Climate Resolve Staff Interview: Khalilha Haynes

Posted by on June 17, 2016

khalilha haynes interviewDescribe your work in one sentence.
At Climate Resolve, I do research to support the execution of various projects and prepare updates and outreach materials for the EnviroMetro coalition.

What inspired you on your career path?
In his book “Happy City,” journalist Charles Montgomery argues that the city is the place where we can become our best selves. I am interested in the work that leads to the building of sustainable, just, happy cities. This isn’t what inspired me initially — but it is a source of inspiration.

What are the key external factors that drive your work?
Social Reality — the realization that although slow to change, social reality is malleable and we have the capacity and responsibility to build a better world. I want the work that I do to have a positive impact on the lived experiences of folks, particularly those most vulnerable, low-income communities, communities of color.

Personal Reality — I am a car-free, transit commuter. Having to wait more than 15 minutes for a bus, at an unshaded stop, in the 85 degrees LA summer sun, after having walked a pedestrian-unfriendly route to get there — that sucks!

What have you added to your field/workplace? Brag a little: what’s your value-add?
I’ve got solid research skills. Plus: as an immigrant, black woman, from the STEM field, interested in issues of social justice, I think I bring a perspective that is sometimes missing.

What are the barriers you face in work — and what could make your job easier?
It can be difficult working with people who are unwilling to set free their ignorance. The siloed nature in which a lot of orgs and companies operate in also makes it difficult to learn collectively and to collaborate. Initiatives that break down these silos and foster collaboration definitely make our work better, if not necessarily easier.

A genie grants you two wishes to help fight climate change. What do you ask for? (And what would you do with the third wish?)
1. Create a waste-free society where everything is recycled, reused or composted! (This includes the technology to recycle everything safely.)

2. A world-wide sustainable agriculture industry and culture shift where people eat seasonally and (mostly) locally, where animals are humanely raised, no food is wasted, and everyone around the world has access to the food they need. Is this too much? Maybe! But I definitely think ending global hunger would help fight climate change.

3. Bring back Prince! No, just kidding — those kind of wishes never work. Maybe an extensive country-wide rail and bus and carpool network, where we can all just get around easily and safely and fossil-fuel free.

Name two things you like most about LA, and what would you change?
1. The abundance and variety of flowers, especially bougainvillea and jacaranda trees.

2. Eating good food and drinking good coffee.

3. Embed public transit into culture!