Green Miniseries Part II: The Commitment

‘This ice was melting 4 months before it ever had melted and it was terrifying.  That, for me, was the beginning of saying ‘this is happening!’ Robert Swan

In celebration of Earth Day, Global GoalsCast will release the second episode of the Green Miniseries. In this episode, join veteran explorer,  Robert Swan on the bottom of the earth where we find him not elated, but heartbroken. He’s just discovered his boat has sunk, leaving him $1.2 million in debt and reneging on his promise to look after Antarctica.  

Robert’s exploration of the South Pole takes place the same year the hole in the ozone is discovered above the continent and the human impact on the stratosphere is beginning to be understood.  Global GoalsCast hosts explore the current ozone layer repair efforts and are joined by British Antarctic Survey’s Jon Shanklin – part of the team who discovered the hole in the Ozone layer – and Nathan Kurtz – of NASA’s IceBridge project documenting the glacial retreat – to dig into the realities that fueled Robert’s crusade.  

Travel with us to discover the surprising friendship, born of Robert’s obsession with Captain Scott, that restores his grit and determination to erase his debt, make good on his commitment to the southern continent, and become the first man to walk to both the North and the South Poles. Then, meet Barney, Robert’s son, and hear how climate action strengthens their relationship as they create a personal mission to protect the planet, together.

Featured guests

Robert Swan

Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.

Barney Swan

Barney Swan was born in London, United Kingdom, and then moved to tropical Far North Queensland, Australia at the age of 7. Being raised off grid in Australia helped him developed an acute understanding of how valuable energy is, with conveniences often not being an option. With degrees in Business and Multimedia, Barney now lives and works in California, co-directing 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Over the last 5 years, he has applied and trained skills in outdoor leadership, team management, & project strategy.

Nathan Kurtz

Nathan Kurtz received the B.S. degree in Physics from Iowa State University in 2004, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He joined the Cryospheric Sciences Branch in the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2013. His research interests are in remote sensing of the polar regions with an emphasis on the use radar and laser altimetry data. He is currently the IceBridge Project Scientist and is the principle investigator responsible for the production of the IceBridge community sea ice data products.

Jonathan Shanklin

Born in Wrexham, and educated at King’s School, Chester, Jonathan Shanklin has worked for the British Antarctic Survey since 1977 after graduating from Cambridge University. In the early 1980s he was instrumental in the discovery of the Antarctic Ozone Hole with Joe Farman and Brian Gardiner. He has made 20 visits to the Antarctic and received the Polar Medal in 2006. Other interests include amateur astronomy, where he is an expert on comets, and botany, where he is county recorder for Cambridgeshire.

Additional Resources

Photo credit: British Antarctic Survey.

Click to view: The first comprehensive study of snowfall across Antarctica provides vital information in the study of future sea-level rise.

Photo: Dr Liz Thomas, lead author, measuring ice cores in the field. The study analysed 79 ice cores collected from across Antarctica revealing a 10% increase in snowfall over the last 200 years.


Coming Soon!

Our first blog post

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Green Miniseries Part I: The Promise

‘The draw was the place itself, the tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott.  There is no edge, there are no lies because it wants you dead.’ Robert Swan

Approximately 61% of all fresh water on the Earth is held in Antarctica.  The melting ice in Antarctica is a symptom of global warming, which impacts sea levels around the world. This treacherous, yet invaluable place, is the setting for the Green Miniseries as we follow the history and present day expeditions of explorers Robert and Barney Swan across Antarctica, and spreading the message about the importance of climate action to curb climate change.  This series begins with World Water Day, continues past Earth Day, until Ocean’s Day. 

In Part I of this miniseries, take a detailed look at the amazing career of veteran explorer, Robert Swan.  Listen and passionately experience how human vulnerability reflects the Earth’s fragility as this episode touches on the experiences of his previous expeditions to the North and South poles (he was the first explorer to reach both Poles) and the inspiration that these experiences played on his growing passion towards climate action and the preservation of Antarctica.  During this episode, Robert also reflects on the experiences, both the successes and failures, of great historical explorer Robert Falcon Scott who attempted a journey to the South Pole in the early 20th century.  Throughout the episode, hear how the impact of climate change affects Antarctica and the rest of the planet, from sea levels rising in Fiji to commercial extinction threatening the global shrimp population.

Featured guests

Robert Swan

Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.

Adam Baukus

As a Research Associate at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Adam’s work focuses on marine fisheries. He studies the distribution, abundance and behavior of a variety of finfish and shellfish species, such as cod, monkfish, herring and shrimp. The projects he works on are interdisciplinary so he works with a diverse group of people and we apply what we learn to things like fishing gear design to reduce bycatch, increase our understanding of ecological systems and increased knowledge and opportunities in seafood marketing.

Colles Stowell

A seafood-loving New Orleans native, Colles brings passion and dedication to classrooms, restaurants and communities as he discusses the myriad issues affecting seafood systems. He launched the non-profit One Fish Foundation in 2015 to talk to students of all ages about such critical issues as how seafood is harvested or farmed, climate change impacts on marine ecosystems, and fisheries management policies. The One Fish Foundation mission is to ensure students, their parents, consumers and local communities understand that where their seafood comes from, how and when it was harvested and even by whom matters.

Tom Perry

Tom Perry has worked for over ten years telling stories from across East-Asia and the Pacific, including four in the Solomon Islands as part of the Pacific’s largest peacekeeping/development operation, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Tom is currently the World Bank’s Team Leader for Pacific Communications where he has led the production of the World Bank’s Virtual Reality (VR) storytelling initiatives. Tom previously worked for humanitarian organization CARE International, leading CARE’s media and communications responses to disasters and humanitarian crises in South Sudan and Vanuatu.

Additional Resources


[00:00:00] Robert Swan: The draw was the place itself.  The tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott…

[00:00:10] Robert Falcon Scott: The eternal silence of the great white desert…

[00:00:13] RS: It was my first proper expedition…

[00:00:15] RScott: Cloudy columns of snowdrift advancing from the South…

[00:00:18] RS: The place itself has a fascination for me.

[00:00:21] RScott: Pale yellow grates held in the coming storm

[00:00:24] RS: There is no edge, there are no lies because it wants you dead…

[00:00:41] Edie Gorman Lush: Welcome to the Global GoalsCast.

[00:00:43] Claudia Romo Edelman: The Podcast that explores if we can change the world.

[00:00:46] EGL: This episode is the first in our Green Mini-Series, that we’re airing from Water Day to Earth Day to Ocean Day. 

[00:00:52] CRE: The whole series is about Robert and Barney Swan, Father and Son.

[00:00:56] EGL: I really wish I had a penny for every time I’ve heard you say that.

[00:00:59] CRE: I’d have some pennies for you.  Today, we are focussing on Water Day, and you might be wondering how this connects. Well, approximately 61 percent of all freshwater on the Earth is held in Antarctica. We’re talking about the Swans because their story mostly takes place in Antarctica and helps us illustrate how climate change could affect us all.

[00:01:23] EGL: The melting ice in Antarctica is a symptom of global warming which impacts sea levels around the world.

[00:01:29] CRE: This series is about Robert’s drive to walk to both the North and the South Poles.

[00:01:35] EGL: It’s about how he battled depression and financial ruin as a result of his polar obsession. 

[00:01:41] CRE: It’s about how Robert and his son, Barney, achieved another first – a trek to the South Pole surviving solely on renewable energy.

[00:01:51] EGL: We’re going to tell you about how human vulnerability reflects the earth’s fragility. And we’re going to tell you about how the Global Goals provide a way for us to protect the poles – the Earth’s early warning system.

[00:02:03] CRE: Well, that’s a lot of things in one episode.

[00:02:05] EGL: That is true, but we are ambitious!  We use stories to tease out the wider issues of the Global Goals.  With these episodes, we’re going to play some special music when we zoom out of Robert’s story to look at some other stories associated with Antarctica and what climate change and human impact has brought. Would you like to hear the music?

[00:02:24] CRE: I would.

[00:02:32] CRE: Well, that was nice music. Before we get to Robert Swan’s trek to Antarctica with his son, Barney, we want to take you back in history. Just at the time of the origin of Robert’s obsession with Antarctica.

[00:02:46] EGL: Let’s go back to before you knew him, to a time when he was discovering what really drove him.

[00:02:56] RS: “I saw a film on Christmas Day called ‘Scott of the Antarctic’…all about a very brave British explorer who got to the South Pole against huge odds, a tough journey.  You’ve got to imagine that Antarctica is twice the size of Australia and no one had ever been to the South Pole. And when Captain Scott arrived at the South Pole, they looked ahead and suddenly, they saw a flag in the middle of nowhere.  And realized that they’d been beaten to the South Pole by the greatest of all explorers, a gentleman from Norway called Roald Amundsen.  And he’d beaten Captain Scott and his poor team by one month. Think of that! And then very sadly on the way back he and his whole team died of starvation and cold out on the ice cap.  So deep down inside me, I had this feeling that maybe I could level the score. That was just a silly little thing as a kid I thought about”

[00:04:34] CRE: Even before those early explorations of Antarctica by Robert Swan’s heroes, came those looking for more than adventure and glory.   Captain Cook’s voyage in 1773 reported vast seal populations and that led to British and American hunters to head South. 

[00:04:54] EGL: I really like how you say voyage…OK, the polar region was considered untapped wealth. These original inhabitants of Antarctica were hunted and killed for their fur.  By the early 20th century seals were considered commercially extinct – no longer viable to catch.

[00:05:11] CRE: Yes, Edie, this is still happening all over the planet.  In the story you’re about to hear, commercial extinction is caused not by hunting, but possibly climate change, forcing fishermen in the Gulf of Maine to adapt.

[00:05:26] EGL: Colles Stowell of One Fish Foundation and Adam Baukus of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute tell us more.

[00:05:35] CS:It started in 2011 when the harvest of Northern Shrimp ‘pandalus borealis’ dropped off more than 50%. And then from 2011 to 2012, it dropped by more than 150%. It went from about 2500 metric tonnes of Northern Shrimp in the northern Atlantic, down to about 350 metric tonnes. So, they immediately put a moratorium on the shrimp.

[00:06:10] AB: “So right now the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than many other places in the ocean, making it less and less hospitable for shrimp. The survival of the eggs, the juveniles, the adults and their spawning behaviour is all closely affected by temperature, and shrimp prefer colder water. We use acoustic instruments which are basically a fancy version of a fish finder that you see in many boats. We developed a survey using 10 boats spread across the coast to go out and look for shrimp to determine if they are moving further East perhaps chasing colder water temperature. The preliminary results definitely showed us that we saw shrimp signal even further East in colder waters than historically would expect to see shrimp”.

 [00:06:55] EGL: And it’s not just Shrimp. There are worrying signs that Lobster numbers are declining, Colles Stowell again…… (Coles Stow-ell)

[00:07:02] CLIP: Colles “This recent study suggests that if global warming keeps at its pace in warming up the Gulf of Maine, as it has been which is, again, faster than 99% of oceans on the planet, the lobster harvest will likely be dropped by as much as 60%. That will put lobstermen out of business, that will affect waterfront communities”.

[00:07:29] AB: “In the world of fisheries, there is a lot of effort right now thinking about how we adapt? The species that we’re used to seeing are potentially going down, cod and shrimp are two examples in the Gulf of Maine, and new species are coming in and so it’s all about working together to try and adapt to the changes”.

[00:07:50] CRE: Adapting to change is a common theme on a global, as well as personal, level and is often fraught with difficulties. The conditions needed for good change require resilience and innovation, themes that are essential for the Global Goals to be delivered.

[00:08:07] EGL: Colles and Adam’s research is ongoing and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. One thing we do know is that the planet’s average surface temperature has risen by about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, that’s a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.  The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters of ocean showing warming of point three degrees Fahrenheit, just since 1969.

[00:08:37] CRE: We will catch up with Colles and Adam in a future episode to find out the latest developments. Thanks to our partner, Slow Food for their help with this story.

[00:08:48] EGL: Back to Robert Swan. That moment in front of the TV on Christmas Day watching Scott of the Antarctic was the beginning of a lifetime obsession. During his time at Durham university, Rob discovered a set of Scott’s journals in a used book shop. 

[00:09:03] CRE: He says this ‘foolhardy purchase’ of a hard bound, two volume set, emptied his bank account.  It also deepened his obsession to follow in Scott’s shadow.

[00:09:16] EGL: He still wanted to be a polar explorer, but there were a few obstacles in his way.

[00:09:21] RS: “The day I left university, I realised two things. One is that I had no experience at all.  So, I had no credibility.  So, there were two things on my mind.  One is that I had to find the right people and I didn’t know anybody. And secondly, I’d have to raise a huge amount of money because through my research I’d realised that If you wanted to go there you’d have to buy a ship, you’d have to spend a year living in a hut on the edge of Antarctica.  Then you’d have to walk to the pole and hope to hell is to your ship returned to collect you.  So, the first thing was to get credibility. And the only credible thing I could think of doing was to visit Antarctica. Normally, the British Antarctic Survey only takes scientists and serious mountaineers. So, I applied to join the British Antarctic Survey as a box mover.  I’ve always been quite good at moving boxes.  So, after a bit of a struggle I was accepted by the BAS.  Went to Antarctica, fell in love with the place and met the people that I believed were the right people that could execute the expedition to the South Pole. And I remember writing them all a letter at the end of this six months period in Antarctica saying, ‘Would you like to join me, one day I’m going to walk to the South Pole”, and nobody replied.  Six or seven years letter, I wrote to them again, and all of them said, ‘yeah we’ll come’.”

[00:11:05] EGL: In 1984, Robert found support in one of the sponsors of his past heroes, Shell, who fuelled Scott’s ship 75 years earlier. Without Shell’s support, Robert admits the trip never would have happened.

[00:11:18] CRE: Sir Peter Scott, the son of Robert’s hero, also became a patron in exchange for Rob naming the expedition, ‘in the footsteps of Scott’.

[00:11:30] EGL: We asked Rob what kept him going through the seven years it took to raise the 7 million dollars he needed to fund the journey.

[00:11:37] RS: “The draw was the place itself. To actually relive this historic journey to the South Pole. I had no idea what it was gonna take. I had absolutely no idea how much it would hurt, I had no idea what it was going to be like, but it was the tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott, the film ‘Scott of the Antarctic’, all of these things to rather a naïve brain were driving me forward.  And as people joined us, then the thing took on a life of its own.  And suddenly ships were arriving”

[00:12:23] EGL: Rob’s mother named the ship that would take them to Antarctica the Southern Quest.  They nearly didn’t make it out of London.  At a launch attended by press, broadcasters, well-wishers AND a full military band, they ploughed straight into Tower Bridge. As the papers said the next day, their trip was “Starting out with a bang!”

[00:12:42] CRE: The southern quest was originally a fishing trawler, it needed work, mainly done by volunteers, to strengthen the hull, fit ice deflecting plates and supplies to fuel the 10,000 + mile voyage to Antarctica via New Zealand.

[00:12:57] EGL: While this was happening, Rob’s companions, Roger Meers and Gareth Wood worked on navigation, logistics and the materials to build a hut they’d use as basecamp.

[00:13:08] RS: “We will come back because we’ve taken every measure including having our wisdom teeth out and our appendix to make sure that we don’t suffer the same fate Scott did. But I’m not stupid enough to say the Antarctic and its winds and its weather temperatures down to minus 50 minus 60 degrees centigrade winds up to 125 miles an hour. I’d be crazy if I didn’t say that that didn’t frighten me. But we feel that we’ve prepared sufficiently to have cautious optimism about the expedition.

[00:13:37] CRE: That was Robert Swan in 1984.

[00:13:44] CRE: The southern quest left the UK in November 1984, calling into Cardiff for coal supplies.

[00:13:50] EGL: Rob, Roger and Gareth joined the rest of the crew in New Zealand and Rob used his time at sea to ground himself in the expedition. After many months of being in what he called ‘salesman mode’. He spent weeks working below deck in the ships engine room before he and his companions arrived in the most famous waters of the Southern Ocean, McMurdo Sound. Those birds you hear are the south arctic skuas, widely known as the pirates of the avian world.

[00:14:15] CRE: Rob climbed into the ships crow’s nest contemplating what he was doing in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet and saw Cape Evans, and the building he had spent most of his life dreaming about.

 [00:14:33] RS: “There was Scott’s Hut that I’d studied in history and I knew every inch of it and I had it in my head.  And I remember walking into Scott’s hut and truly expected somebody to come around the corner and say, ‘you know well we’ve been expecting you for a while, Swan’. There was a real sense that I was back in this place that perhaps I’d been before, in some strange way”

[00:15:07] EGL: Captain Scott and his team had built the hut in 1911. It had room for 25 men, 19 Siberian ponies and months of supplies. It was the base for Scott’s fatal trek to the South Pole and was inhabited by Scott’s crew until 1913, when the Terra Nova expedition officially ended.

[00:15:26] CRE: With the failures of Scott’s expedition in his mind, Robert started to fully comprehend what he’d got himself into. After seven days offloading 64 tons of supplies,

[00:15:39] EGL: Well, he did say he was good at moving boxes…

[00:15:42] CRE: He and his companions watched the Southern Quest sail off, leaving them alone in the icy wilderness.

[00:15:49] EGL: They knew they had nine months ‘wintering over’ with only 2hrs of sunlight a day at their newly erected base, and 900 miles to march before they would see their ship again.

[00:16:01] RS: “It was frightening to be left for a year on your own with no communications with the outside world and know that at the end of that year you’d have to deliver a journey of nine hundred miles on foot with no back up at all to the South Pole. And it was my first proper expedition.  So, it was a very, very soul-searching year there before we even left for the Pole. With people that didn’t like each other very much. So, you had that problem too.  Strong, different characters which I was very glad I chose, because I’d learned something as a kid, being number 7 in a family, that the reason that people upset you is because normally they’re right. So, I didn’t choose my best friends, I did choose people who were very very different than me.

[00:17:04] CRE: The ship was essential because they were wintering over before starting their march across the ice. That meant they needed shelter, a generator, fuel and supplies for nine long months of Antarctic winter.

[00:17:17] EGL:  It was one of the questions Rob was asked the most, ‘why did you have to winter over?’

[00:17:22] CRE: Their schedule was squeezed by weather at both ends. In November, the summer made it warm enough to walk, but it wasn’t warm enough to break up the ice for the ship to get to McMurdo Sound until January.

[00:17:36] EGL: So, they left Britain in the northern hemisphere in the autumn, arrived in the Southern Ocean in December, made it through the ice pack to drop off expedition members and supplies, and then got the boat heading North before the ice imprisoned it. They then had a nine month wait before expedition season – that is the optimal three months when the weather is inhospitable rather than lethal.

[00:17:59] CRE: During those nine months, Rob struck up a long-distance pen pal relationship with John Mills, the actor that played Captain Scott in the film that had inspired him nearly two decades earlier.

 [00:18:13]RS: “So I wrote to John Mills saying, ‘Dear Sir John it’s all your bloody fault.  I’m stuck in a hut with four people I hate.  We’ve been here for nine and a half months. I’ve got nine hundred miles to walk to the South Pole.  I haven’t seen a lady in a year and it’s all your bloody fault.’ So, I got a reply which was just a really nice photograph of John Mills in Ealing Studios with plastic snow on his face from the 1949 production of Scott of the Antarctic saying at the bottom, ‘Dear Rob, if you don’t look like this after a while you’ll know going the wrong way, Yours, Jonny”

[00:18:55] CRE: I love this story.  This fledgling friendship with the man Rob considered to be Scott, would come in handy later in his life.

[00:19:06] EGL: Here’s a diary entry from Captain Scott – Arctic prose at its best.

[00:19:11] RScott: The eternal silence of the great white desert. Cloudy columns of snow drift advancing from the south, pale yellow wraiths, heralding the coming storm, blotting out one by one the sharp cut lines of the land.

[00:19:25] RS: I spent a hell of a lot of time living the history of Scott, feeling what it would have felt like, looking at their old equipment.  So, once we started the journey it became a machine. Where you are using minimal energy to do everything. So, you pull your sledges up, you put the tent up, so there is a well-oiled machine that gets better oiled as you go.

[00:19:56] CRE: Robert, Gareth and Roger left their hut on October 25th, 1985. They put on their sledge harnesses and began to pull loads double their own body weight.

[00:20:08] EGL: As they left, they passed the McMurdo Williams airfield, used by the Hercules aircraft on their way to the South Pole, a mere three hours away by air. Rob wouldn’t see the South Pole for another 90 days.

[00:20:23] CRE: He wrote in his book about the expedition:

[00:20:26] EGL: “Early on, for me, there was only the sledge, the harness. I tried to make it my friend. I saw no other option. But how do you not grow to hate your torturer? Always it was there, the weight, the pull, the dull slog. Slide one ski forward and pull. Now slide the other ski forward and pull. Repeat ad nauseam.”

[00:20:49] CRE: After 450 miles, Rob’s dream shuddered.

[00:20:54] “My sledge was starting to get heavier and heavier and heavier.  And I started to feel much weaker than I thought I should be feeling. One day, 450 days into the journey I stopped, and I couldn’t move. And Roger, came back, very kindly, and said Rob, don’t’ worry, I’ll pull your sledge the last 500 meters to the camp which they’d set up waiting for me. And he put the harness on and he could hardly move the damn sledge. And he wrote in his book, that moment I realized Robert must have had a muscle for a brain. How the hell he wasn’t complaining pulling the log through the sand “

[00:21:49] EGL: In the tent that night, Roger examined Rob’s sledge and discovered the runners had been put on backwards, creating extra friction and requiring excess effort.

[00:21:58] CRE: Can you imagine?

[00:21:59] EGL: I can’t bear to think about it.

[00:22:01] “The next day, very kindly, Roger and Gareth said, ‘Hey Rob you just go ahead’. And I went ahead, putting in the same amount of energy as I had been.  And after about an hour I looked back and I couldn’t see the other guys.  They were miles behind me.  And on that day, I knew I had another 500 miles in me to make it to the South Pole.  That was a very, very difficult time.  At that time of those runners, and that very hard weakening of me mentally and physically was something that came back to haunt me very badly on the South Pole energy challenge that we’ve just undertaken. “

[00:22:53] CRE: We will get to the South Pole Energy Challenge in episode 3 – it’s the journey he did last year.

[00:023:01] “Had the situation just been a weakness of mine, not a practical weakness I think at that stage we might have been able to turn ‘round but probably not.   And we’d made a decision between us as a team that if somebody could not keep going then that person would be left to die. And the only decision that we’d never got ‘round to making which it was too hard to make was did you leave that person food. The place itself has a fascination for me because there is no edge, there are no lies it is entirely truthful because it wants you dead.

[00:23:48] CRE: One thing I’ve learned about Robert, his commitment to Antarctica is deep.  Here’s where he makes the first of many promises to the place he has idolized since his childhood.

[00:24:00] RS:  If I make a deal, I do it. And we were suffering, I was suffering, and I went quietly out, and I said, look, to Antarctica, don’t do us in, I’ll look after you. I wasn’t really saying you know I’ll have a whole plan and campaign and I will devote the rest of my life to preserving you. It was more like trying to get out of jail. It was just to do something, to say something that hopefully Antarctica wouldn’t kill us. I didn’t realize that it would then become a lifetime’s commitment.  I was inspired by Scott, Shackleton and Jacques Cousteau to continue with that promise.  But the promise came from panic. The promise didn’t come from some good feeling that I want to be doing the right thing.”

[00:25:05] EGL: I wonder if he has ever regretted making that promise.

[00:25:09] CRE: So, let’s look at why Antarctica is so important to protect.  It may feel like you’re on another planet when you’re standing in minus 60 degrees centigrade, but we know that we are all connected. What happens in the farthest polar region affects the most tropical of islands. 

[00:25:28] EGL: Time to put on your sunglasses, Claudia. From the sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic, we’re now going to go warmer climates now in the South Pacific, where the islands of Fiji are some of the first to experience the impact of global warming, and the melting of the ice caps.

[00:25:43] CRE: This story comes to us through one of our partners, the SDG Action Campaign. One of the finalists in the awards that they organize is a 360° virtual reality video called ‘Our Home, Our People’, that explores climate change vulnerability and resilience in Fiji through the stories of four people. Here, producer Tom Perry tells us about the challenges that they are facing.

[00:26:10] Tom Perry: The Pacific is really on the front lines of climate change and Pacific islanders have done almost nothing to cause climate change and yet the Pacific is really the part of the world that’s already seeing its impact so severely.  Catalina is really the main character in the film and she is from a small community called Vunisavisavi which is in the north of Vanua Levu in Fiji, it’s one of the larger islands in Fiji, and the significance of this community is that it’s one of the first communities in Fiji where homes have already been moved because of the significant impact of sea level rise on that community already. And it’s already changing some of the dynamics of how people plant their crops and what people are doing for food and for fishing as well.  One of the striking things when you walk into this community is the soil is just rock hard and that’s because the salt water has just completely swamped it.  Particularly during the king tides which happen 2-3 times a year and that, as the community says, it’s only a few years ago that that wasn’t happening. There’s an enormous strength and sense of community in Fiji that is really tackling this issue head on. They really are coming together to build whatever the necessary changes and developments are that are going to protect themselves from climate change.

[00:27:42] CRE: Tom’s film captures their story beautifully. Even if you don’t have VR glasses you can see a web version of it at

[00:27:52] EGL: OK, Claudia, get the fleece mittens back on, we’re heading back to Antarctic. By the time the trio reached the Beardmore Glacier, they had bonded over their blisters, sores, aches and pains.

[00:28:04] CRE: As Robert wrote in his book, “Barrier, done. Glacier, done. Plateau ahead.”

[00:28:11] EGL: They walked faster, marching 9 hours a day, covering over 17 miles a day. Here’s Rob talking about his first sight of civilization for 90 days.

[00:28:20] RS: “We came up a hill and we could see the South Pole station for a good 20 miles. Which doesn’t sound very much, but that’s two days of walking, so it drove us nuts.  To be able to see this damn thing, it never seemed to get any bigger, but we could see it! We walked in to the under-ice station and everybody was clapping, and we felt so proud of what we’d done. Although we were very different people, we had come together, and we had done what people had said could not be done. And I was thinking about Scott and I was thinking about the upset that Scott must have felt arriving at the South Pole to find the Norwegian flag there.

[00:29:14] CRE: Before we go on, let’s hear what Captain Scott said when he reached the bottom of the earth.

 [00:029:20] RScott: We marched on, found that it was a black flag tied to a sledge bearer; nearby the remains of a camp. The Norwegians have forestalled us and are first at the Pole. It is a terrible disappointment.

We have turned our back now on the goal of our ambition and must face our 800 miles of solid dragging – and good-bye to most of the day-dreams!

[00:29:53] RS: “5 minutes after our arrival, the base commander came out from the South Pole and said sorry rob your ship just sank ‘five minutes earlier before we arrived. And the loss of Southern Quest suddenly mixed up history, mixed up me for, thirty-two years it completely screwed my head because – suddenly I was Scott”

[00:30:23] EGL He was Scott AND Shackleton – another great polar hero – all bound up in one.

Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, was crushed beyond repair by the force of millions of tons of ice on its 1914 attempt to cross the vast south polar continent.

[00:30:40] CRE: Robert’s boat, the Southern Quest, had cracked under that same immense power of nature. His escape vessel had become another shipwreck, joining Shackleton’s Endurance in some of the most lethal seas in the world.

[00:30:56] EGL: So Instead of revelling in the tremendous achievement, something he’d been looking forward to since he was 11, Rob stood there contemplating how he was going to get everyone home, thinking about the $1.2 debts secured by the boat, and the mess he promised he would never leave in Antarctica.

 [00:31:15] RS: So, I felt just as Shackleton must have felt when his ship went down, and I didn’t know what to do.  All I knew was that I’d lost a ship, I had twenty-five people standing on an iceberg, I had three people at the South Pole that all looked like somebody had forgot to have buried us. And I’d made commitments to leave Antarctica as clean and tidy as possible.  To Jacques Cousteau, I’d made the promise, although a bit hollow, I’d made the promise to look after Antarctica.  I realised if we did not pull something round, we’d just be seen as a failure.  And I don’t like that word very much.  It’s never been a part of my vocabulary, actually until recently.

[00:32:13] EGL:  Talk about a cliff edge!  I can’t imagine how Robert must have felt, but we won’t have long to wait to find out, because that’s coming up in the next show. In the meantime, let’s talk about water.

[00:32:22] CRE: We’re looking at the Swan’s journey, not only because we find it really interesting and close to us, but also because it helps us shine a light on how climate change is going to impact our life.  Global warming is causing the shrinking of the ice cap. 

Global warming is also causing the intensification of the water cycle that causes more extreme floods and droughts globally.

[00:32:47] EGL: Many dry regions, including the Mediterranean and southern Africa, will suffer badly from reduced rainfall and increased evaporation. Scientists estimate that around one billion people in dry areas, that’s thirteen percent of the world, may face increasing water scarcity.

[00:33:06] CRE: So here are three important facts. Water is a right, not a privilege: 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe water today.  That means one in four cannot get safe drinking water at home when they need it.

[00:33:23] EGL: Water is a daily chore.  For 263 million people – that’s more than the size of Brazil – it takes over 30 minutes per round trip to collect water.  Most of the time, this is women and girls. 

[00:33:38] CRE: By 2025, 1.8 billion people are expected to be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity.

[00:33:48] EGL: And here are three actions for today.  You can follow the Swan’s journeys on

[00:33:54] CRE: Visit the UNICEF website to see what they’re doing to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in over 100 countries worldwide

[00:34:02] EGL: You can also make a big difference yourself, in your own consumption

Join our social media campaign  #ICommitTo and commit to turning off the lights, walking more, carpooling or, even better, riding a bike instead of driving.  Eat the food you buy and make less of it meat.  

[00:34:23] Coming up in our next show, we head back to the South Pole, where we left Robert, his ship sinking and a team of explorers to get home. We’ll be hearing about what Rob did next, another chance meeting with an old hero, and a reconnection to those promises that Robert made to do everything he could to look after Antarctica.

[00:34:44] EGL: And, if you want to make sure you don’t miss that or any of our episodes, subscribe to us via Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, give us five stars, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, @globalgoalscast, for the latest news and developments.

[00:35:01] CRE:  That was Edie lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

[00:35:04] EGL: That was the Global GoalsCast

[00:35:10] CREDITS: Thanks to HARMAN, the official sound of Global GoalsCast. 

Music in this episode was by Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Aasheesh Paliwal and Ellis.

Excerpts from Journals: Captain Scott’s Expeditions, used by permission from Oxford University Press.  

Global GoalsCast Trailer

Stories that change the world.  In this preview of the Global GoalsCast you’ll hear from heroes working to make the world a better place.

Lead by two women, a journalist and a diplomat, this podcast will tell stories of change, from healing the climate to offering quality education for all.

We can change the world. One story at a time.

Building Trust in an Era of Uncertainty

From curbing climate change to reducing inequality, the Sustainable Development Goals require cooperation beyond anything the world has ever achieved before. This necessary coordinated effect makes the goals out of reach unless peoples and countries work together.

But how is that possible in an era of distrust? Global GoalsCast examines trust as it is, as one guest says, “the dark matter” of society, invisible yet essential to accomplishing these big tasks. Hosts Claudia and Edie explore how mistrust has stalled progress on health and other goals and then learn and share ideas for rebuilding trust.

Featured guests

Ayesha Wolasmal

Ayesha Wolasmal is a former Norwegian soldier, diplomat and journalist. Politically active from an early age, and opposed to the military intervention in Afghanistan, she had a change of heart after encountering a Norwegian military convoy in Afghanistan. She joined the army and from 2007-2008 she served with the Norwegian contingent to ISAF in Afghanistan. From there she transitioned to political advisor at the Norwegian embassy in Kabul. She now works as an External Relations Officer for WHOs Global Polio Eradication Initiative. She supports local networking processes in Pakistan for community engagement in conflict and access/security compromised settings.

Aza Raskin

Aza Raskin helped build the web at Mozilla as head of user experience, was named to Inc and Forbes 30-under-30 and became the Fast Company Master of Design for his work founding Massive Health, a consumer health and big data company. The company was acquired by Jawbone, where he was VP of Innovation. Before that, he founded (acquired by Google), and is a published dark matter physicist.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, with an amazing and supportive family who encouraged his interest in computers at an early age. He dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. He married Melinda French in 1994 and they have three children. Today, Bill and Melinda Gates co-chair the charitable foundation bearing their names and are working together to give their wealth back to society.

Don Kettl

Donald F. Kettl is professor and former dean in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance, the Brookings Institution, and the Partnership for Public Service. Kettl is the author or editor of numerous books, including Can Governments Earn Our Trust? (2017); Little Bites of Big Data for Public Policy (2017), and more!  He has received three lifetime achievement awards: the American Political Science Association’s John Gaus Award, the Warner W. Stockberger Achievement Award of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, and the Donald C. Stone Award of the American Society for Public Administration.

Iain Walker

Iain Walker (MA, Sydney) is Executive Director of the newDemocracy Foundation in Australia. He holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Sydney (2007) and a Bachelor of Business from UTS (1996). The work of the Foundation focuses on exploring and delivering systemic structural reform based on a role for randomly selected everyday people in a deliberative environment similar to a criminal jury.

Richard Edelman

Richard Edelman is the president and CEO of Edelman, a leading communications marketing firm. The firm was named “PR Agency of the Decade” by both Advertising Age and The Holmes ReportRichard has extensive experience in marketing and reputation management, having led assignments with major corporations, NGOs and family businesses in over 25 industries around the world.  He is regarded as an industry thought leader and has posted weekly to his blog since 2004. Richard is consistently mentioned as one of the top 25 foremost experts on corporate trust. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ad Council, the Atlantic Council, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Children’s Aid Society, the Gettysburg Foundation, the 9/11 Museum, the National Committee on US China Relations and the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Sandy Parakilas

Sandy Parakilas is an entrepreneur who worked as an operations manager at Facebook in 2011 and 2012. He serves as an advisor to the Center for Humane Technology, and writes and speaks about issues related to the technology industry. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and WIRED.

Seth Berkley
A medical doctor and epidemiologist, Dr Seth Berkley joined Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as its CEO in August 2011. Since then he led Gavi through its second successful replenishment, raising US$7.5 billion in commitments to support the immunisation of an additional 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries, prevent 5-6 million deaths. Previously Seth founded the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) in 1996, where he served as president and CEO. Prior to founding IAVI, Seth was an officer of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation. He has worked for the Center for Infectious Diseases of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and for the Carter Center, where he was assigned as an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health in Uganda. Seth played a key role in Uganda’s national HIV sero-survey and helped develop its National AIDS Control programs. He has been featured on the cover of Newsweek, recognised by TIME magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” and by Wired Magazine as among “The Wired 25—a salute to dreamers, inventors, mavericks and leaders.”

Special thanks to

Click here to dive deeper into the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Additional Resources

  • Last Week In Trump – Subscribe to receive weekly updates from BOTH sides of the bubble
  • More In Common is a new effort to build communities and societies that are stronger, more resilient and more open.  Through multi-country research looking at the contours of national political debate, public opinion dynamics and civil society’s response, More In Common’s objective across its different streams of work is to build closer and more inclusive societies, which are resilient to the appeal of xenophobia and authoritarian populism. Check out their Germany and France reports.


[00:00:59] CG: This is the Global GoalsCast.

[00:01:01] EL: A podcast that explores how we can change the world.

[00:01:07] CG:  This episode is about trust and the global goals.

[00:01:10] EL: We’re going to explore whether it’s possible to achieve that master plan in a time of distrust or, actually, whether the Sustainable Development Goals can be a way to rebuild trust.

[00:01:21] EL: Let’s try to define trust first of all which isn’t easy. I’ve been reading this new book by Rachel Botsman. Can I read you a quote?

[00:01:29] CG:  Knock yourself out.

[00:01:30] EL: Trust is the remarkable force that pulls you over that gap between certainty and uncertainty. Trust is a confident relationship with the unknown. It is trust that has allowed the Internet to flourish and take off in ways that were unimaginable when it first started.

[00:01:45] CG: OK, I get your quote. So, it’s like getting into a stranger’s car that shows up outside my door and takes me somewhere and that’s Uber. Because Edie creating trust requires you give up control. You evaluate the risks and when the negative outcome is less likely than the positive then you get into that car.

[00:02:04] EL: By the way what is your Uber rating these days Claudia.

[00:02:07] CG: I haven’t managed over 4.5 yet.

[00:02:09] EL: Since I’m full of the quotations today. Here’s another one from Rachel’s book. It’s from a guy called Morten Deutsch talking about that leap of faith. Trust involves the delicate juxtaposition of people’s loftiest hopes and aspirations with their deepest worries and darkest fears.

[00:02:28] CG: So how can a massive plan like the sustainable develop goals that is totally dependable on partnerships and coordination can possibly succeed if there is no trust in the system. If citizens don’t trust their governments. If you don’t know what you are reading is real or fake and therefore there is a lack of trust in one another.

[00:02:48] EL: I spoke to Don Kettl about this. He is professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and he’s written a book. The link is on our website and it’s called

[00:02:56] DK: “Can governments earn our trust”

[00:02:57] CG: Thanks Don.

[00:02:58] CG: Gracias, Don.

[00:03:01] DK: “Trust really has to do with our confidence that as we engage in a relationship with our government in particular but with other institutions and other individuals as well that we have a kind of confidence in the way in which they’re going to be able to respond to us, that there’ll be a kind of fidelity to set the kind of values that we care about that in the process of this relationship bad things are not going to happen and that we can ensure that the kind of relationship that we want will happen as a result of this. Distrust is what happens when we create a relationship the people involved in the relationship on the other end are unfaithful to values that we hold, and bad things happen as a result.”

[00:03:41] CG: So, Edie as you know I happen to live with an expert on trust.

[00:03:46] EL: That is so useful today.

[00:03:47] CG: Very useful for this episode. So, Richard Edelman, my husband, runs the largest and longest running study on trust in the world.

[00:03:56] RE: “The big issue for 2018 in trust is the collapse of trust in media. 75% of our respondents said that they’re afraid of the effect of fake news.  It makes them unable to judge the performance of a government leader or actually of a brand.  They’re actually in a world now of distrust in information sources. It’s so profound that they actually don’t trust a friend, family or a person like yourself anymore, preferring instead an expert in academia or a technical expert from a company or even a CEO because they have credentials and have trust. And the consequence of this is substantial, because ultimately you want people to have enough facts to make good decisions and at the moment they can’t distinguish between fact and fiction and when that happens they start to rely on emotions, they’re susceptible to fears.  What is particularly alarming is that more than half of the people have signed off altogether from mainstream media. They find it elitist, politicized and in fact doesn’t cover people like them.

[00:05:14] EL: So, with the landscape of trust looking less than stable. What does that mean to achieving the goals? Don Kettl again.

[00:05:20] DK: “We have the problem of distrust that is growing. We have a set of sustainable development goals that require a commitment to those goals and collaboration in achieving it. It’s hard to get collaboration if people don’t trust the relationships with each other, and we run the risk of getting ourselves in this awful situation where the thing that we have agreed to do is the kind of thing that we can’t make happen, because it founders on barriers and boulders and roofs of distrust that exist, in so many places, which may in fact make things worse.”

[00:05:54] EL: Claudia, I know you were just in San Francisco, my home town, talking to Sandy Parakilas and Aza Raskin from the Center for Humane Technology about how social media is either creating or magnifying distrust. Talk me through what they said.

[00:06:08] CG: That news feed that you see when you open up your Facebook or your Twitter that makes you think that you’re in control of what you’re reading. But is it?

[00:06:17] SP: “So the way that that news feeds work, and this is not just true of Facebook, it’s true of Twitter and other feed based social networks is they’re trying to find the thing that you’re going to like the most and they put that at the top. So, what that means is that they are trying to get signal from you whether it’s you know whether you like something, whether you share it…whether you take some action”

[00:06:37] CG: Sandy expands on the issues that are at the heart of this story. Truth and trust.

[00:06:43] SP: Because these algorithms are pointing people to the content they are most likely to engage in or engage with. They are much more likely to as you said to boost up content that will make you angry because that actually turns out to be the thing that’s much more likely to get you to continue to use the service rather than something that is just sort of moderately interesting and you know and banal. “

[00:07:07] CG: And what this means is that technology might be helping to erode trust. We see the splintering and re-splintering of opinion.  Rather than making the world more open and connected rather than leveling the playing field, we’re questioning here if technology is exploiting divisiveness in society. Here’s what Sandy’s colleague, Aza Raskin, and a voice you might recognize have to say about this.

[00:07:36] AR: “What started out as a race for our attention has turned into these direct manipulation channels where you can target and persuade a society at scale in ways that have never happened before. And the U.S. we start to see that the left and the right see completely different movies about what’s going on. We can’t agree on the basic facts”

[00:08:00] BO: “One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts. What the Russians exploited, but was already here, is we are operating in completely different information universes. If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you listen to NPR”

[00:08:34] EL: So, I love how we snuck Barrack Obama in there. Fake news, whatever you want to call it, is not new. President Lincoln was plagued by fake news. Antony and Cleopatra were ruined by rumors. And it comes from fear.

[00:08:47] Unknown: What we have is a problem that on the one side is internal that has been gone on as long as there are people but on the other hand we have because of the rise of social media, because of the rise of the Internet and because of the nature of the relationships that it makes possible, we’ve got ourselves in a situation or words that are much easier to create distrust that much more quickly.

[00:09:10] AR: “The first amendment was from a time when speech was expensive, and hearing was cheap right like it was hard to get your message out. But there weren’t so many things around, you could just listen to whatever you wanted. And now it’s flipped where speech is so cheap that anyone can speak whether that’s Russia or like a blogger mom from Utah. But because there’s so much content out it’s whoever controls where you’re getting information, where you can hear from that has the true power.

[00:09:40] CG: Edie let’s assume this thesis is right. That these rumors, sometimes spread as divisive digital content, designed to appeal to our emotional side are not just problematic in elections in high-income countries. It is problematic everywhere.  It’s might be actually stopping parents protecting their children. Across the world.

[00:10:01] EL: What we do in this podcast is take the really big ideas and focus them down to the specific. So now we are going to look at how distrust is dragging out the eradication of one of the most crippling diseases on the planet, and that’s polio.

[00:10:16] CG: There are people in the health community, Edie, that think that polio is not a major focus of the SDGs and it is not even listed as a target. But before we get into the polio story, let’s take a moment with Bill Gates whom you and I spoke to a couple of weeks ago in Davos. Polio eradication has been one of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation priorities and they have helped India to eradicate these nearly seven years ago.

[00:10:45] BG: “We’re on the verge of eradicating Polio, we had less than sixty cases last year and we still have to get rid of it Pakistan and Afghanistan and then it’ll become the second disease to be eradicated after smallpox. You know, it’s great science, it’s great impact, there’s a lot of heroes out in the field”

[00:11:03] EL: Ayesha Wolsamal is one of the heroes Bill Gates referred to.  She’s a former Norwegian soldier, diplomat and journalist. Her parents are from Afghanistan, but she was born and grew up in Norway.  She is an External Relations Officer for WHOs Global Polio Eradication Initiative. By the way she has very noisy jewelry, and my producer was so cross with me that I didn’t ask her to take off her bracelets. She told me that in Pakistan, like the US, like the UK, vaccines are not trusted. She spent the last few weeks in Karachi joining the team of local health workers visiting homes where parents were refusing to give vaccinations to their children. And as you’re going to hear, convincing mothers of the benefits of the vaccine is far from easy.

[00:11:46] AW: “I just don’t want to give it to my child, you know, and that’s the starting point. Then she goes through the religious aspect and we try to answer that. Then she goes through the demand issue that the streets are filthy, the government is doing nothing, why all this focus on Polio. Then on the western involvement, that this is something that is going to sterilize the Muslim population. And then when you try to answer that, she goes over to, but I just really don’t trust what the vaccine contains, and I’ve heard that children get sick”

[00:12:21] EL: I also spoke to Seth Berkley. He’s the CEO of GAVI the Global Vaccine Alliance. Claudia, you know him, right?

[00:12:28] CG: Yes, I have worked with him and I have worked with GAVI and I give them a lot of credit because what they have managed to do is work with all stakeholders of society to make sure that together we get vaccinations all over the world. Edie, before GAVI, in the 80s or something, it was like UNICEF managed to get huge world coverage of vaccines getting more to 80 percent of the world population vaccinated but then we reached a plateau. And thanks to GAVI, not only we managed to get out of the plateau, get to more than 90 or 92 percent of the world’s children population been vaccinated but also get more vaccines into the package that kids get.

[00:13:07] SB: “Traditionally there was huge trust in the medical system and doctors and public health workers and then if there were problems you had community leaders who would also reinforce that trust. But if you use the particular example of Pakistan, Polio eradication has been going on for more than 20 years, so in many communities they have seen month after month people come and they bring Polio drops but not much else, so one questions over time is, we don’t see any Polio so why is this being done, and that raises questions. And second as you know there’s been some unfortunate issues as you probably know the CIA used when they were trying to track Bin Laden used some misinformation and said they were out doing surveys for vaccinations, and that type of thing can be used as propaganda and create mistrust”

[00:13:58] AW: “Even in the most deprived areas everybody has, or most people have access to internet. WhatsApp, it’s a powerful medium and they’re receiving all these short videos and they spread like fire in the bush”

[00:14:13] EL: Distrust in vaccines is a global story. I moved to the U.K. 20 years ago just before a big vaccine, fake news story hit the headlines.

[00:14:22] AR: “20 years ago Andrew Wakefield published a paper that said the MMR vaccine was associated with Autism, which turned out to be data that was falsified it turned out not to be true, but it shattered public trust in vaccines and we saw vaccinations drop. 40% of French people disagreed with the statement that vaccines are safe, in Russia 16% felt that vaccines are important in Italy 14%, so we are seeing in the West a huge effect of trust. In the developing world we also see this trust effect, it’s hard to be as explicit but in Nigeria there’s very low coverage rates in the north of Nigeria for example and efforts have been done to make the supply chain work that provides vaccines. And what’s interesting that even when the vaccines are there people don’t come to get them, and I suspect that this is because of trust as well, trust in the system, trust in whether the government is able to deliver, whether people are there when they come, so this becomes a very important issue.”

[00:15:28] AW: “When you see a mother and she’s telling you that I will not allow you to give drops to my kids because it’s going to make him sick, it’s actually going to paralyze him. Of course, you know it’s not right, but you have to feel her fear. I think a lot of it is listening, a lot of it is in just giving them the time they need. And, of course, trying to engage them in some kind of discussion, explaining the positive aspects of the vaccine. A lot of these women love talking about clothes, and like they’re really good with embroidery, and in between their household chores, they’re like sewing stuff, and I sit, and I talk to them about the work they do at home.  To me it’s like reconnecting with the basics of what it means to be a human.”

[00:16:10] EL: We are all human.  I should point out that Ayesha emphasized how she was accompanying women health workers from Karachi who are out in their own communities every day.  This is not top-down health policy, its people working with their neighbors in their communities.  She told me a story about visiting a Grandfather.

[00:16:31] AW: “At that point we didn’t know much about this household because we had not succeeded in engaging them in any kind of communication or dialogue. And go inside, and walk inside the stairs, and get up and it’s like one older man who is kind of like the elder in the family and it’s like sixteen women and babies everywhere. And you know I immediately smiled and said wow you really know how to keep quiet. And they’re all like cracked up. So, I just like sit right down and I’m like why, my dear, my dear uncle my grandfather, my father, I call him numerous things just to create a relation and then just tell me, you have so many beautiful grandchildren, why are you not, vaccinating them.   And he starts laughing.  He’s like they tell me that they will get like this, they tell me we keep hearing rumors that the vaccine is not good, and I asked them, have you tried to seek information. And they were like no, no who has time for that. And then of course, the male family members are the only one who can actually get the information because these women they almost never leave their homes. So, then I sat down with them and I told them, ask me questions. If I don’t have the answers you want to hear I will try my best to bring someone else. This man, who just initially seemed hostile to me was just a concerned Grandfather.

[00:18:05] EL: Before we hear you Ayesha, remember what an intangible thing trust is…

[00:18:11] AW: “Imagine inside a household… when you’ve spent like an hour twenty minutes like talking talking talking trying to you know address all their issues and suddenly, you know the grandfather says bring all the children.  And you just get to vaccinate these children.  It is an unbelievable feeling, and you feel like what you said has a direct impact on them, that they believe you…”

[00:18:38] EL: That’s the moment that trust is built.

[00:18:48] CG: Truth, Trust and technology are set to become even more entangled. As the tools become more sophisticated, it is going to be harder to know what is true or who to trust. So, Edie you have an iPhone x or an iPhone 10 or whatever they’re called, right?

[00:19:04] CG: Exactly. That’s why my pictures on Instagram are so good.

[00:19:08] CG: Well you show off but I not sure you’re going to like what Aza told me.

[00:19:12] AR: Because you already know that Facebook knows more about you, can predict what you click on, what you like better than your spouse does. Last year the iPhone 10 came out and it has the ability to track your face in 3D. So, any app developer can watch your face in real time and what data would Netflix, would Facebook, would any advertiser love instead of just knowing how long you scrolled and what you’ve clicked on, they’d love to know what emotions you are feeling when they sign…

[00:19:43] CG: What face do you make…

[00:03:44] AR: Exactly. What are your microexpressions, what’s going on behind your eyes. And when you can correlate this at societal scale and be like ‘ah, for these kinds of people they feel a little sad when they see this kind of thing. Oh, right in this video, this is when people lose attention, let’s just tweak it little bit’ and you combine it with all the data that Facebook already knows about you and the ability to generate any video of anyone. But let’s say they want to make you the perfect political ad.  So, I find on Facebook some videos of your mom and I extract her voice and I generate a new voice that sounds a little bit like your mom’s so just that you trust it. And I take pictures of your dad and some of your best friends and I combine them to make a political ad with the voice of your mother and you’re just like you’re going to have to believe it because we’re humans. It’s how we operate.

[00:20:33]CG: Just imagine if companies like Facebook use all their amazing brain power and algorithms focusing on the goals and making the world a better place in making sure that they bust bubbles so that people can have a comprehensive understanding of any issue, such as migration, as opposed to being trapped in their bubble.

[00:20:52] EL: We are just going to require them to change their incentive structure because it’s currently driven by user growth, by monetization enough to maximize shareholder value.

[00:21:00] SP: these companies are in the business of capturing as much of your attention as possible and the way they do that is they use a number of brain hacks to find psychological vulnerabilities in people to get you to keep scrolling, keep looking because they make more money. the more that you look at their content.  “If people are using these platforms to manipulate an electorate at scale, if they’re using it to spread a message of genocide, clearly if you are the technology platform that’s being used for that purpose, and you have built a platform that has enabled that, you should have some liability for this absolute worst-case scenario.”

[00:21:49]CG: This not only affects technology companies but also the entire area of trust in the system including the non-for profit organizations that I mentioned to you.


[00:21:59] EL: Tell me what the Trust Barometer says about trust in NGOs at the moment.

[00:22:03]CG: So, for the second year in a row, NGOs now have lower trust than CEOs of companies and one of the main reasons is accountability and transparency. And that happens both ways, Edie. Between donor countries and implementer countries there is an issue of distrust for the countries they are giving the money to be implemented somewhere else saying like ‘are you implementing it properly? Are your health workers in place? Are you reporting it?’ Public corruption has played a role in eroding that trust. The other area of distrust between NGOs are the public.  Just to know that for every dollar that I’m giving, what is happening to the dollar that I’m using? Are you really implementing that issue? You know like sexual behavior on the ground has been affecting trust overall and that has had an impact.

[00:22:53] EL: We heard from Ayesha that building trust is one to one, individual health workers going door to door, but this isn’t always possible. Sometimes governments need to build trust for their citizens and Claudia, just remind me where governments are in trustworthiness in their Edelman Barometer…

[00:23:11]CG: The lowest on all categories. If there is one institution that has no trust whatsoever in the world, or the lowest, is government. A government official is by far less trusted than a CEO. The only or their lowest category after the governments are journalists. That used to be, ten years ago really like, the force that was going to come and defend citizens. Now governments and journalists are the least trusted institutions in the world.

[00:23:38] EL: I am going to try not to take that personally as a journalist, but I want to talk about the governments. So, one of our partners, Apolitical, put me in touch with Ian Walker in Australia. He runs something called the New Democracy Foundation. He puts together these things called citizen juries. They are like a jury for a criminal investigation, but they actually deal with the toughest questions that sometimes tangle governments up like, ‘what do we do with the nuclear waste that we generate? Or how shall we live within our means?

[00:24:09] IW: “We look at what holds the world back, it’s that we just can’t reach a trusted decision, any decision you come up with people can pretty easily erode in a 20 second tweet. So, stop telling politicians to ignore public opinion, start coming up with something better than public opinion, and its public judgement”.

[00:24:24] EL:  So what Ian highlighted was the big issues don’t always have to divide along party lines. When you get a group people off social media and into a room for a good length of time and we’re talking like months like three to six months looking at one of these issues, they can tackle really contentious issues in a very sophisticated way. So, the government had a project looking at whether they could put nuclear waste in one of the parts of Australia. They got a really diverse group of people together.

[00:24:52] IW: The plumbers, the childcare worker, the teacher, the accountant, the dentists and so forth.

[00:24:57] EL: To listen to experts from both sides of the debate. They took time, months, to listen, discuss and write.

[00:25:04]IW: “What I do see is a more nuanced community feedback with a unanimous groups of people standing behind it that actually offers and informed view to the parliament and that’s what we see that citizens are capable of and all I ever point to is they came back with nuance they came back with evidence and a rationale they got beyond the simple good guys and bad guys yes and not to say, we don’t like this aspect, we are open to this aspect, and, we think that’s going to be constructive in a discussion like this.

[00:25:37]CG:  Edie, what do you think about this as a fact? I mean do you remember when bloggers started you know like that’s probably like 10 years ago if not more when social media started?

[00:25:47] EL: I was too young.

[00:25:48]CG: You are a journalist and probably your training was bring the pros, bring the cons and then do an analysis of a situation, correct?

[00:25:56] EL: It’s important to figure out where you’re getting your facts, right. So, it’s also important to look at a diversity of sources. So, for example I get an email once a week and its news about Trump from both the left and the right and it completely helps to change my perspective of how the U.S. political scene is being reported. We’re going to have a link to that in fact in our website.

[00:26:22] EL: We always give you some actions to take. And can I just be totally honest, this was not an easy episode to take action. This is not as easy as taking your reusable coffee cup to the coffee shop. So, here’s what we came up with first of all, can you distinguish real from fake news? If you go to our website you can take a quiz. Okay, Claudia here’s the quiz. Every child must be vaccinated in order to eradicate polio. True or false?

[00:26:48]CG: True.

[00:26:49] EL: You got it right. Okay so for more check out So, I’ll add one that comes from the New Democracy Foundation, Ian Walker. He said when you are starting a conversation about something with an open-ended question, encourage people to ask for information rather than just rushing to the top of mind or first thing they have to say. That’s what Ian does in his citizen juries. These are the other thing we always do in our episodes is give you three facts to take away. Claudia, what are your facts?

[00:27:21]CG: 50 percent of the world have disengaged from news and 50 percent consume news less than weekly. Nearly 7 in 10 people worry about fake news being used as a weapon against them. Another interesting fact comes from one of our guests today.

[00:27:39]AR: You think you’re anonymous but you’re not. It only takes 10 likes on Facebook to know your psychology, in the big five tests, better than a co-worker and it takes just three hundred to know you better than your spouse does.

[00:27:]CG: Edie, in this episode we decided to take Trust and explore whether the Sustainable Development Goals can actually be achievable if you were live in a world of distrust. And we conclude that it’s impossible. If we continue collapsing our trust in each other, in our institutions, in our governments. The other part that we are very convinced about is that the global goals or Sustainable Development Goals can absolutely be considered as a way to restore trust in the world. The Sustainable Development Goals are a master plan, out there in the universe, that can be used as a framework of action that are not political, that are just bipartisan, created by everyone, that took five years to put together this master plan and can become the northern light, the framework of action, the guiding principle.

[00:28:56] EL: From my perspective, when I spoke to Ayesha, she was really moved when the grandfather decided to vaccinate the kids in his house. She was elated, you can just hear it. That empathy, that listening, that emotional investment that it took. I found it so difficult to pin down a description. Trust is so unquantifiable. Rachel Botsman writes that ‘trust is a bridge to the unknown’. There is an element of fatal mystery, like a soap bubble.

[00:29:25]CG: Coming soon is the first episode in our three-part mini-series about polar explorers, activist and father and son, Robert and Barney Swan. Who recently walked to the South Pole to highlight climate change and to show how renewable energy can really make a difference. We will follow their story through audio diaries they recorded on the expedition and, as you would expect from the Global GoalsCast, we will have plenty of interesting insight into some of the issues around their mission.  Follow us from water day to Earth Day, finalizing in ocean day.

[00:30:02] EL: If you want to make sure that you don’t miss that or any of our episodes, subscribe to us at Apple Podcasts, or where ever you get your podcast. And, please, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @globalgoalscast for the latest news and developments.

[00:30:18]CG:  And that was Edie Lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelman. Thank you so much for being with us.

[00:30:23]CG: This is the Global Goals Cast.

Thanks to HARMAN the official sound of Global GoalsCast. Music in this episode was by Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, and Ellis.

Davos GoalsCast 2018

Jimmy Wales and Richard Edelman talk to Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman about the globalism vs nationalism debate at Davos and how it shapes prospects for achieving the Global Goals. Leaders from countries as different as India, Canada and France said the global economic system isn’t working. Fix the roof while the sun is shining, said Christine LaGarde of the IMF. President Trump presented a kinder, gentler face at Davos; but he was clear in his view that nations should put their own interests first.

Featured Speakers

It is necessary that the sense of competitiveness among the major nations of the world does not become a wall between them.

Over the past decades, citizens and workers have been calling for change but too often their pleas have been ignored. Too many politicians become disconnected, refusing to really listen. But that approach can’t and won’t cut it anymore.

If we commit ourselves to make our current globalization welfare sustainable in favor of middle classes, if we commit ourselves to enable our youth, if we commit ourselves to take into consideration long term and complexity of our decisions so we can converge and build a new globalization understandable and good for our people. Resuming this great idea of progress.

As President of the United States, I will always put America first but America first does not mean America alone.

[00:01:17] CRE: This is the Global GoalsCast. Well, as the fact, it is Davos GoalsCast because this is a special episode in which we’re going to be sharing with you our takeaways from the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2018. We will be sharing with you our observations, the clips that we think represent what happened during the week, and also some of the greatest moments that we thought it’s important to share out with the world.

[00:01:45] EL: And what a week. World leaders warning that globalism is running out of steam and Donald Trump says what’s good for the United States is good for the world.  The big conversation here this week relates directly to Global Goal number eight: committing the world to creating decent work and economic growth for all.

[00:02:04] CRE: But actually, Edie it is even bigger than that. David Nabarro, who was the Undersecretary-General for the United Nations to promote the Sustainable Development Goals, stressed to us here in Davos that all the Goals fit together.

[00:02:16] DN: You can’t take different aspects of peoples’ lives and say we will work on them separately because everything really is connected up. And so although there is 17 goals when you study them, you find that everything relates to everything else. If there is no peace, you can’t have prosperity, if there is no prosperity, women and children can’t be healthy if women are not empowered, you can’t have good nutrition.

[00:02:43] CG: All the major leaders here, Edie, talked about this interdependence. How to keep growth going and how to share the benefits better.

[00:02:52] EL: With Donald Trump at one end of the argument saying every country should fight for its own interests and Emmanuelle Macron of France, Narendra Modi of India, and Justin Trudeau of Canada, all in different ways, saying that globalization is broken and that the world needs a new more equitable global system or we will fragment and fail. Joining us later will be two insightful observers of the global economy., Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, and of course the omnipresent Richard Edelman, you know him, Head of Edelman Communications.

Time to repair the roof when the sun is shining. I’m borrowing from John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He actually focused his speech an opening speech focusing on the next generation. This moment of global growth and European recovery, we have an opportunity to do the difficult things which might otherwise go undone.

[00:03:45] EL: So Claudia, we heard Christine Lagarde open the whole session at the World Economic Forum talking about fixing the roof when the sun is shining. I imagine that means the economies are working but there’s a whole lot that’s not working. Is that hard for world leaders to come here and hear?

[00:04:01] CG: Well as particularly because everybody was so optimistic about the world economy how everything is growing, unemployment numbers have never been you know like lower and I think that there was a lot of optimism matching, you know like, a lot of ‘OK we need to fix the situation. Globalization is not really working. There is a better capitalism that needs to happen’. But I’m not sure we got the answers. We’ll play for you some translated clips from India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Americas Donald Trump – in his own voice, no translator – and France’s Emmanuelle Macron, which is also translated.

“I see that many societies and countries are becoming more and more focused on themselves. It feels, it feels like the opposite of globalization is happening. Everyone is talking about it in the interconnected world. But we will have to accept the fact that globalization is slowly losing its luster.” Narendra Modi

“Progress of any kind takes hard work. But by thinking big and working together. We will build a better world.” Justin Trudeau,

“When people are forgotten, the world becomes fractured. Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten, can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all.” Donald Trump

“Unless I give meaning to globalization, if I cannot explain to people that it’s good for them and that it will help them to develop their own lives in 5, 10 years, 15 years-time, they will be the nationalists the extremists who want to get out of the system and they will win and it will happen in every country.” Emmanuelle Macron

[00:05:59] EL: Have a listen to what Ken Roth had to say. He spoke to me the day before Trump spoke and after Modi did.

“Modi came, the Indian prime minister and trumpets, you know, the great economic progress he’s making we talked about inclusive economics but he utterly ignored the very divisive Hindu nationalists who are demonising the Muslim minority in India and who are intent on getting anything but an inclusive political system and I fear that Trump is going to do a bit of the same thing.  He’s going say, you know, the American economy is booming and America First is working. But here he is building his government around racism misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia. He’s not going to address that stuff.

[00:06:41] CG: So Jimmy, Richard thank you for being with us. You’ve been both here coming to Davos from some time now I think that it’s like 20 years and 10 years or something like that. So what did you make of this year? Richard let’s start with you.

[00:06:54] R: So the big reaction I have is a lot of optimism about the global economy. Every country in the world, with the exception of Brazil, showing strong growth. That’s the first kind of coordinated growth we’ve had since the Great Recession in 08-09. And so a lot of business people were very optimistic. And then on the government leaders, the frame of on one side Macron who talked about the need for a global trading system in which countries give and take. And then President Trump talked about America first in a very profound way and said obviously it’s working because the stock market has hit record highs 84 times and also that the record low unemployment rate for Hispanics and blacks and so Americas a great place to invest. So, it was really quite a contrast between the European view, I guess, and in the American view. The idea of sustainability or of block chain were of course present. But they weren’t as powerful to me as the contrasting messages of Macron and Trump.

[00:08:01] EL: What about you Jimmy? What were your main takeaways from this week?

[00:08:04] J: I mean, with Richard, I saw a lot of optimism which always makes me a little bit nervous because Davos gets too optimistic and we have a financial crisis. You know we always seem to get that wrong.

[00:08:14] CG: Sometimes they hit the theme better than others. Sometimes it’s completely off for me this year talking about a fragmented and fractured world was quite interesting and I felt it was spot on. Is that what you saw during the week? A fragmented type of discourse? People say one thing and then another person doing another?

[00:08:32] J: That’s interesting because I didn’t take the theme as, the conference to be fractured world within the Davos community because I think one of the classic criticisms of Davos is a lot of like-minded people talking to each other, trying to save the world, all being very rich. That’s kind of the classic put down of Davos. But I think outside there is quite a fractured world and I do think it’s something that this community needs to address and to think about is to say ‘look, there are very broken narratives in many countries where people can’t even agree on basic facts and that makes it very hard to make democratic progress, progress on the goals, all those things.’

[00:09:09] CG: So is it because you didn’t feel a lot of this because there is an etiquette that we felt that prime ministers and heads of state were all very worldly in their remarks as opposed to just like say what their national narratives are?

[00:09:23] J: I would have liked to, in the Q & A with Trump, I would have liked Klaus to ask him a question about a perennial Davos issue like climate change. He had an opportunity to not be insulting but just to say you know…

[00:09:38] CRE: What are your views on this?

[00:09:40] EL: Because he did say some interesting things the other day after he came out of the meeting with the Prime Minister of Norway that actually he thought there were some possibilities that we might accept some parts of the Paris Accord because it would be good for business.

[00:09:53] RE: Well it’s almost as if a lot of the countries are just leading and carrying on in sustainability because it suits them. And if it’s China or if it’s India you’re forced by air pollution to do this.

[00:10:07] CG: Maybe I’m biased because I love you both very very much but I do feel that both of the conversation very central to the entire, both of your themes and conversations, were very central to everything I heard in Davos. Fake news. They need to actually be more transparent and factual but also trust & you launch the trust barometer 2018 a couple of days before Davos. Can you talk about the findings and what was the reaction of the Davos man and woman to your findings of trust?

[00:10:38] RE: First, business is actually ahead of NGOs in many markets in terms of trust. Second, there is a clear sense of a return to expertise. Third, this polarization between politics particularly and last, you actually see now the trust is not related either to economics or necessarily to an event like a tsunami or something. It’s actually something that is how the country feels about its institutions and whether there is reliable information which is a perfect segway to Jimmy.

[00:11:09] JW: We’re bringing together wiki style community with paid professional journalists to work together to generate something new in the space of news and really want to be very neutral, very factual, very evidence based. But I think people really do feel that there is a bit of a turning point going on. The quality trusted news brands are beginning to be very successful. New York Times had a huge spike up in subscriptions because the public is really coming to understand that the kind of information we’ve been getting across our social media feed hasn’t been satisfactory. And one of them, for me, one of the interesting findings in the Trust Barometer was that the decline in people’s trust in social media is a source of information.

[00:11:50] RE: People want experts, technical experts, academics, even CEOs those poor benighted fellows are now seen as more credible. And actually most biggest changes +70% of people trust their employer the most. So, news from the company is suddenly something really important because it’s close to home – it’s like the news safe house for the employee. And two thirds of people also said they think business can make money and improve society. The same two thirds said they don’t want companies to wait. They don’t want CEOs to wait, they don’t want to wait for government to move, do stuff.

[00:12:25] EL: We just take the lens back and think about what Modi said to start off the week, the implications of globalization is losing its luster, yet we can’t achieve the global goals without collective actions. So can we achieve them without globalization?

[00:12:40] JW: It all depends on what we mean by that. I would say in general, obviously no, right? We have to have a global outlook for certain issues, like the climate for example. You can’t fix the climate in just one country. It has to be fixed globally. On the other hand, what exactly people mean by globalism is always different in different peoples’ minds. And what Trump put forward today as you know in a more positive way than he has in the past is this, you know, idea of sovereign nations looking after their own interests but looking for deals that are mutually beneficial to everyone. OK, if that’s your view of the rise of nationalism, it doesn’t sound so horrible. As opposed to, I fear, we’ve been seeing we’ll continue to see the rise of a really nasty kind of nationalism which is I’m in it for my country and screw you all not looking for win-win solution.

[00:13:35] RE: So, particulate matter in San Francisco is going up because of coal plants in China. If you want a better symbol of globalization and the need for some degree of harmonization of rules on pollution, that’s it. So, you know, there’s no helping going around the idea that you have to have everyone prospering and having some agreed rules.

[00:13:58] EL: We heard Christine Lagarde saying, it’s time to fix the roof while the sun is shining, which I guess means that there’s something wrong with the roof, right?

[00:14:07] R: I think the gap between rich and poor is huge. And more than that there are new problems. There are more people today, a billion people who are obese and that’s more than malnourished for the first time. That’s a new fact. And so, you know, with again this sort of new prosperity new middle class etcetera. We do have to focus on these emerging issues.

[00:14:30] CG: I want to ask a personal question before closing but so again just because we just closed with President Trump and I think that neither of us was surprised and nevertheless I wonder whether, you know like, there was something that you hope that would be said? I was hoping that there was going to be in that narrative something about gender, for example, that he was going to use this opportunity to talk about that.

[00:14:58] JW: it didn’t feel like a speech he came to give at the World Economic Forum. It was a general speech about his policies and so forth so that was a little disappointing. I did, like you, had hoped you would sort of address the crowd more specifically on things that are of interest here.

[00:15:14] RE: I disagree with my friend on this point. I think Trump’s world view is that every country should follow the example of the United States. It’s free markets, let capitalism go and it’ll fix everything on the basis that it will employ poor people, it will train people just let the business people go.

[00:15:33] EL: He did say free but fair trade.

[00:15:36] RE: Yes fair trade means fair in the sense of America gets a fair share of trade. So for me the vision part of America that really has to be reinforced is about values and democracy and rights and freedom and, again, it’s the most perfect expression. Business does that.

[00:16:01] CG: Last year Edie you and I were talking about like probably our highlight was having heard a global leader with President Xi coming on actually just like stating something so grand and so like profound and.

[00:16:14] RE: I am sure that his view is ‘I did exactly that and that you should follow the example of America and deregulate and have markets run and will somehow come to the right solution’ as opposed to this grand version or vision of harmony and a plan. And so it’s two fundamentally different views of the world.

[00:16:34] EL: Interesting. A different world view than perhaps a lot of people here would naturally find.

[00:16:38] RE: It’s opposite of a Davos Man or woman. It is a, you know, hard charging, you know, almost a small businessman approach to commerce and it’s a view.

[00:16:50] CG: Thank you so much Richard, Jimmy for joining us here to wrap up the week here in Davos. We’ll let you guys go home and collapse.

[00:16:57] CG: And have a great year.

[00:17:01] EL: So all of that, all of what they said, directly ties the global goals to reach the goal, the world needs steady growth more equal distribution and a relief from wars. Whether it be those be wars with guns or trade wars.

[00:17:15] CG: But the phrase ‘we are going in the wrong direction’ was repeated a number of times.

[00:17:21] EL: I heard a lot of people who graced the studio here this week talking about climate change, talking about very specifically moving away from coal, talking about fixing the way we produce food, talking about fixing the way we eat food and the way we consume. I heard a lot about the positive aspects of block chain. I also heard a lot about the negative effects that the block chain that cryptocurrencies could bring just in terms of adding heat. I heard there’s another great comment from Kevin Delaney, the editor of Quartz said that for him this year at Davos, climate change and robots are probably going to kill us but women and the block chain are going to save us.

[00:18:07] CG: I also think that a big chunk of a conversation was regarding how we bring the 50 percent of the world to be in a better place. Meaning talking about women, talking about gender. I think that there was the same amount of conversations happening at the World Economic Forums, at side events discussing gender, girl empowerment, education. Where a lot of the players that were part of those conversations were not members of the World Economy Forum, but overall I think that the need to campaign what I heard that was interesting was not only how much momentum it created but also that we have to watch out that we’re not overdoing it because there might be a backlash on reaction about like. And I did feel it even myself about like how people didn’t want to have one-to-one meeting with me. You know like overall just like being very careful and very cautious about like well you know like now we have to be over cautious & over careful so…

[00:19:03] EL: I also heard some stories about men still behaving quite badly. So I do think we have to be careful about that.

[00:19:03] CG: Not only the President’s Club story broke here while we were in Davos with you know like the London story making it the most popular story on the Financial Times in decades.

[00:19:20] EL: One final point for me. I spoke to Alicia [INAUDIBLE] who is talking about, OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD can’t get it right, who is saying to me that women are the face of poverty in Latin America. For every hundred men who are in extreme poverty, there’s a 118 women.

[00:19:37] CG: All right. OK so I think that we are going, this is a wrap. We launched the Global GoalsCast in the World Economic Forum this year. We’re liking what we’re seeing with these people care more about these issues. We want to provide a platform to identify the champions that are making progress to make sure that we talk to the people that are making the effort because getting to a better world requires a lot of effort. And we’re going to make sure that we will continue telling the story of those champions being the individuals, citizens, companies or governments that are making it. So, that was Edie Lush. And I’m Claudia Romo Edelman. This was the Davos GoalsCast part of the Global GoalsCast. See you next time.

[00:20:19] EL: To make sure you don’t miss any of our upcoming episodes, subscribe to us at Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, you can also check out our dramatic episode about polar adventurers, Robert and Barney Swan, father and son team that walked to the South Pole using only renewable energy. And, finally, for the latest news and developments or to share your own stories, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @Global GoalsCast.

CREDITS: Thank you to our partners at the United Nations, UNICEF, World Food Programme, UN Foundation, SDG Action Campaign of the Office of the UN Development Program International Office for Migration, International Development Law Organization, Malaria No More, Rollback Malaria, Project Everyone and Pvblic Foundation. We are also grateful for the support of Hub Culture, SAS, Cultural Intelligence, Freuds Communication, Saatchi & Saatchi, Action Button and of course CBS News Digital. We want to recognize individual champions who have been supporting Global GoalsCast: David Sabel, David Jones, Will Lewis and Seven Hills.  And then to our amazing advisory board: Jacob Weisberg, Steve Rubel, Kate Stanners, Dali Schonfelder, Matthew Freud, Christy Tanner, Fon Mathuros Chantanayingyong, Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Dinesh Paliwal and Scarlett Curtis

And a special thank you to HARMAN as the official sound of Global GoalsCast. And finally none of this would have been possible without the support of our main patron and Claudia’s husband Richard Edelman who has been the angel behind Global GoalsCast.

Journey Across Antarctica: the Swans and Climate Change

The interior of the Antarctic is among the most inhospitable places on the planet. The air is fierce, thin (10,000 feet) and lethally cold. Thirty years ago, Robert Swan walked across this icy desert to the South Pole. He tried again, departing November 2017, this time with his twenty-three-year-old son, Barney. Their goal was to highlight the importance of sustainable energy and the imperative to curb climate change, two of the Global Goals set by 193 nations in 2015. They traveled with only renewable energy sources.

Rob, now 61, was obviously older than the first time. He trained hard to make up for his own change, though what he could not prepare for was a change in the Antarctic. He told Global GoalsCast:

The surfaces across which we were travelling were surfaces none of us have ever experienced before. Not just me, five of the top polar travelers in the world who are making journeys in Antarctica have all commented on the fact that the surfaces this year in Antarctica are different than they’ve ever been before…We believe – all of us – that it is a sign that we are changing even in the coldest parts of Antarctica.

Melting of the sea ice in both the North and South polar regions is well documented, but Swan’s observations call attention to something new and disturbing. Though not yet scientifically proven, it raises the concern that climate change is possibly reaching the interior Antarctic. The ice was like a pie crust, he reported. Each step his skis and sled would crack through and sink several inches. Slogging through the fragile ice slowed him down to a pace that could not keep to the set schedule that included adequate rest and recovery time for Rob.

Swan noted that scientists will need to study the wind, snow and temperature patterns to better understand what’s happening. These are crucial studies. More water is held in Antarctic ice and snow than anywhere else on earth. If it were to melt it would have a dramatic effect on sea levels around the world.

Part way through the journey, Robert stopped and sent his son and the team forward to finish the trek. After a rest at base camp he rejoined them for the final 60 miles as they reached the South Pole. Robert handed his son a small marble globe, a symbolic passing of the baton in the continuing effort to get the world to pay attention to its excessive energy use. By phone from Antarctic Robert Swan said:

Our effort, yes, is extreme, but what it gives us is a story which can underline and hopefully inspire people to make change because we cannot carry on as we are. The way that we are living is not sustainable. If we can survive here [in Antarctica] on renewable energy than we can do that anywhere on the planet – and that is the message.

Featured guests

Robert Swan

Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.

Barney Swan

Barney Swan was born in London, United Kingdom, and then moved to tropical Far North Queensland, Australia at the age of 7. Being raised off grid in Australia helped him developed an acute understanding of how valuable energy is, with conveniences often not being an option. With degrees in Business and Multimedia, Barney now lives and works in California, co-directing 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Over the last 5 years, he has applied and trained skills in outdoor leadership, team management, & project strategy.


From SAS – Our Official Analytics and Data Visualization Partner

CulturIntel Climate Change Sentimeter


[00:01:35] CLAUDIA ROMO EDELMAN: This is the Global GoalsCast…

[00:01:36]  EDIE LUSH: …a podcast that explores, “Can we change the world?”

[00:01:39] CRE: In this episode, father and son try to walk together to the South Pole.

[00:01:44]  EL: But an unexpected environmental change disrupts their carefully laid plans.

[00:01:53]  CRE: I am Claudia Romo Edelman in New York and we have an incredible story for you and it dramatizes a key element of the Global Goals.

[00:02:00]  EL: Exactly! I’m Edie Lush in London. There are 17 Global Goals: eradicate poverty, improve education… but last year the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that one Goal had become what he called the main accelerator of the entire effort. Failure here would disrupt all the other goals and that one goal is curbing climate change.

[00:02:20]  CRE: And so climate change will be an important topic for us here on the Global GoalsCast. In this episode we will travel with Robert and Barney Swan, father and son, on a trek to the South Pole. Sixty days, 600 miles, with only renewable energy and we will experience with them a change they had not anticipated.

[00:02:43] EL: Robert Swan is the first person to walk to both the North and the South Pole. It was over 30 years ago that he reached the South Pole. This time he wanted to go back with his 23-year-old son Barney. Their purpose was to highlight the urgency of shifting to renewable energy and, as you’re going to hear, it was an emotional adventure.

[00:03:04] CRE: I got to know Robert and Barney really well actually my whole family was with them. We even put up a tent in my living room to train on yoga moves that Rob could do in the Antarctic so that he could keep his body limber. This is how thorough their planning was.

Edie, they planned for everything, everything except a change in the Antarctic since Rob Swan first walked to the South Pole 30 years ago.

[00:03:33]  EL: They set out for the South Pole on the 19th of November 2017. Before he left, Rob had agreed to check in with Claudia for the Global GoalsCast.

[00:03:43]  CRE: I caught up with Rob 28 days into their walk and a very painful moment. Rob had realized he was in trouble. The trek was harder for him that he had anticipated for reasons he will reveal to us later.

In this conversation, he agonized about whether he could go on or should leave his son Barney to continue without him.

[00:04:10]  ROBERT SWAN: We are right, right in the middle of Antarctica. We’ve reached the halfway point.

Very hard conditions, very tough outside. It’s minus 28 degrees. The wind’s blowing, the wind chill factor is probably putting it down into the 30s… 35 (below zero). It’s just a huge white sheet – 360 degrees. It’s very, very hostile out there… very, very hard to be 61 years old making this journey.

The nightmare of being weaker, to pass a little slower than the rest of the team has caused a huge amount of psychological problems for me because I still think I’m back 30 years ago.

And if I’m going to be slow, I’m going to die.

But having my son Barney, who’s been a revelation and has really made it possible for me to reach this stage of the journey, and we’re all very, very proud.

We’re sitting around and we’re looking at numbers and we are looking at distance from the South Pole – 500 kilometers. If I’m a bit slow, am I going to hold things up to the extent we might not meet the deadline? There’s a huge amount of suspense and drama taking place on the very day that we’re making this call.

The decision will be, do we go on or do I have to go back? [His voice chokes with emotion] It’s really hard to leave my son to go on. It’s really, really hard if I make that decision. You have no idea what that feels like. I’m sorry… I get upset.

[00:06:19] CRE: Rob decided to drop out. Barney went on. I called Rob again about two weeks later. He was back at base camp. Even so, reaching him wasn’t so simple.

[00:06:33] CRE: This is the Global Goals cast calling you from New York to Antarctica 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Copy.

[00:06:42] RS: I can copy you loud and clear.

[00:06:44] CRE: Robert, It’s an honor to have you. It’s been quite a journey so far. Today is more than 20 days since you left. How do you feel?

[00:06:54] RS: Well, It’s been a very difficult time for me personally because dealing with the word ‘failure’ is not that something I dealt with before in polar expeditions.

But now I have accepted that it was definitely the right choice to make. The doctors here at base camp have given me permission to join our team and I’ll be meeting Barney, Martin, and Kyle at 89 degrees south in a few days time. So, although I will not have done the whole journey with my son Barney, I will complete the journey with him.

[00:07:47] BARNEY SWAN: This is Barney reporting from the South Pole Energy Challenge. Today has been pretty brutal on all of us… aches and pains. The technology’s all working very well. The ice melt has given pretty much all of our drinking water during the day.

Missing Dad a lot. I haven’t spoken to him since he departed, so [I’m] looking forward to having a good chat at some point. Definitely starting to feel the effects of Antarctica a little bit. We’ve got some blisters and bumps on our feet.

[00:08:25] RS: It’s an unbelievable thing that he [Barney] is in the process of achieving. He’s going through – as I speak now, which was very painful for me to hear – lots of toe damage. It’s called “banged foot,” which is an Antarctic condition where your foot is hitting the end of your boot too much. He is not going to lose a toe, but he’s in a lot of pain. He’s really gone thru hell to make it this far since I sadly had to leave him.

[00:09:03] CRE: So Robert, tell me, what were your last words to Barney?

[00:09:06] RS: The last words were the most difficult words in my life.

I know what this place is and where I left Barney was in minus 25 and it was windy and cold. But the rest of the journey, after I left him, you go into hell – and it’s cold hell. You’re going up to 10,000 feet above sea level. The temperature will fall to minus 40. The wind chill will just be indescribable.

To look into his eyes and to know that I wouldn’t be next to him to help him was the worst moment of my life so far. So my words were to him that his blood is my blood and he had it in him to do this.

[00:10:05] BS: Hello, this is a quick update before heading to bed. We have had a pretty long afternoon of going up and down and up and down. Seems like we’re on roller coasters.

We saw some really big [inaudible] today. The biggest yet – wild formations. Something out of a science fiction film. Fifteen feet tall, some of them. We’ve been going small cracks, which is a reminder just to keep super aware of where we are and kilometers of ice that underneath us.

Really thinking a lot about what is going to be like to come back to the so-called real world after this experience. It’s definitely makes you think a lot about our life style.

[00:10:46] RS: I cannot wait to see his face in a few days time, 60 miles out from the Pole. And as he helped me when I was suffering, I look forward to taking the weight off his sleds to help him while he is suffering. Father and son together, side by side again. It’s going to be a fantastic moment.

[00:11:10] CRE What did Barney say looking at his father having taken that very strong decision and having comforted you so far.

 [00:11:17] RS: He said to me, “Dad, I always thought you were a badass, hard person, but I’ve never seen anybody struggle as you have to keep up to make sure that you haven’t delayed us. But Dad, it’s time. I cannot bear to see you suffer any more. Get back to base camp. Do it.”

My recovery has been slow. It’s been hard. To put it bluntly, I knocked the hell out of myself to make half of the journey and not slow them down.

[00:11:53] CRE: Ten days ago when we spoke you told me that I wouldn’t recognize you because your face was completely deformed. Could I recognize you now?

[00:12:00] RS: Yeah, you could recognize me now, but I have to say that I think it’s aged me.

[00:12:10] CRE: You prepared hard for this journey, but tell us about the change in Antarctica you hadn’t expected.

[00:12:12] RS: Not just me… five of the top polar travellers in the world, who are making journeys in Antarctica, have all commented on the fact that the surfaces in this year in Antarctica are different than they’ve ever been before. And these people have been doing it like me for 30 years.

The surface is a bit like a piecrust. Imagine if you are on skis and you’re walking across a crust that’s like a pie, but then crust collapses and your skis go down, let’s say 3 or 4 inches, into that crust and the sled does the same.

Every step you take is twice as hard and twice as slow as it used to be.

We can’t say that it’s scientific fact, but what you can say is that people with 30 years’ experience are noticing a difference in the surface of the snow here in Antarctica, which in my view has to point to some changes in wind patterns, in snow patterns, in temperature.

We believe all of us that it is a sign that we are changing even in the coldest parts of Antarctica… some of the surfaces across which we’re traveling.

[00:13:49] CRE: Has the change in the Antarctic ice made it so much harder and that’s the reason why you, for example, having done it for 30 years, you couldn’t finish a trip?

[00:14:00] RS: Exactly, because I couldn’t get rest. I found myself having to struggle harder and harder and harder to keep up… and we didn’t fall behind in mileage that you need every day.

[00:14:17] CRE: And how would you compare the attention that the Arctic ice is getting versus the attention that the Antarctic ice is getting?

[00:14:23] RS: The Arctic is an example of what we mustn’t do here in the Antarctic. The Arctic is going through huge changes, very obvious changes, but no one really seems to be listening much changes.

                  I focused on Antarctica because we believe there is hope.

If we all use more renewable energy, no one’s going to come here to drill it, to mine it. It just won’t happen because it won’t make financial sense. That’s the purpose of our journey. 

We also want very, very much to support the United Nations because the United Nations and their commitment, and all of these things, the fantastic Paris Climate Change Agreement, all the things that the United Nations has done, people need to know more about it.

It doesn’t matter whether current presidents of countries are withdrawing from agreements, it doesn’t matter. The world made an agreement and we need to support those things and mark those things and be very positive. And I think the United Nations has got to come through harder and stronger on these issues.

[00:15:49] CRE: Yes.

[00:15:50] RS: …as well as all the other issues that they have to deal with and we would like to support them.

[00:15:54] CRE: Rob, that piecrust of ice is a powerful metaphor for all of us. Climate change stopped your journey in an unexpected way. It can affect all of our journeys. Tell me how you feel now as this expedition is nearly at the end.

[00:16:15] RS: The end of this journey is really the beginning of the journey. This is our first launch of what we call the Climate Force Challenge. This is the beginning of our next stage to keep cleaning up our world of CO2 from the atmosphere.

What I feel, though, is that it now becomes Barney’s mission, not my mission. I have supported him to get to this stage. Barney now with his generation must move this forward.

It’s a seven-year mission to inspire people to use more clean, renewable energy. To remember those two parts of the United Nations commitment. One is on climate change; the other is on renewable energy. So we want to support them.

But it’s giving everyday people a chance to make some changes with ideas that we’ve had out here. I’ve worked so hard on this end to recover, to get ready, to train and in three, four days time I will stand side by side with my son to celebrate his achievements.

At 23 years of age Barney Swan has shown courage that is just simply outstanding and I cannot wait to be standing side by side with him again. It will very cold up there, probably minus 40, but we’ll stand side by side and walk into the South Pole.

[00:18:03] CRE: Yes.

[00:18:09] BS: We had a pretty amazing moment today. The Last Degree (polar expedition company) plane buzzed us as we were marching and we can just imagine this little Last Degree team in the plane looking down at us and we’re 60 nautical miles until we reach the South Pole.

[00:18:28] RS: I have in my hand, actually as I’m speaking to you, a tiny little globe. It’s the world made out of a lightweight kind of marble. And when I reach the Pole, Barney and I standing there, I’m going to hand him that and say, “Barney, I’ve spent 35 years getting us this far. I want to hand to you this back on and I will now support you with what you want to do and your plans and your future.”

[00:19:02] CRE: Edie, since the last time I spoke to Rob he managed to join Barney so that they could go into the finishing line together. Once they reached the South Pole, we were the first phone call that they made.

[00:19:16] CRE: Robert, you made it!

[00:19:18] RS: We made it. We’re all safe and Barney is now with the medical doctor here at the base camp having his frostbite treatment on his feet. I think Barney has a story now that is truly authentic.

He did it for real and I believe that he is passionate, alongside his father, to really make this work and inspire young people about the whole issue of renewable energy, climate change and making something of your life, making your dreams come true.

We have been on the edge of death. If we made mistakes, we die  – and our world, I believe, is on the edge of killing itself.

To re-enter society and to see people just being consumed, and consuming – not thinking about energy, Not thinking about poverty. Not thinking – not thinking – that that we are in a survival situation in the world is very, very hard to return to when you are in survival mode.

But I think Barney is looking forward to making sure his feet are good, looking forward to a hot bath and looking forward to an another thing that we take for granted: I think everybody listening is sitting in a chair. We have not sat in a chair for 60 days.

It has been daylight for us for now for 70 days. We’ve never seen dark. So all we’ve seen is light. So it will be very interesting to return to darkness.

The things we will look forward to are the things that we all take for granted. I think that’s an important message.

[00:21:31] CRE: So, Edie they were re-united. They made it to the South Pole. It was a tremendous journey that gave them not only an incredible set of experiences as father and son, but also changed the future as Robert passed on the baton to Barney.

They’re flying from Antarctica to Davos where we’re going to have a conversation. So their first stop will be our session in Davos at the World Economic Forum, “From Antarctica to Davos.”

[00:22:00] EL: That’s super cool. The good news is they won’t need to change their clothes at all because Davos is pretty much the same temperature.

It’s also incredible because I think the experience has a message for all of us. We know that the Earth’s climate is incredibly complex. We know that carbon is making the atmosphere warmer, but the results of this are emerging in so many different ways.

[00:22:26] CRE: Edie, what I see about climate change right now is an incredible relationship in the need for people to move. So you will see that necessarily in some places people cannot stay because it’s going to be melting, so they will have to move because temperatures will continue rising and as we know the world is hotter and hotter and that will have an impact as well on migration.

And I don’t know that we have necessarily taken enough measurements to accommodate for environmental refugees either.

[00:22:58] EL: Claudia, we’ve promised to make the people who listen to our podcast smarter. So here’s the three things that you need to know about climate change.

Over the past half century the Earth’s temperature has skyrocketed. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen two degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. And this is a change that we know is driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.

We also know that carbon dioxide warms the planet and we’ve increased the amount in the air by nearly half — most since the 1960s. Ninety-eight per cent of climate scientists agree that our carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming.

And the third thing is that the Arctic sea ice is shrinking and glaciers are retreating worldwide. Seas could rise three feet by the year 2100 or maybe even more.

[00:23:56] CRE: Edie we always say that we’re going to give our audience actions. Climate change has really the most concrete actions that people can take because they’re so tangible.

[00:23:48]  RS: Every single person doesn’t have to walk to the South Pole to make a point. But people should make an effort themselves, even if it’s a click of a mouse, to make changes that they can make on their use of energy.

You can buy clean electricity. You can buy a small solar panel to charge your mobile phone. You can think about changes in your diet. None of these things are difficult to do. We can’t carry on as we are. The ways that we are living is not sustainable and our effort here in Antarctica are an example that, if we can survive here on renewable energy then we can do that anywhere on the planet.

[00:25:03] CRE: The United Nations launched the “Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World” and I think that you can find every piece of information that you can do from the things that we just said. Turn off your light, shower shorter, don’t use plastic cups, and so on. So go to our website at and check out the actions that you can take from our partners’ action button.

The beautiful thing is we’ve got a story with Robert and Barney Swan that will go in the books of history and we got them recording for hours and hours because Roberts Swan he told me over the phone that one of the things that he really used to recover during the time that he was in base camp was record audio as a way of reflecting, self reflecting.

So we will have the privilege of having the most personal account and recount of these journey the 60 days. We’ll have an entire month dedicated to exploring the journey of Robert and Barney and as a way of doing, really go deep into climate change.

[00:26:15] EL: And if you want to make sure you don’t miss that or any of our other episodes, Subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts or where ever you get your podcasts and please follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at Global Goals Cast for the latest news and developments.

[00:26:31] CRE: And that was Edie Lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelman and thank you for being with us.

CREDITS: Thank you to our partners at the United Nations, UNICEF, World Food Programme, UN Foundation, SDG Action Campaign of the Office of the UN Development Program International Office for Migration, International Development Law Organization, Malaria No More, Rollback Malaria, Project Everyone and Pvblic Foundation. We are also grateful for the support of Hub Culture, SAS, Cultural Intelligence, Freuds Communication, Saatchi & Saatchi, Action Button and of course CBS News Digital. We want to recognize individual champions who have been supporting Global GoalsCast: David Sabel, David Jones, Will Lewis and Seven Hills.  And then to our amazing advisory board: Jacob Weisberg, Steve Rubel, Kate Stanners, Dali Schonfelder, Matthew Freud, Christy Tanner, Fon Mathuros Chantanayingyong, Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Dinesh Paliwal and Scarlett Curtis


And finally, none of this would have been possible without the support of our main patron and Claudia’s husband Richard Edelman who has been the angel behind global goals cast and Rob and Barney Swan.

The World is on the Move

“Migrants are the ultimate agent of development,” William Lacy Swing, head of the International Office for Migration, says in this episode of Global GoalsCast. 

Indeed, 13 of the 17 Global Goals are linked to migration. 

“We can’t achieve the Global Goals without encouraging people to move around,” says co-host, Edie Lush.

Decisions made now about migration – by countries and individuals – will likely determine whether the Goals are achieved by the deadline of 2030. “the economic powerhouse that migrants are needs to be nurtured,” says Louise Arbour, Special Representative for International Migration for the United Nations.

In this episode, you will meet Brenda, a migrant from Mexico, who as a fourth grader crossed the Rio Grande at night with little but her parent’s dreams for her. Now, she works as a software engineer for Google. Migration changed her life. But what about a child in Mexico today who might want to follow her path? “One of the largest threats to the global goals is the backlash against migration in major parts of the developed world,” says co-host Claudia Romo Edelman. 

How can the backlash against migrants be eased so the power of migration can drive global development?  Romo Edelman and Lush seek answers from former mayors of San Antonio and Dublin as well as from a leading representative of The Catholic Church.  Fear can’t be addressed without empathy, they suggest. “They really do feel threatened or they really do feel rendered insecure or disoriented,” says the Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary to the “Section for Refugees and Migrants” in the new Vatican department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.

 “So its worth being sympathetic first of all rather than condemnatory.” An orderly system setting the worlds rules for migration will help reassure people, says Romo Edelman. 

Featured guests

Aqel Biltaji

Aqel Biltaji is the former mayor of Amman. He was appointed by the cabinet of the Greater Amman Municipality in September 2013. He had occupied several positions over the course of his life most famously as a tourism adviser to King Abdullah II and as chief of Aqaba’s city council.


Brenda is actually studying Computer Science at UT-Austin. She is undocumented and was the first in her family to graduate from high school. She has a memorable story about, as a very young child, crossing the border into the United States with her family. At ARS, she participated in a competition at MIT where her group designed and built food storage units that could be used in the desert. She has interned at Google and has a job offer for when she graduates from college.

Brendan Carr

Brendan Carr is an Irish Labour Party politician and member of Dublin City Council. He was Lord Mayor of Dublin 2016/2017.He was first elected to Dublin City Council at the 1999 local elections as a member for the Cabra-Glasnevin local electoral area. He was re-elected in 2004 but did not contest the 2009 local elections. He returned to Dublin City Council representing the Cabra-Finglas area at the 2014 Local Elections. Carr is a SIPTU trade union official.

Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros co-founded CityView in 2000 and serves as the firm’s chairman and sits on each of CityView’s Investment Committees. In 1981, Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas, where he was elected to four terms. In 1992, President Clinton appointed him Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1997, he became president and COO of Univision Communications, the Spanish-language broadcaster. He is a member of the advisory boards of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation, and was honored by the National Housing Conference as the “Housing Person of the Year”.

Khalid Koser

Formerly deputy director of the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, Khalid Koser is the executive director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund. He is an expert in international migration, refugees, asylum, and internal displacement.

Louise Arbour

Louise Arbour, CC GOQ is a Canadian lawyer, prosecutor and jurist. She is currently the UN Special Representative for International Migration. Arbour was the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. From 2009 until 2014, she served as President and CEO of the International Crisis Group. She made history with the indictment of a sitting head of state, Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milošević, as well as the first prosecution of sexual assault as the articles of crimes against humanity.

Michael Czerny

Michael Czerny, S.J., is a Canadian Jesuit who has worked with various Jesuit social justice initiatives for over thirty years. In December 2016,Pope Francis appointed Jesuit Father Michael Czerny as an undersecretary to the “Section for Refugees and Migrants” in the new Vatican department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. Czerny first served as the founding director of the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto from 1979 to 1989, then as director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador. From 1992 to 2002, Czerny served as the Secretary for Social Justice at the Jesuit Curia, and subsequently served as the founding director-coordinator of the African Jesuit Aids Network (AJAN) until 2010. Since 2009 has been an adjutor to the African Bishops Conference and Synod, as well as personal assistant to Cardinal Peter Kodwo, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Philippe Legrain

Philippe Legrain is a British political economist and writer. He specializes in global and European economic issues, notably globalisation, migration, the post-crisis world and the euro. A visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute, he is a former adviser to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso from 2011 to 2014.

William Lacy Swing

William Lacy Swing is the Director General of the International Organization for Migration. He is a diplomat and former United States Ambassador, and United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Under Secretary General.

Special thanks to


[00:00:01] P1: I could not have had the opportunities I had if I had been over there. I will not have gotten to intern for Google or even have a job with them now.

[00:00:11] P2: Yes. The world is on the move. And we will see more of that.

[00:00:15] P3: The economic powerhouse that migrants are I think has to be nourished.

[00:00:20] P4: Am deeply concerned over the policies of some national leaders are taking at the moment putting disparate xenophobic chauvinistic view of society is going to damage the world in general.

[00:00:43] CG: Welcome to the Global Goals cast. The podcast that explores if we can change the world. I’m Edie lush Lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelman. We’re happy to have you here. And this episode we’re going to look at migration. Why is it essential? And how the backlash against migration is the direct threat to the Global Goals set by the United Nations, right after this.

[00:01:06]P5: In every episode we will give you the sticky facts and figures that you will want to share with your friends over coffee. All data is brought to you courtesy of SASS, our official analytics and data visualization partners. And you can go to our website at to find even more data visualizations and maps. We love you SASS.

[00:01:15] EL: Welcome back. On this episode we’re going to talk about an issue close to my heart and Claudia’s and that’s migration. We’re both migrants, we and our children have benefited enormously because we are able to move from country to country. For me it’s the U.S., then the Bahamas, back to the U.S. became an internal migrant moving from the West Coast to the East Coast, and now I live in the UK and Claudia, you went from Mexico to..

[00:01:41] CG: Well practically everywhere.

[00:01:43] EL: Enough about us, but we’re going to look at migration through a very special lens today and that’s not just the lens of the good migration has done for us. And the millions of other individuals and families or even the really familiar discussions of the desperate people fleeing the world’s most horrific troubled spots.

[00:02:00] CG: Now we want to highlight how different the world would look like 12 years from now depending on the decisions about whether we close off migration, we close the borders or we build bridges and whether we encourage a migration that is more orderly and systemic or we just want to build walls.

[00:02:17] EL: Migration is baked into the Sustainable Development Goals. Here’s William Lacy Swing, the director of the International Organization for Migration explaining the connection.

[00:02:26] LS: 3.5% of the world’s population are international migrants. That’s the 244 million as I mentioned. But these 3.5 percent of the world’s population are producing 9 percent of global GDP and that is 4 percent more than they would have produced if they stayed at home. So when people ask me what’s the relationship between migration and development, I say migrants are the ultimate agents of development. 

[00:02:53] CG: To show the power of migration in a few minutes we’re going to introduce you to Brenda who we love because she’s such an example about a typical story of a girl that crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S. when she was nine. And with nothing but her parents dreams of a better future for her. So you will see how that arrival has been affected not only her but also her family and both Mexico and the U.S. She is earning money, sending money home etc. So we will talk to you about what could happen over the next 12 years if the next Brenda, some nine years old in Mexico today, stop from repeating her journey by the backlash against migration.

[00:03:40] EL: 12 years of course is the year 2030 and that’s a year that the U.N. has set to achieve 17 global goals to end extreme poverty and encourage growth in ways that don’t wreck the environment. Our job on this podcast is to hold those goals up to the light and ask what it’s going to take to achieve them, highlight successes and call out threats. It actually surprised me to see how many of the Global Goals were linked it to migration. 13 out of 17. Which leads me to think that we can’t achieve the global goals, without encouraging people to move around and from where I live in the UK, the opposite seems to be happening.

[00:04:18] CG: One of the largest threats of the Global Goals for me is the backlash against migration in major parts of the developed world, meaning the countries that used to receive these migrants. I spoke to Henry Cisneros who is the former mayor of San Antonio about this.

[00:04:43] HC: At a time when the wage structure has changed, the number of jobs has reduced, the nature of industries has changed, populations are getting older less secure economically and even in physical capacities. To see new comers with their different accents, with their strange names, with their different complexions, with large families it’s no doubt going to create major tensions.

[00:05:12] CG: Then I met Father Michael Czerny the representative of the Holy See to the United Nations when I was in Puerto Vallarta actually during that Global Compact for migration.

[00:05:22] FM: First is to understand and even to sympathize with the feelings of fear, of insecurity of bewilderment, of frustration that people do feel. In a certain sense their reactions are not completely baseless or irrational, they really do feel threatened or they really do feel rendered insecure or disoriented. And so it’s, it’s been sympathetic first of all rather than just condemnatory.

[00:05:48] CG: So why these internal political fights within certain countries a threat to the Global Goals. To answer that we have to talk first with an expert or two about how migration works a sudden economic force, then it will be so much easier to show how the whole ambition of the global goals could be the railway by political efforts to curtail migration, and I think that the best person I spoke to about is my new boss.

[00:06:11] EL: Not just because she’s your new boss.

[00:06:13] CG: Not just because she my new boss. She’s is the smartest & she is a representative of the secretary general for Migration in 2018. She is in charge of making the Global Compact for migration a reality. And this is Louise Harper.

[00:06:26] LH: They are today as we speak in the world about two hundred and fifty seven million migrants. This is people who live, have moved and lived for more than one year outside their country of birth or or nationality. They are overwhelmingly migrant workers. They have a rate of employment higher than that of native population. Forty eight percent of migrants are women and they’re not all just a member of the family of a man. They are millions of women who are migrant workers in their own rights and the economics are mind boggling. Migrants spend about 85 percent of their income in the host country and the 15 percent that they send home, today represents 600 billion dollars a year. About 450 of that going to developing countries. That amount is three times the amount of official development aid that wealthier countries send to developing countries so the economic powerhouse that migrants are I think has to be nourished and we have to capitalize on that force.

[00:07:34] EL: So now have a listen to William Lacy Swing doing a little more myth busting.

[00:07:38] LS: The mythology is that migrants are coming to take our jobs when in point of fact migrants are the ultimate development agent, they are actually in most cases actually producing jobs in the SME’s, they come in and they end up themselves creating businesses and hiring people.

[00:07:59] El: So that’s the big picture. But as a journalist, I always want to have the human example of what an economist says. So now let’s introduce Brenda. She’s a real migrant just like us. She arrived in the US aged nine from Mexico and here she is speaking about her parents.

[00:08:14] Br: My mom was a secretary at Nissan in Mexico City. My mom only has a high school degree because she did have me very young. And my step dad worked as a driver for the vice president of a company. He was any way have a high school degree. When they moved here, my mom was actually out of the job for about six months when they moved, she couldn’t find anything, she didn’t speak the language of course. But my stepdad worked in construction for a really really long time, after that my mom started working at a dental lab where they make like fake teeth and stuff like that,  just helping out like minor tasks. And they worked at Wendy’s during that time, they were both working at Wendy’s & construction, they started dabbling with cameras. And just like going to their friends like birthday parties & like taking a little video and editing a little bit & my mom teaching herself how to edit online. So eventually they were able to get into a full grown business for video photographers.

[00:09:19] EL: So they were self-sufficient from the minute they got to the US. We’re going to hear more about them shortly but first of all have a listen to my friend Felipe McGrane. He’s a journalist economist and author and he had this to say.

[00:09:30] FM: Migration is also beneficial to the country to which migrants move, for the migrants come and do jobs that either the locals don’t want to do or are not able to do. They boost enterprise, creativity and innovation, widen the range of skills and ideas in the economy, and research for the IMF shows for example that an increase of the migrant [INAUDIBLE] population by 1 percent tends to boost productivity and income levels of the existing population by 2 percent. So, that’s really really significant. And if you think about it migration is a bit like starting a business. It’s a risky venture and it takes a hard work to make it a payoff and it’s a natural way to get ahead if you arrive in a country with a few contacts or without an established career.

[00:10:17] Unknown: Global Goals cast has the most incredible network of partners that contribute with ideas, stories and evidence points to bring you the most relevant interesting and compelling goals Cast content. Special thanks to the International Office for Migration for this episode.

[00:10:36] EL: We heard earlier about Brenda’s parents and how they moved to America worked multiple jobs before setting up their own business. The small and medium sized enterprises that William Lacy Swing talked about.

[00:10:46] CG: Do you remember that point that about remittances.

[00:10:47] EL: Exactly.

[00:10:48] CG: I absolutely loved that aspect of the migration. Those are the new figures that get me going that was that I want to repeat to my friends and here’s what Brenda’s parents do for their relatives in Mexico.

[00:11:00] BR: They send back money to my grandmother. She’s getting older and I really want to hold a full time job in the morning and stuff like that. So she definitely needs money. My stepdad also has two other kids. So he sends them money. They will have kids as well. So it’s basically the people that my parents send money to my grandma and my step dad’s two kids.

My grandma basically raised me along with my mom. So for my grandma it was really hard not only to lose her daughter but also me. My mom was also a huge huge support to my grandmother growing up just in terms of helping with the house and the bills and all that stuff. So it was a really big big hit for my grandmother. I think mostly and also having my step siblings foster dad who’s here now so they are better off economically that if he wasn’t here but they also don’t have their dad. My step sister finished high school and she started going to culinary school but she did not finish. And my step brother was going to college for electrical engineering but dropped out once he had his kids so he was almost, he did not finish.

[00:12:23] EL: So there’s quite a contrast between Brenda and her stepsister.

[00:12:26] BR: I started in the fourth grade. Now I did not know any English whatsoever. So it was really hard concession just trying to learn a new language. And just the shock of the culture shock that you have to adjust to all what is just being alone right not having any friends, any family besides your parents. I guess moving around was a big thing for us to we didn’t have a car, it’s moving around and speaking the language. And even the school bus for me it was a completely new concept. I had never been on the school bus. This is the first time I got on it I didn’t really know what to expect. On your word to get off for anything. See those little things like that. Come fifth grade, there was a couple of schools that came to talk to us about applying for their schools for middle school. But I decided to go with Ann Richards. My English was still lacking a little bit. So that mean I got put in special classes for my first year of sixth grade which really helped me improve my English. And by the end I was practically the same as my classmates which was great. They also provided a lot of support for what I was in high school for summer camps and things so I kind of discovered what programming was and knew what it was, but I’ve never done it but I thought it was so interesting. And also we didn’t have a computer science class, and with the help of some teachers who were able to make a class which really helped me on later decide what I wanted to do in college. So fast forward I graduated from Ann Richards and then I now attend the University of Texas at Austin and I’m studying computer science and I’m actually graduating in two weeks. That’s great.

[00:14:14] EL: The Ann Richards School which we heard about in the first episode of The Global Goals cast helped inspire her to become a software engineer. And we know how rare those female computer programmers are..

[00:14:24] CG: Which would they shouldn’t be. But I have hopes that actually that’s going to change in the next years.

[00:14:30] EL: Her interest in programming led to a really exciting opportunity and after a nerve racking process with things called host managers..

[00:14:37] CG: That sounds like the [INAUDIBLE]

[00:14:39] EL: Or something like that. It’s now a reality.

[00:14:45] BR: Got an interview with one of the project for Google and they got told no and I was like, Great. Yes, about two weeks later I had another interview with another manager and they also told me no. But on the last day that I was supposed to be a host matching, my recruiter got back to me like OK I have one more person that wants to interview you. This is the last chance you have, It was like, OK. So I talked to that manager and luckily he said yes. And he was right like the day before my birthday which is like awesome.

I was so happy and in the end that’s how I got my, my internship. And I went to California for three months and got an offer to come back as an intern again and then intern in Boston and then working in the Boston. As a software engineer and then going to working up for their Google Photos team.

[00:15:38] EL: And I asked Brenda how she felt about working in the same area as her parents.

[00:15:42] BR: It was actually funny because when I was about 16 & I was tried to take photographs of my parents and helping them with their business. I tell my parents that I did not want to do that. I did not like it. So I was going to college to do something else. So, then I got my offer letter from Google with like the photos team, I called my mom and was like it’s just fate, I can’t get away from it.

[00:16:06] CG: Edie, I want to hear how Brenda originally go to America.

[00:16:10] EL: Here is where the story takes a twist.

[00:16:13] BR: My parents both tried coming here illegally. They got rejected just because the way the immigration status say my parents obviously didn’t have any money, they didn’t have a job set up here. Nothing. They were also trying to get me illegally but my parents weren’t able to do it. And this has to do with the fact that I did not owe my biological father but whose names in the birth certificate. So in order for me to get a passport as a child you need both signatures from both parents. My step dad actually came to the states first & he saved lot of money so he paid the people that passes what we call a [INAUDIBLE] a lot a lot of money. There will be a very long journey. So basically we went up to [INAUDIBLE] so that state borders Texas by bus, we took a bus there, Mexico City and we got there. We left Mexico City around 11:00 p.m. got there about 3:00 p.m. the following day, and we went like this car dealership the place where they’re like asked us things and stuff like that. So we stay there for the night and they come back first early in the morning, and basically I remember just run run run, get to the river, take off your clothes put us like this loading thing. Get us cross the river run run run some more. We’re doing this in June. So it was crazy hot. You get into a car told us to stay down. Once a house and they made us wash our clothes we ended up having to leave everything we had on us. And then they took us into another car at that time, they separated my mom and myself. My mom originally never wanted to get separated from me just in case anything happened. But they separated us once we are already in the states and past the checkpoints are past normally like if I was somebody else and my mom was sitting in a car to made it to Austin.

[00:18:20] EL: So, Brenda is currently in limbo.

[00:18:21] BR: My future just a little bit uncertain at the moment. Come August in terms of my immigration status, I am a Dokka student. So..

[00:18:29] EL: Brenda illustrates the power of migration as well as the drama and the risk. As a fifth grader she forwarded the Rio Grandey into Texas from Mexico because her parents wanted a better life for her. She found the Ann Richards School named for a crusading female governor of Texas. They guided her into speaking English. They taught her math and coding. They center on to Texas’s great public university, and now to a job at Google. However she’s in the U.S. illegally. She had no documents to enter that night, she crossed the Rio Grandey and she still doesn’t. I think we know that Brenda is going to have a happy ending. She’s already received the biggest benefits of migration. Her education, her training, her multilingualism, her job with a global company and the money she and her family has been sending back to Mexico. Even if the anti-immigrant politics in the U.S. force her to leave the USA, Google has said she can have a job in Canada or Mexico. In fact when I spoke to her, her biggest fear is whether her Spanish is good enough.

[00:19:40] CG: I know, that’s a big problem for Hispanics. I can testify myself. What I want to know is what about the Brenda of today, a fifth grade girl in Mexico today, will be Brenda’s age in 2030. She’s one whose life will be one of a million life stories that will add up to whether the world achieves the global goals or fall short. Will she get to come to Texas and attend the Ann Richards School? Will the backlash against migrants lead with her options and the options of all those others trying to make it and to have better lives? So I spoke to Lord Mayor of Dublin about what’s at stake.

[00:20:18] BC: Deeply concerned over the policies of some national leaders are taking at the moment and I think disparity, center phobic chauvinistic view of society is going to damage the world in general.

[00:20:32] CG: So we’ve got a variety of people that spoke to us about migration. We heard the personal story that girl that crossed the mayor of the city, the father from the Vatican, Louise Arbour. My sense and I do have a sort of like a strong opinion on this is at migration in general is positive. I think that the speed of migration will increase, and the third part is that it has to be regulated. I understand the fear of the other angle, the receiving countries, or the people from the receiving countries, who are scared and are based on perception rather than data. But it is also fair to say, yes, if you’re used to having a community where you have your friends and your neighbours, and your habits and so on, when you go to the supermarket and you can no longer find the bread that you buy on Sunday’s because now you find tortillas, it is a shock. It is a cultural change and you have to actually be realistic about how do you manage that so that it’s integrated and I do think that it is an issue of putting the rules of the game to make it regulated for everybody.

[00:21:57] EL: So and from my perspective I’d say from being from California and seeing tech leader after tech leader say we’ve got to have migration. You can’t if we don’t open the doors to have people from from Europe from India actually we won’t be able to create the solutions for the technology that will solve the world’s problems so that’s sort of one part of what I see. And I actually see from when I’ve lived in London how much has changed and how much the neighborhood has changed, in my neighborhood there never used to be a Polish grocery store. Now there’s loads of Polish grocery stores. I think you can great it with fear or I think you can greet it with enjoying the multiculturalism but I’d love to hear from you is when you were in Puerto Vallarta at the beginning of the Global Compact. What are the ways that people have started talking about how you build this framework, where countries talk about, how many folks come in and out and how does that sort of structure start to look?

[00:22:50] CG: Do you mind If I actually just like say what the global compact for migration is once again?

[00:22:56] EL: I would like you to say what the Global Compact for Migration? Could you please tell us what the Global Compact for Migration is?

[00:23:03] CG: Thank you for asking. So the Global Compact for migration, it will be the Sustainable Development Goals type of treaty for migration. It is trying to make the rules of the game to make migration regulated orderly & systematic with the approval of one hundred ninety three countries. Ideally it will be done and launched by September 2018 with a huge summit in December 19 in Morocco where I hope to go and afterwards go on celebrate in Marrakech. I say that’s a plan.

[00:23:36] EL: I think that’s a good plan, I know you like a plan.

[00:23:39] CG: I love plans. So keeping the global compact for migration, I mean having these incredible number of countries and not every country came and there was one that pulled out the last minute not the only one but the important one and I thought it was going to be like a party pooper. Just like your [INAUDIBLE]. Actually the show went on and it was the first conversation that I saw turning around an issue and turning the tone from a conversation that people felt I’m not going to be talking about it and there were more than 2000 people in that conversation. A big part of this problem is that we don’t understand the phenomenon enough even if it’s historic, you don’t know the points, you don’t know when people leave and why they leave. How is their journey, what is their arrival and when they return. We need to understand what is the state of a person when they decide to leave their home. Can you imagine what has to go through your mind when you are leaving, what kind of like emotional, psychological push you need to have and I don’t know whether we were either quantifying it or understanding it enough, we’re not understanding the risks of the journey when someone is leaving to get to another destination. When people arrive to a place I think that that’s where the focus has to be, integrated not integrated, good for society, not good for society and so on. But also it’s hard when people try to go back home you know.

[00:25:06] EL: But even just in terms of folks who decide to move to be an economic migrant. I think you could possibly argue that I was an economic migrant I wanted some adventure. I wanted to see what life was like somewhere else. I had a huge opportunity to go to and when I decided to move to the UK.

[00:25:20] CG: You too look like an adventurous.

[00:25:21] EL:  I, I seriously adventurous.

[00:25:25] CG: You like, like non-stop migrant [INAUDIBLE]. But the one thing I think that I also found fascinating about Puerto Vallarta, I do think that migration is the topic for 2018 to understand better not because it’s my new job but the UN working on migration only. But it is because by trying to understand the phenomena we came up with incredible numbers. I was surprised about the remittances numbers that [INAUDIBLE]

[00:25:53] EL: Incredible.

[00:25:55] CG: It just like crazy. When having four hundred and fifty billion dollars sent from..

[00:26:00] EL: developing country to developing country.

[00:26:03] CG: Exactly.

[00:26:04] EL: Three times the amount

[00:26:06] CG: So the question is if you stop migration who is going to do you have to increase foreign aid.

[00:26:11] EL: Right

[00:26:13] CG: Or who is going to do the increasing foreign aid.

[00:26:14] EL: Right

[00:26:15] CG: Because there is..

[00:26:15] EL: In this political planet, who’s going to increase the foreign aid. Okay so it’s interesting you said that our country didn’t show up, the United States didn’t show up or I thought it was really interesting was that some of the U.S. states said they wanted to be part of the global compact.

[00:26:28] CG: And another really interesting phenomena about migration is that cities are taking that power because they can actually establish the rules of the game and cities in general are the ones that are receiving migrants that are producing with migrants that are you know like..

[00:26:46] EL: And being open to migrants to.

[00:26:47] CG: Exactly, so that’s going to be a space to watch.

[00:26:51] EL: So as always we’re going to leave you with some facts you can share and actions you can take. If you’re talking about migration at lunch here’s three facts you can share.

[00:27:00] CG: So add up all migrants in the world and they will be the fifth largest country. Two hundred and fifty five million people. Brazil and Indonesia put together.

[00:27:13] EL: Migrants send 450 billion dollars home to developing countries each year. That’s three times the amount those countries receive in international aid.

[00:27:23] CG: And migrants add 4 percent more to the global economy each year than they would have, if they would have stayed home.

[00:27:30] EL: So of course all this talk without action is meaningless. So, we want to leave you, 

our dear listeners with some actions you can take to be part of changing the world. If you want to do more, go to the action section of our web site – where our partners from action button will help you get engaged.

[00:27:49] CG: Thank you for listening. Our next episode is live from the World Economic Forum in Davos where we will have an exclusive first interview with Father and Son explorers Rob and Barney Swan after returning from their six hundred mile trek from the South Pole using only renewable energy walking for 60 days.

[00:28:10] EL: And if you want to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to us at our website-  iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and please follow us on Twitter Instagram and Facebook at Global Goals cast. We’ll give you the latest news and developments.

[00:28:26] CG: That was Edie Lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelmen. Thank you for being with us until next time. Bye Bye.

Thanks to all our U.N. and NGO partners. We are also grateful for the support of Hub Culture, Freuds Communication, SAS, Saatchi Saatchi and CBS News Digital.

Special thanks to Peter Gabriel for our amazing music during this episode.

Want to change the world? Educate girls

Want to change the world? Educate Girls.

Education is the “key” and “the foundation” to improving the world, according to the United Nations. Episode 2 of Global GoalsCast explores the power of education, particularly educating girls. “Keeping girls in school makes a huge difference,” says co-host Edie Lush. “This is probably the single most powerful step the world can take to improve not only girls’ lives but the lives of their families and countries”.

Number 4 of the 17 Global Goals is to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” by 2030. Co-host Claudia Romo Edelman doesn’t mince words. “It’s such a huge task”, she says. Today there are 120 million children between 6 and 15 who do not attend school at all and millions more whose schooling has failed to teach them to read, write or do basic math. Romo Edelman says there will be no grand solution. Instead, she says, educating every child must happen school by school and student by student. “A thousand small steps that add to the big dream”.

Lush and Romo Edelman visit two schools to show this. The first school serves some of the poorest children in India, the Adavasi. Toilets, textbooks and uniforms are needed just to keep the girls in school. Faced with that struggle, bigger goals are hard to come by. “No one ever asked me what my dreams were”, one mother told Dr. Jeannette Monosoff Haley, co-founder of the Shree Nityananda Trust, which supports the school. In Austin, Texas, we visit a school created to inspire and guide girls to dream big and set high goals. This school, Lush says, has what Monosoff Haley wishes she could offer for her students.

Dali & Finn Schonfelder

Traveling to rural India each year with her family, Dali and Finn made many friends there. One year, they returned to find that the government had stopped paying for some of their friends’ uniforms after they reached 12 years old. Since students were forbidden to attend school without uniforms, those who could not afford uniforms could no longer receive an education. Together Dali and Finn co-founded Nalu to break the poverty cycle and give students of all socio-economic levels the opportunity to stay in school. Dali oversees the process from start to finish, first designing the uniforms, and then traveling to India to lead their distribution.

In a pilot program, Nalu made and provided more than 1,300 school uniforms to children living in extreme poverty, resulting in a 78% increase in enrollment. Not only are more students attending school, but academic performance has increased and teenage pregnancy in the village has decreased. Further supporting the community, Nalu employs local tailors to manufacture the uniforms. To ensure the sustainability of their impact, Dali and Finn developed a business model by selling clothing and accessories. In the coming year, Nalu’s business revenue will provide 20,000 uniforms per month by 2020, creating long-term impact for rural India.


Dennis (pronounced Denise) will be the first in her family to graduate from college. She was the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year for Texas. She also was awarded the Bonner Scholarship, which is based on community service, and she was involved with the National Hispanic Institute at the state level.

Ellen Richards

Ellen Richards is the Chief Strategy Officer at Integral Care where she oversees team responsible for strategic direction for the organization, resource development, external and internal communications, government affairs and community outreach/diversity. Ellen is also the Chair Emeritus for the Ann Richards School Foundation, a foundation that raises funds and forms partnerships to advance education, empower young women and create opportunities for girls who may otherwise be held back from achieving their full potential.

Jeanette Monosoff-Haley

Dr. (Mrs.) Jeanette Monosoff-Haley is the Co-Director of the Shree Nityananda Education Trust.  She has completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a Masters in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Transpersonal Counseling.. For over twenty five years, Dr. Haley worked as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Individual Psychotherapist in her Private Practice, at the Indian Health Service (a US Federal agency) in Taos, New Mexico, and at a Geriatric Mental Health Clinic in San Francisco. Together with her husband, she volunteers to co-manage the Fire Mountain Retreat Center as well as work closely with the TMA Indian partners and the various social work projects.


Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has grown into an international movement.

Sruthi Palaniappan

Sruthi Palaniappan is from Cedar Rapids and a student of the Harvard University is a big supporter of Clinton, the first woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major political party. Sruthi made history when she was given an opportunity to represent Iowa during roll call votes., born William Adams, is a multi-faceted entertainer and creative innovator, a seven-time Grammy Award winner, and founder of I AM ™.  He is well-known for his work with The Black Eyed Peas, who have sold 31 million albums and 58 million singles worldwide, advocates regarding the importance and power of a good education through his angel foundation.  As part of’s philanthropic commitment, he hosts his annual TRANS4M Conference and Benefit Concert during Grammy Week.  Recognized and honored by numerous industry organizations, was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in March, 2013, in recognition for his role as a STEM education advocate.  He is the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, a Latin Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a CLIO Award, two NAACP Image Awards, a VH1 Do Something Award, the BMI President’s Award and a 2008 Webby Award.

Priti & Nalu Photos

Special thanks to


[00:00:00] P1: She could not understand what that even means. What does it mean to have a dream? One lady is literally says ‘no one’s ever asked me what my dream was’.

[00:00:09] P2: She just looked into my eyes and then she closed her eyes and she just smelt it. She smelt the uniform and it was like the first new thing that she’d ever smelt.

[00:00:18] P3: To be able to know that I was capable of achieving more than what society considered this is what someone who falls under this category can achieve.

[00:00:29] P4: Education is not a privilege. Education is a right. Education is piece.

[00:00:45] EL: Welcome to the Global GoalCast.

[00:00:49] CG: The podcast that explores if we can change the world.

[00:00:51] EL: I’m Edie Lush.

[00:00:52] CG: And I am Claudia Romo Edelman. We’re happy to have you here.

[00:00:57] EL: Yeah! This episode we’re going to talk about educating girls, two stories talking about how keeping girls in school changes their life and so much more.

[00:01:04] CG: Right after this.

[00:01:05] AD: In every episode, we will give you the sticky facts and figures that you will want to share with your friends over coffee. All data is brought to you courtesy of SAS. Our official analytics and data visualization partners. And you can go to our website at to find even more data visualizations and maps. We love you SAS.

[00:01:29] CG: Our job in the Global GoalsCast is to tell you the stories of one of the most remarkable combined efforts in human history. 193 nations have set goals from 12 years from now everything from ending extreme poverty to fighting climate change and making the world a better place and making it for all. So with those ambitious goals why are we focusing this episode to education on girls Edie?

[00:01:55] EL: I remember the first time I met you in fact you said that if you scratch the surface of the goals, what you see is they are all super dependant on each other. So we’re going to be talking a lot about that. We’re also going to talk about how hard it is to reach these goals and how a failure in one goal or one area can undermine reaching all the other areas.

[00:02:15] CG: They are so connected.

[00:02:16] EL: So we’re going to start with education in particular educating girls because this is probably the most single most powerful step the world can take to improve not only girls’ lives but the lives of their families and actually the economies of countries. UN is called education the key the foundation to all sorts of other goals like health, prosperity and amazingly even tolerance and peace.

[00:02:40] CG: The goal overall within the Sustainable Development Goals is to provide by 2030 free education for everyone on primary and secondary school is such a huge task, if you think about it. And if you think where we are right now, we have 120 million children between 6 and 15 years old that are out of school and that’s a huge challenge.

[00:02:58] EL: More girls are in school now than in the past. There are still more likely than boys to drop out or be kept out of school and still too often families favor boys over girls when they’re investing in education, even though research shows keeping girls in school makes a huge difference.

[00:03:18] CG: It is also regional and a lot of these challenges happen in regions for example sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. And just in those areas, if every woman in those parts of the world would have a secondary education, child marriage would be reduced by two thirds, earnings of the women would rise, early pregnancy until Labor would be reviewed, you get it, I mean it’s a cycle. Like you would actually start changing the vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle. So here’s Malala Yousafzai who’s an activist and Nobel Prize laureate explaining the situation.

[00:03:54] MY: Education is not a privilege. Education is a right. Education is peace. Dear world leaders promise us that you will keep your commitments and invest in our future. Promise that every child will have the right to safe, free and quality primary and secondary education.

[00:04:23] CG: That was Malala talking at the United Nations. She is probably the most inspiring girl to girls. There is no doubt that girls know Malala and want to help and have become activists on education because of her.  So the world is very long way from educating every child from today. But there is one thing that is clear there is not one grand solution that we can take and think OK, so if we would do one thing, it will happen. I think that we have to realize that for progress over the next 12 years in which we have to commit to achieve these goals has to be done one by one, student by student, school by school, a thousand small steps that would add to the big dream.

[00:05:17] EL: OK, so we’ve got two stories that show this. Two girls one’s from India, the other one is from Texas.

[00:05:22] CG: A Hispanic by the way.

[00:05:13] EL: And there you go. Both of them are now finishing college and that is thanks to some inventive efforts and actually quite a few efforts. Lots of thousand small steps on either side that kept them in the school. First of all, we’re going to go to India and talk about Priti and her rural school and things that I took for granted, the things that my kids take for granted having textbooks, having a toilet and having a new uniform, having a uniform at all make a huge world of difference. And actually you can see pictures of Priti in her school on our Web site. That’s

[00:05:57] CG: Which is very cool.

[00:05:59] EL: So I spoke to Dr Jeanetta Monosoff Haley. She’s the co-founder of the Shree Nityananda Education Trust. She’s originally from Oregon. Actually she went to St. Mary’s in the Bay Area which is very near to where I’m from. She’s actually she moved to Taos, New Mexico. She’s been living in India for the last few years. I spoke to her about going to school in the tribal areas and Jeannetta works with the Adivasi people. Now these are a collection of tribal people who are some of the poorest in India.

[00:06:30] CG: Yeah!

[00:06:31] EL: They live under or close to the definition for extreme poverty, the $1.90 a day range –  which UN Goal number 1 commits the world to eradicating.

[00:06:39] JMH: Sarasvati secondary school has about 90% Adivasi and these are people who are very forgotten by the Indian government. Some of them are half farm that may be a couple acres at the most. So their schooling is substandard compared to anything in the city. And the children have to do their chores before they ever go to school. So the girls particularly are up maybe four or five with mom in the morning to wash clothes and bathe and cook before they ever get to go to school.

[00:07:13] So it’s a really tough life for these tribal children. The cost of a uniform, you know, might be twelve hundred rupees which can be very expensive for them and the girls might not get their parents to buy them a uniform because why should we educate our girls because they’re just going to get married and move in with another family. It’s not worth the investment to educate her. Saraswati secondary school, when we first met them, there were 200 students and there were no bathrooms for the girls. So what that means is the girls either have to hold it or they go home in the middle of the day to pee or they go in a bush.  So a lot of girls drop out because there’s no bathroom. The other thing we notice is thw school only had five sets of textbooks for these 200 children or per class of 60 I guess it was. So we did a fundraising to buy them books so we bought enough books so every ten children had a book to share. I mean how can you study math without a textbook. I mean, how can you study anything without bringing your book home or at least being able to stay after school an hour and study.

One of the biggest problems here in the tribal area is that the girls are getting pregnant early because the fathers want to marry them off and get them off of their dining table and get them off into the new table and they might be getting married at 15-16. Now that’s against the law, but out here in the tribal area there’s no police, you know there’s none of the services we’re so used to in the West. So these kids just fall through the cracks.  Having a baby when you’re 15, 16, 17, 18 your own body has not matured. You’re not producing the healthiest baby you can. So there is a drive to try and keep girls in school so they won’t have go off and get married and have a baby before they’re ready at least till 18 is considered the minimum.

So many of these women, they’ve never had a dream. One lady literally said no one’s ever asked me what my dream was.  For Priti who is 16, 17 at that point, it’s just not a concept about having a future. Particularly if you come from a poor family. Maybe the dream is she is going to have a nice husband and a nice mother-in-law and maybe they won’t be too mean to her.

[00:09:40] CG: So these are some of the poorest people in India and into the scene work two international kids who came up with a creative way to help these children.

[00:10:03] EL:They were visiting with their parents who are volunteering at a school Jeanetta’s trust was involved in.

[00:10:08] CG: And those are Finn & Dali from Nalu.

[00:09:59] FS:  As they were like volunteering as chiropractors and like, chiropractic and adjusting all these kids, me and my sister were making friends on the playground with these kids cause you’re in the very school they were at.  And we just loved being and visiting with their friends and they love chiropracting so much and we went back there every single year. But one year when we came back, we realized some of friends were actually gone. So we did some research and we asked the teachers and other kids and they said that they were gone because they simply didn’t have a school uniform. So, that’s how we started Nalu actually because we simply just want to help our kids get back to school and get their school uniform.

DS: Yeah, as a 13 year old girl I just couldn’t believe that something so simple and so ordinary like a uniform had such a crazy huge measurable effect and an impact.

FS: I could really see myself in these kids.  I couldn’t imagine these kids not being in school or being in a dangerous situation. This is something we simply did not like & we were going to change this and this has just turned into our passion.

DS: What now it really comes down to that it really does break the poverty cycle, you know? You have uniform and you can go to school. For every four products that we sell we give one school uniform.

[00:11:32] FS: Four for one.

[00:09:59] DS: Yeah! Four for one. But it’s like, you know, letting the way that you live, being the way that you give at the same time. It’s kind of our motto I guess. You know, you should be able to not have to go out of your way to give you know, you shouldn’t have to go on some website to donate to this organization or that organization. You should just be able to live your normal life wear the clothes that you like to wear, eat the food that you like to food…

FS: Brush your teeth every morning.

DS: …live your normal life and at the same time be able to give back, you know? This is where the ‘Buy One, Give One’ sort of comes in place, where you get a product that you want to wear, say a shirt or a cap or a backpack and at the same time you give children the opportunity to stay in school.

FS: …It’s that simple.

DS; The very first school uniform was given to a girl called Priti. And she was about to leave school because she couldn’t afford to pay for a uniform and she’d never owned anything new before in her whole entire life. And then when I gave her a uniform she just looked into my eyes and knowing that moment I really knew that Nalu was going to work you know, either it didn’t matter what was going to happen after that, at least may be one little impact you know like it worked. She just looked into my eyes and then she closed her eyes and she just smelt it. She’s smelt the uniform and it was like the first new thing that she’d ever smelt. And then she just ran to the bathroom and put on her new uniform and then she walked out like the red dusty school playing and she looked like she she’s was just glowing. She was so happy because that uniform was so much more than just a piece of clothing for her. It was, it was the key to her freedom, you know. She could now stay in school instead of having to be at home. And who knows what would have happened…

FS: Actually what we found out on our last giving trip is she’s gone to college now. So that was like, oh! my god, like me and Dali that was one of the happiest moments that this first school uniform recipient that we’ve given if we didn’t give that school uniform she would now probably be pregnant like her other sisters. She’s now in college studying what she loves.

[00:13:28] CG: Those were Finn and Dali from Nalu. I love their enthusiasm, I love how children are taking the world in their hands and they’re not going to stop and wait until someone bigger and older and a system and a government is going to take change. They want to be empowered. They want to decide what they do taking action and actually involving children like mine into Nalu. Jeanetta also explains how making the uniforms gave work to the other people in their community.

[00:13:56] Jeanetta: We’ve been teaching women how to sew for almost 10 years even before we got here. And then women would come to me and say I want work. I want to earn money. I don’t care about the certificate, give me a job. I decided to see if I could figure out how to do a workshop. And we started with quilt making and over a weekend workshop we trained 18 women on how to make quilts. At the end of the workshop we hired eight of them and now we’re up to 35 and making the uniforms is going to take up three months of our work because last year with 775 uniforms.

[00:14:35] CG: So this is what I love about Nalu. The kids were supported by the parents to set up Nalu and then they created this model in which..

[00:14:43] EL: They work with Jeanetta’s trust who pays the women in the area to make the uniforms..

[00:14:50] CG: ..and then the uniforms goes to the kids.

[00:14:51] EL: I love it.

[00:14:52] CG: It’s great.

[00:14:53] EL: Dali & Finn’s father Vismai tells us more.

[00:14:55] Father:  I think it’s a really interesting one as a parent actually. Cause they started it when they were just 10 and 13. I mean it’s just growing quite organically actually that at a certain point, I mean we just had Nalu T-shirts & sweaters even blocking the doorways and there was so many products in the house and at a certain stage we were like, OK you know, business is actually working, we’re having an impact. But at the same time, they were still kids so how do you protect a child from the unnecessary things that a child doesn’t really need to know about a business. Like I didn’t want the children to know about cash flow when they were 10 and 13. I was just living these dream of selling T-shirts and giving school uniforms. So we just wanted to protect them from that. But what I really like sharing with them is the giving trips. As a family going into these poor communities in India and making an impact and letting the children find out from their own friends and seeing these children each year and going to different schools and exploring new places and keeping these, that’s it, poor village children in school.

[00:16:07] CG: As a mother, I can identify with Vismai’s desire to protect his own kids from the harsh realities of this world. But in reality, if you think about it, if you really mean that there is no one to protect you from those realities and there’s so many harsher realities in the world of Jeannetta’s she explained. So well, Priti is in College, her future is yet to be written.

[00:16:30] Jeanetta: These schools are so poor, just think of it, your teachers aren’t getting paid and these are tribal schools do not draw the best teachers and are so overworked they’ve got 60 kids to a class and so there’s no time for career counseling or exploring what might be possible after they finish the 10 standard or 12 standard. Why even take the exam? So in terms of a uniform, yes they got a uniform, yes they’re in school. They could show up at school. But why? Why go to school? And what possible opportunities are out there? Somebody needs to explain these things and inspire them to go forward. So Priti is not getting any of that. We have some girls who have graduated, got jobs as engineers. And one of my favorites, she graduated as an engineer got a job and now she just got married this year. And her face is on Facebook and she’s so happy and she’s a success story.

[00:17:31] EL: I have to say I love the story. It isn’t the super shiny story that I’d love to hear that Priti is doing amazingly well in college. She’s setting her sights really high. She’s challenging herself. But you know what we have to be super realistic. She’s not pregnant. She has not married. She’s in school, she’s got books, she’s got a toilet. And none of her other sisters ended up in college. She’s the only one who got this far.

[00:17:58] CG: And so when you’re supporting these small organizations, think of Priti. Those are the small steps that can make the big difference.

[00:18:04] EL: And when we come back we’re going to look at a school that goes the next step in guiding girls.

[00:18:12] Global GoalsCast has the most incredible network of partners that contribute with ideas, stories and evidence points to bring you the most relevant interesting and compelling Goals Cast content. Particular thanks to UNICEF today.

[00:18:26] EL: Welcome back. So now we’re going to share a story about the Ann Richards School in Austin, Texas. And one of its first students whose name is Dennis. So the school’s named after the female governor of Texas who set it up before she died. And it’s doing the things that Jeanetta wishes that she could be doing for the school girls in India. I actually met Ann Richards daughter, Ellen.

[00:18:46] CG: I remember when you mentioned. Yeah! She made a big impression.

[00:18:48] EL: I love her. And I met her in Austin this year during South by Southwest. And she told me what makes this school so special.

[00:18:57] Ellen: It has a STEAM focus: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, and we work with girls to get them through high school, prepare for college and then were now developing programming to get them through college. The school was created with the idea of giving opportunity to girls who show promise but lack opportunity. And so majority of the girls, they go to school come from economically disadvantaged families and would be considered at risk and the goal of the school is to give them a true opportunity to achieve academic success and to pursue their goals to go to college. We wrap around the whole girl and really look at not just their academics but what are their leadership opportunities and how do we build those? How are they taking care of themselves & what are they learning about their bodies and what they need to do to be successful and take care of themselves both physically and mentally? And then again the college bound programming. So, we look at a multitude of aspects of their lives and really want to put them on the path for success by giving them the strong academic foundation, the leadership skills, the Wellman’s understanding and then that opportunity to go to college.

There are so many amazing girls and it really is just something incredible to see a girl come in as a 6th grader, scared, not knowing what to expect, and then to want to across the state of graduation confident and ready to take on the world. That one girl I can think of who graduated last year came with such an incredible story. She had come to this country when she was about 2 from Mexico with her mother. Her father was in prison. There really wasn’t much of a future for her and she heard about the Ann Richards School when she was in elementary school and she just decided that that’s where she wanted to go. She knew this was the place for her to be and so she worked hard. And she got into the school and stood up in front of the crowd of folks at a gala fundraiser we had to tell her story and the success that she has had and now she’s graduated and in at an ivy league school. I would like to say that she’s rare in our group but she is not. Many of the girls come with very serious and tragic stories but find their place at Ann Richards, get the support that they need to excel & then are going on to do great things. And they’re really do not only change their own lives but they’re changing the lives of their community.

[00:21:25] CG: So more recently we caught up with one of the students from this school. Dennis Vera.

[00:21:31] Dennis: The one of the things that the Ann Richards School did really well is that they believed in you. And they taught me to not let my socioeconomic background define me. And I think that’s one of the things I’ll always get from the Ann Richards School as well as the fact that I need to believe in myself and my capabilities and they provided me with the environment to be able to test myself, to be able to know that I was capable of achieving more than what society considered standard for ‘oh this is someone who falls under this categories can achieve’. When our stepdad was in our lives, he had this very specific definition of what a role of a woman was and what a role of a man was and I think just realizing you know you don’t fit into that definition and you are capable of achieving more and you can get a higher education, what you will get a higher education you can go even further on from that. When you come in and you’re a Hispanic and you are first generation college student and you’re low income, you just don’t have that base to go off. Everything is new for you and all you need is to have that one teacher that believes in you and that doesn’t automatically limit you because of your English fluency or because you look a certain way.

High school has been a rough time for our family but specifically within my 11th grade year. But when I had to take on two jobs because my mom didn’t have electricity and I had to take on two jobs and  I had to get up early in the morning and go to McDonald’s to get my internet. I remember during my 11th grade year when we didn’t have electricity and Miss Goka our principal came in on Sunday because she heard about our situation because my sister and I we didn’t really like to tell people about what was going on but the teachers are amazing as always so like they told Miss Goka about our situation. And so what happened was that Miss Goka came in one Saturday morning and she picked us up from home. And she opened up the school so that we could have access to the Internet and to the laptops. I remember we walked in on that Sunday morning and Miss Goka took us in to her office and she told us girls I know y’all are going through a hard time but I just want y’all to know that I believe you will overcome this. Because you are all so strong and our school was really good about providing us with resources like our librarian gave me a small laptop to use so that I would be able to do my work outside of home.

You know just having that support specifically during those difficult times I think that’s what really resonated. I’m pretty sure if I wouldn’t have had the support of the school and I wouldn’t have had them believing in me that I wouldn’t have believed in myself. And I wouldn’t definitely question whether or not I would have decided to pursue a higher education.

[00:24:30] EL: So there is a school that gives you dreams, right. Principals taking you to school on the weekend & telling Dennis and her sister that they believe in her, librarians giving laptops, having Wi-Fi, having resources, inspirational teachers and a really focused goal on producing female leaders.

[00:24:47] CG: Dennis will be the first in her family to graduate from college. She is passionate about helping others like care and I am passionate about finding Hispanic leaders and potential Latina power like her.

[00:25:00] Dennis: Oh! I’m doing a lot of things. I’m coordinating a program called Corazon within a nonprofit known as Amigos as the Corazon Coordinator, I work with students 5th to 8th grade. We focus on two main goals. The first one is empowering Latino students through their culture and the second one is guiding them through the process of acquiring leadership skills that will help them in the future. But overall just providing this environment where students can believe in themselves and in their potential.

[00:25:42] EL: We’ve heard two inspiring stories but Claudia how does this represent where we are in reaching the goal of giving every child a primary and secondary education?

[00:25:50] CG: I think that one of the biggest issues for me when it comes to education are two-folded. The first one is that eve Christine Lagarde says that poverty is sexist, I think that education is sexist too. And I have a problem with equity equation because in that category you have the most marginalized, be the disabled, the girls, the ones that are in rural areas where you don’t reach. You know like you really need to be walking three days to get to school but at the same time girls are really exposed to not get an education because a mother and I’ve seen it everywhere that I travel around the world. I know that a mother that has a lot of children and children are in many instances for a family that is not educated, they are their security. So families have a lot of children in order to support them when they grow old and naturally they think that if there is any future, it should be for the boys and so they send the boys to the school and the girls to pick up the water and help them with the house..

[00:26:54] EL: ..and get up at 4:00 in the morning & do the laundry.

[00:26:55] CG: ..And also the risks that are attached –  discrimination and vulnerability and the world being making a lot of progress in that education – but not for all. I mean like there’s so much progress and we’re managing actually to get every time more people in school and people in school for longer. So not only for until they are six years old, weremanaging to increase the number of years in which children are getting into school. So that’s why stories like Nalu is fascinating because you prolong the story through little pieces like Nalu giving a uniform.

[00:27:28] EL: Yeah! And every single year that you keep that girl in schools another year that she doesn’t have a baby, she doesn’t get married. Her body hasn’t been subjected to something that she’s not ready for and the chances she gets a little more education, and she gets a little bit more perception of the world and maybe she goes to do something else. What I was so struck by that Ann Richards School is that they teach the whole girl. So they’re really concerned about how she deals with her body, how she learns to speak, focusing on mathematics, on science and also thinking about your community, thinking about where you came from and also thinking about giving back, so if you’ve gained something from this education then what are you going to do to give back to the people that you came from?

[00:28:09] CG: We probably should compete for our 2018 podcast just to have a lens on girls. Overall what we’re doing because we know that you know like whatever happens when you invest in girls you’re going to see the returns in so many other areas so we’re openly accepting our bias towards looking at life through a lens of girls.

[00:28:28] EL: Yeah! And maybe someday Priti and Dennis will take over this podcast.

[00:28:33] CG: or join us at least.

[00:28:34] EL: Yeah! Let’s get them in.

[00:28:36] CG: There are three things that I think that can capture the three smart pieces of data that we want to talk about that capture how far we have to go.

[00:28:47] EL: So there’s 250 million children who can’t read, write or even do basic math. There’s 121 million children between 6 and 15 who aren’t in school at all and children themselves actually care a lot about this. There’s a UNICEF survey of 14 countries where children identified education, terrorism and poverty as the issues they wanted world leaders to tackle.

So we always want to leave you with actions you can take to be part of changing the world. So, if you’re interested in education and you want to do more. Go to our website, where our partners from Action Button will help you do that.

[00:29:29] CG: We want to end this episode of The Global GoalsCast with a word inspiration from rapper and entrepreneur and my friend who has been campaigning for the importance of learning particularly science, math and art. And here we got together at the GoalsKeeper Summit in September hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates.

[00:29:48] William:  Young people, don’t just compete over here. You can compete over there. And whoever told you couldn’t and are afraid that you will. So, compete. Someone told me that the world is based on greed and fear. Those greedy people are fearful that you’re going to compete with them and you have the ability to speak. There’s more people like you than there are like them. So compete. Talk directly to the people that are like you. That’s the simple message. If you’re in freaking, some Pueblo in Mexico if you’re in the ghetto in East L.A. or the Bronx or if you’re in a fifth world Mississippi think about how you’re going to contribute to the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It’s not impossible.

[00:30:29] CG: Thank you for listening. Our next episode looks at migration.

[00:30:35] EL: And if you want to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to us at our Web site –, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and please follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @GlobalGoalsCast. We’ll give you the latest news and developments.

[00:30:50] CG: And that was Edie Loosh and I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

[00:30:53] EL: Edie Loosh?? I’m Edie Lush.

Thanks to all our U.N. and NGO partners. We are also grateful for the support of Hub Culture, Freud’s Communication, SAS, Saatchi & Saatchi and CBS News Digital.

Special thanks to Peter Gabriel for our amazing music during this episode.

Episode Zero: What are the SDGs?

Can we eliminate extreme poverty while curbing climate change? Can we have more equity and more economic growth? Put simply, can we make the world a better place for all?

This isn’t just some daydream you’ve probably had. It is the direct commitment made by 193 nations when they agreed to 17 Global Goals for the year 2030, 12 years from now. 

The Global Goals are ambitious, inspiring and daunting. They will require a level of cooperation and coordinated action unmatched in history—among governments, between government and the private sector and by millions of individuals holding leaders to account and pitching in themselves. Reaching the Global Goals will require major progress on everything from migration to education.

This brief episode introduces you to the goals and to your co-hosts, Claudia Romo Edelman, Special Advisor for UNICEF and expert on Marketing for social causes , and Edie Lush, journalist and communication coach.

“We are the first generation that can end extreme poverty,” Romo Edelman explains “and the last generation that can curb climate change.” Learn about this master plan for the planet’s future. “There is no plan B,” Romo Edelman reports. 

“Because,” Edie Lush adds, “there is no planet B.” If you want to be a part of changing the world you can start by listening to Global GoalsCast.

Featured guests

Caleb Tiller

Caleb Tiller is the United Nations Foundation’s Executive Director of Communications & Public Affairs, and brings over a decade of experience in communications, marketing and public relations to the position. He helps manage an award-winning team of more than 30 communicators, shaping the conversation about the Foundation’s work to connect people, ideas and resources to help the UN take on the world’s most pressing challenges.

Previous positions include tenures in the travel industry, the non-profit sector, and membership associations. Just prior to the UN Foundation, Caleb worked as Sr. Director, Marketing and Communications, for the Global Business Travel Association, an organization where he served for over six years. In his last position at GBTA, Caleb oversaw all of the organization’s event marketing, media relations, social media, and membership communications, for operations in North America, South America, and Europe. Caleb started his career as an educator, working for four years as a high school English teacher and college-level tutor.

Caleb lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, two children, and dog. He has been known to call himself music head, and has admitted on occasion that he is a terrible Twitter user.


00:00:00] P1: She could not understand what that even means. What does it mean to have a dream. One lady is literally says no one’s ever asked me what my dream was.

[00:00:13] P2: Last year we recorded the hottest day measured by NASA in the history of the Antarctic.

[00:00:15] P3: I could really see myself in these kids and I couldn’t imagine these kids not being in school, and being in a dangerous situation. We were gonna change this.

[00:00:24] P4: I just couldn’t believe that some thing so simple & so ordinary like a uniform had such a huge measurable effect and an impact.

[00:00:33] P5: We can make some differences. We need to make those differences.

[00:00:37] P6: And will mean, some girl, somewhere getting an education that otherwise she wouldn’t have been…

[00:00:40] P7: The list of 17 very ambitious goals. Let’s eliminate poverty, let’s eradicate hunger, let’s educate everybody, let’s ensure that everyone has access to good health, lets protect the environment…

[00:00:52] P8: Our individual progress and our collective progress, depends on our willingness to roll up our sleeves and work.

[00:01:09] EL: This is the Global GoalsCast.

[00:01:10] CG: The podcast that asks: ‘Can we change the world?’

[00:01:14] EL: Welcome. I’m Edie Lush.

[00:01:16] CG: And I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

[00:01:17] EL: And this episode we’re going to introduce you to what the Sustainable Development Goals are and who we are…

[00:01:23] CG: And this is actually our Episode 0 which is quite amazing because we want to tell you what are the Sustainable Development Goals or global goals and why should you care.

[00:01:32] EL: They are a plan. They are the world’s to-do list.

[00:01:36] CG: And the master plan for the future of the planet and its people and the reason why this is so historic, it is because you took actually 193 countries to agree on what are the real steps that we need to do and change so that we can provide everyone with what they have the right to have which is education, health, a future in which people can smile and see a river…

[00:02:00] EL: With clean air, clean water.

[00:02:03] CG: The promises Edie of the Sustainable Development Goals and we are going to call them the Global Goals in this program are three basic fundamental issues that are behind those 17 goals which are, first of all this is the first ever generation that can eradicate extreme poverty for the world. The second one is that this is the last generation that can stop and mitigate the impact of climate change. And lastly but really importantly that we can elevate the playing field of the world for all not only for the few and that’s the promise of the Global Goals and that’s why we’re so excited about this plan. And by the way Edie, this is the only plan that we have, we have no plan B..

[00:02:48] EL: Because there is no planet B

[00:02:50] CG: There’s no planet B either. So what we’re going to be having here is talking about the people that are making the progress that were advancing these Sustainable Development Goals started in 2015 and they’re going for 15 years. So are we going to be telling you the stories of those companies, individuals and corporations that are making progress there are, you know like, working day and night to make sure that we have a better gender policy on everything and the rights for everyone. And some people, as you mentioned, have done these things but never knew that they belong to something called the SDGs].

[00:03:23] EL: And that’s what I think is amazing and as we’ve been preparing these first couple episodes, I’ve gotten to interview the people who are out there working in the field, they’re working in the places where there is the most extreme poverty in the world. People like Jeanetta originally from Oregon who now lives in India and she’s the co-founder of the Shree Nityanada Education Trust which works with rural people on getting clean water, on educating girls and boys and keeping them in school. So when I spoke to her she hadn’t actually heard about the Sustainable Development Goals.

[00:03:57] CG: And it’s great to know if we are able to connect through this podcast the people that are doing their work, the organizations that are doing the efforts and actually put them together and understand that this is part of a global master plan, there is going to be a more like yeah we belong to a movement of changing the world and making it better because it’s possible. So why are we doing this podcast and what is it that we want to achieve?

[00:04:20] EL: Yeah! This is what we’re not. We’re not super boring in fact we are not boring at all.

[00:04:25] CG: Not at all.

[00:04:26] EL: We’re super interesting and fun and we’re going to tell you three things that you really need to know about each one of our topics so when we get to migration we’re going to tell you the three most interesting things that you need to remember about migration, something you’d want to go to a dinner party or tell your grandmother or your best friend about.

[00:04:41] CG: We are not a propaganda too of the United Nations or any country either. We are not NGOish, boring, sleeping pill but we are fun, music, entertainment and rigor applied to making sure that people understand why these issues are so important. So why did we start doing this podcast?

[00:05:00] EL: So I met you in fact at the World Economic Forum in Davos last January and I interviewed you and it was one of the greatest experiences I have had because I actually had never heard about the Sustainable Development Goals until I had interviewed you. And after that Stan Stalnaker, who is the founder of Hub Culture, said ‘you guys should do a podcast’ and that’s where this started.

[00:05:23] CG: And it triggered me because there is a great deal of progress in the world and there is a great deal of people that voices need to be heard but there was no platform and I think that everyone in the world is sick of hearing bad news and actually getting all dark and everything that we’re not doing right. But guess what? There is a great deal of beauty and there’s a great deal of hope that is out there and there are a great deal of people that are trying every time hard. And what we’re going to be doing is providing that platform, telling that story, telling those stories and allow people to listen from each other because it is so important to feel that what you’re doing, you’re not doing alone and that little flame in your heart that says like ‘I want to do more, I want to get engaged myself but am only one individual, how do I do it?’ Well guess what? There’s a thousand people like you that just need to know what are the things that you can be doing today? And also as governments are trying to implement these humongous challenges they need public support to commit to action because this world will not change if we don’t commit to action so that’s actually the promise of this podcast.

[00:06:32]EL: We’re going to tell you important things you need to know and we’re also going to tell you exactly what you can do about it. So we’re going to give you actions that you can go out and implement for each one of our episodes, for each one of our topics whether it’s migration, education, climate change.

[00:06:49] CG: Those are the Global Goals, this is the podcast. Who are we? I’m going to introduce Edie Lush, my co-host. Edie Lush is a journalist from America that lives in London so it makes it fun to actually have to find the time in which we can record together. She is a coach and a trainer and I love that aspect of Edie. That’s one of the things that started making me fall in love with her. It’s so interesting to see how many people have you changed their life through your coaching and your training by telling them how to tell stories, what to be a storyteller so Edie is a business journalist & entrepreneur herself that specializes in entrepreneurship and tech and we together have to create that website called because I never can find her.

[00:07:31] EL: And also I will mention that quite often you call me from some very interesting and fun places, when I’m at home in the rain in London. So just so that I can introduce Claudia as well. She started off as a journalist and she’s also been a diplomat and she also has worked for the World Economic Forum for the United Nations and her specialties have been children refugees and public health. I think it’s also worth pointing out that we are both migrants, we’re both mothers, we spend a lot of time with our families as well as out there working.

[00:08:02] CG: So, mother, migrant, entrepreneur and we met in the activism world to make sure that we created a female-led podcast called the Global GoalsCast that will have 24 episodes, twice a month launching in January. Thank you for listening.

[00:08:17] EL: And if you want to make sure you never miss a show subscribe to us at our website, iTunes or where ever you get your podcasts. And please follow us on Twitter Instagram and Facebook @GlobalGoalscast. We’ll give you the latest news and developments.

[00:08:34] CG: I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

[00:08:36] EL: And I’m Edie Lush, the Global GoalsCast.

[00:08:47] Thanks to all our U.N. and NGO partners. We are also grateful for the support of Hub Culture Freuds Communication, SAS, Saatchi & Saatchi and CBS New Digital.