Meet Molly Kawahata

Combining her professional experience as a Climate Advisor for the Obama White House, passion for ice climbing, and personal struggles with mental health, Molly Kawahata is a powerful force working to reframe the narrative around the climate movement.  

Climate change is the crisis of our time, but also an opportunity. Molly’s inspiring work fosters hope and catalyzes climate action by bridging communications, human cognition, and the science of hope.  

“When you have a mental illness, you think about your mind all the time. I think that obsession led me to contemplate how to fix climate change by harnessing the power of the human mind,” Molly said in Patagonia’s film about her, The Scale of Hope – Climate, Climbing and Systemic Change 

The film explores Molly’s expedition to the Alaska Range to climb her most challenging mountain yet, all while she works to infuse hope and psychology into the climate movement and navigates her Bipolar 2 Disorder diagnosis.  

In the years since she worked at the White House, Molly has continued to pursue her passion for climate policy by founding Systemic Impact Strategies, a consultancy specializing in climate strategy — and she has followed her dreams of climbing the steepest peaks in Alaska. Both goals can seem like insurmountable challenges at times. But through her journey with mental health, she learned how to better understand the human mind and reframe the way we approach these obstacles.  

Actionable change begins with framing the way we talk about momentous issues such as climate change through a lens of hope and empowerment, Molly says. It’s the same way she faces a steep ice climb or a bad mental health day.  

This message of hope is what Molly Kawahata will be focusing on when she joins us here in Park City on June 4, 2024. Park City Community Foundation will host Molly for a keynote event at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, where community members will see a modified film screening of The Scale of Hope and hear from Molly directly. This session explores how to foster hope and catalyze climate action by bridging communications, human cognition, and the science of hope. RSVP here >>  

If you work for a nonprofit, you’re also invited to join a workshop with Molly earlier on June 4 that is focused on leadership and organizational growth. Find more details and RSVP here >> 

Park City Community Foundation has been lucky enough to work with Molly and get a preview of the material she will be sharing. Trust us — you don’t want to miss this opportunity!

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