Beyond the Usual, Passive DEI Efforts in Tech

Blog: Staying Cool in the Face of Adverse Climate Change

Manny Becerra as a child

July 2017

It's mid-summer, and the heat is to-be-expected, however, I feel that it is quite warmer this year than the prior. In the face of such weather, Nina and I have found fun ways to keep cool though.

Nina running toward her papa after running through the water to cool off.
Nina in a stroller with a face of excitement knowing she and her papa are going to the water fountain to cool off.
Nina running toward her papa again, after running through the water to cool off.
Nina smiling while eating pizza with her papa for lunch after cooling off in the water fountain

Finding creative ways to keep cool during warm times will naturally be a part of our summer routine, such as playing in water fountains, staying indoors eating watery fruits, like, watermelon, and simply staying hydrated; however, I do worry - both as a parent and temporary inhabitant of Earth - that as climate change continues, largely due to human activity, that our individual and collective quality of life may be severely limited under such extreme weather conditions that creativity may not be enough.

How low can you go? Reducing our impact.

If that sounds bleak, it's because climate change is an existential threat to life - all life - on this beautiful planet that each one of us is a guest of. It's ever more crucial for every one of us to do what we can on multiple levels - individual, family, community, national and global - to be more mindful of our impact, specifically, our carbon footprint and contribution to non-recyclable waste. Even with the best of intentions that lack action, though, it's difficult for one or a family to be neutral on having any adverse impact in their community. For example, people of color (POC) and the poor are disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change; they are more likely to reside near sources of pollution and breathe polluted air than their white counterparts.

Policies that support sustainability and address environmental (in)justices head-on.

It's critical, therefore, that our national and global policies shift swiftly in a way that supports a way of life for all individuals and communities to be able reduce their carbon impact, and for all to be able to live high, quality lives a clean and healthy environment, regardless of their race, income or any other status. POC, for instance, are also less likely to live near (maintained) parks and are often in "food deserts". So, even with the increase of "green" policies in certain parts of the country, they don't mean much if they lack the intersectional lens to address the "isms" that only afford a certain few with a quality of life, free of pollution affects, while keeping others as recipients of waste and undrinkable water.

Yes, environmental racism is real. Economic and racial injustices are real. My family and I have firsthand experience with the variety of isms and injustices, however, I refuse to be anchored down by them. I try to continuously find ways to reduce my impact and be a part of the solution with others even in the face of these unjust constraints, however, we also need - require - leaders and policy decision makers to help address these "isms" head-on, which is why representation in politics - at all levels - is a critical factor in addressing climate change.

Nina, Launie and Neko all-together, laughingNina petting Neko on the grass after running through a water fountain to cool offNina looking up at Launie with joy while eating watermelon, and Neko near both of them

My hope is that we can collectively come together - sooner than later - to afford everyone the opportunity to live high, quality lives; to not be plagued by the aforementioned isms. My hope - my drive - is for my daughter, and her generation, to not be handed off a dreadful way-of-life that could have been be avoided if we all took tangible action today. My hope, what's more, is that such action and policy shifts begin to acknowledge everyone as equal human beings; right now, there are individuals and communities that are currently impacted by climate change, while others are shielded from it, in large part because of isms.

While continuing to fight the good fight, Nina, Launie, Neko and I will continue to find creative, fun ways to stay cool.

Manny Becerra as a child

I operate from a place of compassion, possibility and imagination. My work and efforts share a common goal: create a better, sustainable and equitable world by building inclusive communities, products & experiences.