Jordyn Bonds and Mike Gintz are not your stereotypical environmentalists. All skinny, tattooed arms and even skinnier cut-off jeans, they look more like they belong at a house show in Allston than at a Rainbow Gathering. But as we sat in the living room of my ancient Cambridgeville apartment, they spoke passionately about what may be the single biggest problems facing humanity: climate change.
“I’m not a march around and hold signs and yell at stuff kinda’ guy,” Mike explained, shifting on the dingy green couch. “In any problem that has a large scale, there’s room for multiple approaches to the problem. That one wasn’t really resonating with me. I wanted to figure out a way to use my skills . . . to help address it.”
These feelings came to a head in February, when Jordyn and Mike joined 50,000 other activists in Washington, D.C. for Forward on Climate—the largest climate change rally in U.S. history. The march in front of the White House and the speeches on the National Mall did not quite resonate them, so they sought refuge from the bitter cold inside a local coffee shop. This article appeared in the 25 September 2013 issue of Dig Boston. As they say thinking about ways they could contribute to the climate movement outside of traditional activism, Jordyn decided to show Mike a blog post she had written a few months before. That blog post became The Open Letter—a plea to the world’s most powerful parents calling them out for not doing more to ensure their children’s future against the catastrophic effects of climate change. Jordyn and Mike found their targets by looking at the leaders of the ten countries that produce the most greenhouse gases, the CEOs of the ten most profitable private oil companies, the editors of the ten news outlets with the largest audiences, and the ten richest people in the world—skipping over anyone who did not have children. They were left with a list of the 40 most powerful parents in the world. Now the pair are hoping to publish their letter somewhere much bigger than Jordyn’s blog: the Wall Street Journal. They are raising money through an online crowdfunding campaign to run the letter as a paid ad, and it’s not cheap: $161,000 for a full page. “Really, the crowdfunding campaign is the point, is the action,” said Jordyn, “Running the ad would be awesome, but it’s really more about getting people to read it.” The letter itself is uncompromising. “If you feel any gratitude whatsoever toward the generations before you, and if you in any way value your children’s future,” it says, “it should be clear what needs to happen.” It goes on to call for dramatic action on the part of the leaders to whom it is addressed. What Jordyn found baffling about the issue, and what motivated her to write The Open Letter, was how the people who do have the power to really affect climate change on a large scale are dragging their feet in the fact of a crisis that will almost certainly make the world less livable for their children and grandchildren. “There’s no word to describe how much you love your children,” she said, speaking of the powerful parents she addressed her letter to, “And yet, it’s fine. You’re just going to send them marching off into a pretty apocalyptic landscape. You’re going to make sure they get into this elitist preschool, but you’re not going to make sure they have clean drinking water when they’re adults. That just started to blow my mind.” With The Open Letter, Jordyn and Mike hope to put pressure on the people most in a position to stop all that from happening. But more than that, they hope to create an outlet for people like themselves who may not be attracted to traditional activism but who care about ensuring a safe, sustainable future—for everyone’s children. This article appeared in the 25 September 2013 issue of Dig Boston.