

 

I hope to create information, inspiration, and continue on a path to reach those that do not understand the urgency or do not believe in the urgency to change or act on this with passion. And to work with others who create or tell stories for the climate movement.

 

In 2021 I wish to keep evolving my life and gain more knowledge, to inform myself and pass along to others how and what we can do to contribute to climate change awareness and help create a way of living life that is fully respectful to the Earth. I would like to help to change bad patterns that have been created out of convenience and ideas of luxury, and respect the natural relationships between all living things and the ecosystems as are naturally formed.

Laura Beltrán Villamizar

Photography Director

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

I spent ten days driving and living in a Scooby Doo van in September. I drove from Joshua Tree to the Grand Canyon and back! At the Canyon, I remember standing on the edge of a cliff, trying to comprehend what I was looking at. My brain couldn’t make sense of it—sometimes I would feel like I was in an expressionistic painting and sometimes I would feel in Mars. As I stared and soaked in the vastness of it all, I felt really small; a part of something so big, my brain couldn’t grasp it. It felt like a reminder of how we’re all part of this great immensity and our role and responsibility in it.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

I wish for oppressed communities to use the power of narrative and storytelling to tell their own stories. How we all experienced 2020 will determine how we adapt and change our behavior in the future. Being the narrators of our own experiences without having someone else tell our stories is crucial for our understanding of our place on this Earth and our role in our communities.

 

By telling and sharing our stories, we can connect through a personal and universal lens and realize that we are not alone after all. We’re very much connected. Through personal storytelling, I hope that we’ll adopt a more inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for the protection of and justice for the people and the planet.

Landon Peoples

Digital Editor

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

I got to travel with my boyfriend and my dog throughout upstate New York a few times. We did almost everything exclusively outside—cooking, dancing, drinking, reading—which made everything that much more memorable. In so many ways, it felt luxurious (we both live in Brooklyn) and rugged at the same time. Unlike any other moment in New York, I can remember these trips like they were yesterday, which feels like a far-too-seldom spoken about aspect of the power of nature.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

Simply: I want those who don’t regularly engage in climate discourse to pull up a chair and start asking questions; there’s always a seat at the table. It’s not natural for all of us to know the answers to everything concerning the planet and regarding our connection to it—that knowledge and those feelings come with time. But, as science has shown, time is running out. So, I’d like to see the same activism we harnessed in the past year put forth in the name of the climate movement, too.

Yessenia Funes

Climate Editor

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

My favorite memory was my birthday! My partner and I rode our bikes to our nearby park, locked them up, and took a walk on some trails. We drank mini champagne bottles, spotted some cute chipmunks, and celebrated. It was wonderful!

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

My vision for the climate movement is to continue taking the responsibility off of individuals and onto leaders and corporations. We all have our role to play—of course!—but why should people sacrifice the little they have while people in power continue to have so much? I hope the movement continues to grow its understanding of the ways race and class affect our abilities to take part—as well as its ability to feel welcoming.

 

As a journalist, I’m excited to see the ways the movement continues to find a way to make the news, especially onto mainstream publications that haven’t historically given the climate crisis the attention it deserves.

Elie Gordon

Social Media Editor

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

Having had holiday plans scrapped along with everyone else, it was liberating to be able to finally take a trip to the Lake District in England in October. The National Park is one of the last truly rugged areas in the country and the hiking trails are breathtaking. Standing up high, overlooking mountains on the horizon gave me a whole new perspective on all the emotions I felt through 2020.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

This has been a year of awakening for so many people and I want to see this continue. So many people have realized the connection between social and racial justice and the environmental movement—and I hope more communities come together to fight for liberation, and in turn, climate justice.

 

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Tessa Forrest

Digital Design Director

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

My favorite memory in nature this year was visiting Yosemite in July. It could not have been more perfect. My extra favorite moment was setting up lunch after hiking around all day on a little sand island on the river, eating sandwiches and going swimming. I wish I could relive that every day.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

My vision for the climate movement is collective support. With this new administration, I hope for stronger protections from the top, as well as collective effort from communities. I see every piece of the puzzle coming together to take big strides in protecting our planet.

Michelle Golden

Head of People & Operations

What was your favorite memory in nature this year?

My favorite memory in nature was going to my parent’s house in the Poconos during the height of New York coronavirus cases. When I was younger, I dreaded having to leave NYC to go away to the woods for the weekend. I would miss my friends, my TV, my room… Many moons later, and especially this year, I longed for outdoor space where I felt safe and free. During this trip, I became social with the trees and the lake, and in turn, created a series of video pieces with nature as my collaborator.

What's your vision for the climate movement in 2021?

My very personal vision for the new year is a vow to listen more, an openness to learning, and to put effort towards practicing new knowledge. As a community, my hope is for positive growth and that we continue to move forward with the momentum of systemic change.

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