Atlanta: Episode #
5
Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Adam Hicks: Making An Impact on Climate & Food Justice

In this Episode
Adam Hicks
he/him
Field Manager
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement
“Look beyond the limitations that people have put on you…It is not a weakness to ask for help…Vulnerability is strength.”
In this Episode
Adam Hicks
he/him
Field Manager
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement

Adam’s Story

At Concrete Jungle, Adam Hick’s work involves simultaneously fighting food insecurity and climate change, diverting food waste from farms to help the local community access fresh fruits and vegetables. Wasted food is a significant contributor to climate change, as it entails wasting the enormous amounts of water and energy that go into growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, and cooking our food. Additionally, food waste ends up in our landfills, and as it breaks down, it produces planet-warming greenhouse gases like methane. On top of that, one in eight Georgians are food-insecure and lack access to fresh, healthy produce. The work Adam is leading at Concrete Jungle is helping to address multiple issues that our communities face, helping to draw down climate emissions while addressing hunger through millions of servings of fruits and vegetables made accessible via donations to local food banks and shelters.

Discussion Questions

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate change is talk about it.

  • Moving around growing up and traveling abroad as a young Black person, Adam had to consider what Blackness means in different environments and try to understand how he might be perceived, be prepared for the possibility of racism, and learn how to navigate a variety of situations safely. Adam asks the question, how do you navigate a sense of belonging when you don't belong? And how do you fit in with everyone else while valuing your own uniqueness? How would you answer Adam's questions?

  • Reimagining our food system is critical for addressing climate justice. Communities that experience food insecurity also experience a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts, often in lower-income and communities of color. Food-insecure families are two to three times more likely to have diet-related chronic diseases. Adam's work at Concrete Jungle is helping to transform overlooked and underutilized fruit trees while 'gleaning' extra produce from farms, local parks, and backyards for communities in need. Adam explains that "food is connected to everything," and reimagining how we can divert greenhouse gas emissions from food waste to feed people is a climate justice solution that helps to address multiple stressors in our communities.

  • Over time, Adam has realized the importance of asking for help. "Growing up, I thought you did not need help if you were smart. So I did not ask for help." This idea contributed to Adam dealing with depression, as he did not have resources to cope. But suicidal thoughts pushed Adam to reach out to a friend and seek help. In talking to others, Adam realized that he was not alone in his depression and that others could provide valuable resources to help. We all feel alone at times; how might it be helpful during challenging times to know that there might be others who could relate to you? If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, there is help. Call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for free and confidential emotional support. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). 

  • According to research conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, most Americans have experienced climate anxiety or feelings of loss concerning the future health of the planet and people due to the climate crisis. Something that has helped Adam deal with climate anxiety is being outside at Concrete Jungle. "Our food and everything is connected. Getting away from the distractions of your screens and the stress of work, you are more engaged with each other and yourself." Being centered is something that Adam has realized is essential. What are ways that you calm and center yourself? Do you have opportunities to get outside and be still in nature? Can you describe how you feel when you intentionally create these moments?

  • It has also become important for Adam to find ways to build community. One way Adam is helping to unite people is through 'Community Documentary Night,' an opportunity for people to watch a documentary and discuss it in small groups. It has been an inspiring way to meet people and hear perspectives from people representing different backgrounds, histories, and identities. I have seen how these community conversations have expanded my worldview and the worldviews of others.

  • When considering the role you can play in addressing climate change, Adam says everything is connected and encourages people to think about what they can do in their community. Be confident in the power of your abilities and remember that you have a voice. You may perceive it as something small, like picking up trash or providing healthy foods to people who need them. But these actions add up to make big ripples in our world. What is a need that you see in your community? And how can you play a role in helping make an impact?

Learn More

Learn about the solutions in this story.

Explore Climate Solutions 101, the world's first major educational effort focused solely on climate solutions. This video series combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of inspiring, scientifically knowledgeable voices from around the world: drawdown.org/climate-solutions-101.

Take Action