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Hello again, Uprooters! Welcome to The Seedling. It’s me, Angely. I’m back and doing my best to survive the summer humidity in NYC. 

This summer has been filled with reporting on heat waves, drought, anti-climate celebs, potential power outages… all things that are becoming more common thanks to the climate crisis. The one highlight of the season for me that has made reporting easier is listening to Bad Bunny’s latest album titled ‘Un Verano Sin Ti.’ It dropped in early May with the release of the Moscow Mule music video and it’s one banger after the other. 

One song in particular is called El Apagón, which means power outage or blackout. I listened to it over and over again. I immediately heard climate and energy themes… so I wrote about it. In the song, Bad Bunny mentioned wanting to slap “Pipo,” which is a nickname for the island’s current governor, Pedro Pierluisi — a former coal lobbyist. At the end of the song, Bad Bunny’s girlfriend sings about how she wants to stay, but that “ellos” or they should leave. We can assume that’s referencing people moving to and neo-colonizing the island for cheaper taxes and balmy weather while displacing lifelong Puerto Ricans from their homeland. 

I’ve noted, and have written about climate themes in Bad Bunny’s music in the past. He dropped “Las que no iban a salir” during the 2020 lockdown. In one of the songs titled Bendiciones, which means blessings, the artist asks god to protect Puerto Rico from hurricanes and earthquakes. The island was rocked by unexpected seismic activity in the first half of 2020, scaring and worrying many residents. In 2020, I wrote about what I interpreted to be a post climate apocalyptic event in the music video for Una Vez. 

For Caribbean communities and other frontline communities, climate has shaped so many of our lives, including creating a larger diaspora. The climate crisis has not been an “if,” it has already happened. It’s shaping the future of the island. It means a lot to see that represented in work by Caribbean artists that reflects the climate anxieties felt by frontline communities, including members of my family that live in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. That reality has inspired and shaped my environmental and cultural reporting. 

So tell me, fellow Uprooters, how does climate show up in your favorite shows and/or songs? How does your community and identity inspire your own reporting? LMK on Twitter @AngelyMercado, and follow more of my reporting on Gizmodo

Angely Mercado

Environmental/climate reporter & fact-checker based in NYC

What Are You Planting? 

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

Nitish Pahwa, Web editor at Slate

What are you listening to? DJ Screw’s Chapter 106: On a Pint

What’s your most essential ritual? A mug of green tea in the morning.

What’s your favorite podcast? CounterSpin

What’s a piece of reporting or writing advice that’s helped you in your work? To quote my mentor Jeff Weiss, “Small details and twists of convention are what propel good writing."

What’s your favorite vegetable? Spinach

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? Pondicherry, India

Where can we find you on social media? Twitter: @pahwa_nitish. Instagram: @poppaflam.

How long have you been a journalist/reporter? 4

What is your beat/focus? Climate change, energy, crypto, Big Tech, geopolitics, music and the music business

How did you get started in journalism? Documenting social movements pre-undergrad, and then joining my college newspaper and a college magazine

What’s your favorite piece you’ve written? Jack Dorsey’s Pointless Case That Bitcoin Can Be Green. Very satisfying to closely examine a white paper and take on its arguments one by one.

How did you become an Uproot member? Heard about the collaborative on social media and applied to be a member.

What’s a piece of advice you wish you could give to your younger self? Resilience is key.

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