Shaping The Future - From Pandemic to Climate Change
Interviews with environmental / climate change experts discussing the choices we collectively face in determining what future we will shape for ourselves, future generations and all other life within the biosphere. The podcast is produced by Nick Breeze and hosted on the CCLS website, as an appendage to the series.
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In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with Glaciologist, Dr Heidi Sevestre, about the changing state of the Arctic, the outlook for the Russian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, of which Heidi herself is an advisor, and how thawing permafrost could be past the threshold of irreversibility.
Heidi combines the spirit of the modern polar explorer with the weight of important scientific work. She is also an excellent communicator and will be speaking at the ChangeNow climate summit later this month in the company of Sir David Attenborough and world-renowned scientist, Johan Rockström, who will be premiering their new documentary, Breaking Boundaries, as part of the virtual summit.
Heidi also gives her perspective on why we literally must fight hard to limit global average warming to 1.5ºC, giving a rare insight into how someone who wanted to be a glaciologist from a very young age actually feels about the rate of loss of the world's glaciers.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking with the Director of Development and Communications at EarthLanka, Saffran Mihnar. Saffran is an advocate for climate solutions focused on communication, campaigning, and policy negotiations.
In this discussion, we discuss the struggles ahead for any journey towards zero or even net emissions.
The UN Conference of the Parties (or COP) process is over a quarter of a century old and has achieved little by way of reducing global emissions but as a regular participant, Saffran offers a voice that speaks to people like me as to why we have to redouble our efforts and start on a real journey to try and save the global commons.
A big part of this journey is about climate justice for those in the least developed and developing nations. Consumption in rich countries is currently a death sentence, first for the poorest on Earth, and eventually the majority of us.
We discuss why aligning our personal and human interests with those of the wider world and ecology is, in the long run, good for all of us.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am talking to Dr Wolfgang Knorr - a climate scientist with over 25 years working for many agencies and laboratories around the world.
Currently, Wolfgang is a Senior Research Scientist at Lund University measuring CO2 fluxes from terrestrial vegetation and human activities among other things.
This conversation is to discuss the concerns that he and his colleagues have about the use or misuse of the term Net Zero and their concern that collectively we are setting ourselves up for failure in tackling the climate crisis.
The safest pathway to the future means a radical transformation of our societies and yet the net-zero narrative is one of incremental changes and technology that does not exist.
In this critical moment when we are expected to do what is necessary, we have instead collectively chosen to ignore the risks and lock in a business-as-usual approach.
Welcome to Shaping The Future - in this special Earth Day Episode I am discussing the exciting prospect of how we can turn the global agricultural large-scale carbon source into a potential carbon sink.
This would mean bringing back our soils that have lost an estimated 50 billion tonnes of carbon since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Agriculture accounts for over 20% of our global carbon footprint so this is a big subject.
I am speaking to Julien Gervreau, Vice President of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, a company that has committed to the UN-backed pledge to Race To Zero emissions by 2050, if not then much sooner.
One business with the best intentions amounts to very little when we are talking about the scale of the climate issue. Jackson has joined forces with Familia Torres in Spain, and Symington Family Estates in Portugal as well as a growing number of other wineries committed to going beyond carbon neutral and turning agriculture green.
International Wineries For Climate Action (IWCA)
Here we discuss how the wine industry, which amounts to only 1.8% of global agriculture, can play an important role in driving a new trend of regenerative farming that is better for the biosphere and better for us as consumers.
Welcome to Shaping The Future. In this episode, I am speaking with Dr Sebastian Rosier about his work studying the tipping points in Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier.
Antarctica is of course absolutely huge and the Pine Island Glacier is just one part of it. If Pine Island collapsed into the ocean it would raise sea levels by several metres which would be catastrophic for many coastal areas around the world.
Sebastian discusses his view of whether we have crossed this tipping point that is part of this complex system being impacted by the billions of tonnes of carbon pollution we pump into the atmosphere each year.
This all highlights that this is the decade we must get to work restoring the biosphere if we are avoid the consequences of extreme global heating.
This was recorded as a collaboration between my podcast Shaping The Future, Cambridge Zero and the Cambridge Festival. Below is more information. Includes excerpt with Dr Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of Canterbury, on his thoughts on geoengineering research.
Professor David Keith speaks about why solar geoengineering must be researched to see if it can secure a safe climate of 1.5ºC as a high-value benefit to humanity.
David Keith is the foremost expert on solar geoengineering in the world having been involved in research for over 30 years. As well as being an adviser to Bill Gates, he is also on the Scope Ex team that is planning to carry out preliminary research this year to test the viability of aerosol particle injection into the stratosphere to cool the Earth.
In this episode of Shaping The Future I am speaking to philosopher, author and climate activist Professor Rupert Read. Rupert has organised the ‘Philosophy Public Lecture Series 2021: Bad News is Good News? The Upside of Down’
The series seeks to ask if there is any silver lining from the tragedy of Covid and what can be learned in the context of living through ecological break-down.
Here we discuss some of the underlying themes and also what exactly is meant by the term ‘transformational adaptation’.
Other participants include author of The Great Derangement, Amitav Ghosh, as well Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, and Sophie Scott-Brown, Nick Brooks and Joanne Clark.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I am speaking to climate scientist Professor James Renwick, about the scale of the risks posed by the melting of the East and West Antarctic ice sheets due to human emissions from our relentless burning of fossil fuels.
Sea-level rise is the most obvious impact that will destroy cities around the world but there are also other less obvious impacts on agriculture and population displacement that can also lead to conflict if we choose to continue to do nothing.
James is based at Victoria University in New Zealand specialising in large-scale climate variations and was awarded the Prime Ministers Science Prize by Jacinda Ardern in 2018.
Welcome to Shaping Te Future - in this episode, I am talking with Saima Wazed who is one of the 25 experts advising the World Health Organisation’s panel on mental health and she is also the founder of the Not For Profit Shuchona Foundation.
Recently Saima has also taken up the role of the Thematic Ambassador for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which represents 48 countries and 1.2 billion people, who are on the frontlines of climate change.
There is a widespread tendency among many of us to view the climate crisis as a future issue. Many people feel extreme anxiety about what the future holds and the lack of progress being made to change to a sustainable course.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum represents countries where populations are experiencing extreme impacts today, losing loved ones, livelihoods and their homes. Saima highlights the parallels between the impact of extreme climate and the pressures that vulnerable people from all walks of life are faced with.
The question we must ask is whether we can now start to use empathy as a tool to make the big leaps towards true sustainability beyond the confines of empty rhetoric?
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - we have many more interviews to follow in this all-important year. Please subscribe on your preferred channel to catch each episode.
In this special inserted episode of Shaping The Future, we are discussing the 15th National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (or NOAA) Arctic Report Card that was published this week giving a detailed overview of how climate is changing the Arctic.
Zack helps to break down the complexity of this annual report and highlights some of the major impacts that climate change is bringing to the polar Arctic region.
With melting sea ice, extreme wildfires and the expanding population of Bowhead whales, the Arctic is a region changing before our eyes and one that has direct implications for weather patterns at lower latitudes.
What is happening in the Arctic is literally the bellwether for the accelerating climate trends we see throughout the biosphere. It is also a ringing reminder for why we need to drastically cut emissions immediately and reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.
Zack also gives us his personal view on whether geoengineering should be considered as part of a wider strategy for cooling or refreezing the Arctic.
Thank you for listening to Shaping The Future - the Arctic report card is linked to in the notes below. Subscribe to the podcast on any of the main podcasting channels.