Interview with Izzi Thomas-Horton on World + 3
By Kayley Stanbridge
Tell us about yourself and what you have been working on?
I’m a twenty-three year old English Literature masters student at Glasgow University. I have recently written a chapter on climate migration for a book on climate adaptation which was published on the 25 October this year. Over the past year I have also been putting together an academic journal/student zine. The goal was to fuse academic subject matter and referencing with an accessible tone and art style. We asked all our contributors to write using language that was accessible to everyone.
World + 3 asks its contributors and readers to imagine a world which is three degrees warmer, one which situation scientists are increasingly afraid will become reality. Rather than focusing on fear however, the journal looks at the adaptations we need to make. We hope to highlight the importance of beginning to put them in place before the world is beyond repair.
Thanks to the 2050 Climate Group we will be able to print off some copies and digital access cards to display at grassroots events surrounding the COP26 (Conference of the Parties 2021). We will also be running an interactive exhibit at the COP26 Youth Hub and at the Sustainable Solutions Showcase at Hunter Halls, as well as online. The exhibit will encourage participants to think about their fears for a warmer planet and then imagine or share a solution to this problem, or any climate problem which gives them hope.
Finally, as part of my role in communications at the Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team, I’m helping run Student Journalism at COP. This will be a place for young people across the world to write about the COP26.
What inspired you to start these projects?
I originally began working on Climate Adaption: Accounts of Resilience, Self-sufficiency and Climate Change as a researcher. In 2019 I was part of a seminar on migration and refugees held at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. The thing that really stuck with me was how poorly the global systems in place deal with permanent refugees, those who will never be able to return home.
Over time my personal interest in this problem merged with my volunteer work on Climate Adaptation. The result is my chapter on climate migration. Now interspersed with work by Professor Patrick Nunn, my work will be published. I’m over the moon!
The World + 3 came about from a frustration with how scientific breakthroughs and discussions are cut off from the general public. World + 3 tackles perhaps the most important issue of the day, in language anyone can understand. We still required references and we still had the work peer reviewed, but the resulting work was accessible. Particularly when we’re discussing something like climate change and climate adaptation which will impact every person, it's vital that the science is communicated to the public.
Have you faced many challenges during this process and how have you overcome them?
Imposter syndrome! With all of these projects, I have struggled with feeling like I don’t have the right or the expertise to be involved. Both World + 3 and Climate Adaptation have been in the works for around two years. I hadn’t even graduated when I started! The only way to really deal with imposter syndrome, at least for me, was to concentrate on the “why?” I might not be the best person to write about climate migration but no-one else is doing it. I’m definitely not the best person to run a journal on climate adaptation but it deserves to be made and it won’t if I don’t take the lead.
What goals do you have for World + 3?
My big hope is that World + 3 does get seen by people around at the COP. I would say there are two key groups I’d love to reach. The first is the change-makers, who I’ve written a short letter to at the start of the journal. I want them to understand the importance of climate adaptation and what it means to the young people who have poured hours of their lives for free into creating this journal. The second group is the public. I really want people to understand what climate adaptation is and why we need to pressure governments to implement systematic change now.
The World + 3 interactive collage art has a similar goal. Too often, the climate discussion is based around sacrifices; I want to show people that adaptation isn’t synonymous with sacrifice. I’d love for people to see the changes we know we’ll have to make in a positive light.
All of us on the Student Journalism COP team would like to see as much engagement as possible.
Do you want to work in the publishing industry? What would your ideal role be?
My ideal role would be somewhere where I can continue to support democratising academic research and campaigning for climate change initiatives. Increasingly, however, I’ve become more interested in working in communications for either the government or a non-profit. I’d like to be the person making sure that key information gets out to the public. There are many overlaps between public communications and publishing in terms of skill-base, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I were able to work in both at different points in my life.