It’s a cold March day (well, evening) in both Chicago and Los Angeles when I hop on a Zoom call with Clare and Max Donovan. If you know them from their Youtube channel, you know them as the Double Donovans. Those in Chicago may know Clare as a student of the renowned Second City and if you have a Netflix account, you may know Max as Nate in the recently released That 90s Show. While many multi-hyphenates would stop at writing, acting, and directing/producing, the two of them have also added running a non-profit to their list of responsibilities.
With collaboration heavily in mind, the goal of Nature’s Negotiators, their non-profit, is “to create a future where all voices are honored in brainstorming and implementing models for conserving, protecting, and sustainably utilizing the last of our wild resources.” Inspired by their upbringing in Colorado and the abundance of nature they were surrounded by living there and then further inspired by the environmental disparities of California as well as the work their mom has done as an anthropologist, the two explained that it was important to them that if they were ever given a platform, to put it to good use.
“It’s like two sides of the spectrum, there are people who are denying–personally, I don’t know how to reach them but hopefully part of our education in our nonprofit could reach them, for sure,” Clare says when asked about the task of being environmentalists taking action when there’s so much pushback they could face. “But more so, we wanted to focus on not necessarily pointing fingers at anyone but kind of reaching a common goal.” The two aim to bring messages of hope through sustainable solutions and education while also acknowledging that sometimes that can be difficult.
I ask them how they manage to keep going when we’re constantly reminded that the world is on fire and being told that the clock is dwindling to fix it, to which Max responds that it can be bleak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over. “Looking at the world, it can be kinda tough to take it [in]. I think sometimes for me, I get lost in the big picture and I need her to bring me back down [to focus on] the little picture,” he says crediting Clare. They acknowledge that small victories collectively make up bigger wins. And while the bigger wins may look more glorious on paper, we always have to start on smaller levels in order to climb our way up–therefore, look at what’s achievable now and start there.
“It’s so important to us that everyone has a voice. It’s been seen a lot that promises have been made to Indigenous Peoples that have just been taken away and I think it was just because they haven’t been given a proper voice at the table to get to speak the point of view that no one else would have,” Max adds about why it was so important especially that Nature’s Negotiators have Indigenous Peoples included at their think tanks and influencing/inspiring their mission.
“I think that lots of Indigenous Peoples around the Earth, their everyday lives are so intrinsically linked to the ecosystems that they live in,” Clare mentions. “So naturally, they have a beautiful balance and a relationship with it but also such a deep knowledge of the environment that they live in. Which a lot of people don’t,” she gives the example of the way the Inuit people have a vast vocabulary for describing snow and ice in a way that for example, the English language does not.
Currently, Nature’s Negotiators have launched their “Long Live the King Salmon” campaign where they’re fundraising to host summits and gather research to not only preserve the king salmon population but also better understand our oceans’ capacities and develop sustainable fishing technology that acknowledges our environmental and economic realities.
Watch the full interview where they also discuss That 90s Show and studying comedy and film in Chicago here:
**EDITOR’S NOTE** This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
You can learn more about get involved with Nature’s Negotiators here.
Season one of That 90s Show is currently streaming on Netflix with a season two confirmed.