Our volunteer-led network Humanist Climate Action spoke with Zion Lights – science communicator, environmentalist, and Humanists UK patron – about Zion’s humanist and environmental values, how they coincide, and how they inform her activism. Humanist Climate Action’s Lori Marriott finds out more…
Hi Zion! Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a Science Communicator (MSc) with a long history of environmental advocacy. I founded the evidence-based climate activism group Emergency Reactor because I wanted to create a space for people like me in the environmental movement. All of the green groups I’ve historically been involved with rely on unscientific ideology as their foundation, which then forms the basis of their campaigning. With ER we only campaign on issues supporting the scientific consensus.
I used to be the Editor of The Hourglass, Extinction Rebellion’s print newspaper, and I was also a spokesperson for the group. I am also the author of The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting, the first book of its kind at the time to look at evidence-based ways to raise children with a low carbon footprint.
I am now a sought-after speaker on clean energy, and I also give lectures on methods of science communication, tackling misinformation, and effective climate action around the world.
How did you come to be interested in environmental concerns?
I’ve always cared about the health of the planet and all of the life on it, from a very young age. Learning about global warming as a child terrified me, and took me on a journey into environmental activism, involving everything from organising events to taking direct action to authoring a book. My views in the environmental movement have evolved over time and unlike many traditional environmentalists I do not think that humans are bad, but that we’ve made mistakes that we can rectify, and that it is possible for us to live in harmony with the world around us.
What’s your biggest environmental concern?
Climate change. Of course there are many unknowns with climate change, and much debate about where it will take us, but essentially I don’t think we should risk potentially destroying the only known habitable planet in the universe. For me, other environmental issues pale in comparison.
What one thing would you encourage people to do to live a greener lifestyle?
Campaign for evidence-based climate action. Call out misinformation. Communicate with journalists and politicians so that they understand the issues we face and how best to tackle them. You can do this by e.g. writing in to your local paper to take a stand, and emailing your local MP.
There are many viable solutions that can get us out of the mess we’ve made, but if campaigning is based on feelings and conjecture instead of science, fighting for those solutions can do more harm than good. We’ve already seen this happen with people protesting genetically modified organisms, nuclear energy, and other discoveries and technologies that can save lives. We don’t have time to keep making the same mistakes.
Subscribe to my Substack: https://zionlights.substack.com
This interview was originally published in Humanist Climate Action’s July 2023 newsletter. Want to stay up to date with Humanist Climate Action? Sign up as a supporter and receive their newsletter by clicking the options below.
Humanist Climate Action
Humanist Climate Action is made up of humanists committed to redefining lifestyles, choices, and priorities for low-carbon, ethical, and sustainable living in the light of the degeneration of the Earth’s climate and biodiversity. We aim to bring humanists together to facilitate individual and collective actions on these issues.
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Humanists UK has over 200 patrons who support its work in various ways through their expertise and prominence in various fields. Existing patrons include significant figures from the spheres of science, philosophy, human rights activism, politics, the arts, and broadcasting. The President of Humanists UK is the geneticist, science writer, and broadcaster, Dr Adam Rutherford. He is supported by Vice Presidents Professor Alice Roberts, Shaparak Khorsandi, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor AC Grayling, and Polly Toynbee.
Humanist Climate Action (HCA) is a volunteer-led network of Humanists UK members and supporters committed to redefining lifestyles and campaigning for policies that promote low-carbon, ethical, and sustainable living in the light of the degeneration of the Earth’s climate and biodiversity. HCA brings humanists together to facilitate individual and collective action on these issues.
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