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Harvard C-CHANGE Names 17 Social Media Influencers to 2024 Climate Creators to Watch List

A Harvard School of Public Health center named 17 social media influencers as Climate Creators to Watch.
A Harvard School of Public Health center named 17 social media influencers as Climate Creators to Watch. By Yahir Santillan-Guzman
By Christie E. Beckley and Xinni (Sunshine) Chen, Crimson Staff Writers

The Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health named 17 social media influencers to their third annual Climate Creators to Watch list in early March.

The list, released in collaboration with climate media company Pique Action, featured online influencers teaching science and inspiring climate activism across platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and X.

Harvard C-CHANGE Program Director Skye Flanigan said the list helps bridge the gap between climate scientists and young audiences around the world.

“Young people are turning to social media platforms,” Flanigan said. “We recognize that we’re in an election year, and we want to make sure that accurate climate information is reaching people and they know what to do with it,” she added.

According to Flannigan, this year’s list has a “bigger international focus than we’ve had in previous years.”

Collectively, the creators on the list reach over 4 million followers around the world, with influencers from Ecuador, the United Kingdom, India, and Zambia educating users on topics such as climate racism, indigenous culture, sustainable fashion, and wildlife photography.

Flanigan said the list “reaches a diverse audience that is also producing entertaining and informative, scientifically backed content.”

“We want people to feel inspired to take action,” she said.

The chosen climate creators will attend training workshops, speak on programs such as the C-CHANGE Youth Summit on Climate Equity and Health, and be paired with climate scientists to educate their audience on new and ongoing Harvard research.

Simon Clark — a climate communicator and author from Bath, UK, who was selected as one of this year’s climate creators — said his journey began while completing his master’s degree in physics at University of Oxford. He later earned a Ph.D. in atmospheric physics from the University of Exeter.

Though Clark initially began posting on YouTube primarily about his experiences as a student, he soon realized that he wanted to use his platform to talk more about science itself. His most popular videos have amassed more than 2 million views, covering topics from atmospheric science and climate change to the history of science, science fiction, and machine learning.

“What I try to do with my channel, and I think I succeed, is improve people’s climate literacy,” he said. “It’s one thing to be given a fact or claim; it’s another thing to be able to put it in context.”

“That is, the scientific context, but also the context of how you live your life,” Clark added.

In the process of educating people on these topics, Clark said one of his main goals is to “humanize” scientists and the scientific process.

“The ultimate thing that I try to do with my content is to erode that ‘us and them’ dynamic,” he said. “People seem to put scientists on a pedestal.”

Clark said he was both honored and surprised to hear about being selected as a climate creator.

“This is the first time that I've seen an award, backed by a major body like Harvard, that is recognizing that what we do on the media as individual creators is really impactful,” he said.

Clark said he hopes that as social media evolves, climate creators will continue to be recognized for their important work, especially through institutions providing part-time or full-time support to communicators.

“I would love to see institutions like Harvard — but also my alma mater, places like Exeter and Oxford — offering those kinds of positions where they can really effectively support climate communicators,” he continued.

Still, Clark pointed to the “Climate Creators to Watch” list as proof of increased attention and assistance.

“The fact that the Creators to Watch list exists indicates that the nature of climate communication is evolving and maturing,” he continued.

Flanigan highlighted the importance of the intersection between institutions, noting that the process doesn’t end with the publication of a research paper.

“As an academic institution, we know that our research is only as good as our ability to get it in the hands of those that can use it,” Flanigan said.

—Staff writer Xinni (Sunshine) Chen can be reached at sunshine.chen@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @sunshine_cxn.

—Staff writer Christie E. Beckley can be reached at christie.beckley@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cbeckley22.

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