top of page

Changing Our Approach to Climate Change: James Jylkka - Natural Resource Specialist

With the growing conversation on climate change, many people are now helping the planet and trying to get rid of the damaging policies and products that are worsening climate change - which is great. But we need to widen our focus from not only getting rid of the bad, but to also pushing for the good. Our response to saving our world from this existential threat needs to pick up the pace, and in order to do that, we have to be more strategic about where we’re directing our time and resources. How can we change our approach to climate change?

With us to share his thoughts on where we’re at and where we should be heading is James Jylkka, a natural resource specialist with the US Army Corps of Engineers. His work puts him at the nexus of flood risk management, recreation, and natural resource management. He began his journey toward environmental justice when he left the corporate world to embark on a solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Since then, he has worked as an environmental policy analyst for the State of California and as a science teacher in underserved communities. He is passionate about issues of environmental equity and sustainability, which inform his daily life, both at home and work.

With his help, we consider how we can cut back on consumption, help third-world countries make the green transition, redirect government involvement in climate projects, and promote a value system that’s more meaningful and productive than our culture’s heavy focus on money and technology. These things can get us closer to our goal for humans, animals, and ecosystems to all thrive in our shared world.


NY Times, 3/13/22 Government Is Flailing, in Part Because Liberals Hobbled It


0:00 - Intro

6:01 - Less focus on getting rid of the bad and more focus on pushing for the good 7:36 - Changes are not moving quickly enough 9:33 - But moving too fast could lead to problems 13:11 - Managing the complexity of having many involved agencies 14:51 - Solutions aren’t new and shiny; we already have them, but they just aren’t implemented 15:03 - Need to incentivize rooftop solar 16:39 - Carbon tax or heavy subsidy of green energy is important, not a complete solution 17:28 - Motivating change on a broad scale by setting standards in huge markets like California 18:19 - Charge what things actually cost 19:26 - Incentivize the good by making it more accessible/affordable. Competitive economies. 23:14 - Government should provide guidance, regulation, incentives, and financial support 26:42 - Government bureaucracy is a huge problem 28:15 - Wealth and opportunity gap 29:20 - One additional layer of agency to coordinate all the other agencies 32:37 - Different levels of government are not aligned 33:53 - U.N. model that comes up with codes and guidelines that can adopted all the way down to the municipality level would improve alignment 34:33 - International climate change agreement can level the global playing field 35:40 - Economic sanctions 40:18 - Poverty is an existential risk that hinders the fight against climate change 44:39 - Wealthier countries need to cut back consumption. 48:52 - Artificial intelligence is going to make many of us obsolete in the workforce 49:20 - Value system 52:44 - More money to be made in solving climate issues. Makes the expenses worth it. 54:13 - Liberal vs. conservative divide gets in the way. Make the government work better. 57:00 - Difference of opinions in current news outlets 58:06 - Advocacy organizations and nonprofits bridge the divide between the government and the average voter 59:46 - Redirection of funding and resources 1:01:50 - Caring about people you can’t see, instead of self-interest 1:04:33 - Life is complex. It’s hard to keep making perfect choices. 1:06:58 - Goal is for people, animals, and ecosystems to all thrive. Compromise. 1:10:29 - Be respectful of people, show appreciation for what people do well 1:13:20 - The Human Survival Project team’s summer goals


bottom of page