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Behind the scenes on the politics, investments and actions meeting the climate crisis head on

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119: Dealing with Climate Grief with Luisa Neubauer

With only 99 months left until 2030, and COP26 in less than 1, time is ticking on 1.5. And the children know it.

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About this episode

Today, a timely and relevant conversation with climate activist and return guest to Outrage + Optimism, Luisa Neubauer. This time, focusing on climate change and its impact on the mental health and outlook on the future of young people everywhere.

The backdrop to the conversation with Luisa are two recently published studies (one from The Lancet, another from Science.org) examining the psychological effect of climate induced anxiety and perceived government inaction on our youth, and their current and future lived experience of the impact of climate change.

We also consider causes for optimism at the other end of the spectrum as The Earthshot Prize has announced its finalists and is featuring a high-profile TV series focusing on the regenerative and transformative projects from small community efforts to public policy driven national initiatives.

A just future is possible. What will we choose?

Hit play, join us for the conversation, and stick around for our musical guest. This week it's the one and only Gizmo Varillas!

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Mentioned links from the episode:

Climate Grief and Anxiety Studies:

Check out the incredible activists Christiana and Paul met in Dubai:

A recommendation from Clay: go listen to ‘The Flock’ - An epic audio drama about rising up against environmental destruction – from the view of birds!

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Thank you to our guest this week, Luisa Neubauer!

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Amazing music this week was from Gizmo Varillas! Music | Website | Vinyl

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Don't forget to hit SUBSCRIBE so you don't miss another episode of Outrage + Optimism!

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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 Christiana Figueres.

Tom: [00:00:16] This week we talk about the upcoming launch of the Earthshot Prize and the remarkable projects that are going to be celebrated next week. We also talk about the huge psychological impact that climate change is having on young people around the world. We speak to climate activist Lisa Neubauer and we have music from Gizmo Varillas. Thanks for being here. So, Christiana, just you and me this week, it feels awfully roomy without Paul in our midst, which is very sad. But you just spent a few days with him, which is very nice, and we'll both be seeing him next week because we've reached the period of the year in which we seem to be on the road almost continuously for the next few weeks. I will be seeing you on Monday in Edinburgh for this remarkably exciting TED Countdown event where we're going to be spending the whole of next week.

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Christiana: [00:01:08] This is true. I have no idea how this whole traveling thing slipped in under our feet, back into our calendars. Not that I'm happy about it at all.

Tom: [00:01:21] You've left your little corner of paradise on the beach in Costa Rica.

Christiana: [00:01:24] Yes, I definitely have. I definitely have. But very exciting events coming up for sure.

Tom: [00:01:30] So there's TED Countdown next week, which is going to be four or five days of the most amazing TED Talks, including you are having various interviews and you and I are hosting different sessions. And then at the end of the week and those sessions from TED will be visible to everybody, there will be a big YouTube live event coming up and we'll keep you in the loop for that. And then at the end of next week is the launch of the Earthshot Prize, and that is going to be in London and Alexandra Palace. And Christiana, you are on the judging panel for that. What can you tell us about the Earthshot prize?

Christiana: [00:01:58] Well, I can't tell you who won, but I bet that's where you were pushing me. I do know. I do know, but I can't tell. But, you know, before that, before October 17th, which is when the five winners will be announced, I believe it is this Sunday that the BBC is actually releasing five fantastic documentaries in a series that will be focusing on each of the five topics of the Earthshot Prize. And of course, Prince William will be in all of them, and I have a little peace in the climate one. So that's very exciting.

Tom: [00:02:41] But I just not to interrupt, but those are available now. They're on BBC iPlayer if you live in the UK

Christiana: [00:02:47] Are they already?

Tom: [00:02:47] They are. And I watched them with my kids the other day and we very much enjoyed seeing you. You did a brilliant job. I felt like I was sort of walking along your beach with you. My daughter kept correcting me, saying, it's not actually Christiana’s Beach, even though I kept saying it was your beach, but it is the one right outside your house.

Christiana: [00:03:03] Okay, well, that's exciting. So I didn't know they had been released. I've sort of been off the Internet for several days. So very exciting.

Tom: [00:03:13] Yeah. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Very inspiring. Exactly the kind of tonic we need at the moment to demonstrate the scale of the innovation and creativity. I mean, these projects are remarkable. What amazing innovators. You must have had such fun on the judging panel.

Christiana: [00:03:28] Indeed, it was actually quite difficult for the judges to come up with a winner in each of the five because there were so many excellent, excellent initiatives that were presented. And that actually is the really important piece of the Earthshot. I'm sure we'll talk about it later on again, but it has shone a light on so many absolutely fantastic, brilliant people who are focused on bringing the solutions to scale on time and getting us ever closer to what we need to do.

Tom: [00:04:05] And now being run by not only Prince William, but the completely brilliant Hannah Jones who has come on board as the new CEO, who is going to be amazing in that I'm sure you work closely with her.

Christiana: [00:04:14] Well, she is already amazing. Absolutely.

Tom: [00:04:19] Okay. So that's sort of like where we are. We're in this sort of like funnel now of travel will be in Edinburgh, then London and then of course, Glasgow a couple of weeks after that. To move on to the topic of the day, a couple of weeks ago, there was the most alarming report that came out from The Lancet and was covered widely in the global media. It points out that over 60% of young people are very worried about the climate crisis, and actually over 50% believe that humanity is doomed. And a majority also worry about climate change on a day to day basis. It's really quite amazing how it sort of demonstrated the way this idea of grief and concern and alarm has really just reached the mainstream. And of course, the trouble is it's entirely rational. People are right to be anxious. The searches for the phrase climate anxiety have soared 565% over the last year. Now in a minute, we're going to talk to Louisa Neubauer, who has been at the heart of this report and is disseminating it around the world. But, Christiana, before we do, I mean, I know that this is an issue which is close to your heart. And you've you've talked for a long time about not only the impact on young people, but the psychological burden that people have to bear from living in a world that's changing so profoundly. How did you feel when you saw these responses?

Christiana: [00:05:38] Well, as you well know. Tom. This is exactly the topic that makes me very emotional and brings tears to my eyes because it is so, and I'm going to swear now, it is so damn unfair on young people. It is so damn unfair that it is us who have been doing this and they are the ones who are going to be suffering it. And at the same time as the Lancet report, we also saw the publication of another report in Science that took a different cut on the impacts on children and came out with just astonishing way to look at the unfairness, intergenerational unfairness. So the study says that people born approximately in 1960, I guess that would include me born in 1956, will experience four heat waves over our lifetimes, more or less on average. However, children born in 2020, i.e. the children who are being born now, will have to face 30 extreme heat waves in their lives if the only thing we do is what is currently registered on the Paris Agreement.

Tom: [00:06:58] Oh my god.

Christiana: [00:06:59] Now if we actually raise our ambition and are on a path to cutting emissions by half by 2030, which again, we have to say ad nauseum on this podcast, is the only path that we can allow ourselves. But Tom, even if we do that, even if we do that, children being born today will have to face 18 extreme heat waves in their lifetimes. So how can this not bring tears to our eyes? How can it not make us absolutely furious? Because those children born now in this decade have absolutely no responsibility and they will bear the brunt of this. It just makes me livid.

Tom: [00:07:48] Yeah, it's. It's beyond belief, really, isn't it? And of course, heat waves, as a phrase, sounds very benign. But actually the reality of extreme heat, that's what kills people, right? That's what leads to the terrible suffering and the awful loss of not loss of life, certainly, but also biodiversity and a whole range of other different elements. I mean, it's interesting, your listeners, you're here the interview with Luisa in a few minutes and we did it just a few days ago, Christiana and I, before she left Costa Rica. And since we've done that, I've kind of looked at climate news. I mean, whenever I see a piece of climate news that said that gives us a bit of bad news. There's a piece of me that's like, right. How are we going to respond? What are we going to do? How are we going to double down? And I realize that, of course, there's a large contingent of young people who sort of see that and and, of course, are gripped with a sense of rising horror about their lives. And I am, too. But I think I'm just beginning to understand really what that anxiety feels like and that necessity to kind of hide away from what's coming. It's an enormous psychological burden that we are placing on an entire generation, more than one generation, and something that we're going to have to really begin to dig into and understand to a greater degree, because I don't think we have any sense quite right now of what it means or what it's going to lead to.

Christiana: [00:09:01] I'm speechless. I'm sorry, Tom.

Tom: [00:09:05] You’re speechless.

Christiana: [00:09:08] It cuts very deep.

Tom: [00:09:11] I know. And so let's go to Luisa and hear the conversation with her and we'll be back afterwards. Thanks for being with us, listeners. This is a tough topic. The trouble is that the sense of grief is not it's not irrational. It's a clear eyed look at what we're facing. So here's Luisa and we'll be back afterwards.

Christiana: [00:09:41] Luisa, what a delight to see you again. We met, I believe, two, or a little bit more years ago. And we have to tell you, we've been following your unbelievable rise in leadership. And it is so beautiful to see, Luisa, how you have totally stepped into your mature woman power. So congratulations.

Luisa Neubauer: [00:10:05] I’m blushing now.

Christiana: [00:10:07] Well, that's part of, you know, leadership is actually to take it in when people recognize that. Could we start this conversation with the two reports that have come out recently, one from The Lancet and one from science, about the studies that are actually putting metrics and quantification on the level of anxiety and grief that young people are feeling because of climate and very specifically because of government inaction or insufficient action. You have been helping to disseminate the results, especially of the Lancet report. So would you please summarize the results of that report? And what does it actually mean for your generation?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:10:58] Yes, of course. Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be back on this show. Yes, as you said. So there has been a study coming out about climate anxiety. And I think for many people, if they know about climate anxiety, they easily interpret that as like a privileged kids thing, you know, they feel a bit sad about bad weather or extreme weather in the afternoon when they have nothing else to do. But, you know, then people have to feel like, well, maybe they just should go and get a hobby or smile more or look at the bright side of things. But actually then a study has now looked at that more closely and they looked at children between 16 and 25 and ten different countries. They have very much gone into the details of what is climate anxiety, what is pushing it, and how exactly does it affect young people. And what they found out is not just remarkable, it's honestly shocking because I think people knew that the climate crisis has been, you know, has a bad effect on the mental wellbeing of young people just because they know, you know, their whole life is going to be shaped by this escalating crisis. But what the figures tell us is actually, it's much more than that. It's about three quarters of children and youth feeling that their future is being stolen, that their future is scary, and that their governments are failing them. And so there is a huge sense of betrayal among young people, especially. And what we are seeing is also that this doesn't just affect wellbeing, but it also affects life choices. So we see that four in ten children in youth are thinking about, you know, could they even have children or, you know, doubting if they could have children, considering the climate crisis. And so we're seeing that it's not just, you know, a bad feeling. And we see this also across the globe. It doesn't really vary a lot between, you know, rather rich and rather poor countries. We see that as a phenomenon. We're seeing, you know, across a range. And I think what is remarkable about this is that it's not just the climate crisis that is affecting children and youth and their, you know, perspective on the world. It's the inaction and the ignorance that they're seeing from their own governments and the feeling of being left behind.

Tom: [00:13:40] Louisa, this is such an important work that you're doing to disseminate this research. I mean, I looked at the report, and it's truly shocking, as you said. I mean, a couple of statistics that jumped out at me that over 50% think that society is doomed. And 45% said that their feelings about climate change negatively affect their day to day experience of life. I mean, these are big psychological burdens to carry. I wonder if I mean, I think for many listeners, there's people of all ages, obviously listening to Outrage + Optimism, and they probably have a sense. So this but it's probably more of a generalized sense of an anxiety of a generational anxiety than a lived experience. Is there anything you can tell us? Because you live in this world amongst young people that are concerned about this issue. Can you give us any anecdotes about what it's like to live with that sort of psychological burden facing the future? What does that do to a person who's looking at their life?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:14:31] Yes, it's very interesting because I think for a 22, or I would like to state that I would consider that to be the most rational reaction to the studies we are seeing. What we're seeing is this huge dimension in a way that young people look at the life around them. So I would sit in this in the plenary sessions with my local organizing group and they're, you know, children, 12 years old, 13 years old, 14 years old. And I would look at them and then they would look at the homework and they would think, oh, I have to go home and do my homework. And then their friends would say, Well, what exactly are you doing this for?

Christiana: [00:15:09] What for?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:15:10] For what? What kind of future are you doing your homework for? And it's, you know, it's a small thing, but, you know, children are doing their homework because there is a certain meaning to a life and there's a meaning to work on your own future and to work to what? Something. But they just simply don't know what they're working towards. And it, you know everything they do and see and live gets a cynical note in a sense that the feeling, well everything is a bit pointless. And also of course we're seeing this huge level of loneliness. So that's I think, what we're seeing with the climate crisis everywhere, it makes people lonely just because they feel, wow, we know all that, what's going on. But somehow everyone just continues to go their own ways. Am I the only one feeling that? Am I the only one who's seeing that? And so young people would sit around, you know, they would tell me about parties they go to. I have the same feeling sometimes. And you look around, you're like, you know, what are we enjoying here? The life that is, you know, just really a moment and yeah, it's doomed. Yeah.

Christiana: [00:16:12] Yeah. Can I step in there, Tom? Sorry. Because my daughter, Naima, Luisa, who's just a little bit older than you, works on this. She calls it the loneliness pandemic. And she tells me, right. She shows me these studies of how young people feel so, so completely lonely. And they feel betrayed. They feel, you know, like as you say, what is the point? What is the point of all the effort? Another sentiment that has been expressed to me that makes me deeply sad is how many young people have already decided. It's not that they're even thinking about it. They've already decided they're not going to have children because they don't want to increase population, and they certainly don't want to bring more human beings into this horrible future that they might have. Is that something that is also common with your friends?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:17:12] Absolutely. I mean, that's you know, we need to talk about that as a tragedy of humanity. I mean, there is a reason where people usually feel like they want to have children because otherwise we wouldn't exist today. And I feel it very much, very much reflects the magnitude of what we're talking about here, that people feel like, you know what? I'm what I've been thrown into. I wouldn't want to force it on anyone else. And that's a very, very big statement. And it doesn't only say something about the perspective of the future, but also on the young people's perspective on their own life. And I find it terrifying. Well, on the one side that, of course, I know every single year of my life will be shaped by this crisis. But I find it equally terrifying knowing that I don't really have a choice here, because there's really one thing I cannot run away from, and that's my own future. And so what adults tell us in a way our older people tell us is, you know, to get around or to to get ahead around that crisis, we can either ignore it or accept it. But then we find ourselves in a weird place on this, you know, kind of betrayal or the sense of betrayal. So and that's that's, you know, really being stuck between a rock and a hard place because I can either put my energy into denying the climate crisis or denying my own responsibility in it or denying my own future, or I can put my energy into accepting that. But that's, you know, well, still the climate crisis.

Tom: [00:18:50] It's a tough path. But interestingly, I mean, the way I read the report is that in a way, the only thing that makes anybody feel any better about this is facing that reality. And it's about saying, yes, it is tough. And some evidence that leaders are at least acknowledging the scale of the challenge. How do you interpret that result? I mean, how do you sort of see. Because it feels like. To an outside observer facing the enormity of that challenge might make them feel worse. But the data suggest, actually, that's the thing that makes you feel like actually you have a bit of momentum and energy towards the challenge. Talk us through your interpretation of that.

Luisa Neubauer: [00:19:26] Well, that's a very good point. And, you know, they say knowledge is power and there is there is something very, very true to it in the climate crisis where we know the only way we can ever, ever, ever stop it or slow it down is by understanding what we are facing and then doing everything we can to move things. And we won't you know, we won't be able to handle the climate crisis if we don't know what we're looking at. And I think what plays into this is what I just mentioned is the energy that the energy that other people usually put into denial. Yes, I can wake up every morning and say, well, it's not too bad. And what I can, you know, what can I do about it? And I'm just one person. And, you know, but, you know, that's denying everything I've been experiencing in the last years. It's a power of movement. It's the power of people. It's the power of knowledge. And it's the power of the climate crisis that forces us to very, very honestly question ourselves. What are we doing? What are we making out of this crisis? What is our role in this? And are we currently part of the problem or are we already part of the solution?

Christiana: [00:20:37] How would that look like to you, Luisa? Being part of the solution. I know what being part of the problem looks like. That's easy to do. That's easy to imagine because we only have to look around ourselves in our lives. But what would it look like to be part of the solution?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:20:52] Well, I think just stepping away, just going a step back, I think we have a big, big problem with this kind of imbalance of knowledge. We know so much by now about the climate crisis and by we I would also possibly, you know, touch upon the general public people. You know, they're most likely know by now there is a climate crisis. It's deadly. It's a huge tragedy. We don't have the solutions in force yet. We lack political will and we are facing extinction in the long run if we don't just really change things very quickly. That is that on the knowledge side, it's something we know about the physical reality we're facing. But the social reality and the social possibilities that are also in the room and the histories of success, the histories of movement that have to changed. We know so little about that. And so, you know, when we communicate about the climate crisis, it strikes me that we are so excited about talking about the little, you know, tipping point and the numbers and the figures and the percentages. But we so rarely talk about, you know, the people power that can stop it and how people power has stopped and started things and in the past and all of those things we can learn from the stories of social movements. And so I think sometimes we expect people to feel empowered by confronting them with the climate knowledge. Well, I think what is empowering is ultimately not the climate knowledge alone, but the climate knowledge combined with the knowledge of social change making. So I think when it, you know, when we talk about being part of the solution, I think it's facing the reality of the climate crisis and facing that huge, huge, huge, huge, huge potential we are seeing in how people took their own future and their own hands and turn things around. And we've seen in history again and again and again that out of the darkest places, people came together and changed things to the better. And I sometimes feel like it's almost arrogant towards past social movements to not doubt that we couldn't do it.

Christiana: [00:23:08] I like that thought. I like that thought. Luisa And are the recent German elections an example of that exact possibility?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:23:20] Yes, I mean, we are, it's a weird election. I wouldn't know anyone who would say, well, that's a good result. We see that some of the, we've quite a few numbers of big parties and they're all kind of at the same level. We have the Christian Democrats who are at the same level as the Social Democrats. You know, they used to govern together for eight years. We've seen the Greens who have doubled and the votes or the percentage of votes they get. We have quite strong liberals and well, at least not a rise and right populist parties. And what we're seeing, though, in the first time of this country, we are seeing that in the election campaign and elections summer, was entirely spinned around the climate crisis. So as a movement, and that's what we are kind of aiming for, we pushed every single party towards a point where they made promises about climate action that they would have never, ever taken without us. And now, of course, one could say, well, it's just an empty promise, but for us that's so crucial that they made those promises, which we can now, you know, come back at and say, well, you've actually promised this to your own voters. They've all and I mean, that's huge. All Democratic parties wrote the 1.5 degree target in their party programme. And, you know, before that, before Friday For Future, everyone was kind of talking about this wishy washy Paris and sometimes two degrees, but they would have never, ever gone for 1.5. And we started with the Greens because we knew everyone, you know, none of the parties would be more radical than the Green Party, of course. So we occupied their offices, we occupied some of the forests that they were going to cut down. And we said, We're not going away until you write down 1.5. And then once the Greens had done it, everyone else was kind of like, Oh, they're on the rise. And if we want to kind of compete with them, we kind of need to go there as well. So one party by one party, we got them to a point where they promised to fight for 1.5. And now we know, though, that we will have a coalition. We don't know what kind of coalition yet, but we know that in whatever coalition we are facing, there is going to be a programme where it will say 1.5 degrees, and then of course they will have to provide a programme to get there and we know it's not going to be easy and they will be hesitant about that. But we have those promises written down which we can now rely on. For us, that's such an exciting moment and such a promising moment. I think we know it's going to be hard, but we have every reason to believe in ourselves because we know we've pushed all the parties where they don't really want to be. So what kind of stops us from going further?

Christiana: [00:25:59] Whoohoo. All right. Love it.

Luisa Neubauer: [00:26:04] Well, and I mean. Yes, but, I mean I said it so lightly but of course, looking at the dimension, Germany is the fourth biggest contributor of emissions globally, when we look at the accumulation of emissions, we are failing to, you know, to get on any kind of Paris sort of emission pathway. We are incredibly bad on biodiversity. We've missed every single of our biodiversity targets in the last years and our emissions are expected to rise this year, rise higher than the past 30 years. So, I mean, we're looking at a country, an incredibly rich country with an incredibly global responsibility, where we know other countries look at. And if we don't get our stuff together and stick to a 1.5 degree pathway from whatever country, could we ever expect to do so? So of course, I think it's, you know, with every reason also to take this seriously and to take Germany's responsibility seriously here.

Tom: [00:27:03] Luisa, it is such a pleasure to talk to you again. It always is. We always learn so much from you. And just I mean, it's a perfect you know, there's so much in this world, so much reason for despair and so much reason for hope. And you sort of this amazing conversation as asked both of them in a way, in terms of this amazing moment that we're living through now. The podcast is called Outrage + Optimism. We think both are necessary, not a blind optimism that assumes everything will be fine, but a gritty determination to dig in and do what we can. But we'd love you to comment. Where do you fall? Where do you fall right now? Between outrage and optimism, the years we've come through and a couple of months till the cop how's how's the world looking from your perspective?

Luisa Neubauer: [00:27:41] Well, I would consider myself to be relentlessly hopeful just because, you know, it's the millions of people who are organizing themselves right now as we speak or as someone listens to this. There are people out there who, you know, no matter how difficult the challenges are getting together and doing stuff. And I consider myself to be so privileged. And I see people fighting so hard every single moment and they rely on me and us to do so as well. And we don't usually see each other and we don't even know each other's names and so on. But this works because, you know, there's this kind of ecosystem of hope where everyone knows I'm this kind of hopeful person for someone else right now. And that is really, you know, what I try to take seriously, but then I think hope isn't enough. We need courage as well. And we need the knowledge, the knowledge about what is possible. And after the IPCC report came out the other day, they asked some scientists whether they were hopeful if we could stick to the Paris promises and so on. And that scientists and I found it very good that scientists said, yes, hope is great. But, you know, I don't always need hope. You can also be in place of despair. What you need is the knowledge that it is possible. And the IPCC report has once shown again it is possible. Everything is open to us. We can turn things around and somehow stabilize the temperature rise by around 1.5 degree oh. Of course we can decide it's not all worth it and we end up at four degrees. But whatever we decide, you know, there is no neutral position in it. We are always some kind of activist. Whether we decide we fight for 1.5, then we are a 1.5 degree activist or we decide, well, you know, maybe it's too late already. Then we suddenly a four degree activist. But there is no you know, there's no side line on this. We are all into this. And I am so glad that so many of us have already chosen to be a 1.5 degree activist and that we have more reason than ever to rely on each other and to know that even when we are out of breath or out of energy, we know that someone else has our back. And I think that's beautiful. And I want to be part of that big family that that global party that we're throwing when we are taking things into our own hands and showing that, well, a just future is possible.

Christiana: [00:30:18] And we're so happy that you are a part of that effort, that collective effort. Luisa, what a pleasure. We could actually talk to you for hours, but we do have to come to a close. Thank you so, so, so much. Thank you for taking the time. But more than anything, thank you for your very thoughtful and well matured stand on vis a vis the largest challenge that we've ever had. Thank you for being undaunted.

Luisa Neubauer: [00:30:51] Thank you so much for having me. It's so good to be and to be in this together and to to stay in touch over this.

Christiana: [00:30:58] Absolutely.

Tom: [00:30:59] See you soon. Bye bye. Thank you.

Christiana: [00:31:01] Bye bye. Thank you, Luisa. tschüss, tschüss. Danke.

Luisa Neubauer: [00:31:05] Tschüss.

Tom: [00:31:04] So, Christiana, I mean, first of all, how wonderful to get to sit and chat again with Luisa Neubauer. I remember when we met her in Davos all that time ago and we were just bowled over by how remarkably poised and effective and thoughtful she is. And I think she's proven that again today with the conversation we just had with her. But, you know, it touched on some really tough themes about the level of anxiety that young people are experiencing. And the fact I mean, one thing that really got me is the fact that facing this reality of climate affects their sense of purpose, of course, in all other areas of their lives. So the knock on effect to life trajectory and life chances and expectations and aspirations is so profound. I know this is an issue close to your heart and it was affecting you before we went into the interview. How do you feel now having revisited it?

Christiana: [00:32:04] Well, I feel equally as emotional, and I probably will take that emotion to the grave with me.

Tom: [00:32:11] Good. We need that.

Christiana: [00:32:14] You know, I just have such incredible respect for Luisa and for other young women that I just recently met that I will tell you about, who are really facing this grief, facing the pain, and pulling themselves up from that pain into their power and that that that pull up, right? I mean, they basically I literally can see them pulling up long, long boots of pain all the way up to their waist. And as it gets to their waist, it begins to transform into this amazing power so that transformation of pain into power and to be able to stand there and tell the truth and still continue to insist that despite everything that we see, that we still have the option to create a different world. I mean, just in in or in or because I'm 65 and it, you know, it probably took me 65 years to come to that conclusion. But these young people, they have already reached that conclusion. It's a very difficult, very, very courageous decision or conclusion to reach. And it is even more courageous to stand out there in public and communicate that, because the easiest thing is to throw rotten tomatoes. That's just and it's understandable. And we all want to throw rotten tomatoes. Right. But but the fact that they've been able at that young age to turn pain into their own power, I just think it is so admirable and the same thing, Tom, the reason why Paul is not here today is because we're both coming back from from the Dubai Expo, where we were invited to this People and Planet program. And we both interviewed another two amazing young women in this region, Nisreen Elsaim, who is the chair of the U.N. Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. And Heeta Lakhani, who's a climate educator and young focal point for the UNFCCC constituency, both of them with very similar determination to Luisa's right, steeped in the pain steeped in the reality of this absolutely terrible situation that they're in. One from Sudan, one from India and yet. Standing up there with a torch. With literally a torch of inspiration, of determination, of engagement, meaningful engagement, and calling everyone to join them in making this world a better place while they're standing in the grief and the pain. I mean, honestly, Tom, I literally, I clean their shoes. I polished their shoes. What fantastic women.

Tom: [00:35:38] Wow. How wonderful. That sounds incredible. So we will ask Clay to put their names and links to their organizations in the show notes so listeners can follow up and learn more about them. But I mean, I so agree with you and it's such a huge source of hope and optimism that there is now such determination emerging around the world to deal with this. It doesn't mean that the responsibility isn't squarely on our shoulders, but we would be nowhere if we weren't getting through. As David Attenborough said to us a long time ago, if young people weren't jumping on this issue, then we are done. And that determination is something that we can look to and be grateful for. I think that, you know, again, one thing has said was that, and I really like the way she phrased this. She said that one of the ways young people tackle climate anxiety and obtain empowerment is by facing the challenge. It's that facing that challenge, that translates the anxiety into empowerment. And I really like the way she talked about the fact that from her perspective, actually, if you look historically, social movements and people power has caused remarkable systemic change in the past. And she sort of said it would almost be arrogant for us towards previous social movements to suggest we couldn't do that again. I just love that way of turning that around and saying, you know, there is space here for us to grow into and there is a kind of determination that we can make the best of. So, I mean, again, we're very lucky to have Luisa Neubauer and all of these other leaders.

Christiana: [00:37:11] Now, you can immediately come back at that Tom and say, well, but actually the challenges that we've had in the future are nowhere near the challenge of climate change. And I would agree. But we have so many more tools, right? The young people who were out there or the activists, young or old, they did not have the communication technologies that we do now in order to bring everyone together into unified action. They didn't have the technologies, the the science that is so compelling right now, the financial sector being aligned. The alignment that we're seeing now across all sectors is something that we did not see with other movements. And so we have the capacity to harvest a much greater potential of solution. So I take her point, right. In the past, we've been able to stand up to what history has dealt us. Yes, this is way beyond anything else. But we as a whole are also way beyond those that came before us. So are we up to the challenge? We just better be.

Tom: [00:38:31] Yeah. All right. So it's been very sad not to have Paul, but we'll have it back next week and we'll all be together in Edinburgh. So maybe we'll even get to record in person, which is a rare treat for us. We're very rarely in the same room listeners, but hopefully we will be next week. So we will leave you as ever with some remarkable music. This week we have music from Gizmo Varillas. I hope you enjoy it. The artist, of course, is here to introduce the music. Christiana, this has been a tough episode, but we have a couple of important months coming up. What we can do will try to do, see where we go. Thanks, everyone.

Christiana: [00:39:04] Bye.

Gizmo Varillas: [00:39:06] Hello. I'm Gizmo Varillas, and this is my song, Burning Bridges. I wrote it as a way of bringing people closer together, but it also has a deeper meaning. And the metaphor extends beyond that. In terms of climate change, we're at a point that if we don't change our ways, it will be too late. We're literally going to burn the bridge and there'll be no turning back to avoid the worst. We need to rebuild our connections to nature and care for the planet.

Burning Bridges by Gizmo Varillas [00:39:40] [Song Plays]

Clay: [00:43:31] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism. I'm Clay, producer of the podcast. Thank you to Gizmo Varillas for his tune Burning Bridges. So Gizmo has a smash hit right now. It's called A La Vida, which made the new music Friday Mexico, Greece, Hungary and the borderless playlist on Spotify, along with he actually recently passed the million streams per month milestone as well. Super talented as you just heard, and totally underrated, which is exactly the kind of energy we're looking for here at the end of the show, I saw Craig Charles at Radio 2 called him a flamenco funkateer. I just loved that. Thought I'd repeat it because it's so true. Links to stream Burning Bridges in the show notes and he actually has a vinyl record out too. So go buy that. Thank you, Gizmo. And thank you to Luisa Neubauer. She is the coolest person to meet, kind of a hero in our house and for good reasons. Luisa has a Spotify original podcast you can listen to called 1.5 Degrees. It's in German, so if you speak German or you know anyone that does send it along. Links to that, Fridays for Future and more. All in the show notes for you. You know, I didn't actually get to meet Luisa last time the team interviewed her, and so this time I did. And I just have to say, she stayed after the interview to chat with Sharon and I for like 30 minutes. It was really fun. Meet your heroes, people. Well, meet your heroes if they're Luisa Neubauer. Thanks, Luisa. Okay, real quick, no new news on how long our podcast is going to be. If you've been listening to the podcast this season, you know, is it going to be 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes? We don't know. But if you're still feeling some type of way about it, please message us. We're still figuring out how this is going to go. And with TED, Countdown around the corner and COP 26, I think we might flex some of the different time lengths to fit the conversation for everyone. So either way, we love hearing from you and we love reading your five star reviews on Apple Podcasts, so thank you for all the feedback. Okay, last but not least, I have a recommendation for our audience episode 70 of our podcast we had on a musical guest Gecko. Gecko has done something very cool that I want to tell you about. He has just released a full audio drama podcast titled The Flock. It's an environmental fable and epic adventure about rising against environmental destruction from, wait for it, the view of birds. It's creative, it's imaginative, it's witty, it's well-produced. It made the Apple fiction podcast top ten. The Guardian featured it in an edition of their podcast of the week. I'm personally on episode four and plan on finishing the rest of it tonight. All eight episodes in the series are live so you can listen through the whole thing in one go. It's a great lesson for bird lovers. I'm going to send it to my mom again. It's titled The Flock. It's everywhere podcasts are. Link in the show notes. Go enjoy it. Okay, now that's everything from us for the week. You can connect with us online @GlobalOptimism and I think we might have a recording in person next week. We'll see a hit. Subscribe and find out. See then.

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