About My Climate and Sustainability Research

Summarizing all my projects in one place

Deepti Kannapan

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Illustration by the author. How do you influence society?

I must have always loved animals, because I don’t remember ever starting to. Bugs, crows, frogs, and the rhinos on the nature programs on TV — I relate to them all. This interest in wildlife quickly led me to conservation, and climate change because, well, my animal peers couldn’t vote*, so I would.

[* or can they?]

But it wasn’t till 2021 that I dove into climate and sustainability research in a big way, and longer still till I found my voice writing about it.

Until then, I’d been studying engineering subjects tangentially related to climate, such as spacecraft that could be used for climate science, how renewable energy sources worked, etc.

I felt like I didn’t know the terminology that was used in environmental circles. Climate is such an interesting cross-cutting problem that you need multiple approaches to really understand it — from the lenses of atmospheric science, ecology, technology, economics, policy and regulation…

Each with its own concepts, terms, and history.

So, I set myself structured reading projects, each about 3 months long, with a specific reading list. I made blog updates as I worked my way through, if you want to see how I did it.

Here’s the first one I did in Jan-Mar 2022 (setup, day 1, days 2–3, days 3–6, recap), where I got started with the basics, by reading the science and policy reports that were in the news at the time. It got me familiar with the types of language used.

For the second project (research lineup, days 1–2, multi-project update 1, day 3, day 4, day 5, multi-project update 2), I read another batch of reports, going a little broader from what I’d just learned.

For the third, I experimented with advocacy methods (public comments, letters to the editor, city council meetings, multiproject update).

Since then, climate action has become a much bigger and ongoing part of my life, and research just fits in with the rest. I don’t do these structured reading projects any more, but I still write about interesting tidbits I find in my Research Dispatch series. And I have a roundup of climate news over here.

Two years into my research quest, I gave a TEDx talk about climate change! It was a crystallization of everything I was learning, and an exciting, creative experience.

I believe finding our voices and bringing them to the climate movement is an important way to contribute. And if I can do it, you can too!

Originally posted on deeptikannapan.com

Here’s my free resource to overcome overwhelm and find clarity on YOUR personalized next step to protect the environment.

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Deepti Kannapan

Painter, occasional cartoonist, aerospace engineer. Writes about sustainable technology, creativity, and journaling.