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196: Earth Day Special: LIVE Q+A on Momentum vs Perfection

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About this episode

Welcome back to an Outrage + Optimism Earth Day Special where we are super excited to share with you this recording of our Live Q&A session recorded on Wednesday 19th April discussing the Momentum vs Perfection series.

We duly rolled out the red carpet once again for the fabulous Fiona McRaith who co-hosted the original Momentum vs Perfection mini-series with Tom Rivett-Carnac, and were thrilled to be able to offer our wonderful audience the chance to peek behind the curtain on our live recording and put their questions to the host team. 

Tune in to hear our hosts’ answers to questions about momentum, perfection, diversity, 'the moveable middle', joy, spirituality and more.

PLUS Paul's singing 🎶 - and the audience vote on it 👍👎...?




Fiona McRaith, Manager, Engagement & Delivery and Special Assistant to the President & CEO, Bezos Earth Fund
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Find out what’s happening around the globe on Earth Day 2023. Major events include Extinction Rebellion’s The Big One in London which aims to be the largest environmental protest of 2023, Earth Day DC’s End of Era of Fossil Fuels in Washington DC and countless more.


AND - The Environmental Music Prize is BACK for 2023! Starting Earth Day (Saturday) Apr 22, 2023 YOU can take climate action by watching music videos and voting for your favorites to win the $20,000AUD prize!

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Full Transcript

Clay: [00:00:00] Hey everyone, this is Clay from the Outrage and Optimism team. This week for Earth Day, we have something special for you. Earlier in the week, we did a live Q&A with an audience and we recorded the whole thing following Tom and Fiona's miniseries on Momentum and Perfection within the climate movement, where we invited everyone to join us online as an audience, ask questions, comment alongside the conversation in the chat, and you showed up. The live event was so much fun with listeners from around the world joining in. And yeah, we we took live audience questions right then and there. We took questions from the voice recordings and emails that you sent in to us. We even polled the audience right during the recording on important topics like, you know, do you like Paul singing. And you know, the answer may surprise you. So in the spirit of community and gratitude for all of you, the listeners here is that recording. So enjoy the episode. Happy Earth Day. Here's the show.

Tom: [00:01:17] Hello and welcome to Outrage and Optimism. I'm Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Christiana: [00:01:20] I'm Christiana Figueres.

Paul: [00:01:22] I'm Paul Dickinson.

Fiona: [00:01:23] And I'm Fiona McRaith.

All: [00:01:26] Yay, Fiona.

Christiana: [00:01:30] Yay, we're so thrilled to have Fiona.

Paul: [00:01:32] You've escaped from the two part series and come here in real life.

Tom: [00:01:36] We're having a live conversation about momentum and perfection, where we take your questions and we try to make sense of it. Thanks for joining us. So how great to see you all, this is the first time the four of us have been hosting this podcast together. This is delightful to be together. We're going to get into it in just a minute. This episode is about answering your questions. However, first, you promised us an epic welcome for Fiona Paul. Let's have it.

Paul: [00:02:06] Um, I wanted to sing something, but I'm seeing all these fantastic comments from our listeners and it's cracking me up. So the thing is, if I tried to sing a welcome to Fiona, I think my voice would break up with emotion. But hello lovely listeners and hello, Fiona. Can you sing for us? 

Fiona: [00:02:22] I thought about it, but I just can't steal that away from you, Paul.

Paul: [00:02:26] Really? Well, I want to sing Happy Birthday. That's an easy one. Can't do God Save the Queen anymore. Anyway, look, just a huge, huge welcome to Outrage and Optimism. But we have material issues to discuss and we have super wonderful listeners. Millions of them. So let's do this thing.

Tom: [00:02:45] Which Paul is very fond of saying. Now we're going to get into this in just a sec. But first of all, it's been a couple of weeks since we put this little mini series out, and Fiona and I had such a good time. And thanks again to the team and everyone who worked on it for putting it together.

Paul: [00:02:56] It was a brilliant mini series. Thank you, particularly Fiona. We've never seen Tom perform at that kind of level, so just whatever you're doing, please do more.

Fiona: [00:03:04] You got it.

Christiana: [00:03:05] Tis true. Tis true.

Tom: [00:03:07] Paul is doing his own mini series forthcoming. More news to be announced. And the first message I got back from him is you've set the bar so high, I'm terrified as to what I'm now supposed to do. But since we put that episode out, um, so many people have come up to me and said they've listened to it and they've learned from it, they agreed with it, they didn't agree with it, which was all great. It seems to have really touched a nerve. And and what I particularly like is when people have come up to me and said, oh, momentum and perfection. What you really mean is, and they've explained it to me in their own language, which I thought was brilliant. So I'm just going to share a few of those with you, and I'd love the reactions of your three as to whether you think these are the same thing. The first is when they say what you really mean is the tension between high integrity and broad participation. Is that the same as momentum and perfection?

Christiana: [00:03:56] Adjacent. 

Tom: [00:03:57] Adjacent. Others, any comment?

Fiona: [00:04:01] I completely agree. I think I began to think about perfection as integrity, but I'm not sure if momentum is broad participation.

Paul: [00:04:10] I was lost in a spiral of somebody reminding us of Farhana's question about the COP process, which we're going to come on to. So. 

Christiana: [00:04:17] Wait, wait, wait.

Fiona: [00:04:18] This Q&A is dangerous.

Paul: [00:04:20] I've never had so many different things to read on the screen at the same time.

Christiana: [00:04:26] Paul, can I just say something to Paul here? Paul, this is a particularly multi-tasking effort that we have today. We've never had so many balls in the same air. So. So I really entreat upon you to have a.

Tom: [00:04:39] So stay with the programme. 

Christiana: [00:04:40] Yes. Stay with the programme, have a little bit of discipline about what we're talking about because otherwise we'll never get.

Tom: [00:04:49] No emails. Yeah, thank you.

Christiana: [00:04:53] No research. 

Tom: [00:04:53] All right, we're moving on. Okay. A couple more and I'll just give them to you in one. Is it the same as the difference between a high bar and a big tent? Is it the same as the difference between a compass and a map? Any response to those.

Christiana: [00:05:06] So my problem with all of those and with the original title that we had, which was a momentum versus perfection, is that it's not a versus, is it? It's actually an and, and I think that was the conclusion that everyone or at least the two of you, Tom and Fiona, came to at the end of these fantastic conversations that these are not mutually exclusive, they are mutually complementary. And we need both. We need both a compass and a map. We need both perfection and momentum. We need both integrity and participation. Etc etc, etc. So that that it's not about binary thinking. It's actually about holistic thinking and acting.

Paul: [00:05:51] May I add one tiny thing, Christiana, and that is both a compass and a map are completely useless without each other.

Tom: [00:05:57] Good point.

Christiana: [00:05:58] Good point. Dickinson, you got 100 points for that one.

Tom: [00:06:04] All right. And we're going to call to ask Gabrielle to come in and ask her a question a minute to kick us off. But the last one was a very smart colleague of mine who said, the thing you put your finger on is we've moved out of the phase of the commitment and the currency of commitment is pressure, and we've moved into the phase of implementation. And the currency of implementation is confidence. And that really made me think about things in a different way. Very good I think.  Load More
Christiana: [00:06:27] Nice, frame that one and put it on the wall.

Tom: [00:06:32] All right, how do we make Gabrielle reappear on this screen?

Christiana: [00:06:35] Gabrielle hello?

Clay: [00:06:37] Let's invite her on.

Paul: [00:06:38] Gabrielle, please turn on your camera. Please take off your mute button.

Clay: [00:06:42] Let's see.

Gabrielle: [00:06:43] It won't let me turn on my camera. I think Clay has to do that.

Clay: [00:06:45] I've just invited you to.

Gabrielle: [00:06:47] It says unable to start video because the host has stopped it. Oh, there we go.

Clay: [00:06:51] There we go.

Paul: [00:06:52] Hello, Gabrielle.

Christiana: [00:06:55] Hi Gabrielle. So good to see you. Hi.

Gabrielle: [00:06:57] What awesome episodes those were. I mean, they're all awesome episodes, but those two were particularly awesome. Thank you. It's just everything that's been bothering me, everything I've been wrestling with, all put together in one fantastic package. So I listened to it twice and then told everyone I met to listen to it.

Christiana: [00:07:11] Gabrielle, the problem with that comment is that it's going to go to Tom's head.

Gabrielle: [00:07:16] It was Fiona. All Fiona. 

Christiana: [00:07:18] Fiona. No, Fiona doesn't have that problem. Fiona doesn't have that problem. But Tom does. And this is going to go straight to his head, so I would encourage you to restate that.

Gabrielle: [00:07:30] Yeah, Fiona was particularly brilliant in that episode and Tom contributed too. How about that?

Tom: [00:07:38] Excellent.

Gabrielle: [00:07:40] You're welcome.

Tom: [00:07:41] Okay. Straight on to your question. Yeah.

Christiana: [00:07:42] Your question.

Gabrielle: [00:07:45] A really fabulous episode and everything about it, particularly the the moving away from perfection or purism and moving towards something that was pragmatism or something in between was something I really wrestled with while still keeping integrity. What I heard in these episodes, which I found captivating, was a lot of talk about the moveable middle. So not not just going into the kind of the the idealism and the ideology and not just going into the pragmatism at all costs, but what about everybody in between? And so my question is, who do you mean by the movable middle? You know, is it is it is it businesses? A lot of businesses I've worked with who are trying to get into this and don't know how to. Is it is it is it sort of the public? Who is the moveable middle and how do we reach them and how do we move them?

Tom: [00:08:28] Great question. Christiana, do you want to jump in on that one?

Christiana: [00:08:32] Sure. Um, so, Gabrielle, I guess everyone has their own definition for the movable middle, but one that I can share is, let's say in literature, you know, that when there is social change of any type, there is a distribution, a natural distribution that occurs actually quite frequently, if not always, of how people, institutions or anyone else reacts to the change that is taking place. And more or less we have usually a 15% of let's just call them stakeholders that could be of any sector, private sector, public sector, whatever. It doesn't matter. But 15% of the stakeholders who are absolutely radically against everything, denying everything, you know, basically at the bottom of a dark hole and they're never going to move those are the ones that are anchored to the bottom of negation or denial or whichever way you want to call it. They're never going to move. Then you have on the other side, you have more or less an equal number, 15% that are actually quite excited and enthused and moving forward. And those are the early movers or the early adopters. Those are the ones that are already if it's companies, those are the ones that are already decarbonizing.

Christiana: [00:09:59] If it is communities, they are decarbonizing and already acting on on adaptation. If it is policy people, they're the ones that are, you know, let's call them the climate nerds really working on this. So you have about 30%, 15 doing absolutely nothing and they will never do anything, 15% leading the pack. But then you have the movable middle right there in the center, and that is more or less 70% of stakeholders, people, institutions that are sort of beginning to go, oh yeah, well, I know what something is going on, but no, I'm not going to devote any time or energy to it. Those those are the ones that is actually in our interest to move, to move from where they are of a certain minimum degree of attention toward the side of action. They will probably never be leaders, but they definitely have to be moved into action. And so that is what we call the movable middle. It is not our concept. It is very much of a respected concept in sociology and all kinds of other sciences that look at social change. Does that help?

Gabrielle: [00:11:17] It does. And what I want to think about in this is in the context of perfection and momentum. So it's not really, you know, on both sides, perfection and momentum or people who is not really people who are trying to stop everything or people who are enthusiastically moving forward. It's two different points of view about how to move forward. In that context, who is the movable middle and what can their role be? That's the other question. What can their role be in the climate space? What should it be?

Christiana: [00:11:44] Well, it's interesting because there your you're crossing, right. You're interlacing two concepts. And I would just say briefly, the movable middle are those who are not necessarily limited by either their view of the need for perfection, nor are they anchored in in, well, let's call it momentum now or participation, but rather those that have a broader view, a more inclusive view, and can understand that we need both and are open to working with the different energies that both of those schools of thought bring and bring bring them together that is a very powerful, movable middle.

Tom: [00:12:36] Thank you. Thanks, Christiana, and thanks, Gabrielle. Really appreciate you asking a question. And everybody, please do put your questions in the chat and we're going to get through as many as we can. So thanks, Gabrielle. Now we have another participant who's going to come on video, I think. Tamsin, how do we make Tamsin appear.

Clay: [00:12:51] Currently working on that right now. I just messaged with Tamsin and.

Paul: [00:12:56] Ah, but I think we have the right Tamsin.

Christiana: [00:12:57] I think the Tamsin who wants to speak is the one who appears as Wilsome.

Paul: [00:13:00] Exactly. 

Clay: [00:13:02] There we go.

Tamsin: [00:13:05] Thank you. Hello. Hi. Um, thank you so much for choosing my question, first of all. And I just wanted to echo what Gabrielle said. I just think these two episodes have been absolutely so timely and needed. Um, and and just also, thank you for Outrage and Optimism generally, because it's like talking about compasses and maps. It's like. One of my constant points on the compass when I'm trying to chart myself towards hope about the future. So huge gratitude from me to all of you for keeping on with all you're doing. So I'll go on to my question. So my question is the one about, um, Farhana, Paul. Um, so whether there are any further reflections from the team and what we heard from Farhana Yamin, because I found it very moving her, what she said about, um, her description of the breakdown that she had due to the lack of hope that she was increasingly feeling about what that COP process maybe can and is delivering for countries and people on the frontline of the climate catastrophe. And kind of related to that is the second question around beyond saying that we need greater diversity and to hear more of the voices from marginalized groups in the places of power in this movement. And I realize it's a multi-pronged movement, but let's call it the movement. What does action on this look like and where does activism and pragmatism, is the way I'm putting it, where does that overlap on this issue?

Tom: [00:14:48] Thank you, Tamsin, so much. What brilliant questions. Um, Paul, do you want to come in on the first one?

Paul: [00:14:54] Yeah, I really do, actually. And also kind of hello from Brighton. I'm from Brighton too. So good to good to me another seaside person. And we know how dangerous it is to eat chips by the seagulls. Um, what I would say is, is, you know, it's actually a kind of heartbreaking question and. You know, my view is that. We're kind of coming to terms with the fact that governments can be seen to have limited power to protect us. And that seems really strange when we just went through COVID19 and, you know, the the the airports were shut down and we had to stay in our homes. And we saw such exercise of government power in a sense in COVID19 around the world. It must have kind of in some ways subconsciously confirmed our view that governments have this supreme ability to protect us, frankly. But of course, with climate change, that just isn't the case. And I've always admired the COP process. And, you know, Christiana and so many other brilliant leaders who have brought the nations together in the Paris Agreement particularly, but, you know, other collaborations and setting sort of targets. And then people talk about accountability. But I think that we have to hold in our hearts that it's just us, that governments, you know, certainly many democratic governments in, you know, find it hard to unite. And that's what's so heartbreaking. But for me, once you realize that, then, you know, you can see through to the other side of it and say, well, we have to have a society wide movement to make the space for governments. That's that was my response to your first half of your brilliant question. And it's true. It's heartbreaking. And thank you for asking and for honouring for Farhana.

Tom: [00:16:50] Yeah. And I mean, I think we've all struggled with that. I mean, you asked how we dealt with them, and I've certainly struggled with those moments where we're not making the progress we need to. But for me, I find and this this sounds a bit, you know, on a personal level that you need to also know when to take a break, go for a walk, look at how beautiful the world still is. Take that. Give yourself a chance to take that breath. There's also an epidemic of busyness affecting us alongside everything else, we can feel a bit exhausted trying to continue to work on this big challenging issue. So looking after ourselves, taking breaks, then coming back at it and letting that be okay. You know, we're going to have moments of despair and frustration. Disappointment. That's that's part of it. And that's not anything going wrong. That's something going right. That means we're we're trying hard to get to where we need to go. Thanks, Paul, for that answer. Fiona, I want to come to you in a minute with a different question. But I wonder if you also just want to take a bit of a crack at Tamsin's second question, where she talked about what does it mean to have greater diversity and more more representation from marginalized voices in places in power, in the movement? I know this is something you're very passionate about. Do you want to come in on that one?

Fiona: [00:17:54] Yeah, I think it's kind of an ultimate question about the structures and the decision making process, because it's one thing to have voices calling for something, though. We know what they will call for and what they will point towards. And I think the the question around, around how do you implement? As Tom said, I tried to jot it down, but, you know, we're now in the implementation phase and the currency is now accountability or something like that. And I think that we hear all the time these calls for increased diversity and inclusion of marginalized voices, but it's not enough just to include how do you truly include them in decision making processes? How do you center ideas around that? And I think a lot of that is around reform of certain institutions that are at the center of this. So I mean, I have thoughts on how to do that, but what's realistic, I think, is is continuing to call for it, to be honest, and then also using platforms like this to ensure that those voices are heard.

Tom: [00:18:58] Thank you. Thank you, Fiona, and thank you, Tamsin. Really appreciate the question. Thank you so much. So, so one of the things about Outrage and Optimism is we always do what Sarah and Clay tell us to do. And what they're telling us to do now is to relay many of the questions that you're putting in as a way of running the next half an hour. So thank you for joining us for that question, Tamsin. And we'll now I will relay to some of my co-hosts, some of the other questions that are coming up in the chat. And the first one I'm going to direct to you, Fiona, initially, if that's all right. And this is from Neha Mundhra from Goa. So if you're here, Neha, please do make yourself known in the chat. And the question is, um, Neha says, I've been thinking about this for a while. Is there something that precedes momentum and perfection? Are we missing out on wonder and joy in the experience of that? People who need to change policies and change methods perhaps don't. At least they don't seem to be the ones who are experiencing this wonder and joy? Perhaps that is the missing link that will make them care enough. It's a great question, Fiona. Do you want to start on that one?

Fiona: [00:19:56] Yeah, it's a brilliant question and it touches on one of the themes that came out from the mini series, which is the the power of fun, the power of wonder, the power of collaboration, and the trust that builds within that. So thank you, Neha, for this amazing question. I think as I thought about this, I think momentum and perfection or whatever you want to, to use from the things that Tom listed earlier that other other folks had shared with him are about the delivery. How do you get there? How do you get that done? How do you use the map and the compass to actually get there? And, you know, and versus often wonder and fun or what might come before delivery is ideation. What does the solution look like? And I think this this brilliant climate movement has been ideating for many years and were and many are now wanting to see action. And I think we're seeing action on solutions. And the question is, are those solutions still the right ones? And if they don't incorporate the wonder and fun and a diverse perspective of voices, do we actually not take a step back, but kind of circle back around still on the journey, just taking a slightly different path. And that requires a lot of faith and trust as well. Um, and again, the role of fun I think is really critical. Thanks for your question.

Tom: [00:21:13] Thanks. Christiana, you want to comment on the role of fun? I would imagine you do.

Christiana: [00:21:18] Well, yes. How do we get through any day without humour is completely impossible for me to even conceive because this is really hard work. This is very, very, very hard work.

Tom: [00:21:33] That's partly what Paul's doing here, I would point out. And a very important role it is to. Yeah.

Paul: [00:21:38] Working hard. Yeah, it's true. I prepare extensively for shows. I read everything. Not everybody else does. Carry on.

Christiana: [00:21:46] So yes, in the middle of this hard work, we do have to nourish our souls with humour, with, um. I love the word wonder I use the word awe. But I think it's the same thing. It is. It is that feeling that we get when we stop a second to truly look at a flower, to truly look at a tree, to truly look at another human being who we have never met, but who's sitting next to us in the bus or in the train. And that pause in the day's occupations and in the day's hecticness, that pause to take a breath and really appreciate the the beauty, the diversity, the amazing privilege that we have just to be alive right now is very is not just nourishing. Honestly, for me, it's like critical. If I don't do that often enough during the day, I just get to the end of the day and I have nothing left. I am an empty vessel, and empty vessels don't really help us very much in this incredible, incredible challenge that we're all facing. So it's it's part of of filling our vessel of energy is that to make that moment for for awe, for beauty, for wonder, for joy, for humour.

Tom: [00:23:27] Yeah. 

Paul: [00:23:28] Tiny fun story. In 2008, I went to the G8 Conference in Birmingham with an 18 foot sign saying The Earth is Dying because I hadn't started working at CDP and I didn't know what else to do. And somebody came up to me.

Tom: [00:23:40] Was that just you?

Paul: [00:23:40] Just all at my own? Yeah. And and somebody came up to me and said, it is isn't it? And it's so beautiful. I saw all the flowers last week in these beautiful gardens and they were so exquisite. And I'm going to crack up in a minute. We didn't even have to have a conversation. We just sort of knew that it's a beautiful world and if you just know that.

Tom: [00:24:03] Do you have any pictures of you standing in the car?

Paul: [00:24:05] I have one picture. I have one picture. We'll put it in the, send it in the socials. No, it's just holding the sign in London. This huge, huge sign.

Christiana: [00:24:13] Well, and on on the fun side, just because you said about a sign I remember when Trump was newly in the in the house without any lights. It wasn't the White House in the dark house at that time. And. And there was a science march. I don't know how many remember that. A huge science march in Washington, D.C., because people were so outraged that the administration was denying science across the board, not just climate science. Anyway, so there was this science march, and I'm there, you know, marching with my daughters and a whole bunch of friends and marching. And I see this man marching in front of me with a two-faced sign that says things are so bad that even us introverts are out on the streets. And me being an introvert, although no one believes me, that believes that for me. But I just thought, yes, that is the kind not just the commitment, but the kind of humour that we need, right. The self-deprecating humour that we just totally need to get us to get us to the next step that we have to take.

Paul: [00:25:26] I've got to say one tiny thing. I've just got to. Bruce has said that I might have misunderstood or that I was saying governments aren't the solution. Governments are 100% necessary to the solution. Please don't misunderstand me, Bruce. Tom.

Tom: [00:25:40] No, I'm going to make, I'm going to tell one short story because everyone else is about fun as well, which is I remember when I first started working with Christiana and we went to Davos.

Christiana: [00:25:48] Oh boy, here we go. Which story are you going to tell?

Tom: [00:25:50] Exactly. Yeah. So the World Economic Forum and we were we went to the opening dinner and we were, you know, I was like, I've not been in this world before. And like, my eyes were sort of popping out. So I was like, famous people and heads of state and CEOs all over the place. And Christiana was at the head table with president in this country and that country. And I was, you know, somewhere in the kids table out the back and like two thirds of the way through. Yes. Kids table. Exactly. Christiana sort of finds me, looks at me and then comes over and I thought, oh god, what she's going to say to me. And she leaned over and goes, I'm not having much fun. Do you think we could go for a pizza? And I thought it was the best indication of what really was the priority in that situation.

Tom: [00:26:27] Right. Next question. So this is from Kit, England. And Kit says, a lot of people's views on momentum versus perfection are informed by their views of climate risk. Simon Sharpe, who we're a huge fan of, in his book Five Times Faster, does a really good job of highlighting the bias in the science, where we focus on probabilities and likelihoods and the bias towards scientific robustness rather than real high end risks. How do we make sure we represent real risks better? And if we did, what do you think it would do to people's views of perfection versus momentum? That's interesting. Like how sharpening our view on the risk, how would that change our sense of the action we need to take and the attitude towards that? Anyone particularly called to jump in with an answer to that?

Christiana: [00:27:13] I would love to jump in, but Paul also. So go ahead, Paul. I shall follow you, my dear friend.

Paul: [00:27:19] Well, just an image I've always had is like this idea that the house is on fire, a famous phrase, and there's a bucket of water and somebody's saying, well, that bucket of water is not big enough to put the fire out. It's like, I don't care. I am chucking that water on the fire right now. And we'll be talking about where we can get some more water in a second.

Christiana: [00:27:37] Yeah, very much in the same vein, Paul, how many of us would get on a on a plane if as we're boarding on our boarding pass, someone wrote, you know, the the percentage of risk of that plane coming down. Well, you know, there's a 50% chance or there's a 20% chance or there is 80% chance. But honestly, even if they tell us there's a 2% chance of that plane coming down, how many people would board? And and and that's the problem here with climate that, you know, we take these numbers and we dismiss the impact on human life, on nature, on the planet, on the economy, everything. We dismiss the impact because it is impossible to put 100% risk or 100% attribution on anything in in in climate change. And therefore, we tend to say, oh, well, then let's wait until we have 100% of whatever, 100% certainty. There's never going to be 100% certainty. But the problem is the risk is really high. And not only is the risk really high, but the consequences are really high, and that is the nexus that is really, really dangerous that we're not really appreciating enough. We have high risk and huge consequences if we had low risk and huge consequences or the other way around, you could go like, okay, okay, let's sort of, you know, muddle our way through. But now we have a high risk and huge consequence, and for some reason that message is not getting through.

Paul: [00:29:23] And we're on the aeroplane. We haven't got a choice about getting on.

Christiana: [00:29:26] And we're on the airplane. Thank you.

Fiona: [00:29:28] I think this is exactly right. But I will say that I think there are different actors or groups that need to understand the risks much more clearly. So, for example, an airplane company knows very well the risks and is held accountable for any risks for every plane they put in the sky. That's why sometimes a flight might be delayed for technical difficulties. As a passenger, you're kind of like, oh dear, this is very nerve wracking. But those executives would never want that plane to fly if there's even the slightest risk. And we don't have that same accountability. We don't have those risks being known by the right executives or maybe they are known, but they're not kind of held accountable to the same standards. However, I actually worry quite a bit that if the risks were what we focused on as kind of a general public or as a community that articulates and communicates climate change. We already this podcast has talked a lot about the the jump to despair and doomism from from a lack of knowledge. And we need a positive narrative right now. I would I would say almost more than anything, we need beacons of hope and I, I would worry a bit that if the if the if we focused more on the risks more generally, that would be quite detrimental to kind of despair and wonder and the wonder.

Christiana: [00:30:46] No. Good point. Good, good, good point, Fiona. But this is where we come to the non binary thinking, right? I think we need to much more seriously engage and understand the risks. And at the same time, precisely because of the risks of inaction, let's remember the risks are because of inaction, right? Precisely because of the risks of inaction. Therefore move much more quickly on action. So and hope and optimism and confidence and grit, gritty determination. But I think we actually need both.

Tom: [00:31:21] I think this conversation has come to the really interesting nexus, right? And it's part of what Fiona and I talked about a lot and wanted to draw out, which is the risk rising, of course, leads to an instinct towards perfection. Oh my god, this is getting so serious now. We can't mess around anymore. We need to be absolutely 100%, you know, we need to do this properly, which isn't necessarily the right response in every situation to answer the risk question. So this is the issue that we've talked about a lot on the podcast is there's this breathless anxiety that is capturing all of our emotional states. As we see the impacts, we see things getting worse, we see the response not being what it could be. And that is correct, right? Things are as serious as to merit that kind of reaction. But the emotional response that sometimes goes along with that doesn't necessarily solve the problem we want it to. So we need to do exactly what you just said, Christiana, and evolve our way through that binary thinking so that we can still find a commensurate and appropriate response to this rising level of risk. Otherwise, we're just being reactive and that may send us into a bit of a spiral.

Paul: [00:32:25] I mean, maybe, maybe a principle here is just to increase attention upon the issue. You know, we can do that by speaking to the person next door or someone on the bus, or we can do that by, somebody talked about commissioning a fantastic TV program that airs around the world, or there's a million different ways of capturing attention. If you look in history, people have done it in amazing ways. But, you know, the the public need to be moved so the public can make the space so the decisions can be made. Tom.

Christiana: [00:32:51] Yeah. That that connects to so many questions that we've received Paul. Tom, you're looking at the questions about how, how, how do we accelerate policy making and decision taking. And, and I think Paul is, you know, totally there on the right track that, yes, this is a responsibility of governments. Yes. This is a responsibility of corporations. Yes, this is a responsibility of finance and at the same time, we're just not creating enough of an expectation from the part of you of citizens, global citizens, to send a very clear message that those are the policies that we want and need, that those are the financial decisions that we want and need. And we're just not sending that. If you look at the world as sort of a supply and demand and policies and decisions being the supply, we're not demanding them strongly enough. We're not demanding them strongly enough. And politicians don't feel like they can stand up there with very few recent exceptions, which are wonderful. But politicians don't feel that they can stand up there and push through the legislations that we need because they're concerned about votes. So so that demand, the bottom up demand from enlightened and educated and concerned citizens is not yet at the level that we need.

Tom: [00:34:28] Yeah. Okay. I'm going to hop to a question from Bob Banks. Bob, if you're here, please hop into the chat. I'm going to read out your question here. Um, so Bob says hopefully most agree we need both perfection and momentum, fully with you there. But this leads on to another either or both question. And this is one that many people have commented to me about and I'm sure to all the other co-hosts as well, working within capitalism or working to replace capitalism, a lot of activists feel capitalism, or at least the current formulation of it, is incompatible with saving our climate, environment. And evidence so far is that it's not on track in practice. But Bob says he'd agree there's no time to replace capitalism with something better before the climate changes catastrophically. So the question is how can people working within capitalism and people working to replace it with something better find ways to work together in a complementary way and to trust each other? It's a great question.

Christiana: [00:35:24] Paul Dickinson is our person on this.

Fiona: [00:35:28] If you could sing it, please Paul, though.

Paul: [00:35:30] Yeah, I can have a go of crucifying something sensible by trying to sing it.

Christiana: [00:35:34] Yes please. In rhyme. In rhyme.

Paul: [00:35:36] Um, I think that the, the, the first maybe half forget what I was going to say. Right. Um, I think that the first part is I was whinging before last week about, uh, airlines lobbying, uh, the British government to reduce air passenger duty. That should simply be illegal because it increases flight inside the UK. So we must stop negative lobbying of governments more broadly. Capitalism will always fail if governments are unable to make the rules. We cannot have a game without a referee. A powerless government is a recipe for disaster. I think I sound more like a clergy person than a singer, but I'll stop now, which will be nice.

Fiona: [00:36:24] I apologize for asking, but that was really impressive at the same time.

Tom: [00:36:29] Um yeah. Paul singing, please, everybody. Let's kill it once and for all. I mean, give us an honest.

Paul: [00:36:35] Time to get this troll farm of mine. I've been waiting for this and hit the activate button.

Fiona: [00:36:39] This may not be an and question.

Christiana: [00:36:42] This is a, I don't know. We've placed it as a binary. Is this really a yes or no?

Tom: [00:36:48] Well, I think the question is for many people it feels like a binary in the way that they work because others think of it as binary. So how do we get out of that?

Christiana: [00:36:55] No, I meant of the singing.

Tom: [00:36:57] Oh, the binary is Paul singing. Oh, I see what you mean. I was just talking about capitalism versus moving beyond capitalism. 

Christiana: [00:37:04] No, no no. It was a much more important issue, which is the singing.

Paul: [00:37:10] Momentum, perfection.

Clay: [00:37:10] Can you explain what's happening right now? Because people who are listening to the podcast later might not know what's happening. There's a live poll right now where people are voting yes or no on Paul's singing.

Fiona: [00:37:22] Also, the chat's just going off, the chat loves Paul's singing.

Christiana: [00:37:26] Will you tell us what the results are?

Clay: [00:37:28] I think Paul should sing the results.

Tom: [00:37:30] Wow Paul, you're yes by a pretty significant margin. Okay.

Paul: [00:37:34] Yeah. No, thank you to all of you. The positives.

Christiana: [00:37:37] 66% says Paul singing Yes.

Paul: [00:37:40] 34%. I also do understand that's, I'm going to like try and work to better. Now back to work, Tom Carnac.

Tom: [00:37:45] All right. So how do we move beyond this binary? I mean, to me, I do. I do notice this. A lot of people will say, um. You're working inside the capitalist system, it can never be. Christiana can't get beyond this. You're working inside the capitalist system. We're never going to be able to reform it. So therefore, it's part of the problem and it's irredeemable and it's unreformable. And plenty of other people say, you know, you're trying to bring down capitalism. You're alienating the majority of people. You're going to turn most voters off. You're part of the problem. This is quite a significant challenge inside our movement. Fiona, Christiana, how do we try and bring those things together?

Christiana: [00:38:23] Wow. Um, well, let, let, let me step into, uh, definitely a very dangerous territory here. I think one of my guiding principles on what to do on climate change is the factor of timing. There are few other global challenges where the right thing, but too late makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. And and that's not true. I mean, think about it, right? Think about health issues. Think about transportation issues. Think about women's rights. I mean, yes, we're all benefited by accelerating all of that. But there is no hard set line in the sand that says either you get your act together by this date or actually. It's going to be irreversible damage. Climate is that and biodiversity, by the way, climate and biodiversity both have an internal ticking clock that is not present in other global challenges. So from that perspective, I really worry about the aspiration to change capitalism for a different economic system. I think it's going to be hard enough to decarbonize our our economy by 50% over the next seven years if that is hard enough a challenge if to that we add and also we have to completely revamp our economic system. I think that's probably biting into an apple that is very difficult for us to chew. So. On the capitalism side, I am more on the side of constant improvement and the very rewarding or the very positive recognition of many actors in the capitalist system that we can no longer have the capitalist system that we had 20, 30 years ago, where profit was the only measure of success. The fact that we do have recognition now that there is a triple bottom line profit, yes, but also people and planet. The fact that corporations have begun to understand that they are responsible not just for their single bottom line of profit and shareholder value, but that they're also responsible for social value creation and for environmental value creation. That's a huge plus. And in my book, we should put a lot of energy behind that new recognition and and move in in the direction of what some are calling, I don't know, restorative or regenerative or green capitalism, but capitalism nonetheless, because I think from where we are right now, we're just not going to do this without the very active participation of corporations. Now, that is for sure a, not everyone is going to agree with that, but I'm just seeing it from the point of view of what the H are we going to do over the next seven years? And I just can't see us decarbonizing and putting in place a new economic system by 2030. 

Tom: [00:42:06] Yeah Fiona.

Fiona: [00:42:07] I'm struck by Bob's final sentence, which is the question is how can people working within capitalism and people working to replace it with something better work together in a complementary way to trust each other? And I think this is, to Christiana's point, I completely I also agree, um, I think it's hard to reimagine all of that in the time we have, um, to, to change it. But I think almost all leaders are, are are saying and aligning and the right things. And I think sometimes the first step of trust is a choice that you will start on the path of trust. And it is a conscious decision that even though it might not seem like it, there has to be a little bit of everyone collectively. Um, maybe not altogether, but you know, it's it's corporate leaders deciding that they trust that the integrity and the efforts of those who are campaigning against the exact things that they work every day to achieve for a corporation and its people. Activists trusting that leaders who say that they understand the urgency and that they failed in the past really do understand that and are trying to find solutions. And it's I think it's it's jobs of podcasts like this and chats like this and many other things to help provide insight on when people aren't acting in a trusting way or aren't true being true to their word. Um, so I'll just that's kind of my thought that trust begins with the choice.

Tom: [00:43:47] Nice.

Paul: [00:43:48] And Tom, let me just chime in with one thing. I think Jason has kind of nailed it for me personally in the chat. Think back to World War II and the COVID response. It's not, capitalism or not capitalism. It's moving to a war footing which transcends left or right. And, you know, it's worth remembering World War II, you know, Prime Minister Churchill formed a government with the heads of the three political parties and then just simply directed the whole country through the unifying force of the governing instrument to fix the problem. If we really think things are as bad as that, that is what we do. So we've got to realize that things are that bad and then we'll do it. But it's the realization is the step we've got to get to.

Tom: [00:44:26] Yeah, totally. And I'd like to also not only agree with that, but say a personal thank you to Jason, it's taken us four years to get Paul to stop talking about Churchill and now he's back. So appreciate that very much. Um, no, I'm only joking. Thank you for the comment. Now, we.

Paul: [00:44:39] Never, will I put up with this kind of gip from you Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Tom: [00:44:40] We only have a few minutes left. So I'm going to take the last question here from Stephanie Klotz from Climate-KIC, who dropped this in, who asked, which is a question very much about, very close to all of our hearts. In the climate world, there is a real sense that climate comms has been failing us. People are scared of the transition because up until now it has been all doom and destruction. We know that a beautiful future can emerge. How can we mobilize these new narratives and positive images of what a new world can look like? How can we mobilize communication with a capital C, culture, art, marketing and film to great hope and positivity? And I would just.

Christiana: [00:45:20] I vote that Fiona should take that question.

Tom: [00:45:22] Yes.

Fiona: [00:45:24] Oh, dear. Um, I mean, I just I love this question. It's something that I think about, um, the fact is that were all here. We all tuned in. Around the world, this issue is rising. It is interwoven with our destiny. And what a beautiful thing that is, that everything that we do can impact this. And just as being present to something, there's a concept of future tripping. So where you kind of freak out about the future and the power of being present to each moment actually determines your future. And I think to the extent that we can be present, you actually don't have to search for the optimism or the wonder, because in being present with it, at looking at the trees, at taking each step, at sipping your beautiful cup of coffee or tea or laughing with a friend or Paul's singing or whatever it is, you know, it actually is this beautiful wonder. So I kind of take back what I said earlier, and that wonder is all around us. And it's again, about taking the breath. And I think I just want to extend grace to a lot of people who don't feel they can take a breath and find that optimism, because I think so much of it is is pressure and responsibility in a very, very big problem. And the recognition that we're not alone in solving it and the fact that we're even having this conversation, that different tactics exist is in itself completely amazing and a source of optimism.

Paul: [00:46:54] Can can I do a tiny follow on, Fiona.

Christiana: [00:46:57] But only if you sing.

Paul: [00:46:59] Um, I have to sing all the time? Martin said, Paul yes, that worked in Second World War, but now our enemy is within us. Not outside us. And that's actually, I think to your point, Fiona, we have to put our inner house in order and we have to find a way to do that with ourselves and with, you know, to find a way for, you know, essentially if you think about how protective people are of their homes or their children or their families or whatever, we have to get a collective sense of protection. And yeah, finding that inside ourselves, I think, is the key. I don't know the answer, but I think that's the question.

Tom: [00:47:39] Mmm, love that. Um, we're going to close out in just a minute. A final word, Christiana, on this point or anything else.

Christiana: [00:47:46] I totally agree. I think both of you said it beautifully.

Tom: [00:47:50] So, um, so that concludes our time. Thank you for joining us. It's been a lot of fun. I think we're going to do more of these.

Christiana: [00:47:55] Really, already?

Tom: [00:47:57] Yeah, I know, I know. Yeah.

Paul: [00:47:59] I actually want to spend five hours discussing the brilliant comments, questions. 

Tom: [00:48:02] And we will do more. Yeah.

Christiana: [00:48:04] I would. I would like to set on record. This is the very first time because I'm I'm always lobbying for short episodes. Okay, Paul. Yes, I can see you clapping. Um, yes. This is the first time that I'm like, really? I wanted to go into so many other beautiful, fantastic, exhilarating, challenging comments and questions that are coming through. So this is the first time that I would like to say we need more time, but don't take it as a broad invitation Mr Dickinson.

Paul: [00:48:37] All I would say is just it's such a joy to see the the kind of the wisdom of the crowd. I think the best of Outrage and Optimism is really millions of people that we read and speak through. But to see so many kind people today putting such brilliant things in their chat and such great questions is very moving. And yes, we need more time to dig through this. So thank you.

Tom: [00:48:55] I completely agree with that. And the last thing I was going to do, actually, if you agree, colleagues, is that this also marks the end of Fiona's current journey with Outrage and Optimism. I'm sure she'll be back.

Christiana: [00:49:04] Yeah, Fiona.

Tom: [00:49:07] So I wondered if before you first of all, we have loved working with you on this. You've been completely brilliant natural podcaster. Um, and so I feel sure there's a lot more of this in your future with us. And who knows, there may even be bigger platforms out there, but certainly with us. Um, and before we let you go, I would love to ask you, can you please tell us something that you feel outraged about and something that you feel optimistic about?

Christiana: [00:49:27] Oh no, here he goes. Oh no, poor Fiona.

Fiona: [00:49:32] As many people probably listening. I think about this every time you ask. Um, and, um. What I am outraged about, I think I'm out, I'll keep it abstract. I'm outraged about how often I feel disappointed, and there's simply not enough time to continue to feel disappointed. Um, so I'll pause there. Um, I mean, I'm optimistic about all of this. There are beacons of hope. There are real things that are happening out there that brilliant, brilliant people are putting into motion. If we can take those beacons and amplify them, I think that it's infectious optimism, hope, wonder, awe, fun is infectious. And honestly, just getting to hang out with you and everyone who listened in is is pretty it's hard not to beam when you are are listening and reading these chats. So thank you so much Tom Christiana Paul the whole team. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It's been an honour.

Paul: [00:50:34] Honour is ours. Thank you Fiona.

Tom: [00:50:35] Thanks, Fiona. And thank you, everyone, for joining. This episode will be out tomorrow if Clay can work his usual magic and put it out. Otherwise it'll be Friday, but it'll be soon in any case. Um, lovely to see you all. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you all again soon. Bye.

Christiana: [00:50:49] Thank you. Bye.

Paul: [00:50:51] Bye for now. Great to be with you today. Bye bye.

Clay: [00:50:58] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage and Optimism. It's Clay here again back in the studio after the recording. Coming down off of the excitement. And I'm here to walk you out and into Earth Day weekend. So thank you so much for listening to our live recording this week. This week's episode a huge shout out to everyone who came to the live recording who was, you know, active in the chat, voting in the polls. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question to us. If we didn't get to your question, please take this as an encouragement to stay engaged and keep asking because we will be doing, from what it sounds like, more live episodes in the future. I think everybody had a good time, so look forward to that. And of course, a special thank you to Gabrielle and Tamsin for coming on screen and on mic to ask your questions live. And shout out to Fiona, we're going to miss you. You should come back. You can connect with Fiona in the show notes, all the links and stuff to what she's up to. Are there. Okay, I'm looking at my calendar here and our listenership is across different time zones, different days. So no matter how you spin it, it's Earth Day weekend, baby.

Clay: [00:52:11] It's time to get up. Connect, protect the Earth, plant a tree, protest. Speaking of protests, if you are in the UK and a lot of you are, I want to bring your attention to an event happening all weekend near you. It's called the Big One. And if you haven't heard of it yet, it's happening from today. The release of this podcast, Friday, April 21st through the 24th, which is Monday. The Big One is a four day action where people like you from all groups and movements, you know, not just Extinction Rebellion will gather throughout Westminster and at the Houses of Parliament to demand of the UK government an immediate end to the fossil fuel era and a creation of emergency citizens assemblies to decide long term solutions on climate. Now why is it called the Big One? One reason might be that more than 200 organizations and as of 15 seconds ago on XR's website, more than 30,000 people have already committed to be there. And it's expected to be many, many more than that, especially if you go. We have been talking about the role of fun, momentum building, consensus building, the necessity of human relationships to building trust and the role of nonviolent direct action. So I think this is it. The Big One is an inclusive, welcoming, accessible and family friendly event.

Clay: [00:53:41] It's going to be exciting and engaging. I think about what I learned listening to this recent mini series about the suffragettes and the civil rights movement. I mean, nonviolent direct action is proven effective in achieving change, and it's going to take everyone showing up. Everyone's needed. So bring your kids, your friends, your group chat, your church, your community, your yoga class, your dog. XR has written, XR has written an entire guide, answering all your questions from, you know, what are we asking for and what do you wear? Check the show notes for a link or go to extinctionrebellion.uk to find out more. And of course if you go you should tag us in a photo @outrageoptimism. I'd love to see you there. And if you're going to change the world, you're going to need a soundtrack. I've been waiting to talk about this for a while, so very exciting news. The Environmental Music Prize is back in 2023 and Saturday. Earth Day is the very first day that you can go watch this year's music video finalists and vote for your favourites. There's a playlist of music videos that's perfect for a train or a bus ride or a walk on your way to the Big One or to another.

Clay: [00:55:04] Climate action. I had the privilege of being on the Shortlisting Committee this year to help select the finalists. And yeah, I've been waiting to announce this. I can't wait for you to go check out the submissions for this year. There's some just amazing talent. We'll be playing some of the artists here on the podcast in future weeks as the voting period plays out, but voting opens on Saturday, so go, go, go, go vote environmentalmusicprize.com. And to everyone else. Quote unquote. Rest of world. I know there are so many more events happening this weekend, so please we would love to see what you're up to. You can send us photos, links, send them to us on our social media so we can. To see what you're up to Earth Day weekend and we can share with our community all the thoughtful and intentional ways that you're celebrating this Earth Day. Go protests, go watch and vote for some environmental minded artists. Go plant a tree and enjoy being present for Earth Day. All right. That is everything. Thanks again, everyone who came to the live. Tag us. Yeah. Tag us in your Earth Day photos when you post online. Again, that's @outrageoptimism. And we'll see you next week.


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