Skip to main content
Tucson Climate Chats

Tucson Climate Chats

By Tucson Climate Project
Chats about nature, culture and justice across spaces. Hosted by Nick Spinelli (AmeriCorps VISTA). Music by Nolan Allen. Created by Luis Perales. Part of Changemaker High School's TUCSON CLIMATE PROJECT. #TUCC #TCP
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


"A Brief Update On All The Things"
Slow progress is still progress. And the end of analysis is in sight for TCP! Much more soon... TCP Project Guidebook: Dedoose (Coding Software):   Gratitude for you all, as always :)
May 27, 2021
Group Chat: Decentering Whiteness in Environmental Work
Karlyn Bradley returns to TUCC and is joined by Valerie Sipp (Living Streets Alliance, Association of Fundraising Professionals) for a very special double-header episode! Part of Arizona Serve's 2021 Guest Speaker Series, Karlyn and Val discuss whiteness in all its forms, with a special emphasis on its role in the environmental movement. Our live audience (!) even got to sneak in a few questions in the second half of the discussion. Want to know more/support their work? Of course you do! Karlyn's email and Venmo:, @dawntray1224. Val's email and Venmo:, @Valerie-Sipp (with artwork by Arizona Serve's very own Allison Doty)
April 23, 2021
The Return of Luis Perales
Nick and Luis jam after the Tucson Climate Project's Preliminary Report Release, which you can watch here ( Have feedback for us? Take this short survey ( Want to know more? Read our Project Guidebook, as always ( GRATITUDE FOR YOU ALL!
April 19, 2021
Interview w/Mary Ann Capehart
In which Nick and Mary Ann Capehart, permaculturist and Instructional Specialist w/WaterWise, nerd out on water—water rights, water use, water tables, water pollution, average rainfall, drought, groundwater, drawdown, drilling (deeper and deeper) wells, the plight of many small farms and rural landowners ... whew! It's all there in our hour-long deep dive. If you'd like to learn more about the University of Arizona's Cooperative Extension, you can visit WaterWise's website or even visit them in Bisbee once their programming resumes.
April 9, 2021
Interview w/Vianey Olivarria
Vianey Olivarria (and CHISPA AZ) have had a busy few months keeping up with current events. She sits down with Nick to give him a thumbnail sketch of her work in March of 2021, one (unbelievable) year on from the start of the pandemic. Her team is doing it all—fighting for cleaner air, lower utility bills, access to public lands, development of urban green spaces, and policies that benefit the Latinx community overall. Vianey also shares some of her thoughts about combatting green gentrification, her experiences as a woman of color in the outdoors, and (because it's Women's History Month!) some of her own role models and mentors that have made her work possible.
March 29, 2021
Your questions about TCP, answered. Access the TCP Project Guidebook here. 03:20 Refresh my memory. What is TCP? 06:19 Who's on your team? 08:07 What does TCP have to do with TUCC? Are they the same thing? 09:50 TCP has changed a lot since I first heard about it. How did you conduct your research? 14:28 What will data analysis look like? 19:42 When will the report be ready? 22:33 Where is TCP's list of participants? Can I see it? 26:10 Who has access to my data? 27:28 How long will I be able to edit my notes? 29:03 Will I get a copy of your report? 32:27 How will the report be distributed? 33:34 Will you (Nick) be following up with anyone, and if so, when? 34:37 When can I expect updates on TCP? 35:31 By the way … I thought I heard you (Nick) mention something about using TCP as part of your master's thesis at Prescott College. Is this true? 40:16 Where is TCP's social media? Website? etc. 43:06 What is the future of the Tucson Climate Project? 47:30 What is the future of the Tucson Climate Chats? 51:04 What does your (Nick's) future look like? How long will you be in Tucson? 58:25 I still have questions! What can I do?
March 12, 2021
Interview w/Javier Alberto
It's been a while since TUCC has been south of the US/Mexico border, so Javier Alberto takes us to Socaaix (Punta Chueca) in what is now Sonora, Mexico to visit the Comcáac. Color Tierra, a Hermosillo-based NGO, along with CENKO, is working with the Comcáac Nation to address systemic shortages in water and fresh produce. Among other things, they're planning to install rooftop water-harvesting systems and structures a Warka Tower in the community, and are running a GoFundMe (a crowdfunding campaign!) to help make this a reality. For more on Color Tierra, you can check their Facebook, Instagram (@colortierrahmo) or send them a message at:
March 5, 2021
Group Chat: Outdoor Education
TUCC's first group chat, featuring the voices of three amazing humans: Angel Breault (Ironwood Tree Experience), Sita Stanfield (Friends of Saguaro National Park) and Treven Hooker (Arizona Trail Association). While Nick dorks out on papers he's read at Prescott College—including the dissertation penned by his professor, Dr. Mary Jackson—Angel, Sita and Treven unpack; debating problems with the term 'adventure,' how to make sense of the human/nature divide, the ways in which colonialism changes our perception of place, and what they hope their students might learn from all of this.
March 1, 2021
Interview w/UAZ Divest
Divestment from fossil fuels... is a thing! Now more than ever, as Frances ("Franny") Carol Slater and Nicholas ("Nico") David Matthews, current students at the U of A and members of UAZ Divest, can attest. So what's up with the student-led push to make this happen? What are Franny, Nico, and others asking of the University of Arizona Foundation? Why do we sometimes forget that capitalism (and colonialism) are directly tied to the climate crisis? If you're looking for two young activists to set the tone and be the example for others, look no further. Tweet them at @uazdivest or take a look at their letter to the Foundation here. There are plenty of ways to get involved and carry this work forward elsewhere.
February 12, 2021
Interview w/Lisa Levine
TUCC heads into the realm of fiction with local writer Lisa Levine. We're treated to a live reading of her short story At His Limit before diving headlong into a discussion about ways of being, knowing and telling our stories (both at the rock wall and elsewhere). Without spirited, community-based nonprofits like Climbing in Color, Climbing Association of Southern Arizona, and the Arizona Women's Climbing Coalition, any local zeitgeist about diversity in our climbing community, stewardship of use areas, and women's empowerment through climbing would fall victim to spiritual drought. Check out their superb work by visiting their homepages, donating, or joining an event. And without readers, writers would do the same; for Lisa's most recent work in print, snag a copy of v.31 from the Sierra Nevada Review, a back issue of Manifest West: Women of the West, Manifest West: Transitions and Transformations or browse her free print + sound archives at her blog, Alluvial Dispositions. Lastly - thank you, friends, for your listening ears and minutes!
January 29, 2021
Interview w/Dennis Caldwell
Nick kicks off 2021 with Dennis Caldwell, a local graphic designer whose boots have been on the ground for many environmental projects around southern Arizona. Specializing in aquatic species conservation, Dennis introduces us to a small but remarkably resilient cast of characters (including the desert pupfish, Chiricahua leopard frog, Huachuca water umbel, and Gila chub) as well as the often-unsung efforts to restore their habitat in the face of worsening drought. If you're curious about the ecological, as well as cultural, significance of many of these habitats, the NPS website for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a good place to start...
January 8, 2021
Interview w/Karlyn Bradley
TUCC ends 2020 with our longest episode yet. Karlyn Bradley (Tucson Organizer, Defend Our Future) and Nick get real about African-American experiences in the outdoors and grapple with the long shadows cast by white supremacy, systemic racism, and even anti-blackness in environmental work. These problems loom particularly large as many of us wind down a year filled with challenge and -- as Karlyn aptly points out -- grief. Carolyn Finney's book Black Faces, White Faces serves as the basis for much of our discussion, and you can read more about activist Vanessa Nakate (and her now-infamous erasure in an online photo) here. Interested in working with Karlyn as a guest speaker? Get in touch at:
December 11, 2020
Interview w/Catalina Ross
Nick interviews Catalina Ross, Energy Program Coordinator with the Sierra Club. Catalina helps to demystify the concept of global average temperature rise as well as the relationship between utility companies and sources of energy in southern Arizona. (Where is our electricity -actually- coming from? The answer may surprise you.) She also calls attention to the covert, but real, role that white supremacy and colonialism play in climate change impacts, including sea-level rise and the threats to island nations in the Pacific...
December 4, 2020
Interview w/Ed Beshore
Nick interviews Ed Beshore, Co-Leader with Citizens Climate Lobby here in Tucson. Ed walks him through a variety of topics, including stimulus dollars, carbon-fee dividend, water scarcity, desertification, consumer spending habits, cow burps, and the odds that southern Arizona might look (and feel) more like Death Valley in a few decades if we don't get our emissions under control. Also -- middle school science experiments in Ed's hometown of Kearny, Nebraska!
November 20, 2020
TUCC Takes a Breather
Hey all! Nick here -- the podcast is on hold this week as I prepare for a new round of outreach with the Tucson Climate Project. This is a short update on my progress and what the future of TUCC might look like. Do check out TCP's November newsletter (as well as our recently published Project Guidebook), and hang tight -- new episodes will resume next week. Thanks for your patience, as well as your support!
November 13, 2020
Interview w/Karen Peterson
Nick interviews Karen Peterson, a Tucson-based journalist and founder of Climate Tucson. The two acknowledge the uncanny similarity in their project's names before jumping into a discussion about the state of discourse around climate change in a year filled with coronavirus and social unrest. Karen was professionally reporting on global warming when Nick was still in middle school, so it's with ample lived experience that she contrasts what we were seeing then with what we are all experiencing now...
November 6, 2020
Interview w/Mylpa Sociedad y Cultura
Nick interviews Daniel Peralta, Marco Burgoin and Jesus Carrillo, founding members of Mylpa Sociedad y Cultura. With close ties to the CENKO as well as the Colectivo Sonora Silvestre, the four embarked on a wide-ranging discussion about the importance (and legacy) of bacanora production in Mexico; the intersection of climate change, the arts, and social issues; Mylpa's efforts to foster cultural resilience in their community; and more.
October 30, 2020
Interview w/High Schoolers for Climate Justice
Nick interviews Ruby, Dot, Iman, and Ursula; all students in Tucson and founding members of High Schoolers for Climate Justice. They discuss the group's recent presentation (!) at an NAAEE conference, as well as: ways to teach climate change effectively in the classroom; intersectionality and the environment; the real -- and deeply human -- stories they've encountered in a hotter-than-ever Arizona; and their outlook as youth activists. (Special thanks to Andris Rapa for technical support!)
October 23, 2020
Interview w/Jordan Sene
Nick interviews Jordan Sene, Program Assistant with Arizona State University's Project Cities. Also a graduate of Borderlands Restoration Network's Earth Care Youth (BECY) Institute, Jordan has a wealth of knowledge about communities in southern Arizona. In a holistic conversation about sustainability, the two discussed: how it is trans-disciplinary and encompasses all aspects of our lives; why it is so hard to talk about, sometimes; Jordan's own perspective as a youth activist; and the importance of a community-centered approach in her work.
October 15, 2020
Interview w/Elena Greenberg and Lizbeth Perez
Nick interviews Elena Greenberg and Lizbeth Perez, Program Coordinator and Intern Support Specialist with The Bio/Diversity Project at the University of Arizona. They discuss what of the U of A is doing to promote diversity (as well as equity, inclusion and access) in environmental science; the challenges of teaching online; the importance of BIPOC role models in STEM; and why Elena and Lizbeth are so invested in their work. Visit their website, find them on Instagram (@uabiodiversity) or Facebook (University of Arizona Bio/Diversity Project on Facebook), and support their very first crowdfunding campaign here:
October 9, 2020
Interview w/Valeria Cañedo and Lea Ibarra
Nick interviews Valeria Cañedo and Lea Ibarra, conservation biologists from Sonora, Mexico and founding members of the Colectivo Sonora Silvestre. In #TUCC's first bi-lingual episode, they discuss: the Colectivo; bats, agave and sustainable bacanora production; the importance of bi-national collaboration on conservation initiatives; and more. For Spanish speakers, jump to 15:20 in the recording (about halfway through). You can learn more about CSS and CENKO here!
October 2, 2020
Interview w/Carolyn Campbell
Nick interviews Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. Murphy's Law interfered with Zoom, then Skype, then Nick's desktop recording setup -- but the two persevered to discuss Tucson's recent declaration of a climate emergency, the Coalition's 2020 Strategic Plan, the proposed Interstate I-11, and why climate resiliency matters. And, in a callback to Episode 002: more about skunks!
September 25, 2020
Interview w/Erica Prather
Nick interviews Erica Prather, National Outreach Representative with Defenders of Wildlife. With reports surfacing of a mass die-off of birds in the southwestern United States, the two discuss the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the 'eco-spiritual' crisis of the environmental movement as well as Erica's own circuitous path to her work in advocacy.
September 18, 2020
Interview w/Sergio Avila
Nick interviews Sergio Avila, Local Outdoors Program Coordinator with the Sierra Club. They discuss the organization's recent (and public) reckoning with racism in its past, as well as: the decolonization of language; the changing definitions for science, conservation, and outdoor education; the importance of role models; and what a more equitable and inclusive future might look like in environmental work.
September 11, 2020
Interview w/Josh Ruddick
Nick interviews Josh Ruddick, founding member and instructor with the Arizona Master Natualist Association, to discuss biodiversity in the Sonoran desert; diversity, equity and inclusion in volunteering; the need for urban restoration projects; plans for AZMNA expansion; and skunks (three different species!)
August 28, 2020
Interview w/Luis Perales
In #TUCC's very first episode, Nick kicks things off by interviewing Luis A. Perales: CEO of Tucson's own Changemaker High School as well as the person with the vision behind what would become the Tucson Climate Project. Who are we? What are we doing? And how can you get involved?
August 21, 2020