What Kept Us Going in 2020

Bye-bye, 2020.

Well, it’s been... a year. Launching UCLA C-Solutions during a global pandemic has come with some highs (we saw that sweeping changes are possible! our work feels more necessary than ever!) and lows (pandemic!). The C-Solutions team wanted to round out this tough year by talking about some of the climate books, newsletters, and podcasts that helped us get through it.

Thanks for being engaged. We love being part of your community and we're optimistic about all we can accomplish together in the new year.

Without further ado, here's what we loved in 2020:


Ministry for the Future
by Kim Stanley Robinson

A story of a near-future world that intertwines climate change disasters and technologies, politics and economies. This novel starts with a devastating portrait of a catastrophic heat wave in which you can feel the suffering of the characters. Along the way, Robinson explores post-capitalism, monetary policies that work like carbon credits, the future of eco-terrorism, community resilience, and fictionalized first-hand accounts of future climate disasters. Don’t let the climate/science-fiction branding scare you away, if you think that's not your thing. Ezra Klein called it the book he is recommending to all the policy makers he knows. This book shows how we can regain some optimism for the future.

All We Can Save
edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

A collection of wisdom from women working at the forefront of the climate movement. This book speaks across generations and perspectives, revealing the challenges and opportunities we all face in responding to climate change. We could talk about this book forever, but instead, we turned this month's Coffee Chat into a book club discussion about All We Can Save. Scroll down to get the inside scoop from the women of the C-Solutions team and our guest, Leilani Bishop. Or, if you don't want to scroll, you can click here.

Merchants of Doubt
by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

To be fair, Merchants of Doubt was published in 2010, but we want to highlight its tenth anniversary reissue. This book tells the (sometimes infuriating) tale of how climate science has been undermined over the decades, and puts into perspective how little has changed about climate denial and action delay. In a year characterized by skepticism and outright denial of science, this book has never been more relevant.


How to Save a Planet
with Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg

If nothing else, at least 2020 saw some great climate change podcasting content. There are so many we love, but we recommend this one specifically because of how easy it is to listen to. Clear language, interesting guest interviews, a problem-solving attitude, and a couple of hosts that can have a good laugh to lighten the subject matter make this one of our favorites.

with Amy Westervelt

True crime has swept popular culture, and the C-Solutions team has not been immune to its draw. For those who love Dr. Death and similar podcasts, each season of Drilled provides an investigative look into the bad actors, heroes, and victims of climate change.


by Emily Atkin

If you are looking for someone who will tell it like it is, HEATED is the newsletter for you. Emily Atkin does more than just report the facts; she tells you what they mean and what you should do with that information. She fearlessly calls out powerful players for their role in climate change, and reclaims that power for her readers.

The Climate Crisis
by Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben has been writing about climate change for a long time, and his newsletter is about as in-depth as you can get, while still being highly readable and engaging. He interviews people working on the ground to solve the climate crisis and recaps the most important advances and reversals on climate in a reader-friendly scoreboard system.


Climate Central is an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts on climate. They are one of our most trusted sources in this field.


Diane Garcia-Gonzales interviewed on KCRW

C-Solutions researcher Diane Garcia-Gonzales spoke with KCRW's Justin Klozcow about the Aliso Canyon natural gas blowout on its 5th anniversary. The highly controversial natural gas leak has raised questions about the impact on human health of natural gas. As she says in the interview, “This event was associated with chemicals and constituents that could have adverse health impacts." Listen to the 9-minute piece here.

New publications on air pollution during COVID-19 lockdown

UCLA Magazine interviewed C-Solutions co-director Michael Jerrett along with Professor Yifang Zhu to understand how living with wildfires and polluted air affects people, physically and mentally. Jerrett is leading a team of researchers investigating connections between air pollution and COVID-19 outcomes, as well as the impacts of socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, and preexisting conditions. Graduate student Jonathan Liu and postdoctoral fellow Jonah Lipsitt published a paper with Professor Jerrett and Professor Zhu in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, in which they look at the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on traffic pollution in California.

Park Equity, Life Expectancy, and Power Building Webinar Series

This month, we held the second and final part of the Park Equity, Life Expectancy, and Power Building Webinar Series in partnership with Prevention Institute. Part 2 focused on how you (or anyone really!) can use the tools and research produced by this initiative to advocate for better park access in your community. Missed either of our webinars? You can find the recordings here.

Wildfire Community Roundtables

In December, C-Solutions hosted a series of wildfire community roundtables in partnership with community based organizations throughout Southern California. We are so thankful for those who participated, and are excited to announce the wildfire agenda for the center based off of these discussion soon. If you didn't get a chance to participate in these roundtables, don't worry, we are working on more opportunities to engage, and you can always reach out.


Diane Garcia-Gonzales, Lyn Stoler, Ellie Faustino, and special guest Leilani Bishop sat down to talk about this inspiring collection of wisdom from women working in climate. The book is chock-full of solutions and well worth a read.

Don't have time to watch the whole thing? You can find some highlights here.


Understanding the importance of mental health in climate work

We need to better understand the effects of climate change on mental health. One of the projects we're working on looks at the mental health effects of surviving devastating wildfires. Read more >>


Lightning trivia for non-trivial times

What major climate treaty turned 5 years old this month?
Click here for the answer.

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season.
See you in the new year!