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188: The Path to Sustainability is Equity

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About this episode

Welcome to another episode of Outrage + Optimism, where we examine issues at the forefront of the climate crisis, interview change-makers, and transform our anger into productive dialogue about building a sustainable future.

In this episode, co-hosts Christiana Figueres and Paul Dickinson interview climate leaders Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of global issues think tank the Club of Rome (the Club), and Johan Rockström, Joint Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Potsdam).

Our esteemed guests discuss the 50th anniversary of the Club’s groundbreaking report on the implications of continued worldwide expansion, “Limits to Growth” (Limits), and their recently published collaborative report “Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity (Earth For All).”

Serving as both a sort of update to “Limits,” and a new solutions manual, “Earth For All” goes deep into the interrelationships between global stress points, the consequential scenarios that could lay ahead of us, and the policy recommendations we need to save our future.

It’s a fascinating conversation that covers planetary boundary science, dynamic systems modeling, the social tension index, and whether we can reach aspirational and equitable goals for humanity within our environmental boundaries. Importantly, we explore whether a planetary solution is possible without addressing systemic inequity.


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Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome

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Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research



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Clay has played in bands before. They are:

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Clay Carnill

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Full Transcript

Paul: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage and Optimism. I'm Paul Dickinson.

Christiana: [00:00:16] And I'm Christiana Figueres.

Paul: [00:00:18] And Tom is sadly unable to join us for the team recording this week. But Christiana and I are very excited to be bringing you an incredible interview with Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome, and firm friend of the podcast Johan Rockström, who will be giving us the highlights and insights from their recent co authored report and book, Earth for All, as well as music from, Clay, who is the music from?

Clay: [00:00:41] Music this week from Emrys and Clay, a new musical duo from Michigan.

Paul: [00:00:47] Thanks for being here. So, Christiana, we are recording this interview a week early because we wanted to make sure we were able to bring this fantastic interview with Johan and Sandrine to our listeners on time. But first, how are you?

Christiana: [00:01:06] Well, I'm fine, but I am not in my home in the Nicoya Peninsula. I've had to come into the city and I notice how, I really don't like urban centres anymore. Once, once you get used to very different nature noises, the noises, street noises just don't ring well in your ears. But that's it. That's life. How are you, Paul?

Paul: [00:01:34] Yeah, I'm good, I'm good. And I kind of know what you mean. But, you know, if you grow up in a city, it's weird. You can spend a lot of time kind of, in country and all the rest of it and it all feels a bit strange. And then you see street lights and tower blocks and you think, oh, I'm home.

Christiana: [00:01:46] Yeah, I think, you and I are on, you and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum with respect to noises that we're familiar with. Ha ha.

Paul: [00:01:55] Absolutely. Although you can get a little bit too familiar with some of the noises of the city, but that's another story, especially if they're a little bit too close. But. But. Well, I'm sorry, you're no longer in paradise, but, you know, a little bit of mixing it up sometimes allows you to appreciate both that tiny bit more. Now, we have two things I wanted to say just briefly. One is I wanted to really thank our listeners for taking part in the survey that we undertook, which has been so valuable for us in terms of communicating to the people who support this podcast, the impact we're having. And it's enormous. The number of people who've changed their jobs or are doing unbelievable and incredible things, just a huge heart out. Big, big thank you for taking the time to explain how Outrage and Optimism is helping and also how we can improve, which is really important because it's all about you. I mentioned that specifically because that amazing interview that we had with Avi Persaud who explained like this extraordinary movement to implement the Bridgetown Initiative and that Bridgetown Initiative has essentially been calling for a huge change in key international institutions, the International Monetary Fund. But above all, the World Bank and Avi simply came on and spoke with such eloquence about how there needs to be fundamental change at the World Bank. And that interview just came out on Thursday the.

Christiana: [00:03:28] Lo and behold, what happened then, Paul? What happened?

Paul: [00:03:31] The President of the World Bank resigned immediately. You know, David Malpass was the wrong person, really to to take forward things. And he announced that he was leaving a year early, you know, straight after the podcast dropped. So, you know, I would say.

Christiana: [00:03:50] Little did we know that David Malpass was listening to our podcast and agrees with us that he is not the person for the job.

Paul: [00:03:58] So yes, at the end of this process, we can see the impact of Outrage and Optimism. Very much looking forward to an enlightened and effective new President of the World Bank, coming in and implementing some of the ideas that Avi put forward so brilliantly in our interview.

Christiana: [00:04:16] Ok, but now, fast forward. This week, we, as Paul has told you, we have a fascinating interview from Dr. Johan Rockström and Sandrine Dixson that we would really love to bring to you. Can we, and it is about their book. Paul, would you like to introduce them a little bit and introduce the book? And then let's go quickly to that interview.

Paul: [00:04:41] So Dr. Johan Rockström is also Professor Johan Rockström. 

Christiana: [00:04:44] Indeed.

Paul: [00:04:44] And as our listeners to the podcast will know he's Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts, as well as an internationally recognized scientist for his work on global sustainability issues. Johan helped lead the renowned team of scientists that presented the Planetary Boundaries Framework, first published in 2009 with an update in 2015 and we'll drop links to our conversations with Johan previously in the show notes. Johan also leads the Earth Commission, which is a global team of scientists with the mission to define a safe and just corridor for people and planet in light of science. And it shows that humans are pushing the planet, sad to say, terrifying thing to say, towards irreversible tipping points. And alongside Johan, we have the fantastic Sandrine Dixson-Declève, onto the podcast for the first time, and she is Co-President of the Club of Rome, and she has 30 years of experience of European and International policy strategy and business leadership with a particular focus on climate change. And she spent her career working with and bringing together business leaders, policymakers, academia and NGOs to unpack complex challenges. So let's go to the conversation now and hear from them directly.

Christiana: [00:05:54] Let's do it. So, Sandrine and Johan, thank you so much. Sandrine, welcome to the podcast. Johan welcome back to our podcast. You are one of our star guests and it's lovely to have you back, especially in the company of Sandrine. And Sandrine, maybe I will start with you because you are co leading the Club of Rome these days and this new book that you have just put out with the leadership and the input from Johan, plus many other very authoritative writers comes out basically 50 years after the publication of, probably the Club of Rome's most famous product, which is Limits to Growth, which was a stark warning to everyone 50 years ago. But here we are 50 years later, and the Club of Rome decides to put together a new book, Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity, and bring in the scientific voices that you have brought in. So why don't you quickly tell us, Sandrine, why did the Club of Rome decide to put out a new book that brings up to date where we are with respect to, as you call it, Survival of Humanity.

Sandrine: [00:07:28] Thanks, Christiana. And yeah, I guess 50 years later, as it was the 50th anniversary of The Limits to Growth last year, we felt it was pretty important to revisit some of the thinking from The Limits to Growth, because we realize that actually, hey ho, unfortunately we are now facing those tipping points that were demonstrated in the scenarios from The Limits to Growth, the population growth. In fact, we've doubled in population and the continuation of an extractive economy have led us to what Johan so clearly demonstrates as the planetary boundaries and going beyond those planetary boundaries. So we felt it was really important to bring forward our system dynamic modelling, which looks at the interrelationships between different stress points and different solutions to think through what kind of new economic thinking is out there. Where is the thought leadership across the globe in terms of potential economic and financial solutions? And then to bring all that together into not only one publication, which is Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity, but also to start digging deep into some of the possible solutions that we see. And clearly we are facing a polycrisis. This is the moment to show that we can actually not only get ourselves out of the crisis, but start to prepare and put in place the resilience measures that we need. And so that's what hopefully Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity really does, is it gives the recommendations to policymakers. It gives a pathway forward through our giant leap scenario to a variety of different stakeholders, and really shows that actually we don't have another 50 years, time is out. I always remember you, Christiana. You always said we've swallowed an alarm clock. That's clear, but we do have ways, if we start to optimize the interrelationships between our financial economic system towards wellbeing and look at five key turnarounds to really move towards what we call an Earth for All.

Christiana: [00:09:40] And Johan, you and your team have been so eloquent and so compelling now for, for years in putting forward and explaining to everyone in very understandable terms what planetary boundaries are and how close we are to each of those. What what does this book do to build on that science that you put out several years ago?

Johan: [00:10:06] Yeah, thanks. And let me just complement one point on, on Sandrine's really good reference back to The Limits to Growth. You know, in 1972, when the MIT team developed the first system dynamics model to represent both natural resources, world population and the economy, they actually did not have tipping points in their models. They did not have planetary boundaries in their model. The evidence we had at the time was on on static natural resources. So it was land, it was pollution, it was population and it was food demand. So it was basically looking at at the evidence we had at the time. We did not at the time know that we could push the Amazon Rainforest too far or that we could lose permafrost thawing, which could turn into irreversible loss of methane. We did not know that we could actually push the Greenland Ice Sheet across a tipping point or even the whole overturning of heat in the North Atlantic. So the update bringing in the planetary boundary science 50 years later enriches the whole analysis by having the dynamics of the Earth's system. All the feedbacks and interactions and tipping points are now folded into the analysis.

Johan: [00:11:22] So, so what the Earth for All does. Apart from having a much more, let's say, scientifically updated representation of of the planet, it also, for the first time tries to answer the question can we reach aspirational and equitable goals for humanity within planetary boundaries? Can, can we have a true people, planet, future for humanity on earth? And that's what we've set out to do. Limits to Growth was basically pushing the world in front of it, saying, okay, so we have rising demands and we have problems with supply. When will demand out outpace supply and when will that start causing problems? Importantly, as you know, the latest assessment shows that the Limits to Growth actually got it right. They they were able to to show that the journey we've followed so far, which is the exponential rise of pressures, was was remarkably precise despite the simplicity in that original model. Now we have much better tools and can look at the safe and just landing in a much more precise way.  Load More
Paul: [00:12:31] Hmm. Can I compliment you both on this astonishing book. It's full of very many brilliant passages. One particularly touched our hearts, in the conclusion you said, we need a movement of movements built on outrage and optimism. And this struck home for sure with us. But in all seriousness, there's a sense, reading the book, that you have created a kind of basic policy, I suppose you could call it, for a foundational politics, a politics with a small p and the world so desperately needs this. It's striking, the degree to which you emphasize equity and inequality is critical to the the solution. It is absolutely abundantly clear that we have these boundaries in the work you've done Johan and so many others to to express that touches people very, very deeply. And we can see how we need science based policy in terms of those boundaries. The equity one is is is, is harder because, you know, for example, Jane Mayer and others have suggested economics departments have been funded for decades to suggest that, you know, poverty is sort of good for people or whatever. Can you can you tell us how you see these these these two coming together and forming the basis of a new kind of political consensus? Because it seems like we're close to it now and this is the moment. Right?

Sandrine: [00:13:58] It's interesting, Paul, because you really have hit the nail on the head. And I think this is the bit of the book that takes everyone by surprise. I mean, we clearly indicate that the planetary boundaries and going beyond the boundaries is a clear existential threat. But the social tipping points in inequality will hit us even sooner. And you know, what's been interesting is that we know what we need to do. We even know that it's only going to cost us about 2 to 4% of GDP per annum and that we could actually take out most of the existing perversities in the market and the economy where we're actually generating and pushing capital, for example, subsidies for fossil energy, subsidies for industrial agriculture and turn that back into Just Transition Funds or the way in which we actually address the global commons and create a Citizen Fund. We have so many possible instruments towards change, even unconventional funding, for example, COVID style quantitative easing and the reforming of the IMF, some of which is being discussed today in terms of debt cancellation and and the Special Drawing Rights. So, you know, this is not brain science. A much of this is actually existing, including the well being governments that we see that have addressed many of these points. So so I think what we're trying to say in this book and hence Paul, also what has struck us the most is it's already been translated in six languages and we have six different languages still waiting to be translated. We have 7000 articles in 50 countries in all media outlets from left to right on terms of the political spectrum, and most of the feedback has been positive. So it's striking a chord. It responds to also, by the way, a survey that we undertook that indicates that 74% of G20 citizens seem to want change and in particular want to move towards a wellbeing economy. They realise the economy is broken and that inequality not only between North and South but also within our highest income countries, is only getting much larger as we show in our wellbeing index and our social tension index.

Johan: [00:16:17] And if I may just just really hammer home here that I mean, scientifically, we have overwhelming proof, unfortunately, that climate change transgressing planetary boundaries has massive, massive inequity impact. It is causing social instabilities, displacements, migration, also reinforcing risks of conflict and being, you know, basically threatening the stability of the whole world economy and democracies around the world. This book also addresses the other direction. What what role or how dependent are we on on, on on enabling equity as a path to sustainability? Do we need to invest in injustice to have any chance of of collective action, trust and and governing and managing the commons together? That's much less researched. But but we're putting that out as a very likely, I mean, we're convinced that that is necessary. So, so equity and justice goes both both ways is both the impact which destabilizes the world, but it's also the vehicle towards the world we want. And just to also the numbers here, I find it just mind boggling, I mean, 2 to 4% of the world economy to solve the transition we're talking about. I mean, you and I have discussed so many times, Christiana, that what if you would have a global price on carbon? Let's let's just play with the idea for the moment of 100 USD per tonne of carbon dioxide. 

Paul: [00:17:45] Yes

Johan: [00:17:45] The social cost of, the social cost of carbon is already today estimated at 200 USD per tonne of carbon dioxide, 100 multiplied by 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide that we emit today every year from fossil fuel burning gives us 4 trillion USD in income, which is more than the 2 to 4%. So, you know, you could you could in, in one policy measure, make a market correction, which would basically generate so much public sector income that you could in a dividend manner, redistribute in an equitable way investing in renewable, sustainable pathways that could take us out of this mess. So it's under no circumstances utopia. I mean, that's one of the frustrations I have with the discussions so far on Earth for All that these these big turnarounds we're talking about, the giant leap transformation is seen as more or less utopia, kind of a fantasy future. It's not, it's not a fantasy future. It is it is based on existing technologies, existing practices, scalable solutions that give better and more equitable outcomes. And we can afford it.

Paul: [00:18:56] But just.

Christiana: [00:18:57] And we know how to do it. That's the weird thing. Sorry. Paul.

Johan: [00:19:00] Exactly, exactly.

Paul: [00:19:01] I was just going to say one more thing on the equity. I mean, it's almost unbelievable, isn't it, when you think of all the luxury, you know, all the cars that cost more than $30,000 or if you're, you know, you see all these luxury goods stocks are doing incredibly well. So there's there's all this money sloshing around the economy. The one thing that just blew my mind on equity and then sorry, Christiana, we must we must go to you. But this idea that 1 billion people are consuming 72% of global resources and 1 billion people are consuming 1% of global resources, so 1 billion people are each using 70 times the resources of 1 billion people. It's just heartbreaking when you express it so clearly.

Sandrine: [00:19:44] Yeah. And when you look at that, there's 10% of the wealth which is held, you know, currently holding back basically 50 to 60% of national income. So the wealthiest people in the world have such a hold on our national incomes, which is also not enabling wealth distribution. Hence why we need to look at our our tax distribution. We need to look at our wealth distribution. We need to look at most, unfortunately, of our fiscal programs, which are not enabling the inequality to be abolished as well as poverty.

Christiana: [00:20:22] You know, this this is such a rich book and I was delighted Sandrine, thank you very much for when you came to my home for Christmas and brought me a copy of the book and I was just immediately enthralled by it. So thank you, thank you for that. But I really would encourage listeners to read the book and in order to throw just a little bit more enticement. If I were to be irresponsibly simplistic about the main message of the book, please correct me. I would say we have been for many years, assuming that you have to choose between economic growth and environmental integrity or environmental stability. This book not only shows that that is completely wrong because we had actually already come to that conclusion. So that's not the novelty of the book. I think the novelty of the book is to go one step farther and to say it's not just economic growth, it is actually the equity that is at the bottom, that has to be the basis and the foundation for any growth that has to be there and through which we have to go, through which we have to go in order to get to environmental stability or integrity, that that really turns the whole original argument on its head. And to say, you know, that that that that's the portal through which we then protect ourselves. Does that ring a bell to you?

Sandrine: [00:22:08] Completely, Christiana. And I would add that that's exactly also why we are starting to make the links with democracy. We're looking at instability and market instability. You can't continue right now on the European market to see the growth and energy poverty and yet see the incredible increase in windfall profits in the pockets of certain energy providers that that distrust is growing as we speak between the citizen and not only obviously the energy companies, but also the governments that are enabling that to happen. That creation of distrust then creates a real backlash on Democratic processes, it enables populism to come through the back door. It could enable autocratic governments as well. And so what we're saying here and this is part of the letter that we wrote also at Davos, very clearly indicating to the world's wealthiest, this is about instability for everyone. We are all as vulnerable as the most vulnerable link. We saw it through COVID. We will see it if we continue to enable inequality. And I think coming back to the flip side and also indirectly speaking about carbon taxation, if we look at inequality and carbon taxation at the same time, then we will prove to the South in particular that this is not about carbon apartheid, that this is not about creating a movement of decarbonisation in the West, which does not enable development in the South, that we're actually talking about a new kind of economic development that is both socially and environmentally fair, that truly takes into consideration the inequality that forces high income countries to consume less, to shift their patterns of consumption, to take that responsibility that Paul so clearly pointed to in terms of the responsibilities on us. But by the same token, enable economies to grow differently towards a wellbeing society that we also see is happening in parts of the world, including Costa Rica, that has embraced some of the wellbeing indicators, but also obviously Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland. So we already have countries and potentially Canada soon that is looking at addressing growth in a very different way that takes into consideration inequity and social emancipation as the key pillar.

Christiana: [00:24:47] Johan, you know you, I have told you many times you are my totally favourite climate scientist, natural scientist, because you are so compelling and you bring your message so clearly and so digestibly or hopefully indigestibly to us. Hopefully you make us very uncomfortable. But but, Johan, here's my question to you. Most natural scientists, whatever, you know, whatever field they're in, have been complaining for years that they are screaming from the rooftops that they have been warning us for years of what we're doing and that nobody is paying attention. Here's my question to you. This book goes beyond natural sciences. It intertwines the social sciences with the natural sciences. Do you think that this is a route to get more engagement, to get more action? Will natural scientists feel that they are being more heard by this bringing together of natural science and social science?

Johan: [00:26:00] Hmm. Let let me start by, in a way, defending my my my discipline, the Earth's systems, just to say that.

Christiana: [00:26:08] I didn't know that I had attacked it.

Johan: [00:26:11] No, no, no, no. Just to say that I don't think it's, it's definitely not necessary for the natural sciences to, let's say, to perform with the social sciences, to have their messages come across. I think. I think the world should listen to stand alone natural science as well.

Christiana: [00:26:29] Yes, agree.

Johan: [00:26:30] Yeah. So but just to have that said. But but I must also say and Sandrine knows this so well, this project for for us and the climate sciences for us deep, deep in the earth sciences has not been an easy project. This has not been a comfortable journey.

Christiana: [00:26:46] I can imagine. 

Johan: [00:26:46] It has been really stepping out of our comfort zone. A very steep learning journey. Also, for me personally, you can't imagine how many of these debates we've had on on on demographics, on equity, on policies. But I come out on the other end incredibly enriched by by this journey. But I come back all the time to something that I think is is unique with the approach we've taken, which is that we load it with all these ideas on transformation innovations, equity institutions, finance, demographics, but always running it through a quantitative machine, the model, to check whether things add up in the end, to check whether we stay within the planetary boundaries, to check whether we actually have results that that that follow the checks and balances of what the planet can tolerate. And to me that I think if we in the in the natural science side have learned a lot of this, I think it's gone the same way with the social science side and the ultimate message becomes much more powerful.

Johan: [00:27:50] I can just tell you the last few weeks when when I as soon as I say anything in the public domain on tipping points, on planetary boundary transgressions, on all damage we're making to the planet, you always get hit by sceptics and denialists, particularly saying, oh, but, you know, you forget that it's population growth that is the big problem. Well, it's good to then answer the Earth for All addresses this. You know, we are tackling this heads on and showing that if we invest in girls going to school, in capacity development, in good economic development in the south, if we do exactly as you pointed out, Paul, have a have a fair redistribution of the skewed wealth in the world, we will get that population curve to start bending downwards and we will have a very, very likely win win for humanity in terms of people planet. So, you know, I feel that the Earth for All has given tremendous power also in the natural science domain. So in a way you're right, this, this I think is one of the new tools that we need to work much more actively with, bring in the justice, bring in the demographics, bring in all the factors that have to do with the human dimension also for the climate physicists.

Christiana: [00:29:02] Well, Johan, I know that you have to go. Thank you very much for for taking the time this morning. I know that you have to jump off. Sandrine, I hope that you can stay with us for just a few more minutes, which would be great. But. But, Johan, just as as a reaction to what you've just said to close that idea out, you know, it is fascinating because it is only we humans in our infinite wisdom that decided years ago that all our reality, whether it is who we are as human beings and how we turn up in the world and what we do with each other or what we do with nature, that all of that is silo-able, that we can chunk it up into silos. And that's just our invention. That is just, you know, the way that we decided that in order to put our arms around the complexity in which we live, that we have to parse it up into individual little pieces. And I think what is very exciting about what I see happening now with this book, but also in other areas, is we're beginning to realize siloing is absolutely not the way to go and we're beginning to integrate much more, integrate and understand that certainly nature herself never divided climate change from biodiversity laws. Who invented that? You know and and and go way beyond beyond that, the social sciences, the natural sciences. As long as we understand that we are all living beings on this planet and that we depend on the web of life on this planet, and that we're part of that web of life, that that web of life is completely integrated, then we stand a chance actually, of being able to halt the disaster and move in the direction of regeneration. But it is by beginning to integrate all of this complexity, beautiful complexity that we had divvied up. So I am really grateful to all of you, all the authors and all the work that that went into this. And I totally recognize that it was outside the comfort zone of everyone because everyone is thinking outside of the box or without a box.

Sandrine: [00:31:25] Or within their own box.

Johan: [00:31:28] No, thanks. And that's, you know, heads on, Christiana. And thanks for for being part of this, this wonderful conversation and looking forward to continue on our on our collective journey. But but thank thanks for now.

Christiana: [00:31:44] Thank you Johan.

Sandrine: [00:31:44] Adjö Johan.

Paul: [00:31:45] Thank you, Johan. So, Sandrine, can I pick up with you that exact point that Christiana was just emphasizing that I think is at the heart of this. You know, it's it's actually a very deep philosophical point. It kind of goes back to the Enlightenment or something, you know, since we separated up this these two things, you know, science has learned more and more about less and less. But now we sort of know nothing about everything. And it feels to me like you're you're bringing it back together and helping us to to, to, to, to, to sort of be whole again and a new kind of a science. But one thing that does come very strongly out of the book is that government is going to be very important now. And so I guess we need to start thinking about how we can collectively be more effective in communicating these basic requirements to government. You know, like, like, like human rights, like, you know, we, you know, humanity centuries ago, hopefully mostly abolished slavery or whatever. You know, we've got one of these challenges now where we've got to we've got to do things differently by by using our brains, but our hearts as well. Is that is that right? And how do you see that emerging?

Sandrine: [00:32:57] Absolutely, Paul. And I think there are several builds on this. One is that, you know, when we started with Johan already three years ago and we started producing the Planetary Emergency Plan, we realized that there was this total disconnect between the biodiversity movement, and we've seen a huge shift, and the climate movement and that the interrelationship between biodiversity loss and climate change was just not being addressed. Then we realized that there was a whole human dimension that was missing and therefore we felt it was fundamental to bring it all together, both in our planetary emergency work, but also in the way in which we decided to use a system dynamic model. The beauty of the system dynamic model. It allows you to unpack that complexity. It allows you to start to see how those interrelationships can act in different scenarios. If you don't do this, if you do this, etc. That's why we have the kind of too little, too late, which is the business as usual scenario, which is today's scenario, by the way. It basically plots out most of the legislation and the policy recommendations that we have today versus the giant leap that takes it to the next level and in particular, super poses actually that equity aspect into everything. Because if you look at most of our policy recommendations today on climate, on biodiversity loss, on any of the deep planetary boundaries, we forget the equity question. So this is how it's it's incredibly useful and helpful for us to then think through what are those policy recommendations and how can we help policy leaders not get caught with their pants down? How can we make them more robust in their suggestions? How can we make them proud again to lead for people and planet? You know, we were just talking about people in planet and the need to look at both. I would really like to add prosperity. For me, prosperity is that p that enables to decrease the tension between people and planet. It always comes back to the social tension around prosperity, and that is the beauty of the recommendations that we have and incredibly.

Christiana: [00:35:16] As long, sorry Sandrine, but just to underline your point, as long as it's prosperity for all and not for the few.

Sandrine: [00:35:21] Absolutely. And that is the essence. That's why we use the word prosperity as well, because it has to be prosperity for all. It cannot just be about wealth for the few and not a, and also an interpretation of prosperity, by the way, Christiana, that doesn't just have to do with money. I mean, let's be very clear, access to social services, access to medical care, making.

Christiana: [00:35:45] Education.

Sandrine: [00:35:46] Education etc. So so these are the points that are so important. Also, when we move in the beyond GDP and we understand the new indicators for growth. This is a conversation that is live and that's what gets so exciting around the conversations we're having with policymakers. Most policymakers now want to know, ok if we're going to move towards a wellbeing economy, if we're really going to think about prosperity for all. What does that look like? How do we actually integrate that into our national accounts? What does that mean in terms of policy recommendations and the interrelationship between our energy policy and our taxation policy or our energy taxation and our welfare policy? What does that mean in terms of the type of financial institutions that we have, both private and public? And all of those answers are developing through Earth for All, not only in the book itself, but now in terms of the next phase. And maybe let me just close with that. This was the beauty of this movement and what we tried to create together, bring together the sound science, both social and hard sciences in the modeling, ensure that it was stress tested by thought leaders from across the globe and then create a movement, really work with people, have citizen assemblies. We're developing a simulator, a game which will enable people to interact with the data and understand the data. So we will be continuing this process and continuously updating both the data and also the conversation and the narrative. And we so look forward to engaging with you because outrage and optimism and continuing the real deep reality check of, we are in a difficult position, but we can emerge from emergency is fundamental.

Paul: [00:37:41] Hmm. Sandrine, honestly, the work you're doing is so important. And I was really moved by many things. Thomas Piketty saying of your book, essential reading on our long journey towards an Earth for All Society. And it was it was Piketty that woke the world up to the fact that if we don't address this equity issue, it's just going to get worse and worse. Structurally, there's nothing to fix it. So thanks for coming along to fix it at the very moment we needed it. It's amazing.

Sandrine: [00:38:08] Thanks for allowing me to also talk on this incredible podcast and let's just continue working together.

Paul: [00:38:13] Well, on the subject of. On the subject.

Christiana: [00:38:16] On the subject of this incredible podcast Sandrine, so you will know, what is our closing question? Are you ready for that? So all all guests are asked at the very end of our interview, we ask all guests to tell us from the moment in which you are, from the moment in publishing and seeing the amazing reaction to this book. What what makes you very optimistic for the future that there will be an openness to consider the many wonderful recommendations from the book? And however, what makes you still outraged?

Sandrine: [00:38:57] Ah! So what makes me optimistic is we seem to have touched the hearts and souls of many different types of people to the point of even people coming up and indicating not only do they want to join this movement, but it's changed their lives and given them hope that there is a possibility to do something together. That gives me hope. My outrage is around what's happening with the current windfall profits and the energy companies that are truly, truly making profits on the back of deep, deep pain and energy poverty and also seeing some of the companies who I used to actually advise on sustainability, like BP and others who are going backwards and really going back to petroleum. That, to me creates such an intense outrage that we are still in this position. And that they have not joined the journey at all, after all of our efforts. So I think we need to get stronger. We need to build on that incredible optimism and all of those people who truly want to work with us. But we have to get better at making sure that those that are not trying to do the best of building a real earth for all are either penalized or they're brought on the journey somehow. And we have to create those arguments to make sure that they are.

Christiana: [00:40:27] Here, here.

Paul: [00:40:29] Sandrine, I mean, these are serious issues, but you do make me laugh with back to petroleum. I think it's going to be on the gravestone of the company. Do you remember all those years ago? It was like BP, beyond petroleum. And you just like you just nailed it back to petroleum. Oh, you know, F for fail.

Sandrine: [00:40:47] Total F for fail.

Christiana: [00:40:49] Sandrine, thank you so much. Thank you so, so much for for coming on. Lovely to see you again. My home is always your home whenever you would like, especially whenever I happen to be there.

Sandrine: [00:41:04] It's so lovely to do this with you dear friends.

Christiana: [00:41:07] Tom is sorry that he couldn't join you. He is going to, he's going to have deep, deep FOMO, especially when he listens to this conversation. But so be it. That was the only day that we could actually snatch you and and and Johan together. So thanks very much.

Sandrine: [00:41:23] And hopefully we'll all see each other soon at Plum Village or somewhere else.

Christiana: [00:41:27] Excellent.

Paul: [00:41:28] Thank you for your leadership, Sandrine.

Sandrine: [00:41:30] Thank you both. Big hug.

Christiana: [00:41:32] Big hug. So what a great conversation there, Paul. It's too bad that Tom missed this and will only listen to the recording, but what a great conversation that is really pushing forward the way we, we engage with the complexity that we're facing. What did you leave that interview with Paul?

Paul: [00:42:00] Well, I can feel the energy of these two super smart, well connected, well integrated people with big hearts and their ability to communicate that we have to find a basis, a common basis for a sort of decent livelihood for the many people I think is absolutely critical. And although we didn't cover it, there are some amazing things in their book, like, for example, they talk about the need for education to help people to think about systems and to be able to differentiate between disinformation and accurate information. You know, throughout and these are my words, not theirs, but they're bringing physics, chemistry and biology into economics, which is part of that putting things together that we were talking about towards the end of the conversation, you know, concepts like a universal dividend, giving people an economic support. You know, the idea of obviously taxing pollutants, but, you know, changing our whole tax system. And long story short, getting the policymaker who's who's the last, quoting Rachel Kyte again, missing in action, we now need our policymakers to come in and kind of connect the dots around a huge global consensus that's built up. So, you know, I feel that they're doing an amazing job of giving us the tools so we can kind of finish the job. What do you think?

Christiana: [00:43:23] Well, I must say, I always prefer to summarize thoughts so that I can wrap my head around them. This is not a book that can be summarized, and it is it is well worth getting into with patience. What it's telling us is that the time for over simplifying and, irresponsibly simplifying the reality that we live in, which is highly complex, interactive and interdependent. That time is gone and that it was that simplification or that silo-fication that we did for many years that got us into trouble to begin with because we did not see the ramifications of every single action, of every single decision, of every single investment. And so to begin to understand the complex threading of the tapestry of life, of this web of life and understand and really bring to life, all of these threads that are interwoven with each other is is simply a masterpiece. And I am, I'm thrilled that they have gone into doing this. I'm thrilled that they invited these Earth scientists to step out of their zone of comfort, to to be much more comprehensive and no better group of of scientists than those that are led by by Johan Rockström. So a brilliant book, very recommended.

Christiana: [00:45:10] It is not your easy evening night read. It is definitely a book to be studied. And I also do not recommend that you use the Audible, although I asked Sandrine whether it was out in Audible, because there are illustrations in the book that are quite helpful. And for those of us who think in pictures, the illustrations are quite helpful. So a very high endorsement for the book. Highly recommended for your next intellectual feeding. But more importantly, Paul, to your question, this is not just an intellectual exercise. It starts with being an academic and intellectual exercise, but cannot stop there. We actually have to figure out and then what, and how do we put this in action in a system that is siloed by structure. We have structured our systems, our political systems, our economic systems. We had structured them in siloed fashion because it was the only way that we could understand them. But now how do we implement this, which is holistic, intertwined, interdependent. How do we implement it in in a structure that is not structured that way at all? So quite a challenge. And yet the one that we have to engage with.

Paul: [00:46:36] And the one that we will and the one that we do. But can I just finish by asking you, Christiana, a stupid question? You know, people like Johan and and so many scientists and, and other wise friends like Sandrine, are saying that the alarm is going off, the fire alarm is ringing. Why are the shops open. Why is the ball game going on on a Saturday. Why is, the fashion shows or whatever. I mean it's a stupid question, right? We know the world is going on just like nothing's happening. But why is the world going on like nothing's happening?

Christiana: [00:47:17] Why does life go on when life is threatened?

Paul: [00:47:19] Yeah.

Christiana: [00:47:21] Life goes on while life is threatened because we use two different parts of our brain to deal with that. Yet another example of our siloed thinking. We understand that life is threatened, but that goes into the part of the brain that has to do with long term thinking and and risk aversion. Whereas going to the supermarket to buy a tomato and a half a lettuce, it operates differently. That is what we do immediately. And what we're not doing is putting those two things together. Now, sadly, that difference is evident for us who live under privileged circumstances. That difference is not a reality for most people on this planet who are already under severe threat of existence, not in 10 or 20 or 30 years, but now. So it is not true that all of us separate those things. It is, are you living in a privileged set of conditions that allow you the irresponsibility of separating those two things? And to that, we most of us who are listening to this can raise our hand. But that is not the reality for most people.

Paul: [00:48:52] Hmm. You are, of course, exactly right. They put it so well in the book. They say when gross inequality corrodes trust, it becomes more difficult for democratic societies to make collective long term decisions that cut emissions, safeguard forests, protect fresh water, and stabilize global temperatures. So I'll never forget I'll never forget reading that 1 billion people are consuming 70 times more than 1 billion people, each person 70 times more. And I guess I'm part of that as well. So there's there's not so much finger pointing as mirror and finger and, and big question mark. Big question mark. So something for us all to reflect very deeply on. But what superstars they are to set us with, with a with a great broad team and there's actually even a computer model you can play with to to to test some of this yourself, which, which shows that I think that they're putting us on a journey rather than than kind of writing a book and ending something, they're issuing Earth for All and starting something. And that's that's very, very exciting and it's great to be a part of it. So I guess that's us for this week, and we just should finish by saying we have music this week from, Clay, who do we have music from?

Clay: [00:50:08] Yes, so this week my son Emrys and I recorded a song and we're very excited to play it for you. You'll hear from us at the very beginning and then the song will play.

Paul: [00:50:20] Great, thank you, Clay. We'll look forward to seeing you next week. Thanks for being with us. Bye for now. Bye bye.

Christiana: [00:50:26] Bye.

Clay: [00:50:28] Hey, Outrage and Optimism listeners, this is Clay and. 

Emrys: [00:50:33] Emrys.

Clay: [00:50:34] And we're sitting here at bedtime talking about our day, and we wanted to share with you.

Emrys: [00:50:40] For the podcast.

Clay: [00:50:42] For the podcast, a version of the song. What's the name of the song?

Emrys: [00:50:47] I Must Be in a Good Place Now.

Clay: [00:50:49] By Bobby Charles. Every week we ask the musician who plays on the show what they think the role of the artist is during a climate crisis. So my question is to you Emrys, what do you like about music?

Emrys: [00:51:05] I like about music. Uh, well, dance.

Clay: [00:51:11] What kind of dancing?

Emrys: [00:51:13] Doing my ninja dances.

Clay: [00:51:16] Doing your ninja dances. And what do you like about going outside?

Emrys: [00:51:22] Uh, playing with the snow.

Clay: [00:51:25] Playing with the snow. Okay, I hope you enjoy the song.

Emrys: [00:51:31] Goodbye.

Clay: [00:51:32] Bye.

Emrys: [00:51:33] Bye. Bye.

Clay: [00:51:36] Ready? One, two, three, four.

Emrys: [00:54:00] Now, let's hear it.

Clay: [00:54:07] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage and Optimism. I'm Clay, producer of this podcast. Thank you for joining us at the very end of the show. This is the part of the episode where I wrap things up. I guide you a little bit through the show notes and then send you on your way. Now, the song you just heard was a cover of I Must Be in a Good Place Now by Bobby Charles, performed by Emrys and Clay. Now, we don't have any Costa Rica, United Kingdom or Australia tour dates scheduled, but I have put some links in the show notes to musical projects that I've done in the past, and you can catch more Clay and Emrys content on my Patreon. I post things there regularly. Now, if you're not familiar with Patreon, it's this fantastic subscription based model for supporting artists and creators. Some of the artists that we've had on the show have won, and I always mention if they do because it gives creators and their community the opportunity to connect deeper and more directly than like on social media. So you can check that out, patreon.com/claycarnill. There's a link in the show notes to that. All of the proceeds from my patreons go to this amazing climate justice organization, I'm sure you've heard of it, Intersectional Environmentalist. Shout out to Leah Thomas, former guest on this podcast. I don't really post on social media much, but I'm creating stuff all the time.

Clay: [00:55:39] So Patreon is like my little sandbox where I'm growing as an artist, a creator, producer, communicator and Emrys is creating stuff with me. So he's on there too. I love I love Patreon. So yeah, check that out. Quick story. When we were recording the song, as I'm sure you heard, Emrys burps at one point and then he gets the hiccups. So I tried not to laugh, but wasn't that the best? That was just the best. That was so much fun. I think actually that's the first time anyone has ever burped on our podcast. I cut them out if anybody does, I usually cut them out. But this one we kept. He's only three years old. Isn't he amazing? He's amazing. And last thing on the music, if you have not heard of Bobby Charles, you are in for a real treat. I've included a link to my favourite album of his from 1972, as well as a link to the original version of the cover we did I Must Be in a Good Place Now. The best way I can describe that original recording is it sounds like what Golden Hour feels like it's warm and feel good and it kind of transports you to your favourite park or tree or nature spot in the summer. I think the photo for the single is, yeah, it's actually a dog playing with.

Clay: [00:57:05] Mr Charles under a tree. It's perfect. So check that out. And fun fact for all you music heads out there. Bobby Charles was a pioneer of a genre called Swamp Pop here in the US, so feel free to Google that as well. And of course, thank you to Emrys for joining me in song on the show. Thank you everyone for listening. And this weekend is actually my wife, Rae's birthday. So happy birthday to Rae. We love you and we're excited to spend your birthday together this weekend. It is tough to follow our distinguished guests this week because they're so amazing. Thank you to Johan Rockström and Sandrine Dixson. Check the show notes for a link to purchase their must read book. If you haven't looked it up already, Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity. Yeah. Again a must read. I expect to see it on all of your shelves behind you on Zoom from here on out. And also you can keep up with their work by checking the show notes for their social media accounts. And as mentioned in the episode, Johan has been on our podcast before. He might actually be our most recurring guest of all time. I actually need a fact check on that, but my gut says yes. Links to previous episodes with him are available to tap and listen to right now.

Clay: [00:58:27] Just in case you missed it, over the weekend, we posted a Weekend Rewind version of our podcast with a conversation that we had with Nicola Sturgeon in 2021, and there's a short message at the beginning of it directly from Christiana about the state of leadership that I think you should hear. It's the episode directly before this one in your feed. Make sure you don't miss that. I have mentioned it before, but we are now a TED podcast, part of the TED audio collective, TED.com/podcasts is where you can find more podcasts to listen to, I keep saying they're podcasts for the curious, I don't even know where that phrase came from, but it's true. And if you like this podcast, please leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and also join us online for more Outrage and Optimism happening in the world, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram @ OutrageOptimism. Check us out. Okay. That is everything for this week. It's time for me to go wrap Rae's birthday present in some used paper bags or leftover newspaper. I am absolute trash at wrapping gifts, so wish me luck. And we miss Tom this week. Tom, we miss you. He'll be back next week. I actually don't know where he is, so maybe we'll find out next week on the show where he was. New episode coming on Thursday. We'll see you then.


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