We are in a climate emergency.
The world is on fire, and a new world is already being born.
After centuries of systemic racism and colonialism and extractive capitalism, our world is at a turning point. You and I and everyone you know were born at exactly the right time to change everything. What we need isn’t more stories about apocalypse; what we need is justice.
The old world isn’t coming back, and if we’re going to build a better world that works for everyone, WE are the ones who are going to have to do that work, together.
This newsletter is about radical change
Here at The Phoenix, I’m focused most closely on humanizing this planetary emergency: being transparent about the challenges we’re facing and the complex emotions we’re all feeling, and being honest about what we need to do to radically transform our society.
I chose the name The Phoenix because the world is on fire, and we’ve got to create a new one from the ashes.
This is the place where I'll share with you stories from frontline communities and voices from the most affected people and places enduring the climate emergency.
This is the place where we’ll create space for each other to process the shared trauma and grief and joy and elation that comes along with doing this world-building work.
This is the place where we’ll help teach each other about what’s happening in this transformative moment, and how we can be a part of it.
At The Phoenix, I’ll be writing a mix of short-form and long-form journalism – essays, interviews, analysis, science reporting, and storytelling – about two or three times a week. Occasionally, there will be invited fiction. (If you have a story about the world you’re working to build, pitch me!)
Because we need to see what we’re fighting for, not just what we’re fighting against.
I’m a scientist and a journalist.
I’m Eric Holthaus, founder of The Phoenix, and I’m so happy you’re here.
I have degrees in meteorology and climate science. I’ve written about the climate emergency full time for a decade. I also tweet a lot.
My goals at The Phoenix are simple:
Capture the narrative of the climate movement and shift climate storytelling away from inevitable apocalypse towards the possibility of a better world; towards catastrophic success not catastrophic failure.
Build a vision of irresistible justice that puts people at the center and advocates for anti-racism, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism and upholds the truth that we are all integral parts of the same living planet.
Share resources and contacts and strategies and dreams with like-minded people working for revolutionary change.
This should be pretty fun.
The number one question I get from readers is: “What can I do?”
And I think the fact that this is the most pressing question is an incredibly important thing! It shows that people are ready for change. We are ready to do what it takes to give ourselves – and every living thing on Earth – a better future.
My answer is simple: talk about it. Talk about how you feel about climate change, about what you’re dreaming of, whatever it is, with whoever will listen. It’s only by having a conversation together that we’re going to figure out how – in the words of the IPCC – to create “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in “all aspects of society.” Because that is simply what we have to do. (No biggie.)
I am convinced that the next few years will be among the most important in all of human history – transcendent, even – because they simply must be.
I’ll use this space to ask you for help. I’ll share my reflections and reporting in a deeply personal and imperfect way. We’ll cry together. It’ll be great.
I’m not perfect; no one is. I’m a white guy, an American, a settler on Anishinaabe land, a single dad of two boys. I’ve got a lot of work to do. Perfect is not what we’re going for here.
What we need is for you, for everyone, to show up to this critical moment in human history with everything we’ve got. The world needs you, but even more importantly, we need each other.
I can’t wait.
(Phoenix logo by Tara Slade)