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Hey y'all — welcome to The Seedling! This is Adam Mahoney again, the environment reporter at Capital B News

A few months ago, I was in your inbox begging for it to heat up in Los Angeles. That call might've been a bit shortsighted because, in the words of abolitionist scholar and organizer Mariame Kaba, I, too, "dread summer." In her 2015 essay "Summer Heat," Kaba outlines just how deadly the summer heat can be. It's the "season of hyper-surveillance," she writes, where a convergence of racist urban planning, public policy, and climate change make it unnerving to be outside in America's Black and brown neighborhoods. 

While her essay is from the perspective of the deadliness of interpersonal and police violence in our communities, it lays the groundwork for the wide-ranging approach that environmental reporting is beginning to take. In these communities, where parks and trees are often nonexistent, there is nowhere to hide — not from the scorching heat or police "jump-outs." As it goes, our communities are also where you're most likely to find people living on the streets facing the most acute impacts of dehydration and heat sickness. But that threat is not only relegated to the unhoused; a recent Vox investigation found that "only a handful of states have any kind of requirements that utilities keep the power on during a heat wave." 

The violence of climate change will continue to seep into our lives and alter our labor force, the food we eat, and how we interact. Saying the climate and environment beat is daunting might truly be the biggest understatement of our time. There always seems to be the weight of the world attached to this work, from hurricanes and flooding to the combination of deadly heat and pollution.

I don't know how to lessen that weight. But I do know that if we do this work together, and from the perspectives of the communities we're writing about, with, and for, the work will always be meaningful. As the country, and the world, continues to be engulfed by rising temperatures, I hope we're all able to take the time to stay safe and ready ourselves and each other. It makes the work a lot easier and helps us tell the stories that need to be told. As Kaba writes, "the daily indignities and more invisible harms are ever-present," it just takes us being able to see them and us having the will to address them.

Adam Mahoney

-Environment Reporter at Capital B News

What Are You Planting? 

This section of The Seedling is dedicated to featuring one of the many incredible members of The Uproot Project.

Zahra Hirji, Climate solutions reporter at Bloomberg Green

How long have you been a journalist? 10 or so years

Where can we find you on social media? @zhirji28

What is your beat/focus? Climate solutions, corporate climate accountability and exploring climate change through the lens of the consumer

How did you get started in journalism? Originally a very shy kid, I found confidence and joy in writing and asking questions. I wrote for my high school paper and got hooked.

Where have you been published? Discovery News, Earth Magazine, InsideClimate News, BuzzFeed News and Bloomberg News

What’s your favorite piece you’ve written? I wrote two of my favorite stories earlier this year. First, I did a short story about one of the latest IPCC climate reports through the lens of my daughter’s lifespan. It was a story where I was literally processing how the crisis could impact her while I reported and wrote. Second, I published a story on how dozens of men who used to work for the Department of Energy got sick at a secret training decades ago. That story was the culmination of years of year and I was so proud to finally bring to light how these men had been struggling for years.

How did you become an Uproot member? I heard about it through a former colleague.

What’s a piece of advice you wish you could give to your younger self? Keep on. Keep pitching, keep writing, keep asking and trust your gut.

What’s your pet’s name? Agent Cooper.

What are you reading? I just finished Cat Rambo’s You Sexy Thing and am looking for a new book.

What’s your intention for every story? I strive to always be clear, be accurate and to hopefully bring up a new fact or idea for my readers.

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