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Case Study: Pique Action by Tyler Steinhardt

Greeting Earthlings!

Pique Action is a media company focused on climate change action by directing our attention towards the innovative and inspired solutions that scientists and entrepreneurs are developing. Pique Action was founded by Kip Pastor, a documentarist, to tell the stories about the scientists and entrepreneurs creating and innovating climate tech solutions.

Working with a team of filmmakers across the country, Pique Action creates micro documentaries with the goal of infusing the climate conversation with inspiring stories of pragmatic, innovative, and far-reaching solutions that are often overlooked. Pique Action is elevating the stories that go beyond the ice-floating headlines and help us imagine a future that is abundant AND responsive to climate change. We know that asking individuals to make lifestyle changes that are difficult to sustain while few systemic and/or corporate level changes are made is a dead end. The discussion has thus far been about scarcity, don’t do this, don’t eat that. How do we have a future that is not about restriction but about smart-use? Pique Action knows that it is a false dynamic that climate-friendly solutions come at an extra cost. Tyler Steinhardt, VP of Partnerships, notes that the cleanest and cheapest form of energy is solar. It’s also the most reliable, a war isn’t going to interrupt our ability to get sunlight.

The Pique Action’s weekly beehiiv newsletter introduces the week's micro-doc and previews the next one to come, as well as highlighting positive climate-related news. Pique Action isn’t ignoring the very real challenges that we’re facing, they are fighting the inertia of dread and doom. Electric cars are becoming more popular, but they come with the high environmental cost of mining necessary minerals. Pique Action discusses these downsides, but in the context of highlighting Nth Cycle, a company founded by CEO Megan O-Connor that has developed an electro-extraction technology that is clean and relies solely on a minimal amount of electricity to recover critical minerals from e-waste. Coffee commodity pricing has doubled in the last two years and this trend will likely continue given that the process of growing and harvesting coffee uses fresh water resources and creates a lot of carbon emissions. Don’t want to imagine a world without coffee? Pique Action shares how Compound Foods has developed a beanless coffee. We chatting with Tyler about Pique’s Action’s approach to solution-oriented climate media and how beehiiv was the obvious choice for a newsletter platform. .

The Newsletter: Pique Action

The Team

Kip Pastor:Founder/CEO

Tyler Steinhardt: VP of Partnerships

Shayna Berglas: Social and Communications Manager

Top posts to check out

2022 Goals

To be the go-to source of good climate news and interesting content on climate solutions.

Advice for other writers

Humor is a winning formula

Favorite beehiiv feature

The ease of the platform allows us to produce new content very fast. The referral program is on our radar for the future.

Advice for anyone considering a switch to beehiiv

It’s simply fantastic, both from a product perspective and customer service. It was easy to learn their CMS, new product features were developed within weeks of chatting with their team and they were super supportive when we were working through a technical glitch.

Tell me about Pique Action

Pique Action the newsletter was launched when we came out of stealth mode last October. At Pique, we’re seeking to change the conversation around climate change - instead of doom and gloom, we aim to inspire optimism and action by talking about solutions. The newsletter is aimed at drawing in those curious about climate change to a range of resources and solutions. Each edition gives a sneak pique at the upcoming films that we’re producing and also puts a spotlight on good climate news. We feel that it’s critical to amplify news that’s good in climate-related issues, since so often only the bad news breaks through.

Why a newsletter to highlight videos? Why beehiiv?

We launched on beehiiv in October 2021. It was an easy choice. I have a lot of experience with different platforms, I’ve used Campaign Monitor, Salesforce, Substack. The ease of use for beehiiv and the customer service is so strong, we’re really happy with it. Any issues that come up are fixed in an hour, 90 minutes tops. It makes our jobs so much easier.

Newsletters are a controlled environment for readers to consume information. Often our viewers on YouTube are watching our content amidst a running stream of memes, headlines and ads - whereas in the inbox they are able to focus just on the newsletter that they’re reading and get some of the back story to the video just released as well as a preview of the next video.

What are your goals around scaling?

We’re always looking to get more “climate curious” folks to sign-up. Our biggest referral generator is tiktok, so much so that we link to the newsletter in our bio. It’s a case of content finding the consumer and the consumer wanting to get more of it on a consistent basis. We have three hosts creating our content on tiktok, all with a fun, humorous take.

We use pollinate on our twitter which is great for bringing new subscribers to beehiiv, they are linked and it’s seamless. We’re excited about the referral program on beehiiv and will be launching that this summer.

You’ve previously worked in sports media- how is it different from climate-related content development?

There’s a built in infrastructure for sports, we have teams, leagues, players, beat writers to cover this stuff. Climate is a new topic and what we’re doing is an emerging field within the new topic. There’s not the same funding or infrastructure of what’s happening, despite it being a far bigger issue. Sports have been around and such a big part of society for so long.

You’re also not starting off from a place of having to prove that sports are real or that they are important like you do with climate issues

A lot of folks in the climate space will tell you that the tactic of delay, i.e. saying climate change is not real, it’s manmade, was used by those interested in keeping the status quo. Now, we’re seeing the new strategy is doom- it’s too late to do anything, we’re screwed so why make any changes. It’s the same playbook to figure out how to continue to do business as usual.

Scientists are not always the best storytellers, they are focused on doing research in the field. We find what we think are interesting solutions, often on the frontier of technology. These are things that haven’t been done before. We also want to get the human stories as well, it’s not just about the technology being developed, but what is the story of the person(s) who developed the technology?

How is the conversation changing?

It’s becoming more personal, we’re seeing the results of climate change in our lives more than ever before. There were 20 weather and climate disasters that cost over a billion dollars in 2021. We have overlapping public health crises, including higher rates of asthma, fertility crisis, microplastics are showing up in lungs. As we become more aware of how these issues are affecting us, it’ll become more urgent. But change will come when we understand that there are choices, alternatives. If you’re not aware that solutions are available, you’re not going to imagine a better solution. If you’re always told to not eat meat, or to use a paper straw, you’re going to run out of steam. These issues are global and we need policy changes, but we also need to know that there are inspiring people doing incredible work that address climate on a much larger scale than what we’re able to do as individuals. We believe that if we’re able to shed some light on these solutions and tell the human story behind these humans, we’re creating more holistic and accessible information that can inspire action. We are often sharing content from other creators also talking about solutions, because we know this ecosystem is really important. The more people talking about this, the healthier the conversation. If we’re only ever hearing the bad things that are going on, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s important we talk about the progress we’re making.

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