The future is in our hands: Building back better must be clean, healthy and equitable
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 right investment in ecosystems around the world
— such as forests, grasslands and wetlands — can tremendously benefit climate change,
biodiversity, and human health and wellbeing. The world is ready to take Nature-Based Solutions to
scale. Financial and political backing by governments, corporate leaders, NGOs, civil society and others could be the game-changer that drives a resurgent bottom-up movement of local actions
with global significance. We must not squander this opportunity. Nature-Based Solutions cannot be
used as a reason to defer ambitious cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, cover for investments that
lock-in high-carbon resources, nor an excuse to lift environmental protections. It’s important that
nature-based activities be complemented by emissions reductions at source, comprehensive climate policies and proper accountability. To ensure that we capitalize on the immense opportunity that
Nature-Based Solutions provide, environmental scientists and NGOs outlined evidence-based
guidelines for Nature-Based Solutions, which you can read here. The next phase of this campaign will
move forward very soon – join us in support of a growing paradigm, tackling climate resilience by
both reducing emissions and restoring nature.
The FT is running a free to read series asking leading commentators and policymakers what to
expect from a post-Covid-19 future.
I was pleased to provide my analysis, arguing that the most
consequential question looming over us right now is not whether we can address the Covid-19 crisis
and climate change at the same time, but rather whether we can afford not to do so.
We are so often asked by parents for advice on how and when to talk to young children about
To help many families to talk about the strangeness of this moment, the resurgence
of nature and how to see this time as an opportunity to intentionally regenerate a new world we can
build together, Tom Rivett-Carnac and his talented sister, Bee Rivett-Carnac have created a free
digital book for parents. Please download and share the book here(hyperlink) and watch the beautiful TED Ed animated video inspired by the poem in the book and narrated by Jane Goodall.
In stubborn optimism,