We are excited to announce that Outrage + Optimism is now part of the TED Audio Collective. This news represents an exciting continuation of the collaboration between our organizations, which began with our strategic partnership with TED Countdown.

The TED Audio Collective is a curated collection of podcasts sharing ideas on a range of subjects, including psychology, business, and design. On TED Climate you’ll hear talks from some of the leading minds in the field on crisis solutions, challenges, and insights that give listeners the information and hope we need to keep fighting.

You can view the full list of TED Audio Collective podcasts here, and listen to them wherever you get your podcasts.
Outrage + Optimism logo

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

Global Optimism logo

Stubborn optimism is a choice. Join us in tackling the climate crisis with conviction, scale and speed


118: Protecting Our Planet with Cristián Samper

You probably heard last week was Climate Week and UNGA. But, what actually happened?

Watermark of logo

About this episode

To cover it all, we get into the cornucopia of methane reduction announcements from countries across the world, a quick update from China, and a special focus this week on the announcement of the ‘Protecting Our Planet Challenge’, an announcement that saw 9 philanthropic organisations, including the Bezos Earth Fund, collectively commit $5 billion of funds to the 30x30 campaign. 

We explore what this funding announcement means for the campaign, what effect this could have on government ambition and commitment to biodiversity as we gear up for COP26, and how this is a goal every single one of us can unite behind.

Joining us this week is Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Cristián played a key role in convening the 9 organizations to launch the Protecting Our Planet Challenge. It marks the largest-ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation and a significant step in addressing the triple crisis that threatens our planet – climate change, nature loss and economic insecurity.

Stick around ‘til the end for a live performance of “Ocean” by musical guest Palmaria!


Mentioned links from the episode:


Check out these organizations mentioned in the episode!


Amazing music this week was from Palmaria! Listen to 'Ocean'. Also, check out their live performance music video for ‘Ocean’!


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


Full Transcript

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

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

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

Tom: [00:00:18] This week we speak about what came out or didn't come out of the UN General Assembly last week. We speak to Cristián Samper, the CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, about big commitments for nature, and we have music from Palmaria. Thanks for being here. Ok, guys, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there are

Paul: [00:00:49] And girls

Tom: [00:00:51] Girls, thank you. I appreciate that it's helpful. There are good U.N. General Assemblies and there are not so good U.N. General Assemblies and the good ones are where the agenda is moved forward, commitments come forward and this one was like meh. It was alright. There was a few good stuff, but it wasn't really what it needed to be.

Paul: [00:01:08] What rubbish.

Christiana: [00:01:09] Really?

Load More

Paul: [00:01:12] The theme was building resilience through hope to recover from COVID19. President Biden announced the US is going to increase international climate finance to £11.4 billion per year. And he also put aside $100 million to stop hunger.

Tom: [00:01:25] Well, yes, but I mean, I would say he actually said he was going to work with Congress to get that money, but that was a good thing. Christiana, you got anything?

Christiana: [00:01:34] You always have to work with Congress to get those that kind of money, Tom. China! China, China, you know, we've been going on and on and on on this podcast that China is the last standing country financing coal abroad. China came forward and said no more financing of coal fired power plants abroad. Amazing turnaround for China.

Paul: [00:01:56] Impressed yet, Tom? Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, the United Kingdom joined the US and the EU in committing to cut their methane emissions by 30 percent. And think of that.

Tom: [00:02:04] Alright, well, methane is a big deal.

Christiana: [00:02:05] Ok, Tom, here's another one. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Tom. Here's another one. President von der Leyen of the European Union came forward and said that the EU will double its external funding for biodiversity. Now we know how absolutely urgent financing for biodiversity is, and we will talk about that over this podcast. So I don't know what news you've been reading.

Paul: [00:02:27] And the Financing Biodiversity Pledge. 75 financial institutions supporting that, and also 60 companies' CFOs deciding to invest more than 500 billion dollars in the next five years towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Honestly, Tom, you've been kind of napping in your abundant garden.

Christiana: [00:02:46] Okay, Tom, I will give you this. Honestly, from the baseline that we had, this is actually an improvement, but it is nowhere near what we needed. But you cannot, you cannot deny that there was progress.

Tom: [00:03:02] Alright. Alright. Ok, so the reason I, of course, didn't know any of this is because my passport was stolen on the way to the airport, which is why I didn't go to the UN General Assembly last week.

Paul: [00:03:10] Terrible.

Tom: [00:03:11] I know, terrible news.

Paul: [00:03:13] What actually happened? I mean, how was it stolen? Were you looking at pictures of yourself or something?

Tom: [00:03:14] So, I was on the tube staring at my phone and my jacket was resting over the pulled-up handle of my wheelie bag and someone grabbed it and jumped off the train. Passport in the pocket. That was it. And I felt like such an idiot.

Christiana: [00:03:31] Gone.

Tom: [00:03:31] Yeah, no chance. Saw the guy running down the platform, and I then spent the rest of the evening searching the bins in King's Cross Station, which is the police recommendation. So I know a lot more about London now, having spent six hours looking in the bins. There's a lot of bins.

Paul: [00:03:43] Can I just tell you one nice thing about Belgium? I had my bag stolen in Belgium and it had money in it and my passport, my train tickets, and the thieves stole the money and then handed in my passport and my train tickets to security.

Tom: [00:03:55] Exactly the same thing happened to me in Germany.

Paul: [00:03:57] The nicest thieves I've ever come across.

Tom: [00:03:59] Amazing. But to go back to your earlier point, you're right, and it actually is good to have you lay it out like that because the General Assembly, there's a lot happens right? And it's actually quite difficult to kind of get your arms around: is this progress? So let's just dig into a couple of the points that you raise there. I mean, the Biden announcement: $11.6 billion, doubling of climate finance. He kind of had to do that right? I mean, there's so much talk around the $100 billion a year provided to support developing countries deal with climate change. Famously, we've not made as much progress on that as we should have made over the last 10 years. People are now saying we're kind of getting there. Does this announcement from Biden do what it had to do to provide comfort to those developing countries that the developed world has now made good on its promise, and they can come forward with more commitments feeling like this whole thing is fair? Or is it too little, too late?

Christiana: [00:04:49] What is at the heart of this is the build back better agenda that President Biden has proposed and that it will have to pass through both House and Senate through a process which they call the budget reconciliation, which means they have to have a simple majority in both the House and the Senate. So 50 votes in the Senate. Now the fact is that they probably don't have enough votes in either House and that bill either won't happen at all. Or that is going to have to be cut down to be more modest and be acceptable to everyone. But in either event, what is important to remember about President Biden in this case, it's the biggest piece of social policy since President Johnson. Not bad.

Paul: [00:05:39] Hmm. I mean, you know, the world is threatened by climate change in no uncertain terms. What's the Pentagon budget? The Pentagon are asking for $715 billion this year. So Biden is bravely coming forward and at 1.6 Percent of the defence budget. I mean, it doesn't sound like very much when the entire world is agreed by everybody to be, you know, in the crosshairs of disaster. Sorry, but I just had to put a little perspective on it.

Tom: [00:06:05] Well, no, that is true. And I mean, you know that that would be the sort of the argument to say that the commitment is growing, but it's actually nowhere near where it needs to be, which goes back to the point you made before Christiana.

Christiana: [00:06:16] Definitely. 

Tom: [00:06:17] Progress and momentum, but not sufficient. And to that, to that end, what about China? I mean, we've long talked about them financing coal in other countries, the fact that they need to stop doing that, as you said, Christiana, it's the last country standing, Japan and Korea already committed to stopping this because actually, there's quite a lot of coal fired power plants under construction, particularly in Southeast Asia, that may well now not get built. But was that enough? I mean, you know, China is projected to only peak its emissions in 2030 and reach net zero by 2060. We have to halve our emissions in this decade. Doesn't the way that China is framing its commitments mean they could still keep building domestic coal fired plants all the way through this decade that completely cooks the climate?

Christiana: [00:07:01] Well, not not. Yeah, not only that, but I believe that what he said was no more financing of coal fired power plants didn't. Did he mention anything about coal mines? I don't think so. No, I don't think and we have, you know, serious money going into coal mines. So I'm not sure if that was a poor translation or if that was actually quite deliberately put forward like that. But I absolutely agree with you. And in fact, I would say we don't even have a projection that they will reach halving of their emissions by by that time. That's what he's promising, but we will still have to deliver. Now, let's remember that China tends to under-promise and overdeliver. The problem is that we're running out of time to wait for the overdeliver, right? And so my let me say my generous take on this, my generous take is that that was the piece that he could bring to the General Assembly to be constructive and contribute to the to the global efforts. There is still COP26 and honestly, there is quite a bit of focus and attention on what China is going to bring to COP26. He can no longer bring this financing of coal fired power plants that's already on the table. What else is he going to bring to COP26?

Tom: [00:08:25] Yeah, I mean, it is a big deal, right? And you're right, Christiana as well. I mean that the Chinese energy politburo is actually meeting at the end of October. So there's a chance also, if China wants to do this on its own terms, it announces 2025 peaking date, bringing forward the net zero day on their own terms in the energy politburo meeting before the COP, which would be interesting. When all of this happened, a small anecdote from last week from  being at home sad without my passport, not being in New York, I did a whole bunch of media, including the Today Programme and BBC on the day all these announcements came out and I was sort of gently critical of the fact that China hasn't gone further more than I have been in the media before. And, you know, it was fascinating. Within a few hours, I received five messages by email on LinkedIn and other things that all contained exactly the same phrasing. They all said: Dear Mr Rivett-Carnac, we saw your comments in the media today. We'd like to communicate that we are deeply disappointed in you, that you do not recognize the leadership of the People's Republic of China. These people have never met each other. How on earth did they all write to me with the same phraseology in the same day? It's kind of alarming quite what's happening there. But to move on from that and not to delve too far into conspiracy theories.

Christiana: [00:09:38] Are they real people or are they robots behind all of those messages?

Tom: [00:09:42] Well, they were real people last time I met them. Now we're going to move on in a minute to a conversation with Cristián Samper, which is fantastic, and he and I are colleagues at the Bezos Earth Fund, and he also has an incredible day job running the Wildlife Conservation Society. But before I do, I also want to hear your perspective on the speech that Boris Johnson gave. This is this was his set piece. He gave his entire address to UNGA only on climate change. You didn't mention a single other issue, which I thought was very interesting. He talked about Kermit the Frog. It's not easy being green. That's perhaps, you know, not that inspiring. But remember the fact that last time he talked about climate change, he discussed lentil munching eco freaks. So I think we're making progress in the right direction. What did you think of his speech?

Paul: [00:10:28] Christiana must have found it funny because she appears to be having a little bit of the giggles this morning.

Tom: [00:10:32] Oh yeah, and bunny huggers. That's right, the other thing.

Christiana: [00:10:35] Yeah, no. As you say, Tom, this is his last speech at the General Assembly before COP26. I think I was also impressed that that was his only topic of attention. He certainly had a script, but as usual, he goes off script. And is he actually getting more into this? I think so. Yeah, I think he's getting more into it. I think he's either getting more excited or more nervous or both, but certainly taking the UK's responsibility much more seriously as we're only a few weeks away from the COP. And that's a very good thing.

Paul: [00:11:12] Yeah, I mean, I'm glad you've asked about it, Tom, and it gives me an opportunity to read it now and the Number 10 website. And I think the Kermit joke, I don't know if it worked, but I can sing that song because I know the tune.

Tom: [00:11:24] No it's fine. It's fine. No, it's fine.

Paul: [00:11:26] "It's not easy being green, but green is the colour of the trees." Or something like that.

Clay: [00:11:26] Sorry, I got to cut it.

Tom: [00:11:33] Yeah, I think that's a good example of the kind of thing we can't fit into our half hour episodes. Exactly.

Paul: [00:11:37] Christiana is nodding with intent.

Tom: [00:11:39] Ok, so today we have a great interview for you, and it is specifically related to what happened last week. There was a lot of announcements, as my colleagues rightly corrected me a few minutes ago, but actually one of the most exciting was the Protecting Our Planet Challenge announcement, which was nine philanthropic organisations coming together to announce that they were going to give five billion towards the 30 by 30 campaign. Now this followed Jeff Bezos making an announcement that he was going to donate a billion dollars in conservation spending to places like the Congo Basin, the Andes, tropical parts of the Pacific Ocean. This collective effort marks the largest ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation, and a lot obviously went into this and an enormous number of people deserve credit. But the person who really was at the heart of this and pulled it together was Cristián Sampar. So Cristián is from Colombia. He has spent 30 years working in nature conservation. He's the CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the largest NGOs working on this issue anywhere in the world. He spends a minority of his time helping the Bezos Earth Fund, where I also spend a proportion of my time helping them think through how Jeff Bezos can play a pivotal role in this moment where nature is so crucial to meeting all of our goals. Cristián is an incredibly inspiring individual. This conversation will delve into what happened and what it means, and we'll be back afterwards with a bit more analysis. Here's the conversation.

Christiana: [00:13:14] Cristián, thank you very much for joining us on Outrage and Optimism, right on the heels of a very exciting U.N. General Assembly and Climate Week in New York. But but today, Cristián, we wanted to talk to you about one of the most exciting announcements that were brought forward. And you were so instrumental in playing a key role to leverage the Bezos Earth Fund to in order to be able to convene eight other philanthropic organisations who together pledged five billion for the 30 by 30 campaign. So thank you so much for that. I can only imagine all of the behind the scenes work that that was necessary for that. And so I was just wondering if you can share with us, how was it that you came up with this idea to leverage the Bezos Earth Fund and and your conversations with all of these partnering organisations and what you expect to get out of it?

Cristián: [00:14:21] Well, thanks, Christiana. It's great to be part of this conversation. I'm a listener of this podcast, so it's great to be here. Delighted to have an opportunity to join. I think it was a remarkable week, and I think we need to take a moment to celebrate that in the world where we have so many challenges, so much news to stop and say, Wow, that was remarkable because what we witnessed here was, as far as I can tell, the single largest ever philanthropic commitment made to nature by a group of organisations. And that's really quite remarkable. Now, many of these are organisations that have worked in this space for a while. Many of them have led the way for a long time, and there are some new organisations that are just entering the space, including the Bezos Fund. But I think part of what it shows is the ability to bring people together toward a shared outcome and a vision. And in this case, it is very much around that 30 by 30 goal, which is something that is, you know, being put on the table. It was launched earlier this year, the One Planet summit with President Macron by Costa Rica and France. And what's remarkable is to see. Got 75 countries now fully behind it, and it's one of the real key elements that's being included in the post-2020 framework of the UN Convention Biodiversity. And I think it's remarkable. I mean, if we could really, as a generation, make sure that we protect 30 percent of this planet of this one shared home in a way that's representative in a way that's effective, in a way that really works. That's a phenomenal legacy. And it's one of the great things for the future of the planet. And it's good not only for biodiversity, it's great for climate as well, because these places are also remarkable carbon stocks and sinks. And it's really important for the livelihoods of millions and millions of people who live here. But it's going to take money. You need a political agreement and that's going to be worked on, but it's going to require finance because many countries are willing to do it, but they need the support. And clearly, the current level of investment, financial investment is not enough to achieve these goals. So I think you had to really mobilise some funding. The idea that came here was not only making the case within Bezos Earth Fund, but this is a really good investment. It's one of the top priorities. But inviting others to come together and to together leverage off each other and scale up ambition. And what's great is that every single donor that has signed this pledge increase their giving further commitment in most cases doubled it and projected it 10 years out. So the overall amount, even though some of these have been in the space. Collectively, we're more than doubling the amount of private philanthropy that will be available, and I think there is more to come. But even five billion is not going to be enough. So we really need to make sure we leverage again with public funding and with other sources and very importantly, that this money be deployed in the right places in the right way. So it has an impact.

Tom: [00:17:16] Cristián, it just so feels like the sort of missing magic ingredient of momentum towards pulling the pieces together to actually delivering a breakthrough. So huge congratulations. I know it's been an enormous amount of work. It would be great if you could lay out for our listeners, you know, say a country, I don't know, Congo in Africa or your own country, Colombia, had committed to 30 by 30. What does this money, this philanthropic money that has been put on the table this week, how is it accessible to them? How do they use it? How does it help them meet that commitment?

Cristián: [00:17:45] Well, as you mentioned, I am from Colombia, so that's probably the country I know the best. So let me use that as an example. I mean, Colombia has made a tremendous amount of progress, an increase in protected areas since the 1970s. There's been a steady every single government has continued to expand this, and the current government led by President Duque is committed to doing this and to continue not only to look at national parks, but other categories of protected and conserved areas which are so critical. So I think there's a political will. As you mentioned, Colombia did come out and is one of the signatories and one of the leaders of the High Ambition Coalition. So I think there is a real commitment to say we want to do this. They have a long ways to go. I mean, Colombia will need to double the marine protected areas. But even President Duque would really like to do this, and I think he's moving in the right direction. But it's different kinds of areas. I mean, the only way you're going to get to 30 is not just by having national parks, it's going to be national parks. It's going to be the role of indigenous territories, which are so important in parts like the Amazon and other areas. It's going to be private reserves with landowners that are really committed to this conservation and it's going to be municipal reserves. It's different categories of area based conservation measures where the goal of being protected. Now this funding in the case, I mean, every every one of these philanthropies has slightly different strategies, but the majority of them will fund a lot of their funding through some of the NGOs and some of the organisations that are supporting some of the some of these cases, money is going directly to land purchase. In some areas, it's going to support and strengthen some of the investments around training, capacity building and monitoring. There's even a project that's being worked on by a group of implementers called Attention Colombia, which is what's called a project for permanence, which is the idea. It's like ARPA was in Brazil. It's a fund, a sinking fund where you bring together public funding from the government, private funding from philanthropists and other sources, and Green Climate Fund and others to all together. Try and do this. And the goal in this case is to pull together a $200 million fund that will be used to strengthen the management of these areas to expand some of the areas that are there. And there is some of this funding that already going into this, even from the early funding of the business or a fund. One nice thing is that the private philanthropy can move fast, can move ahead and can be available right now. And that is the it's not just the amount of money, it's the timing and the way you deploy it that can be so critical. One last thing I'll mention is that there is a very strong interest from many of the philanthropists, including the basis of a fund to address the issues around environmental and social justice issues and to recognise the key role of indigenous peoples and local communities. So there's a strong interest in making sure. Some of this funding get to the ground to those various groups to really help them in the issue of securing tenure, securing rights and strengthening this and that that, of course, is a lot of effort. Many of these groups have been doing this already. I think it will be a critical element to do this, and I would personally like to see more of this funding reaching those groups to support these local communities in their conservation efforts.

Tom: [00:20:52] So just, am I correct in understanding that a country has to sign up to 30 by 30 and then they can access these pools of funds that can help them implement it? Figure out what the monitoring is and basically solve problems for them to make sure they can meet that commitment and have that financial support to go along that road.

Cristián: [00:21:07] Yes. And but again, every philanthropy has a slightly different model. But I know for for many of them, the intention is not to fund the government but to specifically fight more civil society in this case. But that's where you get the bilateral aid. So the European donors and others can come in or the U.S. can support the government as well. And we also need the governments to do their own issue. I mean, even the investments of Colombia, back to this case, is Colombia needs to increase its own investment in this this Colombia program. It's intended as a bridge fund over 10 to 20 years. While we get to the point that was what was done in Costa Rica with forever Costa Rica. This is what's been done, and there is now a coalition of NGOs that are coming together to try and implement this and replicating 20 countries across the world.

Tom: [00:21:53] Amazing.

Paul: [00:21:54] So, Cristián, so exciting. The 30 by 30 is just a captivating campaign that must succeed. I was with a whole bunch of investors and corporations the other day, and they're talking like NGOs now. It's amazing, like the whole thing's changed. So, you know, if you're in a corporation or if you're an investor, how do you start the conversations now about how to really get the force of the organisation behind this vital work?

Cristián: [00:22:18] Well, I think you're absolutely right. We need creative models of finance. I mean, philanthropy is just one of the tools in our toolkit, but areas around impact investing, I think it's a key issue. I mean, even initiatives like the Leaf Coalition that was just announced earlier this year, I mean, that could play a critical role here if it really is able to mobilise the funding from the private sector to help support the conservation of some of these areas. I think these are all interesting mechanisms. I think in many countries that are going to be incredible opportunities around tourism and other kinds of project processes, not just in the protected areas, but around these protected areas. I think we need innovative mechanisms. We need different ideas. But in the end, I think it's the whole world. It's remarkable to see the progress we've made around the issue of being carbon neutral. But I think one of the things is this has to be not only carbon neutral, but nature positive, and we need that balance between these two and that should be the way that we're going. And that's a proposal that we made together with a number of NGOs and business organizations that that needs to be the issue. And we've got a clear target for carbon. We need a clear target for nature and 30 by 30 offers us one of the pieces of that. And it's a quantifiable measure to common travel direction that we're all going toward. We need all the players in this together.

Paul: [00:23:34] Mm hmm. Thank you.

Christiana: [00:23:36] Well, on  that note, Cristián, on that note, we have to ask you the question we always ask our wonderful guests, which is: where do you identify or locate yourself on a spectrum between outrage about how long it's taken us to get to this point and optimism that we're actually going to be able to get over the hump and and be able to meet the exigencies of nature in time and on scale, right? Because it's both of those that we need in time and on scale before we lose too many species. So where do you locate yourself? And has this announcement moved you in where you are on that scale?

Cristián: [00:24:26] I was going to say exactly that. There have been moments to be completely outraged, but right now I'm very optimistic. I mean, in many ways, I this may be one of the most interesting moments, the most optimistic moments that I see in the time I've been working in this, which is the last 30 years. So I really hope in the future we come back and we look at this as one of those tipping points that will allow us to come together to have that shared vision goal. So I'm definitely on the optimistic side, at least right now,

Christiana: [00:24:56] At least, at least today.

Cristián: [00:24:58] At least today, and hopefully for the next year or the next decade. But no, I'm very encouraged about where we are. So, yeah, I'm an optimist.

Tom: [00:25:06] Thank you so much, Cristián.

Christiana: [00:25:07] Yeah, Cristián, thank you so, so much.

Cristián: [00:25:09] Thank you, everyone. It's a pleasure to be with all of you, and thank you for what are you doing with this podcast. It's always fun to listen and to learn from this.

Christiana: [00:25:16] Well, well, we definitely have fun. Cristián, thank you very much. Because as you know, this was an area that was what we call the Cinderella area, right? Just totally. Totally no attention being given to it commensurate to where it should be, so. Thank you very much for. For pulling everybody's boots up and getting focus on this issue this week and and I know you will continue doing that.

Cristián: [00:25:44] That's the plan.

Paul: [00:25:46] We've got a plan. Thank you so much.

Cristián: [00:25:48] Thank you for your leadership.

Christiana: [00:25:49] Gracias, Cristián. Ciao.

Tom: [00:25:59] Ok, so how fantastic to get to sit with Cristián Samper this week after such an incredible outcome that he was able to engineer. I mean, what a result. What did you both leave that conversation with?

Paul: [00:26:11] Well, I mean, this nature thing, I think is profound. You know, we were actually talking with one of our our very significant and important backers the other day, and it kind of came up that basically we are nature. You know, all the food we eat is nature. We made our own bodies as sort of these extraordinary ecosystems of zillions of things. And you know, your liver doesn't chop down half your lungs, you know, because it likes meat or something. And so I think there's there's an opportunity here for us to sort of get a kind of holistic grasp on on a on a huge world target. And we can all get deeply involved. And I've got something to say about that. But what did you think about it, Christiana?

Christiana: [00:26:56] Well, you know, I was focusing on the private sector role in this private and either philanthropic from philanthropic organisations or from companies. In fact, because we have seen in the past 18 months in this case philanthropy, but also in the past. And currently we're seeing more and more companies begin to put serious resources into this natural ecosystem or into what is being called land based solutions. And I'm actually pretty happy about that. Because the money is needed before we get a decent business model, as we have discussed now, but also because honestly, it lets those who put money into this feels so much better about themselves, who doesn't like trees, who doesn't like a thriving forest, who, you know? I mean, it's just something that calls to us, and I think those companies that are earnestly and and honestly and sincerely really wanting to contribute to the solution, they are able absolutely to reduce their emissions right away, but they're unable to reduce all their emissions right away. So if they put a priority on reducing emissions and then as a complement, put money into land based solutions, (a) they feel better about themselves, (b) they bring about something that wouldn't happen right away without that kind of funding. And they can definitely plan themselves so that over time, as they're more and more able to reduce their emissions, they can then start to decrease their investment into land based solutions because over time, we will have business models that will actually be taking that up. So honestly, I think this is such a win win. And as we know from science, we have not a second to waste on reducing our emissions, whether that is at source and emissions or at power plants or the absence of or whether that is through absorption of CO2 into the soil where it belongs. So I think this is a win win. We have to, of course, be very, very careful that it's not being misused for greenwashing and for representing responsibility when there is none. But if we're able to do that, if we're able to monitor and ensure the integrity, this is such a win win.

Tom: [00:29:33] Hmm. Yeah, completely. And I think the corporate side there that you've mentioned, Christiana, is so important because I think as the corporations begin to get engaged in that capital flows, that really unlocks all sorts of additional opportunities. It drives demand, it creates supply of good quality investments in forests and other natural ecosystems. So I think that's that's super important. I mean, just just an aside, I spend a proportion of my time in the Business Earth Fund thinking about how philanthropic capital can be directed towards COP26. And as part of that, I've spent a while over the last few weeks in part through getting to know Cristián and other things, kind of understanding more about this nature agenda, about how do you invest in, you know, particular areas to conserve certain forests? What's the intersection between conservation and restoration and food commodities and other things? And it's been really humbling, actually, because I haven't really understood all of. Those different nuances, like someone like Cristián or many others who spent decades in embedded in this. It's made me realise multiple things. One is how complicated the climate movement must seem to people who haven't spent many years inside it. And actually, we should be really aware of that.

Paul: [00:30:41] It's complicated to me and I've been in it 20 years.

Tom: [00:30:44] Exactly. Yeah. But also how many amazing people have spent their lives focused on biodiversity and preserving it. And it's so humbling. And the truth is that those people have not received the profile, the recognition or the funding in order to actually be able to do what they have known for years is really necessary and to just pick up one element of this conversation with Cristián. He's been doing this for 30 years, right at the top of his field, best overview of everything that's going on in conservation and restoration. And he said to us that he has never been more optimistic. And actually, I draw. I mean, his depth of experience and relationships and conversations that he has far out exceed my own, and I take enormous comfort from that optimism that he holds because it's about this money. It's also about the political will that he sees gathering around the world. So I think we should all take a lot of confidence from that because going back to what you say, Christiana, what that translates into if that manifests into the world is reforesting the planet, returning biodiversity and actually all of us seeing a change in the green space around us. And that makes me feel hugely excited about the future.

Christiana: [00:31:51] A change in the green and the blue space.

Tom: [00:31:53] The oceans.

Paul: [00:31:54] Don't forget the marble. Don't forget the marble.

Christiana: [00:31:56] Don't forget the blue marble!

Tom: [00:31:59] You're going to have to get me one of those marbles.

Paul: [00:32:00] Christiana carries with us. I've actually swallowed one. It's got stuck. So it's always with me now. But the airport security picks it up. But but I think this this leads into the thing I wanted to say, which is reading lots of wonderful comments from our amazing listeners. So fascinating. A lot of them are sort of saying, like, What can I do? What can I practically do? And without being specific? I want to mention this concept of the plural sector, which someone called Mintzberg talked about a little bit. Said that, you know, if one sector of society becomes too dominant and that that was a state under communism or the private sector now in the name of capitalism, then societies go out of balance. But a healthy society requires not, not not not for profit or something. Mintzberg calls it plural because it has a rightful place between the other two and and the role it has in restoring balance. So very specifically. You know this this five billion is going to go into lots of social innovation, lots of people lobbying governments. It's going to go into lots of creative ideas. And you know, you talked about business earlier brands, global brands are very, very sensitive actually to people communicating with them. If you want brands to do something, you might find you're quite able to persuade them. And also, you know, in a certain sense, don't wait for the kind of policy makers out there because you know, they're all a bit stuck in this in this deadlock. But we can be sort of our own policy makers. If we think about, I don't know, industry these earth-moving machines, cutting stuff down to, they will have cameras on them connected to satellites, should we be able to see what all the earth-moving machines are doing. Satellites, we can all look from the sky now or we can look next door, you know, whether we're looking globally or nationally or locally. There are so many opportunities to sort of intervene, and I just think that it's to me, it's incredibly exciting. The degree to which money like this can facilitate an explosion of different action where we all learn from each other and and grow our capacity to fix this together.

Christiana: [00:34:03] Are you on the optimistic side in that statement?

Paul: [00:34:06] I admit I have been touched by Tom's comments. Your own, I think, money that's coming in. I mean,

Tom: [00:34:13] One big thing I took from that, Paul, is that the title of this episode has to be looking globally at earth-moving machines because I just think it's a brilliant phrase.

Paul: [00:34:22] I mean, I just, you know, look, they're big! I mean, like, I often look in the newspapers like I look in the Financial Times because I'm getting money, but I like looking there because I kind of I sort of pretend I have. And it says things like, you know, Caterpillar stock has gone up because they've sold like 10 times more earth-moving machines. And then Komatsu stock has gone up because they've sold ten times more earth-moving machines. And I think earth-moving machines, they're going to cut down the whole forest and what's going to happen? So I mean, why not put the webcams connected to satellite so we can see what each of them is doing?

Tom: [00:34:53] Yes. Clay is joining us. It's curious to know why you're here, Clay? Is to stop this from going any further?

Clay: [00:34:58] No, no, I actually like it. I love this idea. You know, I see Paul at Command Central, right with like 50 screens in front of him. He can see every earth-moving machine, you know, really dark room. He's got this cat.

Paul: [00:35:10] Spectre, basically,

Clay: [00:35:12] Cat. It's like strikingly white cat on his lap. His desk is just filled.

Paul: [00:35:16] You know there's a lot of earth-moving machines, Clay,

Clay: [00:35:18] Right? And you're watching all of them, like the blinking lights and empty cups of tea just everywhere. He's zooming in on these machines and, you know, filing these details. Highly confidential MI6 reports on the movement of earth movement. Very important work.

Paul: [00:35:33] Thank you.

Christiana: [00:35:34] You. You know, I'm so relieved to hear this definition and explanation of earth-moving machines because I thought in that statement, Paul, that you had capitalised the word Earth and I thought you were moving the planet and I thought, what machine is out there that is moving the planet?

Tom: [00:35:53] What did you come up with, out of interest, if you went in that direction?

Paul: [00:35:57] Well, you know, you've got thinking, if we were slightly further from the sun, it wouldn't be so hard. Interesting. Interesting. But anyway, I digress.

Tom: [00:36:07] Now you're saying you digress. This is the bit where we're digressing. It hasn't happened up to this point.

Paul: [00:36:11] Ok. It's my first digression, and it'll never happen again. Never, never!

Christiana: [00:36:15] Ever, ever, ever.

Tom: [00:36:18] Okay, people, we have promised to keep 30 minutes. Well, we haven't really, and we clearly haven't done that, but we've done our best. Hopefully you've enjoyed it. We're going to see you out with some music from Palmaria and they will be here as ever to introduce it. Thanks for joining us this week. We've had a lot of fun. This is a very consequential time. Some big weeks coming up. We'll be with you throughout. See you soon. Stay connected to us.

Paul: [00:36:39] Bye bye.

Christiana: [00:36:42] Bye.

Cristián: [00:36:45] Hi, everyone, we're Palmaria. We are London-based, originally from Italy. And today we're going to play a special song for you. It's called Ocean.

Francesco: [00:36:56] Ocean is a song that was inspired by the Sicilian legend of Colapesce, but it's also very important for us because it expresses our frustration towards the whole climate change situation. So it's really time we start taking action, and we hope this can help spread the message. Enjoy.

Clay: [00:41:23] Hey, everybody. Welcome to the end of this week's episode. I'm Clay, producer of Outrage and Optimism. We have a lot to talk about. But first, thank you to Palmaria for the song Ocean. It's so cool that artists record a version of the song for the podcast, and it definitely passed the Vibe Check this week. They are a perfect ad for your fall playlist. Moody, vibey, layered and easy on the ears. I was on their YouTube page, and one of the more frequent comments that I saw was: How have I not heard of you before and why isn't this more popular? And well, the truth is they are popular. They've been playlisted by Starbucks. So if you're grabbing your pumpkin spice latte this fall, hey, you might hear them over the speakers. Thank you to Cristián Samper for coming on the podcast and for a huge success at the UNGA. You can connect with Cristián and Palmaria via the links in the show notes. Ok, let's talk about Climate Night. Last week, I dropped a bunch of links to check out for Climate Week, and I said I would report back if anything cool happens with the Climate Night hosted by the late night shows in the U.S.. So how do I say this? Climate Night was cool. I think I kind of had really high expectations and possibly unrealistic expectations. Each show kind of delivered in their own way. You know, the writers showed a really sharp awareness and an understanding of the complexity of the issue of the climate crisis and the shows that had activists on. They really let them speak to the solutions surrounding climate. So, you know, Jane Goodall, Katharine Hayhoe, Greta Thunberg, to name a few, were on and in general, it was a net positive, I think, for climate awareness. So that was good. You know, it was pitched, at least in the media as, you know, "Climate Night. Tune in for fun. Join us." And I was surprised in a good way, you know, how much outrage there was, at least in the monologues. And you know, the cynicism was in full effect. So sometimes it was a bit heavy to digest. I wondered if they had Climate Night under a Trump presidency - because, you know, they're all U.S. based shows - what that would have looked like, and I thought maybe there would have been a bit more fire and simplicity and less complexity and depth of describing the issue. So I left feeling like we admired the problem of the climate crisis on a nightly national scale, which might be a really important step towards getting the actual promises of delivering on a 1.5 target. But I didn't walk away feeling like as a collective we got the, you know, Stubborn Optimism that I was really looking for. So, so those are some of my thoughts, but I want to say I think we should do it more. I'm sorry if this wasn't the highlight reel you were expecting and that I kind of promised. I just felt some type of way about it. I linked an article with some clips in it of a rundown of all the shows that was done by the Sierra Club. I thought they gave a really good account of what happened in a short, concise way. Go watch the show that you like the most if you connect with the host. Go watch them. Or if you wanted to see a specific person talk as a guest. Go enjoy it. I'm sure you'll like it. But if you're really looking for that Stubborn Optimism? Go watch the Global Citizen live 24 hour concert. I can't say enough good things about it. They dove into the complexity of the issue, but they communicated that we can do this. There are solutions. The artists gave everything they got. It was really well produced. I just felt walking away like, we're creating a better future. And art and music and people are at the centre of that. And it just made me feel really good inside. I don't know. It was a feeling. It was a good feeling. Ok, that is my long winded, rambling, non-answer, disappointing, non highlight reel of what happened at Global Citizen and Climate Night. If you watch them, please, I would love to hear all of your thoughts. You can message us at Global Optimism on all social media channels, and I have some great news. Next week we have on Luisa Neubauer. I'm not sure if you caught her speech at the Global Climate Strike event in Berlin, but you don't want to miss what she has to say next week. So hit subscribe and we'll see you then.


Latest Insights