Julia Kumari Drapkin

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Julia Kumari Drapkin

Funded with support from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation
2019 Climate Fellow
Founder of ISeeChange

Julia Kumari Drapkin 2019 Climate Fellow

Bold Idea 

Inform and improve climate adaptation and infrastructure design by mobilizing communities to share stories and data about climate impacts.


ISeeChange’s Julia Kumari Drapkin co-hosts a live-story telling event designed to spark civic dialogues about flooding in New Orleans. The “Pipe Dreams” event in partnership with Bring Your Own Stories featured flooding stories curated from the ISeeChange community alongside stories from former staff at the Sewerage and Water Board. Photo credit: Sabree Hill, Studio in the Woods

Julia Kumari Drapkin talks to neighborhood residents at a co-curated neighborhood pop-up in Gentilly about flooding and green infrastructure. Photo credit: Sabree Hill, Studio in the Woods

ISeeChange is a civic resilience platform for communities to collect and share their own personal climate stories, photos, and weather measurements. This real-time data is combined through sensor networks and natural language processing to illustrate community-scale climate trends. Cities, engineers, insurers, and researchers use this data to inform climate adaptation planning, public safety, and infrastructure design, enabling them to build solutions that work best for communities. ISeeChange is seeding an international neighbor-to-neighbor movement that provides the local context, downscaled data, and public trust that empowers communities to adapt to climate change together.


Dedicated to connecting communities to one another and their changing environment, Julia Kumari Drapkin is the CEO and founder of ISeeChange. Julia created ISeeChange in 2012 after over a decade reporting natural disasters and climate change science across the globe and in her own backyard on the Gulf Coast. Julia, a founding member of the American Geophysical Union's Science to Action working group, also serves on the board of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and has consulted for Resources for the Future and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Prior to working in journalism, Julia spent seven years doing field research anthropology and archaeology in Central America. It was there that she first appreciated the expertise everyday people have in their own backyards and how much we miss when their voices aren't included. Julia’s work with ISeeChange has won national and regional journalism awards and was recognized by the Obama administration’s Climate Data Initiative. In addition, Julia was included among MIT Solve's 2018 cohort, and was named among Grist's 50 Fixers in 2019. Julia is a 2019 Echoing Green Fellow.

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