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229: 2024: The Year Of Democracy (Or Not)

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About this episode

Welcome back to Outrage + Optimism! Season 9 starts here… Our hosts - Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac and Paul Dickinson - are back in conversation, sharing expertise, insights and camaraderie at the outset of the biggest election year in history with more voters than ever heading to the polls globally. Tune in as we explore what on earth does this all have to do with climate change?

The three hosts also discuss Christiana Figueres and co-host Isabel Cavelier’s mini-series ‘Our Story of Nature’. Over three episodes, they deep dive into how the ecological crisis - and the many crises we find ourselves in - have their roots in the fact that, by and large, over time, many of us have become disconnected from the rest of nature. This heartfelt inquiry into our relationship with nature has been months in the making. It includes conversations with many insightful guests, including Arturo Escobar, Xiye Bastida, Dr. Bayo Akomolafe, Kate Raworth and Sister True Dedication

Music comes from Wyldest and her beautiful song ‘Easier to Believe’. Wyldest is the artist project of London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, Zoë Mead. 


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Full Transcript

Tom: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism. I'm Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Christiana: [00:00:15] I'm still Christiana Figueres.

Paul: [00:00:17] And I'm still Paul Dickinson.

Tom: [00:00:19] Welcome back to Outrage + Optimism in 2024. We're delighted to be back with you. Today, we're going to be talking about what the world has in store for climate action, how we can go exponential and what we're going to bring you in the podcast. Plus, we have music from Wyldest. Thanks for being here. So this is nice. I have to say, the weekly meetings with the two of you have punctuated my life for some years now, and without getting together with you, I have lost all impetus to keep up with the news. 

Christiana: [00:00:54] Punctuated, punctuated. Hold on. What does, can you please define what you mean? I know what it means.

Tom: [00:01:01] I suppose what I mean is the heartbeat of my life. We check in every week. We talk about what's going on. It provides a pause, a moment of reflection as I talk with my friends about what's happening.

Christiana: [00:01:13] Ok ok, we'll take that, won't we Paul. We just, I didn't know if it was like a thorn or a heartbeat. 

Tom: [00:01:19] No no, it's entirely good. It's entirely good. And it's lovely to see you both. It's going to be a big year this year. I mean, it's going to be a big year for democracy. And this is one of the topics we're going to discuss in detail today. This is the year that more people will vote than any other year in history. And that sounds like it should be a triumphant thing for democracy. But it's actually quite complicated. But we'll get into that. But before we do, how are you both? I mean, I haven't talked to you for a while. The listeners certainly haven't heard from you. What's been going on in the, let's think it's been about six weeks since we were at COP. And all of that happened around the ending of the COP, and we were unable to connect with you Christiana. What's been going on in your lives? And then let's move into the topics from there. Who wants to kick off? Load More
Christiana: [00:02:01] Paul will kick off.

Paul: [00:02:03] I think, I think over the break I've been with one big idea really, which is, oddly enough, I think the world is in desperate need at this exact moment of a huge input of global optimism. That's what I actually think is missing. We've got a lot of complicated stuff going on, but and I sense a fearfulness. People are talking about Davos, fearfulness in the media and stuff like that. But I have a sense that if we, I personally have been feeling that it's a good time to sort of steel oneself and I've been trying to do that, that's been my practice. Steeling myself over the winter, and cogitating. And I'm going to emerge like a, like a daffodil, but probably not until February, because I think that's when they're meant to come.

Christiana: [00:02:50] Is that steel spelled s t e e l or s t e a l?

Paul: [00:02:55] I know steel with ee means make yourself kind of, like, stronger.

Christiana: [00:02:59] That's the one you mean. Okay, good.

Paul: [00:03:01] What's the other one, though?

Christiana: [00:03:02] When you steal something from someone.

Tom: [00:03:05] Take something that doesn't belong to you.

Paul: [00:03:08] Steal yourself. It's kind of like, wow.

Christiana: [00:03:11] That's why I asked.

Paul: [00:03:12] You've got me thinking there. How have you been Christiana?

Christiana: [00:03:15] I agree with you. I agree with you, Paul, that this is going to require quite a bit of, inner strength here as we move forward. But just looking back for a second. You know what, I realized, in these days in which I took time for solitude, I realized that last year was unbelievably difficult for me at the personal level, I feel like I was in a long, dark tunnel the entire year on my personal level. I just sort of feel like it was a vortex zapping my energy. And to step out of that and to do the work that we have to do at the professional level, it really took a lot out of me. And so I'm grateful for the realization, and I'm grateful I learned a heck of a lot during that year. Precisely because of that long, dark tunnel. That's usually where you learn most. And at the same time, what is, you know, talk about outrage and optimism. At the same time, I was so excited when I looked back over the year at what has happened on the climate front because, we so compellingly proved that not all, but many of these technologies that are solutions are truly going exponential and are completely unstoppable.

Christiana: [00:04:52] And there is definitive proof of that. And that was the first year that we brought that proof together. So I'm really excited about that. And also about the COP, honestly, given all the lead up to the COP, given where it was, given all the controversy around the COP president. Et cetera. Et cetera. It could have been much worse. It could have been much, much worse. And of course, we didn't get the famous little, you know, two words that we wanted phase out, but we did get a sentence of, referring to going beyond fossil fuels. And so that's pretty good as far as that international process is concerned. There's not that much juice in that lemon, in the multilateral process, because I firmly believe that progress has moved over to the private sector, to the finance sector, to technologies, etc., which have to be buttressed by policy, for sure. But their policy, I think, is going to try to catch up with technology in any event. So I would say a mixed bag for me last year on the personal deep, deep, deep, difficult learnings and on the professional, very exciting happenings.

Paul: [00:06:10] And can I just make one observation Christiana, on your amazing comment about the we didn't get the the phase out text, but you know what it made me realize is that if the whole world is talking about that text should be in, or the text should be out, the whole world is talking about it, and that actually delivers some of the same outcome.

Christiana: [00:06:25] Very true.

Tom: [00:06:26] I hope you're right. It's always hard to know, isn't it. Is the whole world talking about it. Or is just everyone we know talking about it. I think there's a little truth in both of those.

Christiana: [00:06:32] Yeah, our little bubble.

Paul: [00:06:33] But what else is there surely.

Tom: [00:06:34] Our little bubble.

Paul: [00:06:35] I've never looked outside the bubble. Why would you.

Tom: [00:06:38] First of all Christiana, welcome to 2024. After the year you've had last year. It's nice to see you looking happy. It's good to see you. And that's great to hear your analysis of COP because obviously for various reasons you weren't really around at the end. And we did that chat with Jennifer Morgan. So it's really great to hear your sort of landing. And actually, you know, you know better than anyone on the planet. You never get anything you want from that process. But you said it right at the beginning. It could have been a lot worse. And there were times in the year when it looked like it was going to be a hell of a lot worse, and actually it landed in a place that moved us forward, continues the process, and there's a lot to play for this year. So that's great to have you start off in that way. So I'm feeling really refreshed actually for this year. At the end of last year, I knew that I had some work to do in Southeast Asia, in January. So rather than going home after COP, I came down to Southeast Asia with my family, and I've been here ever since. And obviously that's complicated for someone like me who cares about climate and getting on a plane. But at the same time, you know, there were reasons both ways for being halfway and carrying on. And I've been doing various things here with my family.

Tom: [00:07:43] It's the first time I've been back to Southeast Asia since I was a monk here 20 years ago. So it's really reminded me of those times. And to show it to my kids. And we've been volunteering, actually, at an orphanage right on the border with Burma, Myanmar and all these kids that are the victims of, you know, various ways the conflict there over the recent years and decades. And, I mean, it's just been so inspiring to see how people spend their lives. The people who start these orphanages give their lives to supporting these people, these kids that are so brave and joyful. It's really, I've been thinking about it the last few days. It's really cleansed my palette, which is a weird way to say it. I feel really refreshed. The flavour of like, we're always so far away from the impacts of our work in climate. We're working for people somewhere else in the future, wherever it may be. But being right there on the ground and having that direct connection, has really been wonderful. It's been a huge privilege. And the other thing I was going to relate is that I got really addicted to history podcasts over the Christmas period, and I've learned far more about history than I did ever through my schooling days. And The Rest Is History is brilliant. I've gone back.

Paul: [00:08:51] Which is basically everything, by the way. You know, history is everything that has happened until now.

Tom: [00:08:54] Yeah it's everything, yeah.

Paul: [00:08:56] So it's like, it's the totality of all subjects.

Tom: [00:08:58] Totally. I would thoroughly recommend to listeners, The Rest Is History podcast on Costa Rica, which tells you, have you ever listened to it Christiana?

Christiana: [00:09:07] I have.

Tom: [00:09:08] It is the story, you have, of José Figueres Ferrer and how he pulled together this incredible story, and they concluded that your father was one of the preeminent political figures and leaders of the 20th century, which, and they started out the episode not really knowing, you know, the history of this little country. So I thought I would relate that to you, and I didn't know you'd heard it. They didn't know a great deal about many of these people. I think you might need to write to them and put them straight on some of the details. 

Christiana: [00:09:35] Exactly. But yes, overall, it's an interesting story. Yeah, some of the facts would benefit from some refinement. But yes, it is a beautiful story.

Paul: [00:09:45] It's a great story. And just because the British don't understand the details doesn't mean that we don't understand a great story, an amazing story.

Tom: [00:09:52] Now we're going to delve in to an issue each week, and we're going to try and uncover it, as we always have done from a climate perspective, and draw out the climate issues of some of the big issues, some of the big, things that are emerging in our time. And we have to start 2024 with something that many people will have heard repeated again and again over the last few weeks if they've been paying attention. And that is that 2024 is the biggest year in history for democracy. More than half the people on the planet live in a country that will go to the polls this year. And if you look at historical turnout rates, more than 2 billion people will vote. Now, that should be a moment of enormous triumph for democracy. That is an incredible milestone that we reach. But actually you scratch under the surface and it's pretty complicated what's going to happen. Some of these elections will be outright populist or authoritarian. The Russian, even the Indian, the Bangladeshi. Others will be more positive. Mexico will elect its first female president. Both the leading contenders are women. The UK will have its first actual choice between two potentially competent leaders for a few elections.

Tom: [00:10:59] But there's one common theme that I would love to point you both to for a bit of reflection, and that is if you were to cast your mind back like ten, 15 years and imagine that we would get to 2023, 2024, big year for democracy. Just off the back of the hottest year ever. Records being broken all over the place. Can you imagine that we would get to this point, and there would be such eerie silence on the climate issue from presidential and prime ministerial candidates all over the world. It's not that climate isn't shaping many of these elections. As I said, hottest year on record, yields down, conflict, wildfires. It's the backdrop to so much that's happening. But I would challenge you to name one leader who is running on a powerful platform of climate engagement and leader in any of these elections. They're just not out there. There's no one grabbing our imagination, showing the way, showing the optimism and the possibility and driving us forward. And that is, I'd like to just start the conversation with, why? Why are we here? Why are we not seeing climate inserted into electoral politics when it's so clearly the issue of our time?

Christiana: [00:12:11] Why? Well, we can think of many reasons why. So let's just start a list here. First, I think, Tom, that national elections usually centre around national issues, around issues that while they may be the consequence of global reality, there is a sense that the political leader who is campaigning or running would have an impact on the national expression of the issue. That is not yet where we are on climate. So, for example, the economic scenario that we have globally, it is a global scenario that we have, but mostly people who are running in their countries will usually convince or try to convince their voters that they can actually straighten the economic scenario of that country.

Tom: [00:13:31] Even though it's global.

Christiana: [00:13:32] Even though it's global. Yeah. Even though it's global.

Tom: [00:13:35] Right.

Christiana: [00:13:36] And that is not where we are on climate, and I'm not even sure if I should say yet or not. Are we ever going to get there. Are there political leaders, in fact, is public opinion informed enough about the fact that yes, while it is true that no single country can actually address climate change successfully, it takes everyone to do it. But what is not clear to leaders or voters is that there is such extraordinary opportunity in doing so. Everybody is still under the hood of the cost, the disadvantages, the, you know, the injustice of it. All of the negative story on climate change is still hampering the idea or the the possibility that leaders and public would be able to say, yes, that is a huge issue. And here is what my little country can do, because we will be nationally benefited. That national benefit has not really taken hold yet. And there are many national benefits. And of course, it's the sum of the collective of national benefits that leads up to a collective benefit. But the national benefit and the fact that countries can, by adopting policies, benefit themselves from going into the technologies of solution, is still, has not taken root and hence, it's just ignored. It's not that people well, with some horrible exceptions, such as in the United States, but it's not that there is a campaign against it, except with Trump. It's just being ignored because it is not yet a bright enough attraction, a bright enough magnet to be able to hold that as a light for voting.

Tom: [00:15:49] So, I mean, just one further thing to dig in on there. And I think you're, I think you're right. Although the analogy you draw to economics is interesting right. Because many countries will say or potential governments will say inflation is terrible around the world, but we are the ones who can bring it down in our country. And actually they have relatively limited control over that. So there is an apparent correlation there that could be leveraged. But what about I mean, India just had the hottest year on record, 120, 125 degrees in certain areas of India. We know that that's been driven by climate. The science has demonstrated that. And yet there's no leader standing up saying, if this temperature goes up any higher, none of you will be able to feed yourselves. It will impact the lives of your children. Let me and I will force everybody on the global stage to get behind us and avoid that future for you. It just, we had those pieces and I appreciate we're sort of dealing counterfactuals of like, why not. And it's maybe not the useful, the most useful way to come at the conversation, but it's a certain way in. We haven't yet seen the emergence of that kind of leader. And for it to be the biggest year for democracy in history, and to be able to look across it and not really identify a leader who's kind of grabbing that, is a little bit shocking I think.

Christiana: [00:16:56] It is.

Paul: [00:16:57] Is it the leader? Is it this magical person, or is it that the lack of a narrative that works at this time? I mean, it's kind of the same thing, I know, but what I'm driving at is my gut tells me that there's something in the mixture here about fear. We have, there are, you know, there are very often really quite large wars and a lot of people being killed. And it's a tragedy. But the Ukraine conflict and the conflict in Gaza, Israel, are so public and high profile because they really play into the sort of land of the global media, that there's that tension, there's an extraordinary debate about immigration, which is very climate change linked, actually, but which is having a sort of forcing effect. There are these insufferable and worsening wealth inequalities. And into that mixture, I think it's hard to use the sort of duties of climate change that governments must respond to as a kind of unifying force. I think it could be done. I genuinely believe it could be done. I know you do otherwise you wouldn't have asked the question, but I don't think the narrative has yet been found that brings us together. There's something, presumably the polling or the research is showing that people are, I heard this phrase turtle recently. People are turtling, you know, they're pulling their little feet and hands and heads inside their shells. And that's kind of feels like a reflex. And I think what we're finding problematic at the moment is that reflex is quite a big part of the narrative. And there needs to be an anti turtle, a turtle out, not a turtle in narrative. And that's what I think we're searching for. And when we find that narrative, I like to think leaders across the world can carry it.

Christiana: [00:18:55] I think the turtling is a very good term for what we're seeing there Paul. And the reason why people are turtling about climate is because they don't feel that they have any agency over it. They still feel overpowered, overwhelmed. So that is why in the case of leaders, political aspirants, that's why they don't come out with it because they don't feel that they have the credibility to or the influence to be able to set out an agenda that puts the individual country on the path to reap the advantages of the change of technologies with policies, let alone bring the world around on climate. And it's I mean, the sad thing about this, as you pointed out Tom, is it is entirely doable. That's the sad thing. And the longer we wait, the more difficult it becomes. But it is entirely doable. So let's just paint the other scenario, right. Can you imagine if this year were so many elections. Can you imagine if each of those elections were turning on climate. And if all of these countries were, you know, riding the climate, addressing because I don't like solution, but the climate addressing agendas and saying, come on, we can do this, right. Can you imagine sort of a sense of cheerleading around the world. We can all do this together. Can you imagine that? But that's not where we are at all.

Tom: [00:20:40] That's what's driving me nuts, right. That's where we could be right at this moment. Because you're right about the agency thing. That's also true of inflation, by the way, and conflict and a whole range of other things that are beyond the control of any one border. But we're at a situation now, and I would ask you both the question. Look, we've just had the hottest years on record. Impacts are off the scale. It's affecting yields. At the same time, wind and solar are the cheapest forms of new power in most countries around the world. And we have the biggest election year in history. If political leaders can't do it now, you've got to ask the question whether they're ever going to be able to do it because we've been hitting this horse. I mean, it's not the best analogy for so long about the cost reduction is cheaper, risk mitigation in the future, all these other different things. It's a real slap in the face that we get to this big election year, and nobody's picking it up and running with it.

Christiana: [00:21:29] Totally. 

Paul: [00:21:30] Yeah, and in the past we've had, you know, the Teals, for example, in Australia, made this incredible intervention to some degree. The people of the United States voted for Biden in response to Trump's crazy anti-climate policies. So we've you know, I think we ought to probably recognize that there's ups and downs, good and bad. You know, there are moments, but it does feel, yeah, that there's a kind of, there's this nervousness that's causing people to sort of not respond to their external circumstances, do you know what I mean. And sometimes people can sort of think, well, you know, what about my kids? You know, what about my home? Am I going to be safe? And as soon as that narrative starts, you've stopped thinking about all the vulnerable people who probably, you know, are right in the front line of droughts or floods or, you know, food disasters. So there's something, this is so much a test for us, right. As humans, how can we, you know, find in this our better selves. And I mean, I use this word narrative. What else can there be other than stories or ways of expressing our humanity. What else can we see that's worked or drawn people together.

Tom: [00:22:33] Well, that's a great question. And I would draw that back to the Costa Rican podcast that I listened to a while ago in terms of what's happened before. What would it look like, I mean, for somebody to stand up and do that, what exactly are we talking about? What's missing from a tangible point of view, the political leadership that could be there?

Christiana: [00:22:50] Well, again, a sense of agency. Why have we convinced ourselves that we're incapable of this. This is the thing, we have convinced ourselves that we're incapable, and hence we turtle because we don't want to go out there in public and say, we can't do this, and the world can't do this, and my country can't do it. We have convinced ourselves that it that this is not possible. Why the heck have we convinced ourselves? And I'm taken by this new denial. The old denial was climate doesn't exist. Well, that has fallen flat on its face because there is just too much evidence now. But the new denial is even more scary because that is the new denial says, well, it does exist, but we don't have the solutions for it. And The Guardian published an article saying that new denial used to be 35% of climate denial on YouTube, and now has grown to 70%, 70%. It's in the message is, we can't do this. We don't have the capacity. We don't have the wherewithal, we don't have the technologies, we don't have, I mean, you know, just fill in the sentence, we can't do this. Why have we convinced ourselves that we can't do this?

Paul: [00:24:20] Well, this may not be an accident, Christiana. You know, it is in the interests of certain, governments. And I'm going to reference the Russian government and who knows which other oil exporting states are interested in this, gas exporting states, to publicize, to press, to push those messages out on YouTube or whatever. Now, there are actually limits to what you can say in public debate on YouTube or whatever. If you cross certain lines, it gets edited out. So the real question is, why are these media channels allowing, essentially attitudes that risk the national security of the states we live in and international security. We've got to probably look at YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet, which is a sensible company. What's going on here? Why is this being allowed to happen? Because, you know, in all seriousness, there are terrible videos, you know, encouraging people to suicide or something that are banned, you know, and we need to have some of that sense of agency in our media communications because bad actors are picking us off like flies at the moment. And just to say, you know, the fossil fuel forces should we say, are very big and very strong. And I read a great book over the holiday, showing that it's, you know, there tends to be waves. You know, Donald Trump got in after the Paris Agreement somewhat in response to perhaps that there's a lot of fossil fuel interests behind Donald Trump getting in again. And the more imperilled that huge animal is, the more dangerous it becomes. So just to say that I think it's almost because we may be able to really see the end of the fossil fuel era that the fossil fuel industries, and I'm not talking about the sort of sensible ones, but the less sensible ones, and that particularly ones backed by national interest, are responding unreasonably with this kind of crazy propaganda and putting silly money into it. 

Christiana: [00:26:09] A lot of money. So are you saying, Paul, that the vested interests have actually switched their strategy? Their strategy used to be climate doesn't exist. And now, because there is such overwhelming evidence, they have switched their strategy to climate does exist. But there's nothing that we can do about it because we don't have the wherewithal, the finance, the technologies, certainly the policy, etc., etc.. And are you saying that they're deliberately infiltrating public opinion?

Paul: [00:26:39] I would say without doubt, that is my very strong view. And I'm pretty convinced that, you know, the money is coming from, you know, non-democratic governments and some very irresponsible private sector actors. Don't get me wrong, Christiana, I think there's, it's definitely the case that there may be someone, somewhere who thinks they can get a million followers by saying stuff like this, and they're just doing that because maybe they get some advertising money or become an influencer or something. But I think there's serious evidence of coordinated campaigns, you know, over decades. Why would we not believe that?

Tom: [00:27:10] Yeah, we're going to have to move on. This is very interesting. Now, Clay's reminding us we're going to bring in Isa because we're talking about Christiana's fantastic mini series, which is where we're going to go next week. Just before we do, and we'll keep this short. Speaking of democratic elections, there is one particular one that looms large in our minds this year, and we are going to keep this short because it's a huge issue. Donald Trump, I looked just before we got on here is 3 to 4 points ahead in the polls, head to head against Joe Biden in the last five polls on FiveThirtyEight politics. If Donald Trump gets back in in November, Christiana, when he went out, there was a picture of you jumping up and down your kitchen in Costa Rica that, received millions of views as you expressed the sentiment of people everywhere to finally getting rid of Trump. If he gets back in, to what degree can we still deal with this issue, or does a substantial part of our ability to limit climate disappear?

Christiana: [00:28:09] I thought you were going to ask me whether I was willing to receive, here in my home, all of those people who were also jumping up and down. The answer is yes.

Paul: [00:28:23] That's very nice of you. Be careful what you wish for. Kind of like what, another million. Okay.

Christiana: [00:28:30] But yeah, what a difficult question to answer Tom, because honestly, we survived his first four years. But if we get another four, this could really be disastrous. Because my sense is that he got in the first time a little bit unprepared, because I don't think he himself really, truly believed that he would get in. But in the meantime, he has really prepared. And that Republican Party has, you know, very, very detailed plans about all the rollbacks of policies that they're going to enact. And here's the even scarier part, I think that because of Trump's, you know, legal nightmares that he is facing, none of which are going to stop him from being elected, but it has washed away the more thoughtful people from his group, from his team. And, I think we are going to be left with, I want to say crazies, but yeah, we're going to be left with those who have no interest in tempering his craziness because they themselves are at that extreme. So it's going to be a very, very dangerous government if they are elected in.

Paul: [00:29:59] But luckily, he only promised to be a dictator on day one.

Christiana: [00:30:03] Well.

Paul: [00:30:04] Verbatim quote by the way.

Christiana: [00:30:05] And on that note, Paul, could I ask Clay, to put into the notes, the show notes, the amazing video from Margaret Atwood?

Tom: [00:30:18] Oh yeah.

Paul: [00:30:19] Oh yes.

Christiana: [00:30:20] That so clearly, so clearly points out how what we're seeing can easily end up in dictatorship. It is a brilliant video, brilliant video.

Paul: [00:30:33] She saw it all coming.

Tom: [00:30:34] Brilliant, yeah. We will return to this obviously throughout the year. We won't get fixated on it because a lot of people are going to be fixated on it, and it's going to be a difficult year in many ways. It's going to be a nerve wracking year for us to live through, who care about the future of the climate and the future of the people who live here, because there's so much at stake. But let's keep our eyes on the prize. If we get to the end of this year, we've re-elected Biden, we have a decent representative in the European Parliament who want to deal with climate. You know, then we could actually this could turn into, you know, the year that actually turns things around.

Paul: [00:31:07] Fingers crossed.

Tom: [00:31:08] On that note, we have the most amazing miniseries coming out the next few weeks, which Christiana has been working on, I'm not going to say for how long, but for a while. And Christiana, we are now going to bring in your incredible co-host, Isabel Cavelier. Sarah, Clay, do we have Isa in the waiting room?

Clay: [00:31:27] Yes, she's joining in just a moment.

Tom: [00:31:31] Just before Isa gets here, I'd just like to comment that, you know, Christiana, you're always asking us to keep the podcast short. And then when you're left to your own devices, you produce a three episode podcast of enormous length and 45 guests and all these other things.

Christiana: [00:31:47] Yes, but each episode is going to be within our established boundaries, not to worry. But that's what you do when you have a lot of material. You chunk it up into sections, you know, because, otherwise it would be very extraordinarily long. Hola Isa.

Isabel: [00:32:05] Hola. Qué tal?

Tom: [00:32:08] Hey, how nice to see you. How are you doing?

Isabel: [00:32:10] Likewise. Very well, thank you. Yeah, starting the week here.

Tom: [00:32:15] Isa, we are so excited to talk to you and have you on the podcast. And Paul and I are particularly excited because we know nothing about this mini series that you and Christiana have been working on.

Paul: [00:32:24] Big mystery.

Tom: [00:32:25] There's been all these exciting meetings in Christiana's diary for the last nine months that we've not been invited to, but now we're going.

Isabel: [00:32:32] I don't believe you are here Tom.

Christiana: [00:32:35] This really has been almost like a nine month pregnancy. You're absolutely right.

Isabel: [00:32:42] Of triplets. 

Christiana: [00:32:44] Of triplets.

Paul: [00:32:45] Okay wow. That's amazing.

Tom: [00:32:49] I don't know what Sarah's going to do in the Global Optimism team update calls, she just starts off with, well I'm working on Christiana's mini series. I don't know what she's going to say in future. So anyway, tell us.

Christiana: [00:32:59] Anyway, yeah, I would like to introduce Isabel Cavelier, a very good friend from many years, from our negotiation years. Isa is from Colombia. She heads up a brilliant organization now called MUNDO COMÚN that she will talk about on one of the episodes. And I was telling Isa a little bit about this mini series idea that I was cooking up, and, the more I told her, the bigger her smile got. And then I finally said, does that mean that you would be willing to co-host this with me? And she jumped out of her seat and she said, yes. And so here we are. And it is really quite, quite a set. It's three episodes coming out very soon. The first one is going to be dropped February 18th. And then two right after that. But Isa, do you want to maybe summarize what it's about or you don't want to spill the beans?

Isabel: [00:34:01] We can give some clues, right

Tom: [00:34:03] February 8th.

Christiana: [00:34:04] February 8th, sorry.

Tom: [00:34:08] Ok, let's have some clues.

Isabel: [00:34:09] Yes, because it's been so exciting to work on this together. And I think it's not a secret that, not only thinking about this, but actually trying to make a reality, the deeper questions about the current, we call it crisis, poly crisis, climate crisis, ecological crisis, planetary crisis. So many names for our current reality. It is no secret that, we are at a point in time where many of us are asking ourselves, why are we here? Why does it feel like we've never been so advanced in our solutions, and at the same time, why do we feel that we are so far away from achieving a solution and both happen all at once. And sort of trying to open up this paradox. And reflect on the deeper paradigms that are behind, or, if you will, that are upstream to the consequences that we see in our day to day lives of this poly crisis is actually what brought us together to do this poly crisis, right. Like, can we try and figure out why this all came about, and then how can we rethink the way we are responding. Because often times it was feeling like it could happen, that the way we respond, if we don't think about the deep origins of these poly crises, the way we respond could be reinforcing the actual situation in a bad way.

Isabel: [00:35:47] So I think this paradox is what brought us together. I think this is what the mini series is all about, and it's going to run through three episodes and it's going to tell the arc of history. On the, our story, our human story as a species, in how the paradigm of separation, that is one of the theories of why this is all happening evolved from the early humans all the way to our present, and how that is having consequences in the human constructs and systems we have in our present. And the most exciting part of it, how the future is already emerging in the present and how it can be very hopeful and beautiful and exciting. And that's going to be the last part of the mini series. So, I think that's more than a clue.

Christiana: [00:36:38] So this yeah, beside Isa and myself who are just weaving this together, we have an incredible roll call of brilliant guests that include Janine Benyus, the co-founder or the, well, the discoverer of Biomimicry, developer of Biomimicry. We have Krista Tippett, the amazing broadcaster and author. We have Peter Frankopan, professor of global history. We have Arturo Escobar, anthropologist. We have Wolf Martinez, who's a spiritual counsellor from some of the Aboriginal cultures. We have Bayo Akomolafe, public intellectual he calls himself. We have Sister True Dedication, a Buddhist monastic. We have Kate Raworth, the author of Doughnut Economics, speaking about the consequences of this on our economy. We have Gunhild Stordalen, Lyla June Johnston, an indigenous musician and author. We have Kingsmill Bond, an energy strategist. I mean, it is quite an impressive cast of brilliant people who were really so wonderful to speak to us. And we are picking out, some of the clips from them for the episode, but we will also have some of the interviews available in full because each of them is a gem.

Tom: [00:38:20] Amazing.

Paul: [00:38:20] You have made my ears hungry. This has never happened before. I have hungry ears. I can hear a rumbling just at the back of my neck. So it's 8th of February is the first one, right?

Isabel: [00:38:29] That's right. And we would love to know after you listen what the mini series tastes.

Paul: [00:38:37] Okay, all right.

Isabel: [00:38:38] Since your ears are hungry.

Tom: [00:38:40] Ah, okay. What it tastes like to your ears.

Isabel: [00:38:42] Yeah.

Paul: [00:38:43] It sounds delicious on the menu, so, yeah, I will let you know.

Tom: [00:38:46] That is so exciting. I have to say, I've been looking forward to hearing this mini series for a long time. The guests sound incredible. I'm so thrilled, Isa, that you, decided to get involved and appeared on Outrage + Optimism! And Christiana, congratulations on finding someone who's not called Fiona, which Paul and I failed at.

Isabel: [00:39:03] Well, actually, what you don't know is that my middle name is actually Fiona. No. I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Thank you so much for the invitation. It's truly an honour for me.

Paul: [00:39:14] What is the name, what is the name of the mini series?

Christiana: [00:39:17] Isabel. Go for it. Go for it.

Isabel: [00:39:20] We've been back and forth on the name. It's going to be called Our Story. And then each of the episodes has a middle name or a last name. It's going to be called Our Story. And I'm just going to let you in with the first name of the first episode, Our Story - Living From Nature. And we will tell you the names of the other two episodes later. 

Tom: [00:39:47] As we go, love it! Thank you so much Isa, what a great way to start the year with you on the podcast. Can't wait to hear these next week. Thank you for joining us and thank you listeners. This is Outrage + Optimism back for 2024. Lovely to be back with you all. And we will leave you, as ever with a piece of music that this week comes from Wyldest. The song is Easier to Believe. So here's to a good 2024. It's going to be consequential. A few nail biting elections. We will be with you throughout it. Thanks for joining us, Christiana and Isa, we'll see you next week. Paul and I will be back in a couple of weeks after the mini series.

Paul: [00:40:18] See you next week.

Isabel: [00:40:18] See you next week.

Christiana: [00:40:19] Bye.

Paul: [00:40:20] All right.

Tom: [00:40:21] Bye. 

Paul: [00:40:21] Bye bye.

Wyldest: [00:40:24] Hi, my name is Zoë. I release music under Wyldest. The song I wanted to share is called Easier to Believe. Every industry in the Western world that you can think of is subject to exploitation of humans, animals and the planet. Easier to Believe was written after I read quite a gruelling article about sweatshops and the exploitation of workers in third world countries for fast fashion, and it continues to shock me. And I've battled with the idea that I can live completely without these commodities, new things. And so I've tried to live minimally, and I'm not saying poor us. I'm just saying it's really tough to live in this world and not be a customer to these big corporations. So Easier to Believe is about this battle that we experience and the temptation to block out the reality, because it's really easy to pretend it's not happening. The song is an ode to bearing witness to what's happening in the world, acknowledging it, trying to stay sane, continuing with your life the best you can, trying to make good choices but also not killing yourself over it. Because we're never going to be able to help the world if we're all mentally ill because we're here beating ourselves up.

Clay: [00:45:17] So there you go. And welcome back to Outrage + Optimism season nine, episode one. But you know who's counting. It's Clay. Welcome back to everyone who was with us last year and beyond. I know we have some day oners still with us, and it's always better when you're here. And a very special welcome to all the new subscribers over the break. We see you. Thrilled to have you here. So if you're new, we like meeting you and hearing what you think about the podcast, so please don't hesitate to DM us on Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter or X, you know what I mean. Also, podcast@globaloptimism.com is another great way to make this a two way street. Say hello! Looking forward to hearing from you. Now this week on our podcast, you heard from Zoe under the name Wyldest. We try every week to feature an artist on the show who is actively working on the head and heart connection that we at Outrage + Optimism believe is necessary to take action and deliver a world that's more perfect, more just, more equitable, and more liveable. Zoe this week brought up the ethical cluster cus of fast fashion in the intersections of economics, culture, consumerism and climate all channelled into this creation that gives us this listening space to be able to make the connections in our own heads and our own hearts about what it looks like, what it feels like, what it is to live a good life here on earth in the time that we're here.

Clay: [00:46:49] So I say all that to say, it's a reminder to those who have been with us, and an announcement to those who are just joining us. Look forward to more opportunities to enjoy some art and music. Just like the amazing song we heard from Wyldest at the end of the show. And I invite you all to take the time every week to be present for music. See where it takes you. We'll have a range of genres with some incredible artists coming up this year. Very excited to share that with you. This is the podcast we want to make. This is the world we want to live in. This is the way we want to do it. So music is an opportunity to live fully, and each week we'll have an offering for you at the end of the episode to the best of our ability. Okay, off my soapbox there. Wyldest has so much more music you can listen to. As always, links in the show notes to more music, more video content, social media links. I know these social media algorithms are imperfect, so if you really like Wyldest, she has a mailing list you can join. Skip the algorithm, connect directly with the artist link to that right below. Thank you Wyldest.

Clay: [00:47:58] All right, before I go and speaking of mailing list, if you like Outrage + Optimism, our newsletter goes out just about every other Tuesday and this Tuesday is a must read. Entering into the new year, we cover a little bit of HSBC's transition to net zero plan and the scope of democracy in 2024. All on our minds. Subscribe to that in the show notes below, and stay close with us as the year unfolds. Next week we are kicking off Christiana and Isa's mini series right here in the Outrage + Optimism podcast feed. The best way to be able to hear that is to make sure that you're subscribed to this podcast so that it shows up right where you can listen to it. Let me play for you a 30 second promo that Christiana recorded and I put together just some background on it. Our marketing manager, Giulia, said she needed a 30 second ad to promote the mini series that will be played in the ad space of other podcasts. So right as someone clicks to listen to a podcast, this plays before their podcast plays in the middle or at the end. And here was her challenge. The promo should get the attention of people who have never heard of one Outrage + Optimism before, and two wouldn't pick a climate change podcast as their first choice. So here's what I came up with. Enjoy.

Christiana: [00:49:31] Hi, I'm Christiana Figueres and you're listening to the sound of ocean waves. We at Outrage + Optimism have a new podcast series coming out on February 8th about reconnecting with nature. And so we thought, what better way to promote it than let nature speak for itself.

Clay: [00:50:00] Okay. Submerge people in nature. Put them right, their feet in the ocean, right next to Christiana, where she's whispering to you. Okay. Hit subscribe. Don't miss the stunning series starting next week. Our Story Of Nature. Great to be back together. We'll see you next week.


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