She also was not about to turn down an opportunity to work with Ms. Robinson, who Ms. Higgins said was the first president she really remembered from growing up in Ireland. “She is impressive and clear-minded and clever, and she stands up for others,” she said. “All of the things I thought about her as a child proved true, and that was pretty special.”
Ms. Robinson agreed: “I’m very happy to find myself in this wicked company at this stage in my life.”
Ms. Kodikara has been thinking about climate justice for her entire life, she just did not know it.
An artist by training and a producer by profession, Ms. Kodikara, who was born in England to Sri Lankan parents, had been involved with organizations championing immigration reform and helping asylum seekers, but, she said, “I hadn’t really thought about the connections between migration, immigration and climate because the common narratives hadn’t made climate appear relevant to black and brown people at all.”
That changed after a conversation with her friend, Thanu Yakupitiyage, associate director of United States communications for 350.org, who had previously worked in immigration reform. As Ms. Kodikara started learning more about the issue, she said, “I realized with all that has separated us from each other, climate justice is the great unifier.”
Producing the show became an opportunity to change the behaviors and attitudes of the climate-curious-but-maybe-complacent (and mainly white) in the global North, by putting faces and voices to the science.
She and the co-hosts “understand the value of supporting these women and listening to the knowledge that they’ve hoarded for generations,” Ms. Kodikara said. “I don’t see anyone else doing that.” To her, it’s inherently logical: “What kind of solution are you really going to end up with if you don’t listen to all of the intelligent and experienced and informed voices?” she said.
For her, the show’s emphasis on levity complements that mission. “It is a phenomenal source of power for marginalized communities to be able to laugh and take control back into their hands. You can’t make a joke in a vacuum, you have to be in a room, in a community with other people to feel that way.”