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. Am speaking with Christian Kroll, founder and CEO of Ecosia, the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine that actually uses profits to plant trees.
Christian has built a true 21st-century enterprise that sees profit in terms of how much carbon they can lock up while respecting privacy and paying taxes.
To paraphrase Christian: no one should be able to call themselves a billionaire until they absorb a billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.
Every Ad clicked on the Ecosia search engine means that trees get planted that support communities and the environment.
It is a simple choice that all of us can make, to switch a daily activity, like web searching, to actually having a positive impact on the climate.
Christian also talks about a growing generation of green technology innovators who are doing things differently.
Forget the usual billionaires with macho space toys and start listening to the next generation who are focused on repairing the Earth and shaping a world that is actually better for all of us.
In this episode of Shaping The Future, I speak with author, Allison Cobb, about her new book titled ‘Plastic - An Autobiography’.
With poetic sensitivity, Allison explores the complexity of how plastic has become part of our lives and how this material, that can endure for generations, has been wilfully categorised as a ‘single use’ disposable product becoming as ubiquitous as food with a highly toxic indigestible after-life.
This autobiography is also personal, linking the horrendous WW2 invasion of Poland with her ancestors who also worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory on the now infamous Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb.
This is a story about complexity, personal journey and the plasticity of of all life as we venture forth into the next big existential challenge of preventing climate and ecological collapse.
In this second episode of the methane miniseries, I speak to Professor Orjan Gustafsson from Stockholm University about his team’s ongoing collaboration with the Russian research team, led by Professor Igor Semiletov, investigating the Siberian Arctic.
Orjan has published over 80 research papers jointly with his Russian colleagues on their findings in the Russian Arctic over the course of more than a decade. In this episode, he highlights why understanding this region is among one of the most important research areas in climate change today.
Despite the complexity of geopolitics that often infects peoples thinking in dealing with Russia, the opportunities for scientific collaboration in pursuit of critical knowledge can, in the long run, prove more beneficial than any short term political aims.
There are many more episodes being recorded. In fact, I am working really hard to turn them all around. Please do subscribe and all feedback is much appreciated.
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.