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What happens when you put climate and justice leaders in a room with their greatest mentor? Deep, inspiring conversations on what mentorship means, on the power of relationships, and on what it takes to sustain a passion for changing the world. For the second season of Fix’s Temperature Check podcast, we asked six climate leaders to tell us their greatest mentors — the people whose influence and guidance have impacted what they do and why they do it. Then we invited the pairs to come together and discuss their relationship — to the work and to each other. (Learn more.)

This audio story is part of Fix’s Mentorship Issue exploring the unique ways climate leaders found their calling, and how new approaches to mentorship are upending old power structures. Check out the full issue here.

The collaborators

Activist and hip hop artist Xiuhtezcatl and Josué Rivas, a photographer and visual storyteller

Camera nestled in mountain landscape with music notes

Xiuhtezcatl was an aspiring hip hop artist when he met Josué, a photographer. The two have collaborated ever since, documenting the stories of Indigenous communities through powerful lyrics and images. Read the transcript.

The intersectionalists 

Leah Thomas, founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, and Teresa Baker, founder of the African American National Park Event

Cluster of trees forming a face in the center

“When you don’t consider the nuances [among groups of people], it can be really harmful,” says Leah, who founded Intersectional Environmentalist to do exactly that. She speaks with her friend and mentor Teresa, who serves on IE’s council. Read the transcript.

The joy-givers 

Environmental influencer and drag queen Pattie Gonia and Spencer R. Scott, a science writer and the owner of a queer-run agricultural community space

Plants growing out of boots between two rainbows

Bringing as many people as possible into the environmental movement is the goal for both Pattie and Spencer. And the best, most inclusive way to do that? “Collaboration, community, and joy.” Read the transcript.

The scientists 

Herpetologist and science communicator Earyn McGee and Tien Nguyen, a science journalist

Lizard sitting atop rock

Earyn and Tien bonded over their experiences as women of color in STEM and finding their paths from academia to media. Says Tien, “This industry needs our stories.” Read the transcript.

The connectors 

NDN Collective’s Jade Begay and Eriel Tchekwie Deranger of Indigenous Climate Action

Flowers blooming from two hands holding each other

For these Indigenous women, mentorship is “less about teaching skills and more about welcoming in.” Here, they talk about the consequences of holding in trauma, and the relief that comes from sharing it with their communities. Read the transcript.

The power brokers 

Valencia Gunder of the Red Black and Green New Deal, and Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, CEO of Environmental Grantmakers Association

Fist rising from center of plant

Valencia and Tamara are dedicated to improving the lives of those facing unjust conditions in frontline communities. They discuss how to build coalitions and work the levers of policy to combat environmental racism. Read the transcript.

About the Grist 50

Many of the guests on Season Two of Temperature Check are Grist 50 “Fixers.” The annual Grist 50 list recognizes emerging leaders in climate, sustainability, and justice. See the most recent list to discover more Fixers.

Temperature Check is a podcast from Fix, produced in association with Reasonable Volume.

Producer Audrey Ngo
Associate producer Dominique French
Podcast editors Elise Hu, Rachel Swaby
Sound engineer Mark Bush

Editor for creative storytelling Jess Stahl
Managing editor Jaime Buerger
Associate editor Claire Elise Thompson
Project coordinator Josh Kimelman
Fix intern Camille Williams
Designer Mia Torres
Illustrator Jesse Zhang