BONUS: Outrage + Optimism is 100 Episodes Strong! with Christiana, Tom and Paul
Outrage + Optimism is celebrating 100 episodes!
In this episode, we reminisce about our humble beginnings as a podcast and celebrate some memories made along the way. Not only are we celebrating 100 episodes but we also are turning 2 as a podcast! Yes!
So pour yourself a drink, light a candle, and join us for a moment together as we glance back and focus forward.
And! Dreams do come true because Paul Dickinson is our musical guest this week. You won’t want to miss.
Christiana + Tom’s book ‘The Future We Choose’ is available now!
Subscribe to our Climate Action Newsletter: Signals Amidst The Noise
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism to a special bonus, 100th episode edition. My name is Tom Rivett-Carnac.
Christiana Figueres: [00:00:19] It’s not only our one hundredth episode, it’s also our second year on the air. My name is Christiana Figueres.
Paul Dickinson: [00:00:28] And my name is Paul Dickinson. And I’m so glad to be 100 episodes and two years. And what’s that strange dingling noise that we keep hearing? Is it just me or is that everybody? That one? Do you not hear that noise?
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:00:45] Thanks for being here, everyone.
So well, Paul tries to work out what the dingly noise he’s hearing is. Thank you for joining us. This is a very exciting day for us. This is slightly self-indulgent. It’s just us. There’s no one else here with us. Normally we bring you a special guest and music and all sorts of other things, but it’s just little old us. And we wanted to just say hi and say we are so thrilled that we made it this far. Who would have thought all that time ago that our podcast would have made it to 100 episodes and two years in? I’ve got to say, it’s been a lot of fun and it’s all because of you. The listener has got behind this and made it happen. So we’re here to have a bit of a chat, celebrate with you and enjoy the fact that we’ve done this together. And Paul is still looking. I mean, you’d think, wouldn’t you, Christiana? After 100 episodes, Paul would have worked out what the weird noise coming through his headphones is.
Paul Dickinson: [00:01:36] I’ve turned off all these browsers. I mean, essentially, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in a kind of fight with computers for about the last 20 years. Many of them do not work as well as they should do and sometimes competition between different software companies causes things to go wrong. And then there’s adverts and then there’s upgrades, which I call greed change. So sorry, I’m just letting off steam.
Christiana Figueres: [00:01:56] Now, despite all of that.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:02:00] Fascinating analysis.
Christiana Figueres: [00:02:02] Guys, I thought it would be fun to remember our very first episodes. Do you remember when we rented a little apartment? I think it was in Barcelona. Because we were still we were still in that time of human history when we actually did things together in person. And we rented a very eclectically furnished. I was flabbergasted when we walked in. And it was one it was either our first or one of our first episodes. And we honestly had no idea what we were doing. Tom was trying to figure out how does he edit the episode?
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:02:51] I was the editor.
Christiana Figueres: [00:02:54] We were trying to figure out how do we improve the quality of the sound. So in this immaculately, very expensively furnished apartment, we completely redid the entire living room area, put cushions everywhere differently. Changed the sofas, the couches. Oh, my goodness, we made a mess in that flat. I don’t think the owner ever got back to his or her original decor, but we had a lot of fun. It was sort of the podcast version of a pillow fight.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:03:32] We had a lot of fun. And I remember being slightly tense. I remember having a very good time, but also because I was trying to figure out the sound and we had these weird little mics. Everyone had to stay like, absolutely stockstill had not turned to face anyone else or else I’d get really panicked about the sound quality and the cushions wouldn’t sort of quite work. I remember. Clay I’m very grateful that you’re here now because I didn’t do a very good job.
Clay Carnill: [00:03:52] I feel needed. I feel very needed. But hey, you did a good job, you know, because it’s all about the cushions.
Christiana Figueres: [00:03:57] And then there was another one where I think we were in California, maybe L.A. or San Fran, that we had so much noise coming from the streets that we had to lock ourselves into the bathroom.
Paul Dickinson: [00:04:08] That was in San Francisco for sure. Yeah, but this was all, you know that historical reference, B.C. before Clay, but now we are A.C. After Clay and all is well forever and in our in our sound universe. But yes, no, it was odd to be in a toilet in a hotel room in San Francisco. Three of us. I don’t even know if that’s legal in the United States.
Christiana Figueres: [00:04:31] Now Paul, in the United States. If you say “in a toilet“ that has a completely different meaning than in the UK. So for U.S. listeners or anybody outside the UK, what Paul really means is in the bathroom, not literally in the toilet.
Paul Dickinson: [00:04:46] Oh, yes. Everyone else in the world is so polite that they say bathroom. But in the bathroom, there wasn’t just a bath. That’s what I’m saying. There was something else associated with food.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:04:56] And those were the days when the podcast was not called Outrage + Optimism. It was called It’s Going to be Tremendous. Paul, do you want to give us a rendition?
Paul Dickinson: [00:05:03] It’s Going to be Tremendous!
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:05:06] There you go. There’s an old school one and then what we did is we started like that and those episodes had quite a different vibe and we listened to you, the listener, and everyone felt it was too optimistic, even for us, that there needed to be some grit, some outrage. And that’s part that was a big, important part of our journey, actually, that we realized there had to be light and shade in how we did the podcasting.
Paul Dickinson: [00:05:28] In fact, it is shade that defines light.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:05:31] There you go. Our resident philosopher
Christiana Figueres: [00:05:32] Do I remember correctly? I usually have a very bad memory, so I’m impressed that I remember anything today. Do I remember correctly that we came up with the new name Outrage + Optimism when we went to a little house close to your previous home, Tom?
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:05:50] No, we came up with the title Outrage + Optimism in upstate New York. Actually, I seem to remember. And you picked up a twig that had a forked end and you gave us a sort of 20 minute talk about how the stick was balanced and it contained both outrage and optimism. And I stopped listening after the first 30 seconds and thought Outrage + Optimism would be a good name for the podcast. And so I spent the rest of your talk thinking about that..
Paul Dickinson: [00:06:15] Well, it’s a very good name and has served us extremely well, so that was jolly good fortune and many good friends helping us along the way with bits of advice and support and all the rest of it. And, yes, quite an extraordinary journey. So let me ask you, Tom Carnac, Tom Rivett-Carnac, you changed your name during the podcast. But what are the most memorable moments you’ve had making the podcast? Name one or two.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:06:46] Well, I mean, there’s a few and I think this isn’t a moment, but it’s been an overall feeling is that we never knew this when we started the podcast. But it has accompanied us through this very bizarre global period of lockdown where we’ve all been separated out in our homes and everyone’s been very bad at being anything other than effective on Zoom, by which I mean transactional. Most meetings I have on Zoom are transactional. Here’s the business we get to it. Bang. Zoom meeting ends. Another one begins, very transactional.
Paul Dickinson: [00:07:23] Global productivity rises, global humanity plummets.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:07:25] Right. But we are anything but productive on these on the podcast evenings.
Paul Dickinson: [00:07:31] New ways to decrease our productivity that I’ve been working on.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:07:36] And we have a good time. So it’s not really a moment, but as it’s now gone on for two years. It’s a real feature of my life. Right. Tuesday night. Get together, hang out with you two, drink cup of tea and talk about the week. And that’s been a really wonderful part of my life in this period of time when we’ve all been separated off in our homes. So that’s a big thing for me.
Christiana Figueres: [00:07:59] And you Paul?
Paul Dickinson: [00:08:01] It’s more than listener by the way, you said to start this. But it’s more than a million listeners, it’s a great honor for us to be able to have so many people join us and to have such a great team supporting us, trying to think about what might be really useful for this growing movement. And I keep learning from all these incredibly brilliant people I speak to. But I’m going to reference one thing, which I think I’ve mentioned before once, but it just completely blew my mind that I have a friend who’s a lawyer at a law firm, and I phoned him up to get some advice and he gave me some advice. And then at the end of the call, he said, it’s very strange talking to you. And I said, why is that? He said, Because I feel I know so much about your inner life and mind from listening to Outrage + Optimism. And I thought what on earth am I saying? Like to people around the world. So that was a bit of a shock, but very, very nice comments from listeners is just the best part of a day.
Christiana Figueres: [00:08:50] It hasn’t stopped you from sharing, Paul.
Paul Dickinson: [00:08:54] Well, you know, you can try and stop me sharing. But unfortunately, I’ve got that kind of oversharing tendency.
Christiana Figueres: [00:09:00] Thank heavens for that.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:09:02] Paul tends to share more when he gets nervous. Very unfortunate.
Christiana Figueres: [00:09:05] Thank heavens.
Paul Dickinson: [00:09:07] If there’s another awkward silence, I’ve got ten more secrets.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:09:10] What about you, Christiana?
Christiana Figueres: [00:09:12] I agree that the rhythm that we have here of once a week getting the three of us together to do this together with Sharon and Clay and Dan and everyone else who’s been a company of us, has given a nice rhythm to the week and also kept us connected as friends. Because I think if we hadn’t done this, we would still be colleagues because we’re all working on the same issues. But this is a different connection. Right? This is not as you said, not transactional, it’s not part of our other engagements that we have out there. And it’s been really nice for the three of us to keep connected as friends through this time when there has been so, so little opportunity to have a glass of wine together, light a candle, chat, you know, it just hasn’t been possible. So it’s just been really nice. It’s a different way of connecting at different depth.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:10:28] Podcasting is also such a new medium. I mean, obviously, it’s developed a lot of momentum now and there are some terrifying statistics about the number of podcasts launched every day. But there’s something I like about the immediacy of it. Right. That we’re not trying to write treaties that will be written in stone, that will always be referred to as our view of the world for all time. It’s very of the moment. And you’re thinking some weeks you’re outraged, some weeks you’re optimistic, some weeks it’s looking terrible. And then you go through the highs and the lows and for listeners, we really feel like you’re sort of coming with us as we kind of go through that and we try and navigate the sort of stormy seas of this difficult decade. I think it’s a really good medium for working out how we think and feel about what we’re all facing right now.
Paul Dickinson: [00:11:12] So just away from us, I’m going to just give you some tiny highlights that for me have really touched me from our brilliant guests. One is the focus and the passion of John Kerry. When Elizabeth Kolbert said that the sky might go white as a result of geoengineering and we’d lose our blue skies, I felt my spine turn to ice. When Kim Stanley Robinson was talking us through the Ministry of the Future. And we could have a really free chat about what the future of the world might be like. And so exciting to have conversations today about the world becoming wild again in large part. Laurence Tubiana in the Paris effect saying, I can do no more to a roomful of government delegates and crying and then coming up and hugging her. I was really very moved by that story, to be able to address my own Prince William as William without royal protocol and preceding title, that was fun. On a more serious note, it was brilliant to hear about the power of culture to change politics, which I think is incredibly true. Jane Fonda saying that famous people are repeaters and some of that incredible story of Joaquin Phoenix being at a public event and saying, I’m not the person you need to talk to. This is the person you need to talk to and hearing from the actual person that was related to the event. Kevin Rudd talking about inferno in Australia and last of all, Isra Hirsi explaining why white people need to go and campaign on climate change because it’s not safe for black people to demonstrate often in front of law enforcement. Yeah, these kind of just revelations to me, you know I’m learning so much from our guests, and that’s a great honour.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:12:50] And I think also what you just said demonstrates something else which the listeners should understand, which is a fundamental problem with this podcast, which is Paul does preparation and Christiana and I don’t.
Paul Dickinson: [00:12:59] Yeah, well, that’s true.
Christiana Figueres: [00:13:03] Have you noticed that Paul?
Paul Dickinson: [00:13:04] Clay and I are looking for other people that could, not replace you two, but could join us and maybe spend more time with me, you know, taking it up a couple of levels.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:13:17] I sort of naturally assume that at some point Paul will leave us and get a job as a CNBC host.
Paul Dickinson: [00:13:22] And I’m so available if there are talent people who want me to multi podcast not, I would leave this one, but I might join another. All right. I’ve got another question I’ve got to ask you. What surprised you or delighted you most about becoming a podcaster?
Christiana Figueres: [00:13:41] That we can do it!
Paul Dickinson: [00:13:45] You can do it if you put your back into it. If I can quote a famous song,
Christiana Figueres: [00:13:48] I mean, I have to remind you, this whole thing started with Tom calling me one day and he goes ‘What do you think about doing a podcast?’ And me saying, and what on earth is a podcast? So there you go. There is the origin.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:14:03] One of the great lessons in life, I think, is that being prepared to have a go and learn in public and just figure stuff out as you go is really one of the keys to getting stuff done in life. And this podcast has been a major example of that. I mean, we couldn’t have had less experience in how to do some of those when we started. But I think it’s been great and I think we’re reasonably good at it now.
Paul Dickinson: [00:14:23] That’s that’s very beautifully put Tom, I think that’s a great human truth you just come up with. But I’m also a little bit shocked, like you’ve never actually asked me to come on the podcast. You just told me that we were doing one. And I remember that like not being asked, but here we are two years later.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: So, Paul, would you like to come on a podcast with us?
Paul Dickinson: Yes, fantastic. Brilliant. Absolutely!
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:14:48] Wow. That’s been corked up for a while.
Paul Dickinson: [00:14:50] Ok, thank you. That took a while, but we’re now getting psychically correct.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:14:55] You really just led me into that.
Paul Dickinson: [00:14:56] So my my final interview question actually for you,
Christiana Figueres: [00:15:00] Paul, do we need to polish your shoes for you to join us? Get down on our knees. No, wait, hold on. You already said yes. So why am I giving you all of this space.
Paul Dickinson: [00:15:16] Because it sounded so good, like the idea of actually having this kind of, in inverted commas, respect.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:15:24] Getting down on knees. That’s just given me it reminded me of something which I have to share and maybe Clay will cut this out. We’ll find out. I remember joining CDP in 2006 and joining CDP and then spending like six months. And then for some reason, I can’t remember what it was, but I made some sale like I sold £30,000 worth of something at CDP and then walked into the office the next morning and pulled Dickinson, met me at the door, went down on his knees, and then actually lay on the ground and kissed my shoes. And I have never felt more awkward in my life.
Paul Dickinson: [00:15:53] Yeah, that got kind of banned by the HR department. So I said, yeah, know, we kind of get the idea, but no it’s not working really people don’t like it, you know. So fair enough. But I mean, you know, if you’re an NGO, it can help getting a little bit of income. So look, I’m so glad. Please don’t. I can do nothing but genuflect for two people who have absolutely changed the world. Christiana, everybody knows what you did and I know that Tom helped. And I think that together the two of you are the most awesome couple. Your book is absolutely brilliant. The Future We Choose and everything that you’ve done with Global Optimism touches me very deeply. Now, I’ve got one more question for you both. Looking back over the last years, what has you feeling outraged and what has you now feeling optimistic? Is it the same or has it changed over the last two years?
Christiana Figueres: [00:16:50] I think I am becoming more and more aware of the competition between those two. I am becoming more aware of the urgency, the emergency, of the exponential growth of damage today, as well as built in damage tomorrow. Yeah, I was always aware, but it’s become much more visceral to me. And I’m also much more aware of how much we’re actually doing. I used to gravitate immediately toward optimism, and now I see that I am gravitating toward a fulcrum that moves in either direction, depending on. And I am acutely aware of that fulcrum much more than I was before. I don’t know if that’s an answer to a question.
Paul Dickinson: [00:18:04] Well, it’s a perfect answer to the question, Christiana, and also quite soulful and profound. Tom?
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:18:12] Well, I mean, Christiana said it very well, I think that we’ve only been doing this podcast for two years, but even in that time period, the scale of where we are, what we’re facing and how quickly things are changing has unfolded. I mean, in that two year period we started pretty soon after the IPCC report on one point five or we saw really what the consequences are. And just this week, there was a piece of research that came out that showed that the Amazon is now a net contributor of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and not a sink anymore. Now, it’s sort of impossible to overstate just how bad that is and just what a signifier of an irreversible change that could be. And so outrage doesn’t really feel like it’s a choice anymore. And it’s sort of the urgency of the emergency is just becoming more and more evident every day. And, you know, as both speed up Christiana, you’ve often talked about these two competing exponential curves. It’s quite hard to live through exponential curves. It can be quite exhausting. You need to find a way to sort of manage that, to both feel what’s really happening because you don’t want to close down and not feel the reality of what’s going on. At the same time, it’s kind of scary to realize the scale of what we’re facing. So it can be quite difficult, I think, to work out how you feel about it sometimes because it can feel overwhelming and you break it down to smaller pieces and then you can feel excited about certain changes and you can feel outraged about certain smaller changes. But to kind of put your arms around the totality of it as it just speeds away from you can be quite hard. So I think we need to give ourselves a chance to feel both elements of that, because otherwise it’s only going to get more confusing as those trends both get faster and faster.
Paul Dickinson: [00:20:00] My dear friend Ed Gillespie has a podcast called The Great Humbling, and that’s his way of trying to draw attention to kind of where we are. But the good news is that before we started this podcast, the previous president had pulled out of the Paris agreement. Now we have a new president who’s bought back in, in no uncertain terms, the global diplomacy is at full tilt. You know, we’ve got more than 70 percent of the world economy committed to net zero before 2060 and certainly most of it by 2050. So we’ve got so much more that we can be positive about while still accepting the shock and character of the situation we’re in. And I look at an economy that still sort of, 80 percent well, say 50/60 percent devoted to kind of luxury and not this crisis., and I noticed that there’s still a long way to go before we’ve steeled ourselves to the changes we need but I have hope and believe we will.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:21:10] I think also I mean, I think one of the exciting things is that this is it. It was always going to come to this point. It feels like it’s all been the phoney war up to now and now this decade we’re going to find out if we’re serious about dealing with this. And that’s an incredibly exciting time to live through, because now this is about change. It’s about implementation, it’s about actions, about change. Things are going to shift quickly. We’re going to have to keep up with it. We’re going to have to keep pushing, work out how to be effective. I mean, it’s just an unbelievable privilege to be able to do this work right now. In a way, that’s what we need to know.
Christiana Figueres: [00:21:41] Yeah, I totally agree. This is it.
Paul Dickinson: [00:21:45] We are living in interesting times
Christiana Figueres: [00:21:47] And we better not screw it up,
Paul Dickinson: [00:21:50] Not screw it up.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:21:53] Cool. All right. Well, listeners, thank you. This is all about you. We’re doing this because we hear from you. We hear that this podcast makes a difference. As I think you can probably tell, we have a lot of fun. We really enjoy connecting with each other. We love hearing from you. Thank you for listening. It’s made all the difference. We really, really are grateful. We appreciate it. Keep writing to us and we will keep doing this and tell us if we can change it. Paul laughing What’s wrong?
Paul Dickinson: [00:22:18] I just- I’ve got this image of a ringtone on my phone of Christiana just saying ‘better not screw it up’ every time somebody calls. I think it would help me be kind of alert to the stakes.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:22:32] We should post that ringtone for listeners.
Clay Carnill: [00:22:35] Definitely should. I’ll post the file and then we’ll write some instructions on how to put it on your phone.
Paul Dickinson: [00:22:43] That is great, because if someone’s in a meeting and suddenly it’s like you hear Christiana saying, better not screw it up, you know that’s an O+O listener.
Clay Carnill: [00:22:53] That’s perfect. Stay tuned. Everyone we’ll get that out to you. It’s coming.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:22:57] So now, listeners, one of the great things about this podcast over the last year has been the addition of music. I really hope you enjoyed some of the incredible musical bands who have joined us. This week we have something a bit different,
Paul Dickinson: [00:23:19] Well, I mean, you know, different aspects, different facet of the same jewel, if you will.
Tom Rivett-Carnac: [00:23:26] Ladies and gentlemen, either by public demand or in spite of it. We are pleased to welcome and present the musical stylings of Paul Dickinson. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you soon.
Christiana Figueres: [00:23:38] Bye.