Drew Costley’s Field Notes

Every week in the climate, science, social justice, and environmental spaces is as diverse as Uproot’s membership. Field Notes are snapshots of the varied experiences that make our community so vibrant. 

Field Correspondent

Name: Drew Xolaya Costley

Pronouns: they/them/theirs

Location: New Orleans, LA

Job description: I am a general assignment reporter for Verite News, with a focus on health, climate, and environmental inequity.

Years of experience in your job: 22

Social media handles: Twitter @drewcostley \ Instagram @fortheshadow

One word to describe your week: Restful

A Week in the Life

This was an unusual week for me because I am on vacation between jobs. I also just moved to New Orleans in mid-July so I’m still settling in.


I started Monday like I’ve been starting most of my days recently, with coffee, a light breakfast, and morning spiritual activities — prayer, tarot, and pulling from a bowl of character assets to see which one I would be mindful of for the day. Then I watched the Ken Burns documentary, “Baseball,” to help process some grief that came up recently related to my father’s death In April, and ran errands around the house.

I start most mornings and end most nights in front of this altar with pictures of some of my ancestors.


I woke up and did spiritual activities, then I watered my and my partner’s plants. We have a lot of them, so it usually takes about fifteen minutes. Then I prepared for the Dungeons and Dragons game that I run, which involved setting up online play since I moved away. Later, I went to a recovery meeting with my partner (I go to one nearly every day of the week).

These are some of my and my partner’s plants. I spend a lot of time throughout the week tending to our plants.


Woke up, breakfast, spiritual activities. And then I watched the rest of “Baseball” and played Pokemon Violet (my starter Pokmon was Sprigatito I named nunu). Later, I prepared more for DnD and then met with my party and played. We are playing Ghosts of Saltmarsh right now. It’s a lot of fun and also takes up a lot of my social energy, so I usually decompress by doing something quiet. On Wednesday, that meant painting a canvas for this new mixed media piece I’m working on.

Just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I’m not busy! Here is the to-do list I made for myself to make sure I did a bunch of the stuff I wanted to while I was on vacay.


Thursday! The day you get to read about me committing an act of writing! I did my usual in the morning and then got busy writing an essay for an anthology edited by Mary Annaïse Heglar featuring black writers writing about different topics related to climate change. I’m writing about the intersection of hip-hop and climate change. Writing this has been fun so far — it’s given me an opportunity to look about at some important influences — Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, and Mos Def, to name a few — that led me to covering environmental, climate, and health inequity.

Here I am working on the essay I’m contributing to an anthology of black writers writing about climate change. I’m writing about the intersection of hip-hop and climate change


I worked some more on the hip-hop and climate change essay and then I did some work with power tools, a new interest of mine. I used an orbital sander to smooth out a piece of wood that I’m going to do a painting on, cut and sanded down a branch of redwood I’m making into a magic wand and then I used a circular saw and sander to cut out part of the back of a bookshelf I got from the thrift store a few months back. Then I went to a recovery meeting for trans people and got food at a Russian spot with people from the meeting afterward.

Here is the bookshelf that I worked on while on vacation. The bottom of the back was uneven when I picked it up from the thrift store so I cut and sanded it down until it was even.

Saturday and Sunday:

The final days of vacation are always a little sad for me, but I still had fun. I did arts and crafts with my partner and then went to a couple of recovery meetings on Saturday. On Sunday, I went to IHOP with my partner to celebrate our anniversary, wrote them a card, and exchanged gifts with them. Then I finished this post, went to a couple of recovery meetings, and got ready for my first day at work on Monday. Wish me luck!

My partner and I went to IHOP to celebrate our anniversary over the weekend.

From the Wild:

What do you never leave home without?

My vape (I know, this is a naughty answer 😈)

Hobby you keep thinking about but haven’t picked up yet?

Performing in drag

What would your animal companion be if you were a cartoon character?

A bulldog, monkey, lion, or seahorse. Can’t decide!

Interested in writing for Uproot’s Field Notes blog? Send us an email at info@uprootproject.org!