Multiproject Update for Q3 2022

This is a late start to the quarter, since I gave myself an extra month to work on my Q2 goals. I spent today assessing where my projects were at and what they needed most. Without further ado, here is what I’d like to get done in the next couple of months!

Research Quest

Over the past two reading projects, I got the foundation of sustainability knowledge that I’d felt I was missing. There’s always more to learn, of course, but my focus is going to be on output – writing about what I’ve learned, and picking up any additional research I need as I go.

I still have a few blog posts pending from the first reading project, and books to read (that I’m looking forward to) from the second. And most recently, I’ve been experimenting with writing public comments and letters to the editor (LTE).

So my goals are:

  • Write the last few blog posts from reading project 1,
  • Read the books from reading project 2,
  • Continue to write public comments and LTE,
  • Try to get to the next sustainability skill: writing op-eds! I took a cool class by the OpEd Project last year about how to do it, and I’ve made one submission so far…

YA Fantasy Novel

I have a fairly consolidated draft that needs more detailed editing. I don’t think I can get done with a full edit in the next two months, so my goals are:

  • edit half the novel,
  • post regular writing updates and spoiler-free ‘concept art’ (I’m using drawing to help me visualize parts of the story) over on the Fiction page.

Art

I had such a blast doing a 10-day drawing challenge a few months ago that I definitely want to do another one. I have two ideas I just can’t choose between! Maybe I’ll leave it open, and decide when I’m ready. It’ll be a surprise, to me as much as anyone.

* * *

And that’s all! Setting goals after I’ve started – I guess that’s one way to do it.

Are you in the thick of your projects? Do you find it useful to re-evaluate in the middle of them?

Multiproject Update: End of Q2 and Start of Q3 of 2022.

I last made a multiproject update post here, listing my goals for Q2. 

I gave myself two extra weeks after Q2 officially ended, because the end of the month was chaotic-good. I went to Portland for the WDS conference in late June, and I had a huge dip in productivity right before it (because I hadn’t traveled in a while and was stressed) and a huge boost in productivity right afterward (because Portland is awesome). When July rolled around, I was still in the thick of my projects and didn’t want to stop work abruptly. 

Now that my extended quarter has ended, here is the latest on my big projects:

Research Quest

My reading line up for the quarter included a few big reports:

  • The SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule (March 2022)
  • New IPCC report AR6, from three working groups – 1, 2, and 3 (2021-2022). Especially prioritizing Working Group 3, which focuses on Mitigation.
  • October 2021 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) about Curtailing Methane Emissions from Fossil Fuel Operations.
  • FTC 2012 Green Guide

Of these, I was able to skim all of them (excluding the working groups 1 and 2 of the IPCC report). 

I spent a bunch of time on the SEC climate disclosure because I wanted to write a public comment in support of the rule.

When government agencies propose new rule, they often open a public comment period when we, the public, can share our views on it. They post all the comments they receive publicly on their website.

I’d never done this before, so I followed the guidelines from the Public Comment Project, and squeaked my email in just before their extended deadline of June 17th. I was worried I had bungled the submission because I didn’t see my comment on their public comments page, and I still might have, but according to this article it typically takes a month or two before the comments are posted. So I’ll be keeping my eye on that page to see if I did it right. I definitely want to keep doing these in the future, because it’s an effective way to influence climate policy. (If you want to read my comment, I’ve appended it at the end of this post!)

For the other three reports, I’m mostly stashing them away as references for future blogging. I’m still formulating what I want to say about them. I’m sure the FTC Green Guide will feature heavily in a planned deep dive into the subject of greenwashing.

The rest of my research lineup consisted of:

  • UNEP Six Sector Solution
  • Inconspicuous Consumption by Tatiana Schlossberg
  • Speed and Scale by John Doerr
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Web Survey (of useful websites for climate and sustainability data)

I mades some good headway into the first and last of these, and they will fit into a YouTube series I’m working on. So, once more, I’m stashing them away for when I need them. The middle three are books, and unfortunately, I didn’t get to them at all. I’m looking forward to some cozy reading time, so I’m rolling those into this quarter.

In the two research quests I’ve done so far, I organized the quest by the reports. I read each as thoroughly as I could and blogged about them. This was a pretty good way of working. I wanted to be thorough and feel like I knew what I was talking about. But it was also kind of a slow and lumbering process.

Going forward, I might shake up the research quest format a bit, so I can respond more quickly to current events. More on that soon.

YA fantasy novel

In the fiction world, I had two goals. One was to finish the ‘long draft’ of my YA fantasy novel by pasting into the main manuscript scenes that I’d written in various note-taking apps. I’m about halfway through this task, so I might give myself another couple of days to get this done before I set myself a new goal.

My second goal was to finish sharing my novel’s (real-world) backstory, so that you’d be all caught up when I started sharing real-time writing updates. I did manage to catch up to the start of this year by adding two new installments to the story. One more installment should get us to the present day.

Art and Painting

This is the one category where I crushed my goals, which were:

  1. To upload my recent watercolors and vector art into galleries in my Painting category.
  2. To make vector drawings of all the plants (and fruit and vegetables) in my house.

The Painting category of this blog is all the way up-to-date, and the vector drawings of plants are here, where you can download them in the form of a PDF booklet if you like. And you can watch the ‘making-of’ videos here, if you like drawing videos.

* * *

It’s been an intense quarter and a very, very mixed bag. I feel good about my progress, but also a need to adapt how I work, because there is a need for rapid action in preparation for the US midterm election.

 How about you? Did you have any projects planned for last quarter, and do you have any planned for this one?


The comment I submitted to the SEC (A few years ago, I used to sound this formal in my writing all the time! Can you imagine?):

To whom it may concern,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.
I am Deepti Kannapan, an aerospace engineer with an Engineering Design background. I have a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I strongly support this new rule, and welcome the prospect of clearer and more standardized climate-related information from companies whose disclosures have, thus far, been opaque and overly self-congratulatory.

I consider climate risk to be related to a measure of a registrant’s unused opportunities for GHG mitigation. For example, a company in a relatively easy-to-decarbonize industry that fails to take decarbonization efforts may face more customer backlash (and risk) than a company in a hard-to-decarbonize industry that makes use of best available practices. (Even though the latter company may have higher emissions overall.) 
I believe the proposed disclosures will provide useful information for making those comparisons. However, I have two comments:

1. Regarding the Request for Comment #111, I think GHG intensity should be specified per unit of production, broken out by product category.  I would consider a company with higher GHG intensity (than its peer companies) in a particular product category to have higher risk.

For example, for a company that produces both physical products and web services, I would compare its GHG intensity for physical products with other companies that produce those products, and compare its GHG intensity for web products with other web companies.

Comparing the aggregate GHG intensity across all product categories may not accurately reflect which company has more unused opportunities for GHG mitigation, since products and industries vary widely in their difficulty to decarbonize.

2. In addition to GHG intensity, I would like to know how dependent a registrant’s business model is on high sales volumes and wasteful design practices like planned obsolescence. A company that produces products with shorter life cycles and (resultant) higher sales volumes than its competition (such as ‘fast fashion’ or cheap electronic products) has more unused opportunities for GHG mitigation, even if its GHG intensity may be lower.

However, I would consider this company to have higher climate risk, since its business model may not be viable under future regulation or market pressure to pivot to more durable products. For this reason, I would suggest that a measure of product durability be added to the disclosure.
Please see below for relevant literature.
Thank you.
Sincerely,Deepti Kannapan

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, UC Santa Barbara,

B. Tech and M. Tech Engineering Design, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

 * * *

Bibliography:– Rivera, Julio L., and Amrine Lallmahomed. “Environmental implications of planned obsolescence and product lifetime: a literature review.” International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 9.2 (2016): 119-129.
– Peters, Greg, Mengyu Li, and Manfred Lenzen. “The need to decelerate fast fashion in a hot climate-A global sustainability perspective on the garment industry.” Journal of cleaner production 295 (2021): 126390.

A Multi-Project Update for Q2 2022


I last made a multi-project update post here, and I’d like to start doing one every quarter. They help me stay focused(ish) and might help you make sense of my scattered updates.

Here are my projects this quarter.

• Research quest: I have a new lineup to read, as well as a couple of posts to write from last time around. I’ve defined the project here.
I’ve made a little progress, and yet I’m feeling strangely confident about getting through it. Expect some more updates on my reading soon!

• YA fantasy novel: I’ve been sharing updates here. My goal for this quarter is to finish the ‘long draft’, which is what I call the draft that has everything I want to put in, and can then start cutting down.

Currently, I have all the scenes I want, though a few are in outline form.

So my next task is to flesh out the newest scenes and paste the material hanging out in various note-taking apps and my (transcribed) voice memos into the main draft.

My second goal is to finish sharing my novel’s (real-world) backstory, which I started here.

• Art & Painting
I don’t usually have any goals to speak of related to art, since I prefer to just draw or paint when I feel like it. But this time, I have two goals:

1. To upload my recent watercolors and vector art into galleries in my Painting category.
2. To make vector drawings of all the plants (and fruit and vegetables) in my house.
I’ve also been using my art in blog posts and other media. So I want to continue to do that.

Okay! There’s a lot going on. Let’s see how I do!

A Belated Multi-Project Update – Fantastical Research Quest

What projects am I working on in February 2022?

Sustainability Research

I’ve been learning about sustainability since about 2018, and gradually picking up speed. In the term ‘sustainability’ I include related topics like climate change, environmentalism, and green technology.

Combined, they are a vast web of topics and it’s been difficult to know where to start. Last year, I took a bunch of climate-related online courses (the first three were free or take optional donations):

… and that gave me a much better overall grasp of what I needed to learn in the first place. I’d recommend them all, but the first one especially, if you’re new to the subject. (I have no affiliation to any company or brand linked in this post.)

This quarter (January-March 2022) is the first time I’ve set myself a clearly-defined research project in this area, with a reading list and a deadline. I’m hoping that will help me make more regular progress.

I haven’t been doing a great job of documenting my progress thus far, and I want that to change. I’ve been collecting all my research updates here.  I’m also doing a revamp on this website – I want to turn it into more of a comprehensive resource wiki, where you can look up any topic or question about sustainability that I’ve ever researched.

My YA Fantasy Novel

I started the novel back in 2020, when an idea for a protagonist, setting, and magic system hit me all at once out of nowhere. I picked it up again in December 2021 after a lull where I was still figuring out my writing process. I post novel updates here.

I haven’t shared any details about the novel yet, and I’d like to start breaking the cone of silence this quarter.

Art

Lastly, my painting isn’t quite a project the way I define it (something with goals and parameters, and occasionally a deadline). Painting is more of a practice I do to restore myself and enjoy my surroundings. However, I am listing my painting portfolio as a project that I update here.

* * *

So those are my projects for the quarter, and it’s a far more structured list than usual. I intend to document the journey here on the blog.

Below, I’ll comment on some questions you may have (or rather, that I ask myself constantly).

Why am I doing so many different things at once?

While working on fiction, nonfiction, and art at once goes against the conventional wisdom that you must pick ONE project for a period of your life, after a bit of experimentation, I’ve found that this is what works for me. I’ve done the thing where I’d be ‘just’ one thing for three months or a year or a season. It turns out to make me miserable, sort of like if you decided to only eat one food group for a whole year.

I’m not suggesting that this is ‘the’ correct way to do it, but it is ‘a’ correct way for me. I’m what they call a ‘multipotentialite’ – also referred to by various terms: Renaissance (wo)man, polymath, Scanner. They have different connotations some times (the first two especially are commonly applied to famous dead people) but I use them to mean ‘someone seriously pursuing multiple interests’.

Any notion of ‘ONE project at a time’ does NOT help me, but rather, one project per area of life.

What novel draft am I on?

Knowing how I like to work has been a huge improvement and an ever-evolving process of discovery. On the fiction front, an insight that changed how I approach writing (and all projects) was Ellen Brock’s categorization of writer styles.

You may have heard of ‘plotters’ and ‘pantsers’ – Ellen expands this categorization to better capture the variety and specificity of writing styles. Per her system, I identify most as a ‘methodological pantser’ – one of the most chaotic styles. We use a lot of systems and methodology, but we jump around from one to another as inspiration dictates.

Learning this has shown me that rather than try to pre-decide what aspect of a novel (or other project) I’ll work on, I need to instead capture ideas as they come, in the order they come in, and then organize them into a useful form. Imposing a small amount of structure on what I pursue is beneficial, but just enough. 

All this to say, I’m not sure what draft I’m on because there isn’t a clear demarcation between drafts. I spent most of December 2021 on worldbuilding. Now, in February, I’m drafting in earnest. If pressed, I’d tentatively say I’m on the 2nd draft.

How do I keep track of and break down these projects?

I’m essentially following Sarra Cannon’s HB90 method, with a few tweaks. I use Notion to track most of my project tasks in Kanban boards. I also have a ton of notebooks. I like to use notebooks for coming up with ideas and writing stories. I prefer to do most of my project planning and tracking in digital form.

I’ll expand on my process of planning and tracking for the research and novel projects by and by. I don’t intend that to be a teaching resource or tutorial – I’ll link the ones I’m learning from, but I’m not an expert at it – but rather just another aspect of the research quest to document.