While the Climate Science Alliance is composed of a large, diverse network of stakeholders and community members - there is a core team working hard behind the scenes to connect the climate dots. We invite you to get to know our team and what drives them in this fun new series.
Team Member: Connor Magee
Position: Research and Data Applications Manager
Describe What You Do With the Climate Science Alliance:
I support our partners with land management projects in the Southern Californian region. Currently, most of my activity is at the Carbon Sink Demonstration Farm at Pauma Tribal Farms in Pauma Valley, CA. At the farm, I directly work with a team to implement land management practices of installing cover crops, windbreak and pollinator hedgerows using native trees, shrubs, forbs and grasses. While we are doing this for a suite of benefits, a significant purpose is to understand our potential to increase carbon sequestration within an agricultural production site.
Gathering soil samples to test for soil organic carbon is really exciting business, I'm not sure I'll ever lose the stoke.
Why do you do this work?
I do this work because it gives me purpose. From an early age, playing in the Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral and Riparian areas of our reservation, Pala, I observed the interconnectedness of soil, water, air, plants, animals and people. I learned what beauty is and I learned to strive for balance. That beauty and understanding of balance gave me strength and an identity to serve my community in land stewardship. I feel that my efforts in land stewardship is fulfilling my responsibility for the coming generations. I feel that our daily accomplishments in the work we do contributes to a greater wellbeing.
Of the 10 Things You Can Do to Protect the Earth - Which one do you commit to doing and why?
I am committed to planting trees. Tree planting reminds me of what it means to be virtuous in building relationships. The virtue of bringing a new member into your community. It reminds us that all living things need intact natural resources to thrive. We share the same needs as trees. Nurturing a young tree I see as self care. A tree can abundantly provide life supporting resources for us for generations. Patience, generosity and charity are virtues that I find in my relationship of planting trees.
What gives you Climate Hope?
What gives me climate hope is our ability to adapt and operate as a collective. As we strive to mitigate and adapt to rapid climate change, we are also presented with the opportunity to coalesce and expand our creative solution building power. I believe humans harness a tremendous amount of potential and that is hopeful.
What is Your Life Motto or Favorite Quote?
I remember a Tribal elder sharing that, “You learn what love is, once you learn what true forgiveness is”. I feel that part of the human experience is grappling with various conflicts, internal and externally. Navigating conflict can be exhausting, drowned in misunderstanding, one-sidedness. It inhibits our ability to be compassionate, both to ourselves and others. I believe that what our Tribal elder shared as love, is our path to resolution: understanding, acceptance and ultimately forgiveness. I think that when we remind ourselves of that, things get lighter, the air becomes fresher and we live a better life.
I can be frequently seen with one of my five sisters, brother (not pictured) or mom.
What is the last thing you read, watched, or listened to that inspired you?
A few years ago I was privileged to see Cornel West speak. His speaking engagement was titled, “The Burden Carried by African American Men”. I was inspired to hear Cornel West as he painted an accurate picture about growing up in an unjust world yet was very clear about the need to find a way to emerge from those injustices. He had prodigious grace when he talked about the hardship meanwhile being able to fully engage with audience questions to bring further understanding. He had this genuine sincerity around wanting to fully understand the diverse audience. It was beautiful to see how he, and in turn many of others, who have faced such injustices, are able to find pathways to push back with dignity and gentle, yet powerful force.
This is what my day normally looks like, me with my sons, Kwali and Kashil.
What do you like to do for fun?
I consider myself a surfer even though I don’t make it in the water often anymore. Bobbing around in the ocean is a humbling experience. Traveling on large pulses of energy on a reef where nothing feels tame. You carry an acute sense of awareness. You take in so much information from all your senses. There are dolphins whistling under you, the wind shifting direction, the tide is in constant motion. You get thrown over the crest of a wave and taken under, being reminded of the vulnerable position you put yourself. It makes me feel connected and profoundly humble and for me that’s fun. I also love sitting in circles with my kids, family and community in Pala. I feel accepted. I can be as silly or as serious as I want. I can be as wrong as I want, or as right as I want. I am accepted and unconditionally loved in any incarnation. For me, that is a good time!
Tell us one thing on your bucket list.
Top of my bucket list is to visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. It’s on a remote island between Norway and the North Pole. It’s a seed bank buried deep within a remote mountain that houses 980,000 samples, originating from almost every country in the world. It has the capacity to house 4.5 million varieties. Seeds have histories, they have stories to tell involving thousands of generations. They share histories with us. In a seed there is so much knowledge to share, so much wisdom to gain from trying to understand them. It is something profound when we safeguard them in a symbiotic act to build them a palace deep within a mountain in the Arctic Circle. I have a feeling being present in the vault you would be rendered speechless once you think about the journey taken and the purpose of it all.
To learn more about the Climate Science Alliance and the work we do, please visit us at: www.climatesciencealliance.org
This is the face I make when I find an endangered Tetracoccus plant on our Pala reservation.