The future is in our hands: Building back better must be clean, healthy and equitable

Dear Friends,

We hope this email reaches you in good health. As the economic impacts of the health pandemic continue to dominate our thoughts, the headlines and the lives of most societies, two things are clear. Firstly, the emissions reductions – predicted to drop by a remarkable 8% this year – and the resilience of nature resulting from cessation of economic activity, are only temporary. This is not what tackling climate change looks like. Secondly, the waves of economic stimulus, which may amount to as much $20 trillion globally over the next 18 months, will determine the contours of the global economy for the next decade or more. This is precisely the decade during which climate science warns that we must cut global emissions by half in order to get onto the only safe trajectory. We must build back better – clean, healthy and more equitable – through deliberate, intentional sustained (and not inadvertent) decisions that embed the conditions for climate resilience into the rescue and recovery packages.

If you, like many, feel powerless in the face of these huge decisions taking place in rooms (or Zooms!) that seem removed from your day to day influence, I encourage you to watch Tom Rivett- Carnac’s TED Talk, entitled How to shift your mindset and choose your future. In less than a month, it has already received more than 1.2 million views. To quote one viewer’s comment: “You have inspired me to approach this Pandemic and our Climate first from a place of *Love not *Fear*, and then to do what is mine to do. Thank you!”

Outrage + Optimism: One year, fifty brilliant guests, one clear message

As many of you know, Tom Rivett-Carnac, Paul Dickinson and I co-present a lively weekly podcast.

We recently celebrated the first anniversary of Outrage + Optimism, which coincided with Outrage + Optimism being named an Honoree in the 2020 Webby Awards. Over the last year we have talked to fifty of the most outraged activists, politicians, writers, historians, economists, scientists, and celebrities. We thank them all for sharing their voices and their gritty, determined, stubborn optimism with us and our tens of thousands of listeners.

We started Outrage + Optimism with absolutely no experience in the world of podcasting. Our
motivation was simply to do what we could to infuse the media ecosystem with regular and inspiring content about tackling what is undoubtedly the most pressing and pervasive issue of our time, and with the intent of activating audiences from all sectors to play their part in forging both the systemic and behavioural shifts necessary to cut emissions in half over the next decade.

On a recent episode featuring Jane Fonda, she talked about how each of us, whether experts or not, can be a messenger, choosing to be part of the solutions to the climate crisis through our actions and by using our voices.

We hope you will continue to support Outrage + Optimism with your listening time – and please encourage your friends to sign up for news about forthcoming episodes – we have much more in store in our second year.

Amidst the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic and home confinement, our collective awareness of
nature’s many benefits have been heightened.

The FT is running a free to read series asking leading commentators and policymakers what to
expect from a post-Covid-19 future.

We are so often asked by parents for advice on how and when to talk to young children about
climate change.

In stubborn optimism,