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Women AirMiners

December 17, 2020

This is a note about women AirMiners, some stories and anecdotes, and a call to action I hope you take me up on! I wanted to give you the full story, so this is longer than usual. Here's the video version if you prefer that.

We just opened up the final voting for the Carby Awards (the Oscars for AirMiners). These finalists were selected from over 200 nominations by our group of judges.

As the nominations came in over the last 2 weeks, I noticed that the overwhelming majority were for men. This got me thinking as we planned the judging panel. We started diverse for our judges, inviting women and people of color to join the judging panel. But as the judging panel grew as more and more nominations came in, I started to notice something about judges too. Every time we invited a man, they were available. Whatever was happening, moving schedule, more flexible, etc. And women would come back and say they were interested but other things were going on. Only about a quarter of the women we invited were available to be judges, whereas every man was available.

Ultimately, Jason and I put in more work, added more judging time to make the timing more flexible, and in the end we had a pretty good gender balance on the judging panel. This helped me realize we have such a big opportunity to make sure this carbon removal community is more diverse, more inclusive, and more reflective of the world as it is.

When I think about AirMiners, how inclusive is our community? How inviting and welcoming is the carbon removal industry?

It's important to figure this out now, with carbon removal being a this "moment", a moment of change, a moment of the wave picking up. There's a cost of delaying or putting that off. Delaying or silence, the result is the same. Imagine how difficult and expensive it will be to correct 1 year from now, when carbon removal has grown on the current path. Right now this is a blossoming community, early stage industry, the more we can set our course now intentionally the better off we'll all be.

Jason and I challenge ourselves to take action where there's silence or inaction. Sure, maybe it's awkward to send a few extra emails, schedule something extra, or withdraw an invitation. But a year from now that will all continue to pay off. If we delay we'll be more rooted in a direction that doesn't really serve the purpose of carbon removal.

The night the nominations closed, Jason and I were up till midnight talking about how to open up opportunities within the existing AirMiners community for women and people of color. And creating new opportunities make the community and industry more welcoming to new people.

I don't have this all figured out. So I wanted to call on women AirMiners. How do we create more opportunities within the existing things we do - Events, Slack, ideas there? If you were to design an event for women AirMiners, what would it be? How would it work?
And what about new opportunities, networking, coaching, mentoring, pitch deck reviews, things we haven't even thought of here.

And for all the fellas reading this, if you're on board but it's uncomfortable, well, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Figure out how to lean into that silence. For starters, you can reply here, or we've got AirMiners feedback surveys after each event, you can put your comments in there. If you're thinking it, there's probably dozens of other guys in the AirMiners community thinking the same thing.

I'm looking for women leaders to organize and lead events in AirMiners. A great example of this is one of our most impactful events, our Environmental Justice and Carbon Removal event, led by Heidi Lim. Heidi envisioned the event, worked on who to invite and collaborate with, and moderated the session. How do we do more of that?

Are there women or people of color in the community who want to lead existing initiatives? Or are there other initiatives we can start?

We need more than me saying this bothers me. We need me and people like me taking action and changing this. If sharing it is your next step great, but the bar I'm setting here by sharing my concern is pretty damn low.

Part of the reason you're interested in carbon removal, part of the AirMiners community, read reports about the changing climate is because you want to be part of making solutions, creating that future world. This is one of those opportunities, there's a ton of room for improvement. It's an opportunity to build something better.

Send me your ideas for how you want to get involved in AirMiners as it is, or new ideas, things we haven't tried. Hit reply!

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