Today is the one year anniversary of The Phoenix. I've got some exciting new stuff planned for year two.
So much has happened over the past 12 months — fires, floods, and millions of people finding their voices about the fundamental change we need to counteract centuries of systemic injustices in the middle of our overlapping emergencies.
This was a difficult year for me, as I'm sure it was for you too. But it was also a year filled with incredible joys — my baby's fifth birthday party (he wanted a thunderstorm cake), running through the rain in Yellowstone National Park with my whole family, laying down in a soft field of grass watching the most beautiful stars I've ever seen.
I'm more convinced than ever that if we want to build a world that truly works for everyone, we need a mix of fire and green shoots. We need to direct our outrage at the ongoing crimes of the climate emergency toward the several hundred people who are most responsible for enabling them. And we need to double-down on joy, by telling stories with glimpses of the world we're fighting for.
Starting today, The Phoenix will begin publishing our revolutionary climate journalism on Ghost, to help support a growing community of open-source creators. If you're getting this email, you've already made the switch — you don't have to do anything but join us on this journey.
When I launched The Phoenix last year, it was with this mandate: "We've got to shift climate storytelling away from inevitable apocalypse towards the possibility of a better world; towards catastrophic success not catastrophic failure."
I've been increasingly frustrated with Substack for many reasons over the past year, most importantly their refusal to take a stand to restrict harmful speech — on gender equality, Covid misinformation, and climate denial and delay — on their platform. I was under contract with Substack until yesterday. Today I left.
I refuse to believe that any of us should have to accept a world where the status quo is trying to actively kill us.
I also launched The Phoenix with this promise: "We were born at exactly the right time to change everything."
I'm very excited about Ghost, but I'm even more excited about this chance to reboot The Phoenix.
Here's what I have planned for this year
Starting next week, The Phoenix will kick off 52 weeks of coverage on building the world we need — one filled with justice, safety, and joy. Each week will have its own theme, like "trees" or "Texas" or "community solar". Best of all, this journalism will be produced collaboratively.
Here's a rough weekly schedule:
Every Sunday evening, I'll write a weekly preview, a short (~200 word) overview of the week's theme — along with a discussion thread that will stay open the whole week. Members of The Phoenix will be able to share their own experiences, tips, and calls to action in the thread.
We'll try to do an equal mix of flames & shoots — reasons for outrage and hope — and every week will be focused on what we need to change, how we can make this world better for everyone.
Every Thursday night, I'll publish a short feature (less than 1000 words) based on what we've learned, written by me or another journalist we've commissioned, building off the community discussion on the theme.
Right now, I've got a backlog of commissioned authors that have been paid and put in their work but haven't yet been published on The Phoenix, so we'll start off with those themes first. A preview of some of the themes: waste, drought, swimming, community.
New membership tiers
To support this work, we're also launching new membership tiers for The Phoenix.
Feature Sponsor tier — $500/yr, Feature Sponsors collaborate with me to select a story idea and commission a journalist to write a feature story for The Phoenix. This is a great opportunity to have someone research something you've always wanted, or to shed light on something you think deserves more attention.
Co-Publisher tier — $1000/yr, Co-publishers collaborate with me to choose an entire week of coverage at The Phoenix. This can be almost anything you want, as long as it matches our goal of moving us toward a future that works for everyone.
These member tiers are set at a level that will make sure our journalism remains entirely independent, and covers the costs of competitive salaries. The Phoenix pays its writers 50 cents per word, and we operate as an organization with our primary goal of creating revolutionary change at the moment when our civilization and our planet needs it most.
Most of all, we're doing this work to create change. If you have any ideas for what you'd like to see at The Phoenix in year two, I'm all ears and I'd love to chat.