Citizens’ Climate Lobby

CCR Ep 64 Hinduism and LGBTQ climate work with Hari Venkatachalam

September 24, 2021

How does an American Hindu approach the climate crisis? What ancient values and teachings apply to modern life in America today? And how does this relate to LGBTQ issues and public health? Hari Venkatachalam connects his faith, work, heritage, and even his sexual orientation to living in a climate-changed world.

In the episode Hari reveals how extreme weather, which affects everyone, disproportionally impacts LGBTQ homeless youth. Citizens Climate Radio host, Peterson Toscano, explains, 

Up to 40% of youth living on the streets in the United States and Canada are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary. Many of them avoid going to shelters because they assume they will received the same discrimination and hostility they escaped. This is especially true for transgender and gender non-binary young people. This puts them at extra risk during extreme weather events.

Hari Venkatachalam also talks about his faith and the principles handed down to him from his father. Hari is an active member of Sadhana: A Coalition of Progressive Hindus, and his activism focuses on environmental justice, LGBTQ+ issues, and public health. He currently works in Tampa, Florida as a public health researcher for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Kathy Baughman McLeod, SVP, Atlantic Council & Director, Adrienne Arsht - Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, also weighs in to talk about the dangers of extreme heat.

The Art House

Joining us in the Art House is Dr. Krista Hiser, with the first in a series of an occasional feature called The Ultimate Cli-Fi Book cCub. The purpose of the book club is to look at climate-themed literature and consider how it can help us engage differently with interdisciplinary topics and existential threats related to the planetary predicament of climate change. 


In this episode Krista reflects on the cli-fi novel, Blaze Island by Catherine Bush, and lets her imagination run wild, as she pulls together some of the greatest minds in climate fiction. 


Dr. Krista Hiser is Professor at Kapiʻolani Community College. Her PhD is in Educational Administration from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has published on community engagement, service-learning, organizational change, post-apocalyptic and cli-fi literature. 

You can read a written version of Krista’s essay at The Ultimate Cli-Fi Book Club for Sustainability in Higher Education on Medium. 

You can hear standalone versions of The Art House at Artists and Climate Change

Good News Report

Our good news comes from Anthony Leiserowitz at Yale Climate Connections. You will hear about a new fund which aims to bring more people into the climate conversation. 

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