This week, Sarah and Madi talked with Marisol Cortez and Greg Harman, activists, writers, and climate justice advocates who also struggle with what Marisol calls in this episode, “mental intensities,” which powerfully shape their lives. We both first met Marisol in Detroit at a conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment in 2017. Her talk there, “The Praxis of Deceleration: Recovery as ‘Inner Work, Public Act’”, was MIND-BLOWING, and Sarah refers to it a few times in the interview, so links to Marisol's essay, Sarah's blog post about Marisol's talk, and Madi's follow-up publication on Marisol and Greg's news site are all in the show notes below. That’s what got us thinking it would be so great to interview both Marisol and Greg for Big Planet, Big Feels, and we were not disappointed. WOW. We laughed, and we definitely cried. More bio info for both of them is below.
Gregory Harman is a community organizer and independent journalist who has written about environmental health and justice issues since the late 1990s. He is a clean energy organizer for the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club and former editor of the San Antonio Current. He is a former contributing editor at Texas Climate News and his work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, The Guardian, The Dallas Morning News, Indian Country Today, Yes! Magazine, Houston Press, and the Texas Observer, among others. His journalism has been recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, Houston Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Public Citizen Texas, and Associated Press Managing Editors. He holds a bachelor’s in English from Texas Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in International Relations (Conflict Transformation) from St. Mary’s University. Here is an archive of some of his journalistic writings. Here is the website for his book, “After Depression: What an experimental medical treatment taught me about mental illness and recovery.”
Marisol Cortez, Ph.D. attempts to occupy the difficult space between artistic, activist, and academic worlds. Beginning her political life as a poet, she later participated in grassroots campaigns for environmental justice in her hometown of San Antonio, which inspired her doctoral research at the University of California at Davis. After graduating in 2009 with her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, she has trafficked between academia and community organizing, before returning to San Antonio to apply her education as a community-based scholar and creative writer. She currently works at a local arts organization by day, while by night she is a mama, writer, and researcher, all in service of collective efforts to protect la madre tierra and create alternatives to parasitic forms of urban “development.” For a listing of her previous publications and a description of current projects-in-process, visit her website here. Marisol also blogs from time to time about neurodivergence and mental health at Leavings and Survivors, from a standpoint of disability justice and mad pride, and hosts her own blog, here.
Marisol and Greg launched Deceleration, an online environmental justice news source, which “responds to our shared ecological, political, and cultural crises, writing at the intersection of climate change and social justice–journalistically, academically, and creatively.”
Marisol's "The Praxis of Deceleration" is here.
Sarah’s blog reflection on Marisol's ASLE talk, "Resisting Burnout is Revolutionary," is here.
Madi published a piece in Deceleration on the 2017 floods in Sacramento, her home town, called “When the Levee Breaks,” which you can find here.
Transformational Resilience: How Building Human Resilience to Climate Disruption Can Safeguard Society and Increase Wellbeing, by Bob Doppelt
Thanks for joining in these conversations! We hope that you can find some useful nuggets of wisdom, feel both more vulnerable and more empowered, and perhaps feel something like community by listening to these interviews.