Where the climate crisis meets community lie endless possibilities

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Possibilities

Short x Sweet

Short x Sweet
Pine Branches with Lichen (Grey Eye), mixed media on canvas, 2023. Art by Roberto Juarez / Website

LISTENING: to my friend Todd share stories
FEELING: pooped
SEEING: my partner play "The Last of Us Part II"

It's Wednesday night, and it's been a day, y'all. My niece had her first-ever Olympic Day since COVID-19 shut the world down. And my nephew turned 15. Time goes so fast, and it leaves me utterly terrified 50 percent of the time. I want to get some sleep, so let's get to it.

Today, I want to talk about where we've come in the next year—and where I hope we go.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I started all this roughly a year ago.

I quit my job and begrudgingly left behind a newsletter I had built. I wanted to start something new and mine. Something unapologetically me: playful, heartfelt, and pensive. I'd like to think I've accomplished that tone and atmosphere here. There were other goals I had, too. In case you missed my very first edition, here it is. Don't worry, you don't have to read it now.

Here are the goals I listed then:
🌀 Reshare older stories of mine that are presently relevant
🌀 Offer previews of stories and projects I'm currently working on
🌀 Include info that didn't make it into stories I published that week
🌀 Feature links to what I've been reading that week
🌀 Honor lives recently lost to the climate crisis
🌀 Share my own artistic work, including collages and poetry
🌀 Build enough revenue to independently license art and invite paid guest contributors to the newsletter

Now, here they are again. The ones scratched out, I've met. The ones bolded, I could do better. The one left alone, I haven't yet accomplished:

🌀 Reshare older stories of mine that are presently relevant
🌀 Offer previews of stories and projects I'm currently working on
🌀 Include info that didn't make it into stories I published that week
🌀 Feature links to what I've been reading that week
🌀 Honor lives recently lost to the climate crisis
🌀 Share my own artistic work, including collages and poetry

🌀 Build enough revenue to independently license art and invite paid guest contributors to the newsletter

This year, I want to do a better job of sharing the stories I'm presently working on and writing more about what didn't make it into my published pieces: quotes, characters, scenes. So far, I've focused a lot on the weekly news. I'll admit, that's easier than going through my notes. And I love the news, but I want to be sure I don't miss the behind-the-scenes scoops if y'all are into that. Some weeks, I share plenty on stories I'm reporting, especially when I'm traveling. But I don't always.

Do y'all prefer my take on the news or details on what I'm working on that week? Let me know—in the comments or respond directly to the newsletter email. I read all my responses. :)

For that last goal, I need your help. I want to get to a point where I can offer photographers and artists licensing fees for their work. And I also want to bring on some paid writers every now and then, but the newsletter needs to bring in more money for that.

I have been playing around with the thought of some type of mentorship writing fellowship in lieu of enough revenue—i.e., I compensate two fellows for writing for the newsletter once a month by giving them weekly mentorship sessions—but I'd still rather pay them! I can't afford to pay out of pocket. Since leaving my full-time job, my annual income has dropped significantly (but my bills have only gone up). If this fellowship idea interests you, hit me up! I don't want to invest in building out an application and all that if there isn't interest.

I've got 380 of you who are subscribed, 89 of you are paid. My monthly revenue has fluctuated throughout the year. One month hit as high as $400. Others can be less than $100. To encourage more folks to subscribe, I'm offering a SUMMER OF HEARTBREAK deal all summer long. The reader on the budget tier (the most affordable) will be only about $20 for an annual subscription. The discount code is SUMMER.

Tell your friends! Forward this newsletter along! Share to social media!

Paid subscribers will also get an additional perk this year that I want to commit to: a live attempt to write my children's book. It's my dream to write a fantastical children's book that has climate themes. I've had an idea for many years I want to finally pursue this year. In my art section, once a month, I plan to share snippets of the book I'm writing. It'll be imperfect. What you read here may wind up changing down the line as I self-edit and refine. But you get to see it all in a front-row seat.

Today includes the first preview of many. This entire post will be open to all, but from now on, only paid subscribers get access to that.

I'm excited for year two of Possibilities. Are you? 🌀

Rest in Power

While we can't say for certain that climate change led to these specific weather events (we need attribution studies for that), we do know that the Earth's rising temperatures are already creating more disasters like these.

In my ancestral El Salvador, two teens are dead after heavy rains caused a landslide.

India's death toll from the heat wave keeps going up. Now, it's over 77 people. This week alone, eight people died over three days.

Currently Reading

The NPR climate team has been hard at work! Alejandra Borunda has a story on an Arizona medical examiner redefining his methods to account for heat. Rebecca Hersher on a family that lost a loved one to a climate disaster. Together, they reported a piece on how we need to better track deaths related to climate change. Shout out to them!

We should all be pissed about carbon capture and what it means for extending the life of the fossil fuel industry. Geoff Dembicki has the story for DeSmog.

My baby girl Rachel Ramirez has a beautiful deep dive into an Indigenous community in Panama being forced off their island due to rising seas.

I appreciate Ezra David Romero's reporting on how climate voters are torn this election season given President Joe Biden's support for Israel's genocide in Gaza. I gotta admit, I'm right there with them.

This essay in The Nation from Noor Alyacoubi, a Palestinian woman in Gaza who may never see her parents again, absolutely broke me.

Nina Lakhani at the Guardian has an analysis of how much emissions it'll take to rebuild Gaza after the war ends. Sigh.

Book Preview I

Luz was scared of the dark. 
“Will it bite me next?” 
She couldn’t sleep at night 
without a candle
and a goodnight kiss.

Her mother would hold her
and tuck her in.
“Be brave, my Luz.
Even the darkness can be a friend.”

-ylf-

What are you reading and seeing? Share in a comment.

See you next week. xx

- Yessenia

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