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Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

illustrations of various climate related scenes like solar panels, a forest, and people commuting via bicycle and public transit
Climate Newsroom

Sharing Our Progress on Combating Climate Change

As leaders and experts convene in Egypt for COP27, we’re outlining progress on our climate commitments and announcing expanded tools to help our communities take action against climate change.

November 6, 2022
group of multi ethnic friends in college lying together in the park enjoying watching text or video on mobile phone - smiling group of students
Climate

Building Tools That Help Communities Take Action Against Climate Change

Addressing climate change requires a whole-of-society approach, and the communities people belong to have an important role to play. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook Groups already use our products to discuss and take action on climate change, and we’re excited to work with partners to test new tools to empower any community on Facebook to

November 4, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

By Holly Lahd, Energy Manager, Meta

  • Meta is increasingly focused on maximizing emissions reductions across the electricity system, which means we need new tools and accounting frameworks to better understand the emissions impacts of our facilities and the projects we support.
  • As part of our commitment to accelerating the renewable energy transition and reaching our own sustainability goals, we’re joining forces with Akamai, Amazon, General Motors, Hannon Armstrong, Heineken, Intel, Rivian, Salesforce, and Workday to create the Emission First approach, a set of new objectives and principles to update electricity greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting systems.
  • Updates to these standards have the opportunity to incentivize electricity GHG emissions reductions for companies of all sizes.

Greenhouse gas accounting standards play a crucial role in corporate climate strategies, providing the measurement frameworks companies need to ensure that the climate solutions they pursue are credible and will “count” towards corporate climate goals.

Today, companies use these accounting systems to measure their GHG emissions from purchased electricity (also known as Scope 2 emissions). To reduce these emissions, accounting standards and programs encourage companies to procure renewable energy at an annual volume equal to the amount of electricity purchased for their facilities. This approach has driven hundreds of new renewable energy projects onto grids around the world. Over the last 10 years corporate procurement has galvanized more than 110 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy.1

Meta also follows this approach, and we’re proud to support our global operations with 100% renewable energy since 2020. This achievement was central to our achieving net zero emissions for Scopes 1 and 2 (direct emissions and purchased electricity emissions) that same year. In the last decade, Meta has contracted more than 8 GW of new renewable energy projects, and we’ve focused on enabling new projects in the same regional electric grids on which our data center facilities operate.

Amping Up Impact Through an ‘Emissions First’ Approach

The electric industry has seen significant decarbonization progress in the last decade. Many of our electric utility partners have invested in carbon-free electricity supply and set their own goals. We’ve seen renewable energy technologies achieve broad commercial success and increasing opportunities to deploy energy storage, carbon-aware demand response and other clean energy technologies. We’ve also seen the impact that clean energy policies have on deploying carbon free generation across grids and countries. 

The success of these clean electricity developments means that the location and timing of new carbon-free energy generation are more important than ever. Meta is increasingly focused on maximizing emissions reductions across the electricity system, which means we need new tools and accounting frameworks to better understand the emissions impacts of our facilities and the projects we support.

We are ready to embrace an accounting framework that moves beyond the current approach of megawatt-hour matching and focuses on the heart of the matter, emissions impact. In other words, we’re putting Emissions First.

Stakeholders are actively discussing ways to update GHG accounting standards. To help inform updates to these systems, Meta has joined Akamai, Amazon, General Motors, Hannon Armstrong, Heineken, Intel, Rivian, Salesforce, and Workday on the Emissions First partnership, a set of new objectives and principles to update electricity GHG emissions accounting systems and help ensure we have clear ways to measure emissions reductions to unlock decarbonization investments at scale.

As industry standards like the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance consider revisions to the key accounting systems that underpin corporate clean energy procurement strategies, we offer these Emissions First accounting principles to focus stakeholders on updates that can improve accuracy, drive accelerated grid decarbonization, and ensure all companies can access to tools to decarbonize their electricity supply. 

To learn more about Emissions First, visit emissionsfirst.com

1 Corporate clean energy buying Tops 30GW mark in record year. BloombergNEF. (January 30, 2022). https://about.bnef.com/blog/corporate-clean-energy-buying-tops-30gw-mark-in-record-year/

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

illustrations of various climate related scenes like solar panels, a forest, and people commuting via bicycle and public transit
Climate Newsroom

Sharing Our Progress on Combating Climate Change

As leaders and experts convene in Egypt for COP27, we’re outlining progress on our climate commitments and announcing expanded tools to help our communities take action against climate change.

November 6, 2022
group of multi ethnic friends in college lying together in the park enjoying watching text or video on mobile phone - smiling group of students
Climate

Building Tools That Help Communities Take Action Against Climate Change

Addressing climate change requires a whole-of-society approach, and the communities people belong to have an important role to play. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook Groups already use our products to discuss and take action on climate change, and we’re excited to work with partners to test new tools to empower any community on Facebook to

November 4, 2022
Man and woman reviewing work on laptop
Climate

Our Approach to Climate Content

At Meta, we understand that critical challenges like climate change lead to complex discussion across our apps. Much of that discussion is the type of expression and debate that is essential to building consensus and finding solutions to climate change. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to climate-related content that educates and informs people

November 4, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

group of multi ethnic friends in college lying together in the park enjoying watching text or video on mobile phone - smiling group of students
Climate

Building Tools That Help Communities Take Action Against Climate Change

Addressing climate change requires a whole-of-society approach, and the communities people belong to have an important role to play. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook Groups already use our products to discuss and take action on climate change, and we’re excited to work with partners to test new tools to empower any community on Facebook to

November 4, 2022
Man and woman reviewing work on laptop
Climate

Our Approach to Climate Content

At Meta, we understand that critical challenges like climate change lead to complex discussion across our apps. Much of that discussion is the type of expression and debate that is essential to building consensus and finding solutions to climate change. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to climate-related content that educates and informs people

November 4, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

Addressing climate change requires a whole-of-society approach, and the communities people belong to have an important role to play. Hundreds of thousands of Facebook Groups already use our products to discuss and take action on climate change, and we’re excited to work with partners to test new tools to empower any community on Facebook to make an impact. 

How People Feel About Climate Change 

We recently conducted our largest-ever global survey in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication to understand public views toward climate change, and the results painted a picture of deep concern. In almost every country, most people said they saw climate change as a threat over the next two decades and expressed a desire to see meaningful action taken to combat it. However, fewer people said they regularly hear about climate change in their daily lives. 

When it comes to taking climate action, most people don’t know what to do or even where to start. 

Across six countries surveyed, recycling and reducing single-use plastic were believed to be the most effective actions to address climate change, with 84%-87% of respondents indicating these actions were very or somewhat effective, respectively. Actions like installing heat pumps, eating less meat, and talking to friends and family were believed to be less effective at addressing climate change with 55%-63% of respondents indicating these actions are effective.

Barriers to Taking Climate Action 

We asked people what barriers were preventing them from taking action against climate change — like reducing food waste, taking public transportation and choosing second-hand products. The barriers people most commonly reported for these actions were not believing their actions would make a difference, not having the motivation and not knowing how to take the action.

We believe that working together as a community can help address these barriers to taking climate action. With more than one billion active Facebook Communities, Meta has a role to play in empowering people to take meaningful action.

Power in Numbers 

Every day across our technologies, we see the power that’s harnessed when groups come together for a collective purpose. They inspire and motivate each other, take action, hold each other accountable and create impactful change. 

Globally, more than 40 million people are part of at least one of the 24,000 Facebook groups dedicated to the discovery, protection and appreciation of the earth and our environment. Take, for example, members of Electrify Everything, a community committed to electrifying their homes. By actively sharing learnings and best practices, they are tapping into the power of social motivation, keeping each other accountable and making electrification more attainable for everyone. Pip Pip Yalah is a Facebook community committed to traveling more sustainably by connecting drivers and passengers in Morocco to carpool together. 

Actions at scale can have a massive impact on climate change. That’s why we’re continuing to test and invest in building tools that help reduce barriers to taking action.

Empowering Communities to Take Action Through Climate Pledges

Climate Pledges is a new feature that we’re testing within Facebook Groups globally to help reduce the barriers to taking climate action. The feature harnesses the power of community and enables meaningful conversations around climate solutions through the lens of the communities people care about.  

Developed with inputs from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and UN Act Now, Climate Pledges surfaces nine expert-backed solutions to help people understand the most impactful actions they can take within their communities. The solutions include: switching to renewable energy, traveling thoughtfully, throwing away less food, embracing a plant-rich diet, rethinking your transportation, supporting carbon neutral sinks, choosing eco-friendly products, speaking up and saving energy at home.

Infographic with mobile phone viewing climate pledge on Facebook group

Climate Pledges are activated by admins within Facebook Groups who select the solutions most relevant to their communities. Admins invite group members to participate, provide support, offer relevant local tips and encourage conversation about the solutions. For example, a solar panel group admin may choose to activate the “Switch to renewable energy” and “Save energy at home” pledges. Or, a local neighborhood group admin may choose to activate the “Choose eco-friendly products” pledge and encourage group members to switch to products that are less harmful to the environment.

We also know that meaningful conversations can help influence change within families, friend groups, and broader communities — that’s why Climate Pledges are designed to spark solutions-based conversations. Group members can easily access practical, action-based information that can be shared back with their communities to spark discussion. Group members can also discover relevant content, including Reels, from across Facebook which they can then localize to their communities.

By tapping into the power of community, surfacing actionable solutions and enabling meaningful conversations, Climate Pledges will help remove barriers to taking climate action. 

Climate Creators Who Drive Meaningful Action

We’ve partnered with several climate creators to develop how-to Reels that localize Climate Pledges and show how easy taking climate action can be. These practical Reels will help connect communities to local content and can be used to spark conversations about climate solutions and inspire action within groups. 

Complex Problems Require Collective Solutions 

As a company that connects more than three billion people every month across our apps, Meta has an essential role in connecting people with accurate climate information and expert-backed climate solutions. 

In 2020, we launched the Climate Science Center as a one-stop resource to connect people on Facebook with science-based news, approachable information and actionable resources from the world’s leading climate organizations. The center is now available in more than 165 countries and has been visited more than 250 million times. We are expanding our efforts to build tools that empower people and communities to take meaningful action at scale. 

But we can’t do it alone. When it comes to combating climate change, we need to work together. We’re continuing to partner with climate experts, organizations, businesses and communities to collectively scale our impact and move toward meaningful action. 

To learn more about how Meta is taking climate action, please visit https://sustainability.fb.com/climate/

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

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Climate

Our Approach to Climate Content

At Meta, we understand that critical challenges like climate change lead to complex discussion across our apps. Much of that discussion is the type of expression and debate that is essential to building consensus and finding solutions to climate change. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to climate-related content that educates and informs people

November 4, 2022
Asian woman talking with colleague sitting at desk indoors
Climate

Learn More About the Types of Techniques Used to Misrepresent Climate Science Online

Created in partnership with Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub,Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory and Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, our Climate Science Literacy Initiative offers information about five types of techniques often used to misrepresent climate change online. Learn more about our approach to climate content here. Cherry Picking Make sure to look at

October 24, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

At Meta, we understand that critical challenges like climate change lead to complex discussion across our apps. Much of that discussion is the type of expression and debate that is essential to building consensus and finding solutions to climate change. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to climate-related content that educates and informs people with accurate information while addressing misinformation. We’re working to do this responsibly by protecting freedom of expression, engaging and funding research and prioritizing transparency to inform our approach. 

Our Approach to Climate Misinformation

Misinformation makes up a small amount of the overall climate-related content on our apps, and climate change misinformation makes up a very low percentage of total misinformation. Still, that misinformation can spike when the conversation about climate change is elevated, such as during extreme weather events. We take any misinformation on our platforms seriously, which is why we partner with our industry-leading network of more than 90 independent fact-checking organizations to review and rate climate-related content in more than 60 languages.

Our fact-checking partners review and rate a wide range of climate-related claims, including false information that outside experts say undermines the existence or impacts of climate change, misrepresents scientific data and mischaracterizes mitigation and adaptation efforts. 

Examples of claims debunked by our independent fact-checking partners include:
Existence of climate changeHuman-Caused Climate Change Is a Hoax

Climate Change Is Part of a Natural Cycle
Impacts of climate changeSea Temperatures Have not Changed

CO2 Can Simply Be Absorbed by Plant Life
Scientific dataEmissions Data Shows CO2 Is an Insignificant Contributor to Greenhouse Gas

Solar Data Proves That Sun Is Main Driver of Climate Change
Climate change solutionsWind Turbine Generators Have to Be Replaced Every 3-4 Years

Electric Vehicle Battery Production Has a Worse Carbon Footprint than Air Travel
Climate doomismClimate Research Predicts Billions Of Deaths In This Century

Map Projects US Flooding In 30 Years If Climate Change Is Not Reversed

When fact-checkers rate content as false, we add a warning label and reduce the visibility of that content so fewer people see it. We don’t recommend content or approve ads that have been rated false by one of our fact-checking partners, and we take action against Pages, Groups, accounts and domains that repeatedly share false claims about climate science. You can read more here about how we enforce penalties against people who repeatedly share content rated as false by fact-checkers.

There are additional measures we have taken to improve fact-checkers ability to find and rate climate content:

  • Our Climate Misinformation Grant program invests in projects that build alliances between fact-checkers, climate experts and other organizations to support projects that focus on combating climate misinformation.
  • We utilize keyword detection to gather climate-related content in one place, making it easy for fact-checkers to find potential misinformation when breaking news hits.

We also understand from experts that some climate information may be misleading or confusing, but doesn’t contain a false claim that can be debunked by fact-checkers. For example, content may use true information or opinion to express uncertainty about the impacts of climate change, distrust in scientific expertise or skepticism about climate solutions. We don’t believe it is our place as a company to penalize this type of speech or referee legitimate debate, which is why we take the approach of educating and informing people with authoritative information.

Educating and Informing About Climate Change

As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, Meta has an essential role to play during a global crisis in connecting people to accurate, expert information. That’s why we’re using a number of tools, campaigns and partnerships to help educate and inform people about the realities of climate change. 

In product screenshots of the climate science center on mobile device

Our Climate Science Center is a one-stop resource available in more than 150 countries, connecting people on Facebook with science-based news, approachable information and actionable resources from the world’s leading climate change organizations. The center includes detailed deep dives that go beyond the basics of climate-related subjects, tips for spotting misleading information and ways for individuals to take action. We continue to expand the availability of the Climate Science Center, and in countries where it isn’t yet available, we direct people to the UN Environment Programme when they search climate related terms on Facebook.

We’re also empowering people to share authoritative information about climate change through tools like our Climate Info Finder, which lets people search trusted information about climate change and attach a link to that information directly into a comment thread.

in product screenshot of climate info finder on mobile device
In-app UI shown on mobile device with two examples of content from Yale Climate Connections on Facebook

We’re also sharing reliable information by lifting up the voices of trusted organizations in the climate space. We work closely with partners like Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory and Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, providing ad credits, insights and support to help them share reliable information about climate change, and inform users about common techniques used to spread myths about climate science.

Climate Change Resources and Research

At Meta, we’re committed to doing what we can to help make climate-related data and research more accessible. While that work is far from over, we’re continuing to make meaningful progress through innovative tools and research. 

Image screenshot of Ad Library homepage

Our Ad Library

We’re continuing our work to give an extra layer of ad transparency by requiring all active ads to be available in the public Ad Library, and provide additional information for ads about social issues, elections or politics including those engaging in advocacy around energy and/or climate change.

Piloting Community Forums

We believe governance is important to make some of the more complex decisions on our platforms. We’ve partnered with the Behavioral Insights Team to ask users how we should approach climate content that may be misleading but does not contain a false claim that can be debunked by fact-checkers. While community forums and deliberative processes are a new model we’re just starting to explore, the results have helped inform our approach to climate content.

Screenshot of survey results

Survey on Global Climate Attitudes

In partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Meta conducts an annual climate change opinion survey that explores public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behaviors. The 2022 survey includes respondents from nearly 200 countries and territories.

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

Asian woman talking with colleague sitting at desk indoors
Climate

Learn More About the Types of Techniques Used to Misrepresent Climate Science Online

Created in partnership with Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub,Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory and Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, our Climate Science Literacy Initiative offers information about five types of techniques often used to misrepresent climate change online. Learn more about our approach to climate content here. Cherry Picking Make sure to look at

October 24, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

Created in partnership with Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub,Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory and Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, our Climate Science Literacy Initiative offers information about five types of techniques often used to misrepresent climate change online. Learn more about our approach to climate content here.

Cherry Picking

Make sure to look at all the evidence before taking a position on something. Be careful of content that insists that only one piece of evidence be considered.

Cherry picking is a technique used to spread misleading information by presenting individual data points out of context, ignoring other information.

How is this related to climate?

It may make it appear that climate change isn’t happening or that the impacts aren’t as bad as people make them out to be. 

Cherry picking may use specific isolated data to distract from climate change. This can include pointing to: low temperatures during short, natural cooling periods, certain areas of the Arctic where the ice sheets aren’t melting, or specific instances where polar bear populations are increasing.

Scientific evidence that shows that the temperature of the earth has been steadily increasing over the past 150 years is typically ignored.

The fact is…

Climate scientists have taken thousands of measurements all over the planet — on the earth’s surface, deep in the oceans, and up in the atmosphere — and have been able to show that our planet has warmed more than 1 degree Celsius over the last 150 years. 

That may not sound like a lot, but that slight increase has had a huge impact on our planet’s systems. We can see these impacts reflected in melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, retreating glaciers, changes in the seasons, and extreme weather events such as wildfires and flooding.

Single-Cause Fallacy

Make sure to consider all possible causes of a problem before taking a position on something. Question any argument that claims a single cause for a complex problem. 

Single-cause fallacy is a technique used to spread misleading information, where a single cause is presented as the only explanation of a problem, without considering all possible causes.

How is this related to climate?

It may be used to try and convince you that climate change is not human-caused.

For example, evidence from a long time ago, when warming was caused by increased solar activity, may be used to make the claim that present-day climate change is not human-caused.

Current evidence showing that solar activity has been decreasing for the past 50 years, and so cannot be the cause for the steady increase in earth’s temperature, is typically ignored.

The fact is…

Research by climate scientists has shown that for the past 150 years the increase in earth’s temperature has followed a corresponding increase in atmospheric carbon.

This increase in carbon can only be due to human activity, mostly from agriculture and the burning of fossil fuel that has been buried in the ground for millions of years.

No natural activity can cause such a sudden increase in carbon over such a short period of time.

Fake Experts

Make sure to only trust information that comes from credible sources. Check the credentials of sources offering a scientific opinion on climate change.

Fake experts is a technique used to spread misleading information where a spokesperson without relevant expertise is used to cast doubt on climate science.

How is this related to climate?

It may be used to dispute the fact that there is scientific consensus on climate change being real and human-caused. Someone who is not a climate scientist may be brought forward to offer a scientific opinion on climate change. 

These fake experts may claim there is no evidence linking human activity to climate change other than models. They may also claim that it is the sun that is driving climate change. 

The fact is…

At least 97 percent of climate scientists are convinced that climate change is real and caused by humans. 

These climate scientists have conducted research and published papers on climate science, which have been reviewed by other climate scientists. 

Besides these individual climate scientists, more than 200 scientific organizations around the world support the fact that climate change has been caused by humans. 

Impossible Expectations

Be careful of content that demands unrealistic standards of proof. This tactic can be used to get in the way of action.

Impossible expectations is a technique used to spread misleading information, where people demand unrealistic standards of proof before acting on the science. 

How is this related to climate?

It may be used to claim that the climate models used to predict climate change are not reliable, are based on assumptions and shouldn’t be trusted.

Some expect models to be 100% accurate all the time, even in the short-term which is impossible.

The fact is…

Climate models are useful tools that use the principles of physics to reproduce the past and make predictions about the future.

Since climate models are simulations of the real world, we cannot expect them to be perfect all the time. They are most effective for long-term predictions.

Climate models have a reliable track record and have made many accurate long-term predictions about different patterns of climate change — later confirmed by observation. This includes the prediction that increasing carbon in the atmosphere would lead to global temperature increases, that warming would increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, that the Arctic would warm faster than the rest of the world, and that the upper atmosphere would cool while the lower atmosphere warms.

False Equivalence

Be careful of content that tries to equate two things as being similar, without considering important differences.

False equivalence is a technique used to spread misleading information by using flawed reasoning to position two cases as equivalent, and ignoring important differences.

How is this related to climate?

It may be used to convince you that recent extreme weather events have nothing to do with climate change.

There may be claims that recent extreme weather events are the same as extreme weather events that happened in the past, which were due to natural cycles.

Scientific evidence that shows significant differences between recent and historic extreme weather events due to climate change is typically ignored.

The fact is…

Climate scientists have shown that there are significant differences between recent and historic extreme weather events, and that these differences are due to climate change. 

Climate change causes rising temperatures making heat waves, droughts and wildfires more frequent and intense. It also causes water to evaporate from land faster, resulting in more precipitation. As a result there is more flooding, which when coupled with sea level rise, causes storm surges.

Wind speeds intensify when hurricanes pick up more energy from warming oceans, leading to more intense hurricanes.

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

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News

Instagram Creators Amplify Meta’s Sustainability Efforts with Reels

In 2022, Meta partnered with creators on Instagram to raise awareness about Meta’s commitment to sustainability. Using Instagram reels and highlighting key insights from the 2021 Sustainability Report, each creator helped draw the connection between Meta and sustainability with entertaining, impactful, and unexpected content.  We partnered with photographer Gina Danza, climate activist and educator Kristy

August 15, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

News

Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

Video 3 Mins

Climate Voices: Michaela L.

Mikaela L. is a climate change activist based in Scotland. Through Instagram, she’s built a community of over 130,000 people working  to make the climate movement more Inclusive. For more news and information on climate change, visit the Climate Science Center on Facebook.

April 22, 2022

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

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Get the latest news about our sustainability work, download reports and case studies and explore our energy dashboards.

2021 Sustainability Report

We envision a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon economy and are working to scale inclusive solutions that help create a healthier planet for all.

What does a sustainable future look like? In this episode, we’re breaking down why a truly sustainable future needs to be not only climate secure, but equitable and just for all. What does the industrialized world owe to developing nations for the climate devastation their economies have caused? On an individual scale, what do we owe each other as neighbors on this shared planet? How can finding community be an antidote for despair and help strengthen us as we walk into this uncertain future together? Joining us to unpack these questions and more are Kristy Drutman of Brown Girl Green, and Wawa Gatheru of Black Girl Environmentalist, two young environmental activists who are devoting their lives to this work. Plus, Sophia Li signs off on this season of Climate Talks with one last call to action.

Featuring

Kristy Drutman | Brown Girl Green | Founder

Wanjiku ‘Wawa’ Gatheru | Black Girl Environmentalist | Founder

Edward Palmieri | Meta |  Director, Global Sustainability

Eoghan Griffin | Meta | Sustainability Strategy Manager, Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Transcript

SOPHIA LI: You’re listening to Climate Talks, a podcast in collaboration with Meta.

The climate crisis is the most pressing issue facing every one and every industry. And on this show, we make talking about the climate a conversation that everyone is invited to. 

Together, we can create a healthier relationship with nature, which, you know, also includes us. 

I’m Sophia Li. I’m a journalist, a film director, and a climate optimist. My life’s work is to make talking about the climate more accessible, more digestible, and more human. I’ll be your guide as we reframe the way we talk about the climate, and understand the best courses of action to take together. Let’s do this.

SOPHIA LI: We have entered a new climate cadence. 

DW NEWS CLIP: A typhoon has slammed into the eastern Philippines as authorities struggle to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people.

NBC NEWS CLIP: Just north of Santa Barbara, the Alisal fire burns out of control.

ABC NEWS CLIP: This evening, flash flood watch is now across five states, and this stretches some 500 miles. 

SOPHIA LI: This year, the United States faced unprecedented climate disruptions and disasters. Winter storms in Texas caused major disruptions to their power grid; flash flooding tore down phone lines and homes, and washed out roads in Tennessee. More land in California burned than any other year on record. 

And all of these disasters claimed human lives.

Still, in spite of these very real challenges, I choose to be a climate optimist. You guys, this is the last episode of this season of Climate Talks. And if I can leave you with one idea to take with you as we close out this season it’s this: a climate optimist is also a realist. It’s our work to transcend inaction and apathy, to spark conversations and take action. When we went out in the street to speak to you about what gives you hope for the future of sustainability, here’s what you had to say.

Person 1: One thing that gives me hope is significant leaps forward like fusion power.

Person 2: I think the future of sustainability really relies on companies. There’s only so much you can do as a consumer.

Person 3: I would like to see renewable energy become so much cheaper than fossil fuels that we have no choice but to change. 

Person 4: I heard on NPR yesterday that Shell just made a commitment that by the year 2050, they will be sustainable and have sustainable practices. I think that now these big money-making energy companies are being held accountable and forced to make some changes. So I have a little hope that we’re moving in that direction. 

Person 5: Something that’s giving me hope is the fact that GM is starting to make such a priority electric vehicles. So the fact that they also made a truck. That gives me a lot of hope that the car companies are committing to it in such a substantial way.

Person 6: The ideal future of sustainability to me would be we all have our own little home with our garden, where we grow our own food. We cook our own food. If you eat meat, preferably not. But if you do, you would have your own animals that you grow, you raise. We’re not using these big factories full of animals that you kill.

Person 7: My overall hope for the future of sustainability is that we need to like, incentivize behavior that benefits the well-being of our planet and our population as a whole. 

Person 8: Compassion gives me hope.

Person 9: Something that gives me hope is levying carbon taxes. 

Person 10: Something that gives me hope is the fact that we are talking about it, the fact that we are learning and helping each other in that process to make others aware about it, gives me hope. 

SOPHIA LI: What gives me hope is, well… this. To me, there is nothing more inspiring than the community I’ve found in this movement. Getting to talk to and collaborate with other people who are engaged in climate work – especially the youth climate activists—helps me remain a climate optimist.

Also, once you begin this work, you realize, it’s a never ending process. And that’s OK. The climate crisis isn’t going to go away in our one lifetime, so the work of addressing it is a lifelong commitment. 

But the people who have made that commitment, they have the most active hope. Hope to them is a verb, hope is a practice that they are actively engaged in every day. 

We’re doing this work, but we still have a long way to go. So, what’s on the road ahead? What does the future look like—for us, and for the planet? 

Each week on Climate Talks, we’re taking on sustainability from a different angle. In this episode, we’re talking about the future. What responsibility do each of us have to work towards a more sustainable future? 

How do we invite others into this movement along with us? What solutions to the climate crisis are we not talking enough about?

We’ll hear from Kristy Drutman of Brown Girl Green and Wawa Gatheru of Black Girl Environmentalist, two youth leaders in this space. Together, we’ll discuss the steps we need to take to build a sustainable and just future for all.

But first. Our partners at Meta are committed to doing their part to address the climate crisis, and supporting the businesses that rely on its platforms to work towards their own sustainable goals. Let’s hear how they’re approaching this work.

EDWARD PALMIERI: A couple years ago, as a new father, I really started thinking more and more about the work I had always intended to do around sustainability and conservation. And realizing that I worked for a company that was so committed to sustainability was something that really inspired me.

Hi, my name is Edward Palmieri and I’m the Director of Global Sustainability at Facebook. Climate change, environmental stewardship, these are very big systemic problems and issues to tackle. And so governments and corporations and nonprofits and organizations, all of the big sources of infrastructure in our society need to come together to address these issues. 

What gives me hope about the future in sustainable living is that everyone seems to get it. There are startups, there are established corporations, there are government research projects that could really change the way we generate electricity, the way we preserve the environment and repair and mitigate the damage that’s been done. Humanity has done so many amazing things over the years. I have every confidence that we can tackle this big global challenge.

EOGHAN GRIFFIN: Hi, my name is Eoghan Griffin, I’m Facebook’s Sustainability Strategy Manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

It definitely feels like there is a bit of a groundswell at the moment, particularly in the generation below mine that are really, really engaged and really knowledgeable and have grown up with far more sort of education about issues than we would have had growing up in school. 

One of the areas I’m really excited about is how we can support the hundreds of millions of small businesses that use our platforms, we think we’re in a – a really unique position to provide training and knowledge and resources and tools at scale to kind of help businesses smaller than ours with their climate and sustainability strategy and journey. And, yeah, so I think there’s a lot of potential there.

SOPHIA LI: Thank you to Edward Palmieri and Eoghan Griffin, from Meta.

If you talk to anyone who’s currently on the climate front lines right now, working every day for the survival of their home, they don’t have time or room to not be a climate optimist. They’re saying, “I have hope. I have active hope that my home will be here tomorrow.” 

Hope is an active choice for them, too. Earlier, we talked about the climate disruptions that rocked the United States in 2021. But the reality is, here in the US, we’re relatively sheltered from the climate disruption. 

The devastation of the climate crisis is always felt harder in the Global South, even though those communities are the least responsible for causing the climate crisis to begin with. For example, in Burundi—where the average citizen’s lifestyle creates so few Co2 emissions the number is often rounded down to zero metric tons—persistent drought and a lack of rainfall translates into a very real food insecurity. Most people still rely on small-scale farming to feed themselves and their communities. If it doesn’t rain, there’s literally less food to go around. 

And yet, the voices of these communities are often left out of the conversation when we talk about the climate crisis. 

If we are going to build a truly sustainable future, those voices need to be uplifted and included in this conversation. Those of us who live in G20 nations most responsible for the climate crisis need to get better at listening and step up to the plate. This movement needs everyone. 

You can’t be an environmentalist without being a humanitarian, as well. 

In this episode, we’re talking about how we can build a more stable climate and a more just future for all. I’ve invited two different youth climate activists on the show whose work inspires me and who have also chosen the path of climate optimism. For my first conversation, I’m joined by Kristy Drutman. She is the founder of Brown Girl Green, which makes inclusive media advocating for environmental justice – everything from podcasts to videos, and blog posts. After that, I’ll be joined by Wawa Gatheru. Here’s my conversation with Kristy. 

SOPHIA LI: Hi, Kristy. Welcome to climate talks. 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: So happy to be here. 

SOPHIA LI: Kristy, can you please introduce yourself and tell us your climate story?

KRISTY DRUTMAN: So hi, everyone. My name is Kristy Drutman. I am a Jewish and Filipina environmentalist, and I grew up in a small town in Southern California, and I lived near a freeway. And so I actually had really small lung capacity to the point where my classmates thought I lived in a smoking household and I didn’t grow up in a smoking household. And that was the first time where I realized, like, the place that I lived had something to do with my own health.

So I went to UC Berkeley, was like, I’m going to study environmental policy. But then Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan hit the Philippines, and that was when climate change was no longer just this distant issue in the near future. It was impacting people who look like me, like my family members. Just the idea that this could easily have happened to them, too, started to really settle in to me, that, you know, climate change is something that I needed to take action on. 

So I got really involved in climate youth activism in college, but I didn’t really see people who looked like me in a lot of environmental activist spaces or even in the environmental science or policy field. And so by the end of university, me and my friends created this organization at UC Berkeley that was focused on empowering young people of color in the environmental field. 

And so then my work transitioned from being just focused on climate advocacy to now thinking about intersectional climate activism.

SOPHIA LI: Wooh, amen. So I know you covered this a little bit, but what role do you think you play that the media isn’t covering with this climate communication? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: Mostly it’s people who are not in the climate space, comedians or politicians or entrepreneurs and business people who don’t really understand how to communicate climate science to the public because they don’t fully know the issue because they don’t have the academic background. You know, I studied climate science, I studied climate policy, but I also understand how to communicate that to people who don’t understand those issues. 

And I feel like there’s not enough people bringing that to online platforms in a way that is more accessible to more people and not even doing it in a way that also brings in stories from an immigrant perspective. Discussions around barriers to access. And I think that that’s what I bring to the table. 

SOPHIA LI: So what communities and voices are always excluded from this climate conversation? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: Black voices, definitely Indigenous voices, definitely Asian American voices and LatinX voices. 

When do you hear stories that are really emphasizing that experience? And also, when is it not just framed as these people who come from these communities being framed as victims? When is it being framed that they’re actually coming up with solutions? I just don’t see enough of those stories being told, and that’s concerning to me when we’re thinking about who’s actually going to be in positions of leadership and get resources to build solutions to the climate crisis.

SOPHIA LI: What responsibility do each of us have in the climate movement? Is it up to all of us? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: I think ultimately, the people who are most responsible are the people in positions of power and privilege. It shouldn’t be on grassroots community members who have to fight against these extractive industries to address the climate crisis. But unfortunately, the burden has been put on them. You know, there’s select companies and polluters who have very huge influence over the emissions that continue to increase. And I just don’t think those people are being held accountable at the rate that they need to be by any – by any means. 

SOPHIA LI: Totally. It needs to be top down and bottom up because it seems a lot of these times these people in power and privilege don’t make actions or real substantial changes unless they’re forced to by the people. 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: Completely. Yeah, and I think that’s another thing like consumers and individuals also feel so powerless but the thing is, is like these companies are so scared, especially of young people like even the term greenwashing, this year is the first time I’ve ever even heard companies be like, oh, we don’t want to be accused of that.  

SOPHIA LI: What would you say to those who are disillusioned or apathetic or just too overwhelmed by the climate space? What’s the most empowering thing that they can do? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: I think the most empowered thing that you can do is to definitely find community with others. I think being able to focus on, like, your own local community can make these things feel less existential and more tangible. You can actually see the tangible impacts of that maybe even faster than pushing for policy change or doing activism, because sometimes those things do take a long time. And whereas if you’re helping your local community and you’re building community with others, that just nourishes you, and I think that people think they can just do this by themselves, and that’s just not true. Like, you have to depend on others. 

SOPHIA LI: So that brings me to what does a just future look like for you? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: There’s a term called climate reparations. It’s this idea that like we recognize the harms that have been done specifically to Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities worldwide, people who live in the most impacted regions in the world. 

And the idea is how can we, as in people who are not in those most impacted areas, be able to really redistribute funds and resources to ensure the safety and the well-being of those regions that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and the idea is to pay for the damage that’s been done by neglecting that. 

And I would say the other thing is about redistribution. When we’re thinking about building quote unquote renewable energy world or a clean energy future, we have to realize that that still is going to require extraction of resources, that’s going to require labor, and maybe not even the most just labor and ethical labor. And we have to be honest about that. Like, what is this transition going to look like? 

So when I think about a just world, I think about building the infrastructure and the technology we need to live healthier and more sustainable lives, but not at the expense of exploiting communities who are going to be at the backbone of making that possible. 

SOPHIA LI: Right. So paint this picture for me. There is climate equity in this future. What does that look like? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: To me, a climate equitable world is one where people have equitable access to green space, to clean air, water and healthy soil. In terms of our economy, it would be focused on circularity and not linearity, it would be focused on centering biodiversity rather than extracting capital from natural ecosystems. And it would be centered around reciprocity. So being able to think about if you’re taking, then you’re giving something back and you’re always thinking about the communities that are being impacted or benefited from your actions. 

SOPHIA LI: Yeah, I mean, all the things you’re saying: healthy soil, clean air, circularity – it’s actually the norm of humanity. It was the basis of Indigenous communities. So I feel like when we say these things, we’re like, oh, how can we ever do that? And it’s like, humanity did live that way. 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: Yeah, exactly. 

SOPHIA LI: Last question – what gives you hope? 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: What gives me hope is other youth activists. Meeting other young people from around the world who care so deeply about these issues and advocating and intervening and speaking truth to power. Nothing else gives me more hope than that. 

SOPHIA LI: Thank you so much for joining Climate Talks. 

KRISTY DRUTMAN: Thank you so much for having me. 

SOPHIA LI: That was Kristy Drutman. You can follow Kristy Drutman’s work with Brown Girl Green on Instagram at browngirl_green, or online at BrownGirlGreen.org. 

Next up, I’m speaking with Wawa Gatheru, the founder of Black Girl Environmentalist, an intergenerational community of Black girls, women and non-binary environmentalists.

SOPHIA LI: Hi Wawa, welcome to Climate Talks.

WAWA GATHERU: Hi, thank you so much for having me. 

SOPHIA LI: Wawa, tell us who you are, how you got involved in the climate space. Tell us your climate story.

WAWA GATHERU: My name is Wanjiku. My friends call me Wawa and I’m a 22 year old environmental justice advocate.

First and foremost, I feel like the different parts of my identities really inform the way that I show up in the climate movement and the reason why I’m here in the first place. So first, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m a friend. I’m a very proud Kenyan-American. And I’m also a Black woman.

So I grew up in rural Connecticut, which is a really, really beautiful part of the Northeast. It’s also a place that a lot of people travel to for nature, environmental education, et cetera. 

However, my family was the only Black family, only immigrant family. And amongst that, even though environmental education and access to nature and green space was a part of my childhood, I never really saw myself in that field because literally no one who was working in that space and the way that we talk about those spaces, it didn’t really relate to me. I didn’t grow up hiking or camping. Those things were kind of seen as wealthy, white people things to do. So it wasn’t necessarily something that I saw myself in.

So I felt that way for most of my life until I was 16. So I entered into an environmental science class. 

My teacher decided to integrate environmental justice, which actually wasn’t a part of the original curriculum, so when we started to learn about environmental justice, and the way that, for instance, race is the number one indicator of one’s proximity to a toxic waste plant in the US, I got really frustrated. I was frustrated that I was suddenly finding out that environmentalism, this whole space that I had put up in my mind as this top shelf, like, white issue had everything to do with me. 

Yet, it hadn’t been introduced to me or talked about like that in my family or my friend groups. 

So when I got to college, I was like let me focus on getting folks involved, particularly Black folks in the environmental space. And that kind of led me into the climate movement and realizing that, A) a lot of folks of color were already environmentalists, but the framing around environmentalism and climate action for instance, just wasn’t being done in a way that included them. 

SOPHIA LI: Was that environmental justice high school class your aha moment? 

WAWA GATHERU: It was my aha moment of a previous aha moment. When my parents first moved to the US, my mom, like, started a garden and I spent a lot of my time as a kid in that garden, not really knowing that that garden was kind of my mom’s way of connecting back with her heritage and how she had grown up. 

So that was my first experience having a really intimate connection with the physical environment. But I didn’t see it as that growing up. So when I mean, I had the aha moment, I remember us talking about food justice and food systems and equitable food systems, and particularly in the U.S., folks of color being distanced from the food system and how most of the examples of Black agricultural experience, the only thing that we talked about was slavery, and that was just subjugation to the land. And I realized that there is this real life contradiction. 

SOPHIA LI: Yes! So do you feel like the environmental justice movement is still carried on the shoulders of solely the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, the BIPOC community? 

WAWA GATHERU: I would say predominantly so and predominantly so, because if we’re talking about in the U.S. context, there’s a reason why the environmental justice movement is what it is in the U.S., and it’s because it’s a movement of necessity. People have had to step up, had to take a stand because their lives were and continue to be on the line. And time and time again, we see that race and class, but still race primarily is what informs disproportionate access. 

SOPHIA LI: Hmm. And just to rewind for a second, for those who don’t know what does environmental justice mean? 

WAWA GATHERU: Bare bones, it is essentially a framework that works to make sure that every person, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, et cetera, have equitable access to environmental benefits.

Access to equitable, culturally competent food, it means access to clean air. Clean water. It means access to green space.

SOPHIA LI: And for all of our white listeners or who aren’t BIPOC and have privilege, how can we bring them into the environmental justice movement? 

WAWA GATHERU: The most important thing to do is to listen to frontline community members, leaders, organizers, find out what they might need in regards to amplifying the work that they’re already doing. 

Because a lot of times capacity building is the issue just because of resources. In the environmental space, 50 percent of environmental philanthropy goes to the same 10 big green organizations. And then within that, when you look at BIPOC lead and particularly like Black and Indigenous led environmental organizations and nonprofits and things of that sort, we get like less than five percent of funding. So if you can put your money where your mouth is, definitely do that. 

SOPHIA LI: So Wawa, if we were able to achieve climate equity and build a more just climate future for all, what would that even look like?

WAWA GATHERU: For me, a just climate movement just means real, real justice for everyone. To me, that looks like a world free of prisons, free of a carceral system. 

Just people having access to basic human rights, having the ability to live a life beyond survival. So many people around the world quite literally are living to survive and don’t get the opportunity to live a life of passion. 

SOPHIA LI: Yes, Wawa. I so resonate with that. Climate justice is racial justice is social justice: making sure that everyone has the right to a healthy, safe, beautiful human life. 

WAWA GATHERU: Mm hmm. Exactly. 

SOPHIA LI: So Wawa, if you could go back in time, and speak to that person that was taking her first environmental justice class in high school, what would you tell her? 

WAWA GATHERU: I’d say get ready, girl! But also, I would say, you feel super alone right now. I would say this message is specifically to, you know, 16-Year-Old Wawa. 

I felt really alone whenever we would have conversations in class, while my teacher was really supportive, sometimes, some of my classmates would be like, OK, let’s stop making this about race. It’s just about climate. And I would say, get ready girl, because these little conversations that you’re having in high school, they’re going to continue. The places that you may have thought would be with the right agenda of fighting for the protection of both people and planet. 

They may not actually be on board the way that you think they are, but but but but that is why you are in this movement in the first place. You have a place. When I was at that age, I thought that I’d never find a community in the climate space. 

So I say, get ready, girl, there’s so many people that you’re going to meet that understand you and your vision and also are looking to make sure that the just climate future that we talk about includes all of us. And you’re going to really find community there and constantly be reminded of how important your work will be and how important environmental justice will always be. 

SOPHIA LI: Ah! You know what you’re doing, Wawa, you’re providing so many of those aha moments for people to start their own awakening in this journey. So my last question for you is what gives you hope? 

WAWA GATHERU: What gives me hope? I always struggle with this question. But I would say what gives me hope, it’s necessity, this is the only home we have, this is the only planet that we have. 

I think we all deserve a future! And I think what also gives me hope is the love that I experience in and inside of this movement. 

For me, I feel like climate work and climate labor is a work of love because it’s hard, it’s tiring, it’s heartbreaking, but it’s necessary. 

SOPHIA LI: Yes, yes, yes, preach. Hope is the thing that drives us forward. If we didn’t have hope for our future, or our home, then why even try? 

WAWA GATHERU: Absolutely. 

SOPHIA LI: Wawa, thank you so much. 

WAWA GATHERU: Thank you. It was such, such a pleasure. It’s so great talking to you. 

SOPHIA LI: That was Wawa Gatheru.

You can follow Wawa Gatheru’s work with Black Girl Environmentalist on Instagram at BlackGirlEnvironmentalist (all one word), or online at WawaGatheru.org.

SOPHIA LI: So every week on the show I close each episode with a prompt, a kind of call to action, inviting you, our listeners into the conversation.

This week, I invite each and every one of you to find your own climate community.  And if you can’t find one that resonates, create your own! 

It can be as unofficial as a group text chain with your friends and family where everyone shares resources, or photos of themselves in nature. 

Or, once a month, you can meet up to talk about climate anxiety—maybe you’ll be the climate optimist in your own group! And that in itself is doing the work in this space. 

By spreading hope in this movement. By continuing the work. By talking about it. You’re already doing it. 

That’s a wrap on this season of Climate Talks. We hope these episodes made you feel inspired and empowered to start—or reconnect with—your own climate journey. Thank you for listening with us as we learned more about our earth’s climate, and our responsibilities to each other. 

And maybe, you’ll start having some climate talks of your own—with your friends and family—starting to build that climate community, and continuing this movement forward. Thank you.

SOPHIA LI: You’ve been listening to Climate Talks, a podcast in collaboration with Meta. Many thanks to our guests this week, Kristy Drutman and Wawa Gatheru. 

You can find our podcast on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or whenever you listen. If you like what you hear, please rate the show and share it with family and friends. We want everyone to get in on this conversation, and we hope that each episode inspires you to continue that conversation IRL with the people in your own life. 

This show is produced by work by work: Scott Newman, Jemma Brown, Emily Shaw, Kathleen Ottinger and by me, Sophia Li. The show is mixed by Sam Bair. 

Extra gratitude to Marlo Tablante and Amanda Gardiner at Meta. To find out more about Meta’s Sustainability initiatives, visit sustainability (dot) f-b (dot) com.

I’m always talking about climate on Instagram and Twitter. You can find me at s-o-p-h-f-e-i, that’s my handle. Thank you so much for listening, and thank you for being a part of the conversation and movement.


show notes

Kristy Drutman is the founder of Brown Girl Green, (IG: @browngirl_green) a media platform that produces podcasts, videos, blog posts, and other media related to environmental justice and advocacy. She interviews environmental leaders and advocates about diversity and inclusion as well as creative solutions for coping with the climate crisis. Most recently, Kristy was on the ground in the UK, covering TEDConnect and COP26. 

Wawa Gatheru is the founder of Black Girl Environmentalist (IG: @blackgirlenvironmentalist) an intergenerational community of Black girls, women and non-binary environmentalists. She is an environmental justice advocate hailing from Kenya and Connecticut. She is currently a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford studying environmental governance. Wawa plans to pursue a public service career that empowers and supports culturally competent, community-based environmental solutions, particularly focusing on centering the expertise of frontline communities of color. 

Typhoon Haiyan (or Super Typhoon Yolanda) hit the Philippines in November of 2013. It was one of the most powerful and destructive typhoons ever recorded. The storm also caused devastation in the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Guam, and more.

The show intro features clips excerpted from the following news segments:

– DW News. Philippines hit by Typhoon Vongfong. [Video file]. (2020, May 15). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JduI7wLdsyw

– NBC News. California Firefighters Battling Explosive Alisal Fire. [Video file]. (2021, October 12). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOo_E3PnAyo

– ABC News. Hurricane Nicholas hammers Texas coast. [Video file]. (2021, September 14). Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeUE30RVtqs

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