Michelle Cooprider

To Stop Corona, Listen


The pandemic can be stopped. We already know how, explain two of the world’s top public health doctors in this episode on lessons from the pandemic. The solution involves truly understanding how the disease was stopped in the early countries that confronted it. “We’re going back and relearning a lot of the lessons from China,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, who led the World Health Organization’s mission to China and is working to share those findings in Italy and other countries. Dr. Aylward says leader’s in the West were slow to listen to the lessons. “We are all human at a certain level and we tend to cherry pick that part of the information, which we find most reassuring,” he observed. Dr. David Nabarro, WHO Director-General’s Special Envoy on COVID-19, said that quick action will contain the virus. “If when a case arrives, you prevaricate, you’re half-hearted, you pretend it’s not real and you wait perhaps two, three, four weeks before you start to implement measures of any kind,” he warned, “what happens is that it basically doubles in scale every two to three days.”

Following the lead of Drs. Nabarro and Aylward, Co hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman share their plan to offer regular episodes of the podcast that detail success in attacking the pandemic and share them widely while the lessons can make a difference.

Featured guests

Dr. David Nabarro

David Nabarro is the Co-Director of the Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London and supports systems leadership for sustainable development through his Switzerland based social enterprise 4SD. From March 2020, David is appointed Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19. He secured his medical qualification in 1974 and has worked in over 50 countries – in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities, and in United Nations (UN) programs.  David worked for the British government in the 1990s as head of Health and Population and director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development. From 1999 to 2017 he held leadership roles in the UN system on disease outbreaks and health issues, food insecurity and nutrition, climate change and sustainable development. In October 2018, David received the World Food Prize together with Lawrence Haddad for their leadership in raising the profile and building coalitions for action for better nutrition across the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Bruce Aylward

Dr Bruce Aylward is the Senior Advisor to the Director General, World Health Organization (WHO). Since September 2017, Dr Aylward has been serving as Senior Advisor to the WHO Director General and Director of the WHO Transformation. In this capacity he leads the team that is responsible for the design, coordination and implementation of a comprehensive reform of the organization, across its 7 Major Offices, 3 levels and more than 145 country offices, to deliver its new strategic plan and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From August 2016 through August 2017, Dr Aylward worked with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), initially leading the inter-agency process that resulted in the first-ever system-wide activation procedures for major infectious disease emergencies, then establishing and leading OCHA’s Change Management Unit. In that role he took forward the recommendations of a wide-ranging functional review of OCHA to optimize its role, functions, structure and processes for the challenges of the 21st century. 

Special thank you to:


Coming soon!

Your City Can Help Save the World


Measured against history the change has come swiftly. After living in the countryside for thousands of years, humanity is in the midst of an epic move to the city. Co-host Edie Lush points out in this episode that as recently as 200 years ago little more than one person in ten lived in a city. Today, the UN estimates just over half of us live in cities. By 2050 that will be two thirds.

Population is growing and urbanizing at the same time, says Renata Rubian, Adviser on Inclusive Sustainable Growth at the United Nations Development Program. Which is why the Global Goals include a goal explicitly focused on creating Sustainable Cities, SDG # 11. 

Co-host Claudia Romo Edelman notes that other goals, like eradicating poverty or hunger, are easier to understand even if they are challenging to achieve. But given how much of the world will be living in cities we can not hope to achieve the global goals – from climate to equity, from good health to decent jobs and living standards – without creating sustainable cities.  

So what is a sustainable city and how do we create them, Edie Lush asks.

She seeks out two well-know experts on sustainability and urban design, William McDonough and Samir Bantal. McDonough, author and architect, explains his concept of cradle to cradle production, designing products so there components can be reused and there is in a perfect case no waste. This concept can apply not only to products but to cities, which can imitate the organic patterns of the natural world.

The architect Samir Bantal emphasizes the importance of countryside. Countryside, The Future is the name of a new exhibition he and his famous colleague, Rem Koolhaas, the architect and urban designer, have just opened at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The exhibition calls it  “absurd” that most of the world’s people are being concentrated in a tiny corner of the planet’s space. “Cities only represent 2% of the Earth’s surface, which means that the other 98%, perhaps, is ignored,” Bantal says. “There’s a kind of single focus on urbanism and on cities while actually the countryside is perhaps, the most interesting area to investigate right now, not only as architects, but as humanity.”

Facts and Actions are presented by Stan Stalnaker, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Hub Culture, the social network which operates the digital currency Ven. He invited listeners to join Hub Culture’s Emerald City project, which is building a virtual city and generating revenue to sustain Amazon Rain Forests.

Music in this episode includes tracks from a new album ‘100% HER’ which is now live on the Universal Production Music website and Spotify. One of the artists – Kate Lloyd shares what it’s like to be featured on an album where every track was composed, mixed and mastered by women.

The sponsor of this episode is Brevet Capital Management, which identifies 100% responsible investment opportunities that do well and do good.

Featured guests

William McDonough

William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable design and development. He counsels leaders through McDonough Innovation, is an architect with William McDonough + Partners and advises through MBDC, the creators of the framework for Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products. He is active with the World Economic Forum and served as the inaugural chair of their Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. He co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability: Designing for Abundance (2013). McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003), the National Design Award (2004) and the Fortune Award for Circular Economy Leadership (2017). He was recognized by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” noting: “His utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world,” and in 2019 Fortune magazine named him one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders noting his role in advancing green architecture, the Circular Economy and the future of plastics.

Samir Bantal

Samir Bantal is the director of AMO, the think- tank founded by Rem Koolhaas in 1998, which enables OMA to apply its architectural thinking beyond architecture, to the fields of design, technology, media and art. Before joining OMA, Samir worked for Toyo Ito, and was associate professor at Delft Univeristy of Technology in the fields of architecture and urbanism. Between 2008-2012 he was editor of the Annual Architecture Yearbook of the Netherlands. Currently, Samir is responsible for the new retail concept for the luxury car brand Genesis in Seoul, Korea. Also with AMO, Samir is currently working on 3 exhibitions. In Qatar, AMO explores the role of modern architecture in the development of the city of Doha, opening March 2019. Together with the Harvard School of Design, Samir leads Countryside, a comprehensive research project that investigates the interaction between the city and the countryside, which will culminate in an exhibition in the Guggenheim in New York early 2020. Lastly, ‘Figures of Speech’ will show at the MCA Chicago in June 2019. The design of the exhibition, a retrospective on the work of renown designer Virgil Abloh, is a collaboration between Samir and Virgil Abloh.

Stan Stalnaker

Stan Stalnaker is a leader in the field of emerging technology and consciousness and leads Hub Culture, a technology ecosystem that at the forefront of the virtual state movement. Hub Culture began in 2002 as one of the first online social networks, and has always been at the forefront of change and new ideas. It was the first network to offer member coworking (Pavilions), virtual collaboration (Hubs), digital currency payments (Ven), own-your-own-data digital identity (HubID), liquid voting and governance (Propel), artificial intelligence (Zeke) and asset tokenization (Ultra) to over 50,000 digital citizens as part of the global Hub community. Stan started his career at Time Warner in marketing with Fortune Magazine and other TimeWarner integrated projects, then moved to focus on Hub Culture in 2007. Since then Hub Culture has produced over 50+ popup locations in cities around the world with over 70,000 hosted guests, introduced virtual reality environments, interviewed thousands of cultural and business leaders, and launched integrated financial services around Ven, including P2P payments, a digital asset exchange, investment funds and more. As part of Hub Culture’s Ecosystem, Stan advises portfolio companies with activities in blockchain, space, legal frameworks and digital content, and consults with governments and industry regulators on emerging technology best practices and frameworks to lay the foundations for Hub Culture’s eventual emergence as the first virtual state.

Renata Rubian

Renata Rubian lives in Sri Lanka, working as a Programme Analyst at the UNDP Asia Pacific Centre, developing the Regional Human Development Report series. Previously, she was a researcher at the Ecosystem and Livelihoods Group of the IUCN and at the UNEP – Convention on Biological Diversity. Her career with the UN system started at the UNDP in Brazil, intercalated by a year’s break to work for the Canadian Government in Ottawa. She holds a MA in Political Science from McGill University and a BA in International Relations from the University of Brasilia. She was a co-founder of the first UN Simulation Model in Brazil – the 1997 Americas Model UN.

Douglas Monticciolo

Douglas Monticciolo is Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Co-Founder of Brevet Capital Management. He is an entrepreneur and investment manager with deep data analytics and technology experience developed over three decades while providing credit financing and advisory services. Mr. Monticciolo founded Brevet Capital Management in 1998 and has established the firm as a leader in helping government agencies solve complex problems – and drive positive social impact – by creating innovative financing products and services. This “finance as a service” approach provides direct lending and other financing to private middle market companies that enable them to effectively serve the government sector as contractors – a low credit risk strategy with highly competitive barriers to entry. Mr. Monticciolo’s years of experience working in start-up environments as a software entrepreneur and within asset-backed securities, fixed income, and investment banking helped him identify a gap in the market where traditional lenders failed to provide the innovative financing and forward-looking advisory services needed for the private contractors government  contractors rely on to deliver services.

Kate Elizabeth Lloyd

Kate is a Composer of bespoke production music and an Electronic Music Producer under alias, Kloyd. Based in London, Kate is starting to gain recognition as a notable up and coming electronic producer, receiving numerous airplay features on BBC Introducing. Kate graduated with First Class Honours in Music Production at Leeds College of Music and was awarded a full scholarship to study a Masters in Music at the University of Leeds, gaining a Distinction and a certificate of commendation for outstanding achievement. She has since composed music for TopGear, John Lewis and McLaren.

Áine Tennyson

Áine Tennyson works as a Producer & Production Coordinator at Universal Production Music UK. Áine was recently at the helm of a rebrand for Focus Music, illustrating her creative flair and insight into the new look, feel and sound of the label.  After gaining her BMus in 2016 from University of Glasgow in Composition & Sonic Arts, Áine started her career as an intern at Universal Music Publishing. Whilst gaining a certificate in Music Production: Mixing and Mastering at Goldsmiths University in 2017, Áine continues her talents as a composer. Áine is a classically trained singer with a background in Irish Traditional folk music.

This episode was made possible through the kind support of:

Special thank you to:


Coming soon!

Breaking the Fossil Fuel Habit: Just Say No or Buy Shell?


We must end our dependence on Fossil Fuels. “There is no choice,” Claudia Romo Edelman says. But it is not as simple as just stopping, experts explain in this episode, produced in cooperation with the Alphaville blog of the Financial Times. Eighty percent of our energy today comes from Fossil Fuels, explains Izabella Kaminska, editor of Alphaville. If we just go cold turkey, or even transitioned too suddenly, the global economy would shudder. That, in turn, would push other important goals out of reach and cause worldwide disruption and potential political upheaval. 

Claudia and co-host Edie Lush frame this challenge in terms of the Sustainable Development Goals: How do we achieve Goal 13, Climate Action, while also moving toward Goal 1, eradicating extreme poverty or Goal 8, decent work and economic growth? To find answers, they speak with experts who are working on the transition from fossil fuels. 

Adam Matthews, Director of Ethics and Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, describes the Transition Pathway Initiative (https://www.transitionpathwayinitiative.org), which assesses corporations on how effectively they are moving away from Fossil Fuels. Investors like the Pensions Board can then increase their investment in companies that are part of the transition while withdrawing from those that are not, Matthews explained. For example, Royal Dutch Shell makes the list of recommended investments while ExxonMobil does not, Matthews said. 

Izabella Kaminska shares an interview with the iconoclastic environmentalist, Michael Shellenberger, who says that Nuclear power will be an essential component of any plan that maintains adequate power supplies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Claudia says it is important to have open conversations with all options on the table.

Facts and Actions are presented in this episode by the United Nations Development Programs Senior Climate Advisor, Cassie Flynn. The UNDP has just launched Mission1point5 (https://mission1point5.org/us), a mobile game that educates people about climate policy and provides a platform for them to vote on the solutions they want to see. Flynn said these results will be presented to world leaders later in 2020.

Featured guests

Michael Shellenberger

Michael is considered a “climate guru,” “North America’s leading public intellectual on clean energy,” and “high priest” of the environmental humanist movement. Michael has been an environmental and social justice advocate for over 25 years. In the 1990s he helped save California’s last unprotected ancient redwood forest, and inspire  Nike to improve factory conditions in Asia. In the 2000s, Michael advocated for a “New Apollo project” in clean energy, which resulted in a $150 billion public investment in clean tech between 2009 and 2015. Currently, is the President and was the Founder of Environmental Progress promoting pertinent changes to help progress the future of climate change.

Adam Matthews

Adam is the Director of Ethics and Engagement for the Church of England Pensions Board, as well as Co-Chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative and a Board Member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, (IIGCC).  He is also the co-lead, on behalf of CA100+, for engagement with Royal Dutch Shell that led to the 2018 joint statement on climate targets agreed between Shell and institutional investors. Following the Brumadinho Tailings Dam disaster, Adam is co – lead of the Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative with John Howchin, from the Swedish Ethics Council. He also represents the Principles for Responsible Investment as a co – convenor of the Global Tailings Review. Adam founded and now Co-Chairs the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) an asset owner-led and asset manager-supported global initiative which assess companies’ preparedness for the transition to the low carbon economy (and publishes this through the London School of Economics).  Adam is also the lead for the Church of England on the Mining and Faith Reflections Initiative (MFRI) a forum that convenes dialogue between mining company CEO’s and Church leaders. Adam also serves as a member of the Royal College of Physicians Investment Advisory Board and on the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) Stewardship Advisory Group.

Cassie Flynn

Cassie Flynn is the Senior Advisor on Climate Change in the Executive Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Cassie is an internationally recognized expert on the international treaty negotiations on climate change and provides advice to countries on how to develop and fulfill their pledges under the Paris Agreement. In 2017 – 2018, she served as a senior advisor to the Prime Minister of Fiji in his role as COP23 President. Prior to UNDP, Cassie provided strategic advisory services on climate change and sustainability to national, state and local governments, international organizations, multi-billion dollar companies, and civil society groups. Cassie also co-founded ioby.org, a non-profit to help build stronger, more sustainable neighborhoods. She, along with her co-founders, won a Jane Jacobs medal for her work with ioby.org. Cassie has also advised numerous creative media projects such as the film Angry Birds, television show Incorporated, and music project Happy Sounds Like. Cassie earned her Master’s degree from Yale University and undergraduate degrees from Bowdoin College. In 2011, Cassie published “Blending Climate Finance through National Climate Funds,” a guidebook on designing and establishing national funds. In 2013, Cassie published “South-Originating Green Finance: Exploring the Potential.” In 2017, she was named the 13th most influential person on climate change by Onalytica.

Izabella Kaminska

Izabella Kaminska is the editor of FT Alphaville. She joined FT Alphaville in October 2008, which was, perhaps, the best time in the world to become a financial blogger. Before that she worked as a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine. She has also worked as a reporter on English language business papers in Poland and Azerbaijan and was a Reuters graduate trainee in 2004. Everything she knows about economics stems from a childhood fascination with ancient economies, specifically the agrarian land reforms of the early Roman republic and the coinage and price stability reforms of late Roman emperors. Her favourite emperor is one Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletian. She studied Ancient History at UCL and has a masters in Journalism from what was then the London College of Printing.

Special thank you to:


Adam Matthews (00:01):

Is there a path for the likes of a shell or BP to transition? That means that yes, they are producers of oil and gas at the moment, but are they able to reshape their business to become a very different company in the future? Where, those companies are not doing that and playing that constructive role. Then I think you quite clearly got to ask yourself, is it right to remain invested? If you don’t believe that that company is going to change,


Izabella Kaminska (00:26):

It’s not as easy as just divesting because you don’t want to kill the patient along with the disease.


Michael Shellenberger (00:33):

Yeah. I have a very basic physical and moral view of energy that I think are easy to understand, which is that uranium using nuclear is better than burning natural gas burning natural gas is better than burning coal and burning coal is better than burning wood.


Claudia  (00:57):

Welcome to the Global Goalscast!


Edie  (00:59):

The podcast that explores how we can change the world. In this episode, breaking our fossil fuel habit.


Claudia  (01:05):

We must do it. There is no choice but how do we do it without economic disruption that could be as damaging as the climate catastrophe that we’re trying to advert.


Edie  (01:17):

Today we’re going to be talking about transitioning off carbon. How do we do it quickly but also safely and fairly? We will speak with three real experts on transition pathways.


Claudia  (01:29):

And I am super impressed with the people that we are having in the podcast today. You and I, their listener might not agree with everything they say, but each of them has really thought about the next 10 to 20 years in a deeper way and it is good for us to be able to debate and dialogue.


Edie  (01:47):

For sure. We’re going to hear from the man in charge of investing the pension funds of the church of England, a leading force in green investing.


Claudia  (01:55):

And we will also have an environmentalist who’s viewed by some others as heretic because he says he sees no way to core of climate change without nuclear power.


Edie  (02:05):

And when we come back we’ll be joined by a special guest, a financial times journalist who’s helped us put this episode together. She is the editor of the FT’s Alphaville financial and markets blog.


Edie  (02:17):

I can’t wait to talk to her and we will right after this.


Michelle (02:23):

Thanks to CBS news digital and Universal Production music.


Claudia  (02:37):

Welcome back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.


New Speaker (02:39):

And I’m Edie Lush. Claudia, welcome to season four!


Claudia  (02:43):

Edie can you believe it?


Edie  (02:45):

It’s exciting!


Claudia  (02:46):

I know our third year of the Global Goalscast! I feel the world is really listening.


Edie  (02:54):

I know! I was also thrilled, by the way, when capital.com called us influential. I think if we are at all influential, it’s thanks to all of our dear listeners.


Claudia  (03:06):

We do have a very influential audience, Edie, those that care that are in positions of power, the decision makers, but also the people that are going to take these forward to our audience is a very influential audience. And particularly those of you who have listened and gotten more involved in the challenge of achieving the sustainable development goals.


Edie  (03:29):

And today we’re going to talk about the biggest challenge of all: freeing the world from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels powered us to the world we have today. There are so baked into everything that removing them is a huge task.


Claudia  (03:44):

Which is why our commitment to including everyone in the conversation is crucial. This podcast is produced by We are all Human. We are all Human is inclusive we need anyone and everyone to play a role and when bringing the voices that should be here to the equation and to say these in terms of the sustainable development goals or SDGs is how do you achieve the global goal 13 which is climate action while also achieving global goal one: eradicating poverty or goal eight: decent work and economic growth.


Edie  (04:19):

So to help us take on this big question about how to transition away from carbon, we turn again to our colleagues at the financial times. Delighted now to be joined by Izabella Kaminska, the editor of the FTS Alphaville blog. Welcome.


Izabella Kaminska (04:32):

Hello. It’s really nice to be here. Thank you for having me.


Claudia  (04:35):

Great to have you, Izabella. Now you are more than just a great guest. You’ve actually helped us make this episode and it all began with an item you wrote for the Financial Times Alphaville blog, isn’t it?


Izabella Kaminska (04:50):

Yes, exactly. Just a bit of background. Alphaville is the stubbornly contrarian end of the FT, we’re the finance and markets blog has as mentioned and a bit to stay true to our name and give investors something called alpha outperformance. We’re always interested in exploring what investors are missing right now. Hence we end up being contrarian. The big investment trend now being ESG,


Claudia  (05:11):

Iza are we know what we’re talking about, what, what is ESG, what does ESG stand for.


Izabella Kaminska (05:16):

ESG stands for environment, social and governance investing, which is all about imparting those values into the investment space.


Claudia  (05:25):

So tell us about the blog that you wrote.


Izabella Kaminska (05:27):

It was just about sparking the debate and it was related to thinking about the potential social and economic damage that can happen if and when we just bow down to the immediate demands of say, climate activists. Because really climate transition is a balance. It’s a balance between maintaining the economy as it is and getting rid of off fossil fuel addiction. But if we move too quickly, the big risk is that we induce poverty or we create a sort of massive deterioration and living that ironically only makes the environment even worse


Edie  (06:00):

And this is all happening in a week or in a few weeks when there’s a lot going on. BP has announced that it will be carbon neutral by 2050. Delta announced that it would be the first U S airline to go carbon neutral,


Claudia  (06:13):

And also the KKR, Edie, launching a $1.3 billion impact fund. And part of what we will share this episode is how to keep track and how to distinguish between real transition and well, uh, not.


Edie  (06:29):

So Izabella, let’s get the big picture from you. Why can’t we just say no to fossil fuels?


Izabella Kaminska (06:35):

It’s not as easy as just divesting because you don’t want to kill the patient along with the disease. Just think about the Brexit debate. The Brexit debate was all about how we would be opening the door to self-imposed economic damage because of limiting our global supply chains and all these sorts of things are actually instrumental and pivotal in the in the fossil fuel economy. So if we just turn around and say no to that, there is a really big danger that we decrease living standards for everybody that can create all sorts of societal responses that include mass protests, huge amounts of economic destabilization in general. We obviously have to do something about climate change that is not negotiable, but we must also think down the line in terms of what the unintended consequences are. We can’t just think immediately there is going to be an upside from just boycotting BP.


Edie  (07:32):

So we have to think about lowering emissions quickly while maintaining economic growth, especially for those countries that you mentioned that are starting to grow faster and pull themselves out of poverty.


Izabella Kaminska (07:44):

The real challenge is to find a solution that allows us to have both and a lot of people out there think that maybe the pathways is going more towards nuclear options or you need that big moonshot, some sort of innovation that hasn’t yet happened. As far as the current complex of renewable technologies, it’s clear they’re there, they’re available, they’re actually at the moment too much capacity of solar and not enough demand for it. So from that perspective, it is the question of how do we achieve the transition without necessarily hurting the public in such a way that it puts the clock backwards.


Claudia  (08:20):

I love the way that you put it, of not killing the patient while you’re killing the disease. So one of the people we spoke to is Adam Matthews.


Edie  (08:30):

I went to see him at the offices of the church of England in beautiful Westminster London in the pouring rain. Adam is head of ethics and engagement for the churches pension board.


Adam Matthews (08:43):

We are pension fund and our responsibility fundamentally is to the 40,000 beneficiaries that we have, which are largely members of the clergy to provide a pension for them to retire.


Edie  (08:53):

I asked him to explain the investment choices he’s making, balancing the hopes of these retirees with the huge transition the world must make from fossil fuels. In other words, a microcosm of the challenge that we all face.


Adam Matthews (09:06):

Well, I suppose my starting point is can a, an oil and gas company transition consistent with the science and the economics of the Paris agreement? Is there a path for the likes of Shell or BP to transition? That means that yes, they are producers of oil and gas at the moment, but are they able to reshape their business to become a very different company in the future? Because at the moment you have a very significant part of the global economy fueled by oil, gas, thermal coal. A growing part of it is supported by renewables, but for us to shift from where we are today to where we need to be, you’re going to need to see companies shift the way that they provide energy into that system. Now if a company comes to me that says, right, okay, we acknowledge that we provide at the moment oil and gas, but we see a role for us to be able to transition from that to start to reduce that contribution of oil to start to transition through gas into renewables and other ways of supporting the energy grid. Then if that’s credible, if it lines up with the science, the economics, then I think that’s an a legitimate path the company can take.


Claudia  (10:10):

So to say these another way, you do not just abandon entire industries in an instant. You look inside it industry to separate good corporate citizens from, well not so good corporate citizens. So to do that Adam Matthews and colleagues have created a tool called the transition pathway initiative that any investor can use.


Edie  (10:33):

In fact, anyone can use it. It’s very cool. So if you go to their website, you can see who’s starting to make changes, who is aligned with the Paris accord, like Iberdrola the utility company and who isn’t like interestingly enough, Berkshire Hathaway,


Adam Matthews (10:48):

we have a range of ways in which we can sort of make interventions, align our investments, incentivize and I think tools like the transition pathway initiative provide a lens for asset owners in particular to understand the transition, to be able to identify which companies within those sectors are transitioning, which ones aren’t, and to really start to sort of use the tools that we have at our disposal be their stewardship one such as our votes on directors, filing of shareholder resolutions or actually reallocating our capital to other companies because I think there’s multiple interventions to be made as asset owners. I think we’re quite uniquely placed to make a number of them and to work in partnership with others, governments, companies, et cetera, wider society and trying to sort of shift at a level that’s related to the the scale of the challenge here. I lead on the engagement of Royal Dutch shell and I do that on behalf of the climate action 100 network, which is a 42 trillion coalition of investors wanting to see companies transition and there we’ve used the TPI tool to really have a very detailed deep discussion with Shell about what’s their path of transition, how do they change from fundamentally an oil and gas company to become an energy provider of the energy solutions for the future market that will exist that will be a low carbon one.


Edie  (12:07):

Adam Matthews gave me a sense of the scale of the challenge and its importance. If you add up all the actions of all the public companies, they blow right through the Paris agreement goal of holding temperature increase below two degrees Celsius.


Adam Matthews (12:21):

We’re looking proactively for positive investments, ones that are in the low carbon transition in infrastructure. That is part of that transition, but also looking at the way in which we sort of invest through things like our passive investments that simply track the market. Well, the market at the moment is a 3.8 degree market as the bank of England governor publicly warned earlier this year. So if we just track that market well we’re tracking and we actually reinforce in a world that really our beneficiaries don’t want to retire into and doesn’t suit our financial needs.


Claudia  (12:55):

So instead of tracking the market and reinforcing a 3.8 degree increase in global temperatures, the church is following an index fund that takes climate into account.


Adam Matthews (13:07):

We’ve put 600 million pounds of our passive investments from the pensions board into that index to demonstrate it is possible to use forward looking data on companies to differentiate which ones are transitioning, which ones aren’t. And excluding those from the index that haven’t set targets or are not responding to the requests for them to make such targets. And so for us, we’ve begun that process of differentiation and we’ve signaled that passive investments doesn’t mean that you’re passive in your responsibilities and that you can take action. And so I think there’s a multitude of ways that we sort of intersect direct engagement. The way that we align some of our finance, the way that we can incentivize by trying to find positive investments and then the last one I’d say is the way that we intersect with public policy. We’re looking at the way companies lobby through their industry associations and we want to see consistency in that because we think is a key interface with the nature of the regulatory environment that needs to be as ambitious as possible but is constrained by negative lobby and of industry associations.


Edie  (14:06):

The detail captured in the transition pathway initiative is fascinating. You can look at an industry and see how well it’s aligned with climate goals. Oil and gas, pretty bad, shipping on the other hand, much better, but what’s even more important as Adam explained is that you can single out individual companies within an industry


Adam Matthews (14:26):

Where those companies are not doing that and playing that constructive role, then I think you’ve quite clearly got to ask yourself, is it right to remain invested? If you don’t believe that that company is going to change. And for us tools like the transition pathway initiative is provided in a way to really start to differentiate between those that are starting to change their businesses very fundamentally with those that aren’t. And I draw the contrast between the likes of shell, BP and the likes of Exxon and Chevron where quite clearly you’re seeing some moving and some quite simply resisting. And for us we’ve started to differentiate. We’ve started to reallocate our investments away from those companies so we no longer hold Exxon. We no longer hold Chevron because we don’t see it at the moment that they’re part of the transition. And I think you’ll see increasingly investors move in that way. What we’ve wanted to do really was to have a credible, transparent, academically rigorous way of being able to differentiate which companies are moving in line with the transition and which aren’t. And so the index we created differentiates basically companies that are set in those long term targets and those that don’t. And then it sort of will reward a company that sets a net zero target and actually double the investments. So a company like Iberdrola in Spain gets double the investments as a result of that index a company like Exxon that doesn’t have targets that doesn’t disclose to TPI isn’t included in the index.


Claudia  (15:51):

That is quite bold, this index. And so one of the big announcements in the last couple of weeks was about BP and now seeing that they are going to be net zero. Lexicon alert! That means carbon neutral by 2050.


Adam Matthews (16:06):

There’s a lot of detail to be filled in and we’re still in dialogue to understand exactly how much of all of their activity is covered by these new commitments. But my expectation is that when there’s a new assessment by the London school of economics TPI team, that this potentially puts them in as a company that could become investible from the index. But we need to go through that independent academic process that’s led by London School of Economics.


Edie  (16:29):

To be clear. It’s not just the church deciding if BP is joining the ranks of the righteous, but there’s an independent group of sharp pencils at the London school of economics making these assessments.


Claudia  (16:41):

Yes, it had to be the LSE London school of economics. That’s my Alma mater!


Adam Matthews (16:47):

And I think we’re in a very new phase. It’s going to be those companies that are making the commitments so the ones that investors are going to work with and you’ve actually got and got this sort of alignment of interests as a pension fund along with many other pension funds that we work with. We’re committed to seeing net zero achieved by 2050. We know we can’t achieve all of that by ourselves across multiple asset classes, across the changes that need to happen in society. You’ve got companies like Shell equally acknowledging that they need to make longterm commitments and BP net zero commitment. We have a mutual interest and an aligned interest of making interventions now to drive the transition together in certain ways and those companies making those commitments become partners in that space. And I think companies like Exxon are exempting themselves from that new in effect, collaborative, very different world that I think you’ll see finance aligning to very significantly and potentially very disruptively for a company like Exxon.


Claudia  (17:42):

Many oil executives defend their business by saying they are still serving of the mind. Adam Matthews addressed that directly.


Adam Matthews (17:52):

Lots of the sectors that demand energy, shipping, aviation, cars, freight, these are all demand side drivers of the energy that these companies provide. If those that are driving the demands start to change, well the new oil and gas sector has gotta be responsive or they’re going to be providing things that people don’t want. And I think the whole focus on the engagement on the investor side, on the sort of finance center has got to shift onto these demand side drivers and really working with them on what is their net zero carbon pathway. How can you basically decarbonize freight traffic across Europe or within key countries? How does that happen? What needs to be put in place in terms of infrastructure? What are the technologies that are needed and how can those companies that have started to move as the energy producers in a positive way and set in similar ambitions, how can they work in partnership with the truck companies?


Edie  (18:52):

Izabella, you made an interesting observation in Alphaville the other day that divestment can actually undermine climate action rather than foster it. Tell me about that.


Izabella Kaminska (19:02):

Well, it’s in response to all these activists sort of coming along and demanding everybody drops investments immediately, but the topic of divestment being controversial has been around for ages. When I was at the UN climate finance talks in 2015 it was already understood then, that perhaps it’s not the best pathway because actually you’re, you’re having to sell those assets to somebody. In many cases, you’re selling those assets to opportunist market players who are not so interested in climate, don’t have the same responsible investing parameters around them. Therefore, are you really helping matters? In the long run, you could say, well, you know, they are starved of financing these bad actors through divestment and we’ll wind up because no one will finance them. But I would say that’s a really risky attitude because if it was that easy to starve out bad players, we would have solved the drug problem by now. Illegal drugs get financing, even though officially no one’s supposed to be financing them and the assets don’t go away, especially the operating ones. So if it really comes down to it, it’s a question of who then buys them and more likely it’ll be the rushes or China’s that come in and acquire these assets. Then you get a regime that takes ownership that doesn’t care at all about de-carbonization.


Edie  (20:16):

So what do you make of the church of England’s method?


Speaker 4 (20:19):

I think it’s a really logical method. I was really struck by the point that you have to stick with these companies and only if they’re not prepared to change, then you leave. It really reminds me again of the Brexit argument. I mean, we hear all the time that.


New Speaker (20:34):

You just can’t get away with it!


New Speaker (20:34):

Obviously it’s a universal truth that is usually better to stay in a club so that you can help influence that club. So just leaving is not the right policy. That said, I think what the church of England, the good point they make is eventually you get to a point where perhaps you can’t influence that body and then you can threaten to leave and hopefully through the negotiation of threatening to leave you, you change behaviors.


Claudia  (20:58):

Hmm. Now Iza I’m just like going to Latinized your name.


Izabella Kaminska (21:03):

It’s, fine!


Claudia  (21:07):

Tell us you brought something with you, haven’t you like a new voice to the table.


Izabella Kaminska (21:11):

That’s right. Some FT colleagues and I recently chatted with a rubber iconoclastic environmentalist. His name is Michael Shellenberger and his views on the pathway to a low carbon economy diverge in several ways from mainstream environmental thinking.


Michael Shellenberger (21:27):

I have a very basic physical and moral view of energy that I think are easy to understand, which is that uranium using nuclear is better than burning natural gas, burning natural gas is better than burning coal and burning coal is better than burning wood. And that, what happens when you go from wood to coal to natural gas to uranium is you’re using a fuel that’s more energy dense, meaning there’s just more energy per unit of matter per mass. And you’re also decarbonizing, you’re also reducing a bunch of conventional pollutants. So if you go from coal to natural gas, you basically eliminate most conventional air pollutants by doing that and you cut your carbon emissions in half. If you go just from wood to coal, we think of coal is super dirty, but if you go from wood to coal, you move the smoke out of the house, right? And so coal might be very dirty, but it’s cleaner than burning wood or dung in your home and breathing the toxic air, which kills about 4 million people a year.


Izabella Kaminska (22:24):

And it’s that logical progression on energy that leads Shellenberger his provocative views.


Michael Shellenberger (22:30):

In the early two thousands I became very concerned about climate change and thought that the, the mainstream approach, which was to put a price on carbon through a carbon tax or some other mechanism wasn’t going to work because the carbon tax couldn’t be high enough to incentivize the new technologies and a bunch of other political problems with it. And what we thought mattered was to actually have some public sector support for renewables. And so we advocated for a major investment in renewables in the early two thousands that was eventually picked up by president Obama and the United States invested about 150 billion in renewables, energy efficiency, electric cars in the light between 2007 and 2015 but as soon as we started working on it, we realized there’s a bunch of problems with renewables that we were having a hard time solving. There were ideas about batteries and using a hydroelectric dams as backups, but a lot of the opposition to expanding solar and wind farms was coming from environmentalists who were concerned about the impacts on wildlife who were, you know, troubled by the, the noise, the sound they make. And the more that I looked at it, I started to realize that there was just a bunch of problems that I didn’t think that technological innovation could overcome. The first one is just that sunlight and wind are dilute. So to give you a sense of it, in sunny California takes 450 times more land to generate the same amount of electricity from a solar farm as it does from a nuclear plant. Well, there’s no amount of technological innovation that’s going to make sunlight more dense and there’s also no more amount of technological innovation that’s going to make it more reliable. So you ended up having a bunch of challenges that drew me to rethinking some kind of core beliefs. And at the same time I had a bunch of friends who were like, why don’t you take a second look at nuclear? And when I did, I realized that a lot of the fears I had had as a boy growing up at the end of the cold war were misplaced and that this was maybe our most misunderstood technology.


Izabella Kaminska (24:18):

I asked him about the anti-nuclear and climate movements.


Michael Shellenberger (24:21):

A lot of us that grew up in the cold war were afraid of nuclear war and when the cold war went away, meaning that there really wasn’t much risk of a nuclear war. I think those of us that had a sort of apocalyptic vision then mapped that onto climate change. I’m very concerned about climate change. I don’t have an apocalyptic view. I think it’s a a hundred year problem, not a 10 year problem. I think that we’re going to solve it and that it’ll be a bigger problem for poorer countries that failed to adapt, but that’s also solved by more energy. The second thing I think is that there’s just a kind of radical agenda behind thinking of climate change as apocalyptic, which then justifies all sorts of things that people wanted to do before they were ever worried about climate change. If you read Naomi Klein’s book or George Monbiot at the guardian, there’s a sense of investing in things like community agriculture and mass transit and all sorts of things that might be well and fine, but they’re not things that necessarily move the needle in terms of carbon emissions and I think the third thing is more of a spiritual issue. This is how I end my new book that’s going to come out in June, which is that I think that those of us that are secular, that no longer believe in traditional religions still had a desire to believe in some kind of apocalypse and arguably some kind of higher power. This is why so many people look in environmentalist and they go, boy, that sure looks like a religion because we’re basically treating scientists like priests, we’re treating nature like God, and we’re suggesting that the world will end unless everybody adopts a new morality. You have to stop flying. You have to stop driving cars, you have to stop eating meat. You know, the best science says if you stop eating meat, you might reduce your emissions by 4%, 2%-4% the main event is decarbonizing energy, and the only countries that have done that have done it with hydro and nuclear and only nuclear is really scalable. But then at that moment people say, Oh gosh, no, we don’t want nuclear.


Izabella Kaminska (26:15):

One of Shellenberger’s iconoclastic views is on carbon pricing, which many economists and environmentalists still believe is essential to shift demand away from fossil fuels.


Michael Shellenberger (26:25):

The mantra for like the last couple of decades was that you need a price on carbon. You need a carbon tax. I think that’s gone away a bit in most recent years because it hasn’t worked, but the only reason that anybody could ever say that a carbon tax was the most efficient way to deal with climate change was under the assumption that every country in the world would have the same carbon tax that would be to prevent what they call leakage. Meaning that your industries don’t then go to a place with cheaper energy because they burn coal. Well, first of all, that’s ridiculous. Politically. It’s never going to happen. But also it’s like why would the Congo need to have a carbon price the same as Britain’s? That’s just completely unfair.


Izabella Kaminska (27:03):

In Shellenberger’s view, Europe has run a natural experiment that answers the question of how the world can get off fossil fuels. France used nuclear, Germany did not.


Michael Shellenberger (27:13):

Well, I think the easiest way to understand it is just to look at France and Germany and we had a natural experiment over the last 20 years. France produces one 10th of the carbon emissions per unit of electricity as Germany and spends about half as much for electricity. Germany has seen its electricity prices rise 50% over the last 10 years. They are going to have spent $580 billion by 2025 and they still only get 37% of their electricity from renewables, whereas France is somewhere around 88% clean electricity. So there you have it. It’s interesting because of course solar panels and wind turbines have gotten cheaper. So why are they making electricity so expensive? Well, I always point out, you know, corn, rice, beans, the commodities that use to make food have gotten a lot cheaper actually over the last 20 years and yet restaurants keep getting more expensive. How could it be because electricity’s a service like going into the restaurant, you know, we think it’s a commodity because it’s the same everywhere. We have electricity wherever we want it. Whenever we went to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But the way that the electricity grid works in a way that provides cheap electricity is by always having supply and demand in harmony. So you’re always producing just as much electricity as you need. Otherwise you have blow outs from too much or you have blackouts from not enough. Well that gets disrupted as soon as you start adding large amounts of unreliable electricity from solar and wind. Hydroelectricity is different because hydro electricity is reliable. I think it’s the highest form of renewable power. It’s the one renewable source of energy that actually allows countries to industrialize. No poor country has industrialized on wood and dung or solar panels and wind turbines. You need constantly running 24 seven electricity to run factories. If you’re going to compete for an H&M factory or a Nike factory or whatever, Ethiopia is now doing this, they’re taking some of the clothing factories that that labor prices are too expensive in China for. They did it by building a big dam, right, and so then when you see countries that have then decarbonized the rest of their grid, like Sweden and France, they did it with nuclear. We’ve not seen a single country do that with solar and wind and it’s because it’s not possible. The land requirements are too large and the unreliability problems are too disruptive. So everybody says what about batteries? Batteries are greater for your cell phone and your laptop, but are prohibitively expensive for powering the whole grid. Just to give you a sense of it, by the way, nuclear would also benefit from batteries, but it would take 10 times more batteries and thus times the cost to have to back up a grid of solar and wind rather than a grid of nuclear. That’s because the nuclear plants run 90% of the time. Solar and wind are just run 10 to 40% of the time.


Izabella Kaminska (29:55):

My colleague Tom Hale asked about the arguments that averting climate catastrophe calls for changing consumption habits.


Michael Shellenberger (30:02):

So if I go and say, look, I’m going to imagine this completely different reality, we may call it a utopia, and in my reality we consume 10% of what we consume now and we’re all powered by renewables and we all live in harmony with each other. Sure. Of course. That’s what they say. Is there any realism to it? I don’t think so.


Edie  (30:26):

Izabella, thank you so much for sharing that interview with us. It’s striking to me how he can take a point that isn’t that controversial and then make it sound like a stick in the eye. Does anyone think that changing consumption habits on its own will curb climate change?


Izabella Kaminska (30:40):

I don’t think anyone does think that and certainly he tends to be quite controversial in nature because he’s putting out these pieces, the big think pieces sort of saying, Oh, renewables are not the answer, et cetera, et cetera. But you know, when I met him I thought he did make some very important and compelling points when it comes to solar for example, the backlash from the industry is always, well no solar is coming down in price. What is he on about? But his issue, if you really listen to what he’s saying is that it’s about reliability and reliability is really, you know, you’re not substituting like for like fossil fuels or reliable, no matter how cheap those modular units become, they’re never going to be that reliable and it’s that unknown unknown that becomes the cost in the system. So changing consumption is not going to change things in and of itself for sure. But we have to understand that perhaps there is the bigger point here, which is that all this energy pricing is relative to the consistent needs of society and fossil fuels unfortunately have this reliability factor to them, which only nuclear can really substitute and I think that’s a compelling point.


Claudia  (31:51):

Well actually that’s going to be the opening for us to wrap this episode and have a little discussion here. I think that’s very interesting. The voice that you brought us well is controversial, but here we want to emphasize on the value of debate and on the power of dialogue. How important it is to be able to accept that someone else has a different opinion than yours and that societies that are healthy have to learn how to live with that tension of understanding that we don’t all agree on the same things. Too close. I want to say I love that article on the financial times last weekend about how to heal our planet. In particular, my friend Christiana Figueres, who’s one of the architects of the Paris agreement saying these three mindsets to survive the climate crisis are a stubborn optimism, which probably I would fall into, endless abundance and then radical regeneration.


Edie  (32:50):

So I think at the risk of this becoming an FT kind of love in, that article also pointed out another book by Anatol Lieven, who’s formerly of the FT, and he said that the biggest obstacle to effective climate action isn’t technology or even money, but the lack of motivation and mobilization of elites around the world. Too many countries have residual elites who’ve been shaped by past conflicts and can’t adapt to the challenge that climate change brings.


Izabella Kaminska (33:18):

I think you’ve made like fantastic points all around. Um, the only thing is,


Claudia  (33:21):

You may disagree with us! This is where we are open about it.


Izabella Kaminska (33:25):

It’s one of my concerns is how the likes of Michael Shellenberger are being responded to online. I don’t think it’s very constructive to just call names and throw huge sort of ad hominem attacks that people, but the same goes for the heretics and the climate deniers. It is better to have them at the table than it is to completely ostracize them because then you just create microcosms where people would just continue the bad behaviors regardless. And so Shellenberger’s other point that I think is really important is the one about tax arbitrage and that really, I hadn’t really appreciated it until now, but that is going to be an issue. The main issue therefore becomes one of political dialogue. Unfortunately, where does this lead us to, I’m kind of concerned, but I do think it leads us to questioning weather democracy and sort of free market doctrine is the future path if we are going to achieve these targets. And I think the likes of extinction rebellion have recognized this by bringing to the table this idea of citizen assemblies where effectively the public is invited to take part in legislation but only on a very reduced level. It’s certainly not going to be the sort of old fashioned democracy that we’re used to. And really I think that is the big debate we need to have. And no one’s really having that debate.


Claudia  (34:37):

What is the debate that we should actually integrate citizen opinion in the debate about like climate into the government.


Izabella Kaminska (34:44):

No, no, I think the debate is whether democracy is compatible with achieving climate directives. Because look at the gilet jaune. I mean it’s not the case 100% that they were only rebelling against a fuel hikes, but that did play a very big role. So the question is, you know, that even if you, if you get rid of the residual elite problem, the remaining leads, if they start to pass on their, their tax, are they going to remain the elite? Are they going to remain in power? If the population at large decides that actually convenience is more important than climate because everybody, you know, is fundamentally selfish.


Edie  (35:20):

So the one thing I wanted to add was that we’ve already started to see a bubble coming through in ESG investing. And that’s been the possibly even frightening thing because money is moving into ESG and away from these value funds, which is really interesting because as we pointed out, the top Berkshire Hathaway is nowhere in this debate around climate.


Izabella Kaminska (35:43):

I think that’s really fundamentally the key issue here is that what are going to be the repercussions in markets when you see this tsunami of capital moving from one sector to the other. And the reality is that there aren’t enough companies out there to absorb that capital. And even in terms of what, well, what happens to any industry when they, they’re given lots of cheap capital. You get over investment misallocation, a lot of scams, Ponzi schemes, et cetera because subsidization has an economic impact. It essentially allows for very bad behavior and that is the risk there because unless the demand comes for those products, you’re going to continue to see this mismatch in terms of the value companies that end up being starved of capital as a result. Well again, that leads us to the old argument I already said about while somebody has still going to buy them and you’re just handing over ownerships of the wrong players that I like the point that Adam Matthews was making that perhaps a better strategy, keeping it within sector, so playing the sector off against each other. I thought that was a really good idea because if you’re not necessarily divesting out of fossil fuels entirely, but using BP ownership to kind of encourage exxon to change its behaviors because if it does, then it will get cheaper funding. Well, that is a good strategy because you’re then using the sector itself to play itself off against.


Edie  (37:03):

And going back to your point that you were making that in 2015 actually becoming an active shareholder in these companies and trying to push from within is the right direction.


Izabella Kaminska (37:13):

Yes, because as a shareholder you have the capacity to vote down direction that you don’t approve of and also just the threat of leaving is much more powerful than leaving itself.


Speaker 2 (37:27):

And now three facts and actions to impress your mother-in-law around the dinner table. This episode, they come from Cassie Flynn, strategic advisor on climate at the United nations development program.


Claudia  (37:39):

I love their new game. They’re always inventing new ways to attract the audience. Younger audience. Have you played Edie?


Edie  (37:45):

I have! Haven’t you?


Claudia  (37:46):

You have? Well you can download it on your phone and decide which actions will mostly help the climate.


Edie  (37:53):

And it has a real purpose as Cassie Flynn will explain after giving us the facts.


Cassie Flynn (38:00):

Fact number one, we know that the world is getting warmer and as scientists are measuring the temperature rise, they tell us that we must stay below 1.5 degrees to stay safe. The troubling news is that we are already at one degree and just at this one degree rise we are already seeing these impacts like wildfires in Australia. More category five storms in the Caribbean and droughts in Africa. There’s a very small window between one and 1.5 degrees and we must take bold action immediately. Fact number two 2020 is the year that countries around the world are meant to submit their pledges under the Paris agreement. It’s a make or break moment. These pledges will outline what every country will do to address climate change like reducing their emissions or reducing the risk of climate impacts like storms and sea level rise and drought. And the first round of pledges were submitted in 2015 and they were way off. They got us to about three degrees rise. That’s way over the 1.5 degree level that keeps us safe. So now five years later in 2020 countries are meant to submit an enhanced version before cop 26 in Glasgow. The stakes could not be higher. Fact number three, more people participated in a climate March or protest in the last year than ever before. People are taking to the streets. Students are hosting walkouts and sit-ins, and this really derives from the realization that we are running out of time to change the future and more and more people are asking, what can I do to help solve the climate crisis? And here are my actions. Number one, don’t give up hope, the stakes are high. It feels so overwhelming, but we have seen incredible changes in the last few years and we can’t give up. What we do today will affect every generation to come and we can solve this problem. Action number two, we need to talk about systemic solutions. And I say systemic because while it’s fantastic that people are talking about flying less or using less plastic and other really good habits, we must change how the world gets its energy. We need to change the way we grow food. We need to change our relationships to the ocean and forests and this has to happen at an unprecedented pace and scale. Action number three, everyone in the world should be voting on what their government should do. Please, please, please go to www.mission1point5.org That’s M I, S S, I, O, N, number one P O I N T number five.org and vote on what you think your country should do to address climate change. The UN and the university of Oxford are going to analyze all of these votes and then going to deliver tailor made reports to world leaders. We’re going to put reports on these world leaders desks that say how countries voted on the solutions. And the idea is that we can help to encourage world leaders as they’re making these critical decisions on climate change.


Edie  (41:10):

Thanks to Cassie Flynn for those facts and actions. If you miss that website address, you can find it in our show notes.


Claudia  (41:17):

And thank you Izabella for joining us.


Izabella Kaminska (41:20):

It was a real pleasure and thank you again.


Edie  (41:23):

And thanks to our guests Adam Matthews, Michael Shellenberger and Cassie Flynn.


Claudia  (41:28):

And thanks for listening. Please like and subscribe via iTunes or wherever you your podcast from, and follow us on social media at GlobalGoalscast. See you next time. Bye.


Michelle (41:41):

GlobalGoalscast was hosted by Edie lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes, editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooperrider and our interns, Brittany Segura and Tarryn Rennie. Music in this episode was courtesy of universal production music, one of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media, including podcasts, original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie crone, and Andrew Phillips. Thanks to CBS NewsDigital.

The Global Warning of Australia’s Wildfires


Wildfire season in Australia has brought human and environmental tragedy. It also has sent a warning to us all. “There’s a huge, really very important message for everybody in the world looking at these fires,” Matthew England, a professor of oceanography and climate at the University of New South Wales, explains in the final episode of Global GoalsCast’s Season Three. “This is a glimpse into our future. we only have to take warming levels of the planet to about three degrees Celsius, which we’re not far off… We’re a third of the way to that warming…(and) the summer we’ve just had will be basically a normal summer event.”

In fact, 2019 was the warmest driest year ever recorded in Australia, with temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius above the average in the late twentieth century. Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman speak with Australians to understand the impact of these fires. Catriona Wallace, the founder and director of Flamingo Ai, a machine learning company, describes the flaming hell that consumed both her family farm and the neighborhood around her family summer home. “It’s like driving through something from a Mad Max movie or through an apocalypse,” she reports. “It’s something quite terrifying and extraordinary to experience.” The frightening experience has prompted her to focus her skills in Artificial Intelligence on creating tools to prevent or alleviate fires. She notes, too, that with men in charge things aren’t going well in Australian climate policy. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and had a major hand in derailing the 2019 climate talks in Madrid.

Wallace says a new approach is needed, to balance the influence of the coal industry with the needs of other Australians. Wallace, one of the first women to have a company listed in the Australian stock exchange, points out that women are skilled at this broader, multi-stakeholder approach.

Empowering women to steward the planet is the goal of Pollyanna Darling, founder of the Australian chapter of TreeSisters, a global organization that raises funds to reforest the tropics and encourages women to seek leadership roles in protecting trees, forests and the overall environment.

“We have a political environment that’s not particularly favorable to environmental protection and care of the earth, which, because a lot of our economy’s based on resource extraction,” Darling says of Australia.

“From a TreeSisters perspective, one of the things that we have made it our mission to do is to help human beings to remember who and what they really are. And a part of that is remembering that we ARE nature and that without a healthy, thriving earth, we actually have nothing.”

Claudia points out that the United Nations has put Sustainable Development Goal 13, climate action, at the top of the Global Agenda. All three of our guests say they hope, and even sense, that the wildfires will encourage stronger action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Actions you can take are proposed in this episode by Rob Galluzzo, from the Lion’s Share, a project co-founded by UNDP to encourage corporations to pay into a fund for conservation and environmental protection every time they use an image of an animal in their advertising. Mars Corp., the candy-maker, is a founding partner.

In addition, Pollyanna Darling urges everyone to plant trees in their community and support TreeSisters (treesisters.org) in its work restoring tropical forests.

Featured guests

Matthew England

Professor Matthew England is Deputy Director of the UNSW Climate Change Research Centre. In 2014 Prof England was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and in 2016 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Prof England’s research explores global-scale ocean circulation and the influence it has on regional climate, large-scale physical oceanography, ocean modelling, and climate processes, with a particular focus on the Southern Hemisphere. Using ocean and coupled climate models in combination with observations, he studies how ocean currents affect climate and climate variability on time scales of seasons to centuries. His work has made significant impact on the treatment of water-mass physics in models, on the methodologies of assessment of ocean and climate models, on our understanding of large-scale Southern Hemisphere climate modes, and on the mechanisms for regional climate variability over Australia.

Dr. Catriona Wallace

Based between the US and Australia, Dr Catriona Wallace is the Founder & Executive Director of Artificial Intelligence company Flamingo Ai, provider of Machine Learning technologies. Flamingo Ai is the second only woman led business ever to list on the Australian Stock Exchange. Catriona has been recognised as the Most Influential Woman in Business & Entrepreneurship (AFR) and as one of the country’s most eminent scientists by the Royal Institution of Australia. Catriona, an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management, UNSW, is also a philanthropist, human rights activist and mother of five.

Pollyanna Darling

TreeSisters holds a piece of Pollyanna’s heart and she has been involved since it was a tiny seed. She volunteered for TreeSisters for 7 years before stepping into the core team. She is committed to playing her part in bringing our beautiful Earth back to thriving. Pollyanna has a project management, systems and entrepreneurial background, and also spent many years helping women live from their deepest wells of courage and have significant impact on the future of our planet.

Pollyanna is a mother of four boys, award-winning author, singer, passionate Earthlover, women’s empowerment facilitator, and loud laugher.

Dina Liberg

Swedish-born Dina graduated from the University of Oslo in Criminology and started her career as a Financial Advisor at the Norwegian bank DNB. But in 2012 she packed her bags and relocated to London in order to fulfil a long-held goal to work in the Music Industry. She first joined Warner Chappell as a Music Consultant before moving to Universal where she now works as a Key Account Manager with clients across the UK and Ireland. Dina is skilled in music supervision and provides music to an extensive network of clients among major broadcasters – such as the BBC and ITV – TV production companies and promo teams. But her role doesn’t stop there. She uses her creativity to come up with new album ideas, organise exciting events and find new ways to promote the production music industry.

Áine Tennyson

Áine Tennyson works as a Producer & Production Coordinator at Universal Production Music UK. Áine was recently at the helm of a rebrand for Focus Music, illustrating her creative flair and insight into the new look, feel and sound of the label.  After gaining her BMus in 2016 from University of Glasgow in Composition & Sonic Arts, Áine started her career as an intern at Universal Music Publishing. Whilst gaining a certificate in Music Production: Mixing and Mastering at Goldsmiths University in 2017, Áine continues her talents as a composer. Áine is a classically trained singer with a background in Irish Traditional folk music.

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Catriona Wallace (00:02): It’s like driving through something from a mad max movie or through an apocalypse. It’s something quite terrifying and extraordinary to experience.

Matthew England  (00:11):  We’re going to be seeing events like this as a routine part of Australia in summer.

Pollyanna Darling (00:16): We have a political environment that’s not particularly favorable to environmental protection and care of the earth, which because a lot of our economy’s based on resource extraction.

Catriona Wallace (00:27): What role do we, the technologists play in really now turning our smart tech towards climate change. We’re seeing the finance sector very reluctant to take on big fossil fuel projects. They know that the writing’s on the wall

Pollyanna Darling (00:44): When people actually get their hands in the earth and they come together with one another and they’re doing something constructive that that really can build a sense of resilience and connection to nature that has the power to be transformative.

Claudia (01:07): Welcome to the Global GoalsCcast.

Edie (01:09): The podcast that explores how we can change the world.

Claudia (01:12): This episode, Edie, we go to Australia to hear from Australians the story of their catastrophic wildfires.

Edie (01:19): s the climate heats up. A leading Australian scientist explains why this will be the shape of things to come for us all. We will share the horror, the lessons, and the message of the Australian wildfires right after this,

Michelle Cooprider (01:37): This episode of global goals cast is brought to you by MasterCard. MasterCard is dedicated to building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone everywhere. Thanks also to CBS news, digital and universal production music.

Aina Tennyson (01:55):  At universal music. We believe in diversity, so it’s definitely our responsibility to ensure that we develop opportunities for women to create music for a catalog.

Michelle Cooprider (02:05): And to Harman. The official sound of global goals cast.

Claudia (02:14): Welcome back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie (02:17): And Im Edie lush. Claudia, what a week. First of all, welcome back from Mexico. I am so glad that your mom’s okay.

Claudia (02:24): I know God that was horrendous. 21 days in intensive and intermediate care for a bad pneumonia, spending Christmas in the hospital, coming there like sleeping in the hospital bed, being totally concerned. Then now flying to New York to pack and then go to switzerland Edie! We’re going to Davos.

Edie (02:43): I know, Im excited to see you there next week. We’ve got a kickoff event on Monday together at hub culture celebrating the champions, achieving the global goals. I’m excited to talk about progress with you and we’ve got a panel together on Wednesday looking at the data around the sustainable development goals and impact.

Claudia (03:02): And this year is special for me edie because we’re bringing a US Hispanic delegation to Davos people that I’ve never been that represent tech and companies that should be heard by decision makers. So talking about Hispanics with other decision makers, talking about the sustainable development goals with decision makers and speaking of sustainable development goals. Edie. Today we’re discussing global goal number 13 and that is repeat after me climate actions. It is the secretary general of the United nations has put climate action at the top of the world’s to do list last year and this episode we will make clear why he did that.

Edie (03:44): Today, we’re going to take you inside a climate catastrophe, not something that may happen someday because of global warming, but something that happened and is still happening right now, at least in part because we are warming our planet,

Claudia (03:59): So let’s be very direct about this. These wildfires that have horrified the world are related to global warming. Let me repeat those wildfires that have horrified the world are related to global warming. 2019 was the hottest, driest year on record in Australia. Temperatures were 1.5 degrees Celsius above the average for the last decade of the 20th century.

Edie (04:24): That is so spooky because as you know, Claudia, 1.5 degrees is described by the UN as the upper limit of tolerable warming.

Matthew England  (04:33): I think there’s a huge, really very important message for everybody in the world. Looking at these fires.

Edie (04:39): This is Matt England, a professor of oceanography and climate at the university of new South Wales.

Matthew England  (04:45): This is a glimpse into our future. We only have to take warming levels of the planet to about three degrees Celsius, which we’re not far off. We’re only, we’re a third of the way to that warming. So once we take the world’s temperatures to three degrees Celsius above present day, the summer we’ve just had will be basically a normal summer event. And so we’re going to be seeing events like this as a routine part of Australian summer. If we take warming to this level, extreme heat summers will be even worse and it’s unimaginable to think what they would be like in terms of temperatures and heat waves and so on. So the lesson for me is this is a glimpse into our future. It’s a future that we can avoid by drastically reducing our emissions. I’m actually glad for the fact that these fires have got so much international focus because I think people need to look at these sorts of events and realize this is what’s in store for us more and more frequent as we keep warming the planet.

Edie (05:44): We’ll hear more from professor England later, but first we want to take you inside the experience of these fires inside the apocalypse. And I’m not the one who used the word apocalypse that description came from the owner of the farm where one of the first big fires started. Her name’s Catriona Wallace. Her family has owned both a farm and a seaside house South of Sydney for many, many years.

Catriona Wallace (06:13): My sister and I drove down and as we’re driving from Sydney for about 200 kilometers, we drove through bushland that is on the major highway that had been completely burned. It’s like driving through something from a mad max movie or through an apocalypse. It’s something quite terrifying and extraordinary to experience. It was black trees with a very strange colored leaves, which were maybe somewhere between a faun to a light red color leaves. And what we know that the gum trees do is when they are burnt and that they’re at a time of stress, the leaves change color from green to this light reddy color and then they drop their leaves onto the ground to insulate their roots. And then when we got to act community, and this is a place I’ve been going to for my whole life. So if 54 years, my grandfather had built this old beach house down just a hundred meters of the beach around 80 years ago. He was an old fisherman and it was a very special place. So my grandparents lived there. My mother had grew up as her beach house and holiday house and then, and I’ve been going there since since I was born, so very, very special memories. And as we drove towards the Rosedale turn off of the highway, we turned and both houses on either side of the street were completely demolished and they look like torn, crumpled, bent, corrugated iron with just nothing underneath. So the fires were so ferocious that they just burned everything and just left the corrugated iron crumpled tin. The smell is something very invasive. There’s smoke in the air, you couldn’t see more than maybe a hundred meters ahead of you because of the smoke. We then saw the fire had run right through our garden and our property. The greatest relief is that we saw that our house was still standing but within a completely black charcoaled, devastation. And I used the word apocalyptic because this exactly what it’s like. It’s like something nuclear has gone through and just burnt everything.

Claudia (08:40): Wow. That was moving. I could see it the way that she was describing it, so incredibly moving. Wow.

Edie (08:50): I know and I looked at her Facebook pictures and the fire comes right up to the edge of the house and it’s thanks to her neighbors who helped keep the fire from engulfing her house that she still has it. I mean it’s, it’s beyond.

Claudia (09:08): We asked professor England to say a bit more about how climate change contributed to the severity of these fires.

Matthew England  (09:15): No single weather event really can be linked to climate change in the way that many people would like us to make that link, but we can definitely talk about stacking the odds of these events higher and there’s no doubt whatsoever the Fire increased global temperatures, increased temperatures over Australia and more extreme phases of these modes of variability. We are increasing the odds of these events. The way the climate system works is there is always this randomness. We have weather events come and go. We have heat waves and then cold fronts that change that weather. The Bush fires that we have had this year are linked to two main weather and climate events. One has been this absolutely profound drought, unprecedented over the last couple of years over eastern Australia. There was so much fuel before the fires came along that all it really took was some extreme heat wave conditions to come along during summer and that triggered these fires. Once you have so much fuel there, it’s really just a matter of the right thunderstorms coming along to ignite the fires via lightning strikes.

Catriona Wallace (10:23): We’re used to drought but nothing as extreme as this. So not only if the fires destroyed the feed for the cattle, but the cattle were starving in any way. So now that we’ve lost so much of our pasture, we have to ship feed in for the cattle.

Claudia (10:42): Here’s Catriona again, talking about the impact of the drought and fire on her farm. She’s also starkly conscious of the emotional and financial impact on the community.

Catriona Wallace (10:55): And the mental health practitioner who was there with us yesterday said it’s at least 12 months that you should watch for signs of trauma post these fires. And then similar to us without the economic impact of the fires on our farm, which we may have to sell the cattle, we may have to destroy the cattle, we may not be able to run as a business anymore. So tutored, I see down at Rosedale, the South coast at this time of year should be a thriving tourist destination. There were no tourists, there was absolutely no tourists, there was the military, there were the police, there were the fire rescue workers and there was the trades people who are trying to fix things. So the businesses in these locations will also have an enormously difficult time to survive.

Edie (11:41): Claudia, Cat is the kind of guest that we could have on Global GoalsCast on any number of subjects. She’s an entrepreneur in artificial intelligence. And before the fires she was telling me she go on stage to give a keynote speech and she described three major issues that she saw facing the world AI, which is her day job, nuclear war, which recently seemed ever closer as tensions grew between the U S and Iran and climate change, which was suddenly engulfing her.

Catriona Wallace (12:13): My world in the last couple of weeks has come together with these three major crises presenting themselves all at once. So for me what I’m thinking through is what role do we, the technologists play in really now turning our smart tech towards climate change because I viscerally experienced this, now it is here and it is destructive.

Claudia (12:41): Katrina’s personal experience has shifted her focus on how artificial intelligence should be used.

Catriona Wallace (12:47): Now that I’ve been on the ground and walked through the fire zone, which is absolutely like a war zone for me. I’m much more interested in active AI. So whether it’s drones or whether it’s other climate detecting mechanisms or something that can actually be very hands on in the field, able to be doing useful things in addition to the analytics and the subject matter expertise that I’m already familiar with.

Claudia (13:15): Look Edie, this episode is feeling a bit grim and I have to remind you, this is the global goalscast. And I know being realistic is one of our trademarks, but so is being optimistic. We offer solutions, we celebrate champions making a difference and we want progress. And, you’re not giving it to me.

Edie (13:34): I know. I was actually wondering how long it was going to take you to remind me of that. I had a little bet with myself, but never fear. I’ve got you. We know their solutions. Remember our episodes with John Sterman of MIT and his interactive model of the climate.

Claudia (13:51): Si senora. We actually do know what to do, right? We need to drastically cut our dependence on fossil fuels, coal, oil, gas, and we need to be vigilant about the climate changes that are too late to stop so that we mitigate the challenge of rising tides and extreme weather.

Edie (14:10): Exactly. And Australia, I’m afraid to say it gets failing grades on both counts. The government of Australia continues to promote coal and the coal industry gives money to both political parties and the government was very slow to respond to the threat of the fires. A threat I might add that was predicted 10 years ago by a government study.

Claudia (14:32): I love Katrina’s reaction when you ask her what we could do about this. I think it’s a great page for more gender equity.

Catriona Wallace (14:40): There’s a part of me that knows that predominantly it’s the men running the show at the moment. My great interest is how do we mobilize women who perhaps can come at a different way of thinking about emerging tech climate change rather than a kind of a one stakeholder lens. We’re often good at having multi-stakeholder lens. So it’s not that we would ignore business or the economic importance of the mining companies or the coal companies, but we also then can hold in our minds and our policies and our strategies, all of the other stakeholders that are in fact as important or more important than this one key influence groups. So whether that’s community, whether that’s wildlife, whether that’s housing, whether that’s other businesses, and start building a multi-stakeholder approach to recovery. And then also a multi-stakeholder approach to climate change.

Edie (15:38): Sometimes Claudia, we talk about the Herculean effort that it’s going to take for the world to shift to carbon neutrality. But I’ve been having a think with my gender equality hat on and I think we need to rephrase it. I think it’s going to take a hippolytic effort.

Claudia (15:54): What, what are you talking about?

Edie (15:56): Okay. Stay with me. Hippolyta was the Amazon queen. So in the film recently, she was wonder woman’s mother. Powerful, not afraid to go to war. What I mean is we need to reframe the argument and bring women into the solutions.

Claudia (16:12): Uh, you are, a weird nerd, but I think I love it. Wonder woman is good. And her mother too, you know Edie, I told you that story, right? That wonder woman wasn’t allowed to become a UN ambassador because of the story. Crazy isn’t it? Because she was stereotyping women having to be sort of like naked and that was not the stereotype that we wanted women, women could be whatever and they didn’t have to be curvy and all that. And he was the first time that UN employees denied a UN ambassador to become true? There you go.

Edie (16:46):  Okay.

Claudia (16:47): So overall I’m sort of like buying to your hypothesis. I hope that you enjoyed that thought. Pollyanna Darling, the CEO of three sisters, Australia thinks along the same, very similar lines to you.

Pollyanna Darling (17:00): Women are some of the most impacted people by climate change, you can see that the way that the earth has been treated is very similar to the way that women have been treated under patriarchy. And women’s voices have been squashed for a very long time. And what we want to do is bring those voices forward because that will create more balance in the world. And if we have more balance in the world then we are not going to be in this situation that we are now where the earth has been plundered to the point that it’s becoming uninhabitable. We are a global network of women and men who are making it as normal to give back to nature as it currently is to take. And we do that in a couple of different ways. Firstly, through funding the reforestation of the global tropics. And the other thing that we do is support and encourage women into leadership in the local area around environmental issues and specifically trees and forests.

Pollyanna Darling (18:10): From a tree sisters perspective, one of the things that we have made it our mission to do is to help human beings to remember who and what they really are. And a part of that is remembering that we are nature and that without a healthy, thriving earth, we actually have nothing. So we depend on a healthy, thriving earth and there are people who think the environment is a sort of hobby or an interest or a silo of interest, but it’s actually is the thing that we all rely on for our life. So that reconnection and that remembering are really important to helping people find the motivation from a deep place within themselves to make change and advocate for change and restoring nature to thriving.

Claudia (19:10): We have made a point of speaking to Australians for this episode because part of their message to the world about climate is to put it bluntly, do not do what Australia has done and for that, again, professor Matthew England here,

Matthew England  (19:27): I’m deeply embarrassed to be an Australian citizen right now. I’m of course not responsible for the government that’s been elected and I’m not responsible for the denial of some politicians about the threats posed by climate change, but I can’t believe that I’m living on a continent where we’re seeing some of the worst impacts of climate change play out. At the same time, we have many people trying to dismiss that link. We’ve got people trying to argue that the science of climate change is in some way shaky and so I can’t believe we’re here in the year 2020 some 50 years since the first alarm bells were rung about ongoing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a bizarre world to me to be in and I look across to other nations that are actually taking this problem more seriously and I wish we were there.

Edie (20:15): So we are left with a vital question. Australia has a special role. The world’s largest exporter of coal and a crucial country in the Glasgow climate summit later this year, are the wildfire is starting to shift attitudes in Australia?

Catriona Wallace (20:31): We do notice that the rhetoric is starting to change a bit only in the last say, week or two weeks when the fires have been so critical, particularly after the disastrous new year’s Eve that the government is saying now. And even the prime minister, Scott Morrison is saying that he believes that climate change is one of many factors that have caused the fires and this climate emergency. In this country the miners, the coal producers, the, the big industry bodies are still so powerful. It’s really them who I think have great sway and influence over the government. But what’s happened in this time beyond anything I’ve ever experienced is the incredible public backlash to the prime minister himself to the emergency minister, to the government.

Claudia (21:16): And as we have heard before, most recently in our last episode with the financial times, Gillian Tett, the finance sector is starting to shift its focus. Matthew England,

Matthew England  (21:28): We’re seeing them very reluctant to take on big fossil fuel projects. They know that the writing’s on the wall. We’re seeing coal mines that are being abandoned. We’re seeing banks moving away from financing that sector and once the money dries up to those sectors, once they lose their subsidies and lose the incredible handouts they’ve been given over the years from government and from the finance sector, we’re going to see a real change in the way we produce energy and those sectors that have been held back so far, the renewable sector in particular will surge.

Edie (22:02): You sound like an optimist at heart, is that right?

Matthew England  (22:05): Oh, absolutely. I can’t wake up in the morning without a view that something’s going to go right because um, it’s fun to be a scientist.

Edie (22:12): And where do you see the glimmers of hope that change will come?

Matthew England  (22:17): The numbers of people who get the science today compared to where we were in the 90s even or even the early two thousands. It’s really heartening to me to see the hate mail drying up to see the support for the science gathering momentum. I mean, I’ve got to say the recent school student marches and demonstrations have been absolutely life. You know, this has changed the conversation and I just think I’ve got so much admiration for the leaders of, I mean Greta Thunburg asking, you know, how dare you, how dare you do this to us, was absolutely breathtaking for me as a scientist. For me, that’s a, that’s a reason to be optimistic. You’re seeing the next generation so switched onto this topic.

Edie (23:03): We’ve heard about government and business, but Tree Sisters sees the importance of a more holistic hands on approach for everyone. Reconnecting with nature at the four.

Pollyanna Darling (23:15): I’ve thought about this a lot as you can probably imagine since the fire started here in September in Queensland about what is the response of tree sisters in this situation? What would be regenerative? What would be something that is based on creating a future for our children and our grandchildren and their grandchildren and so on that isn’t just a knee jerk reaction and that’s actually going to do things like build resilience, educate about the importance of trees, encourage people, to take that regenerative action together because that’s really, really important that we actually do things together. Giving money is fine and it’s great and it’s really needed, but I think when people actually get their hands in the earth and they come together with one another and they’re doing something constructive, that that really can build a sense of resilience and connection to nature that has the power to be transformative

Claudia (24:14): And later we will hear some actions from Pollyanna and tree sisters that you can take right now. Well, Edie, this has been incredible. First of all, what an incredible set of interviews right with Catriona. What an incredibly way of describing what Australians might be feeling and seeing. We’ve been talking about how much climate change is shifting, how much, you know, like we see young people getting involved, how we see Greta, how we see companies being more green and more conscious and so on. But at the end of the day, political wheel is the question and we need to make sure that we understand that none of the big changes that we need will come both from government. These are the decision makers that have to make that shift, that have to make that commitment that I have to feel out their promises. And so how are we going to make that happen? How many Greta’s do you need? How many Australian fires, wildfires? Do you need to make sure that the decision makers of the world are going to take action? Because that’s really the only thing that is going to make the shift.

Edie (25:22): I agree. And I think if you can break the link between conservatism and climate, I think we could see it happen. So there’s increasing evidence that being conservative doesn’t have to mean opposing climate action. Austria’s new conservative green coalition, I just heard the conservative prime minister say that controlling borders and taking action on climate are the two top priorities. There’s also a push in the United States to get Republicans to tackle climate change. I’m really interested in whether this will help give the Australian government a way to move.

Claudia (25:56): It’s time for the decade of action as a secretary general have said, but it all lies on the political wheel. At the end of the day, the budgets needed to take climate solutions are in the trillions of dollars and there is no company, no individual that can do it. Of course everything helps, but we need to get to that point in which all the parts are pushing, providing political pressures so that there is an international action on climate change.

Edie (26:27): I do think as we head into Davos, the other part that I’ve been seeing coming through that you and I have talked about as well is this whole idea around financing of fossil fuel industry and the risk that that brings. Really interesting to watch the fight in the United Kingdom around Barclays, there’s 11 pension and investment funds that are now filing a resolution, calling for Barclays to set clear targets to phase out services to energy companies that failed to align with the Paris climate goals. Now these funds manage more than 130 billion pounds worth of assets. So the vote is in May, the jury is out, but they, alongside Larry Fink’s letter, I think we’re seeing more of a push from the private sector too.

Claudia (27:14): Yeah, I love that. I mean like, it’s so fantastic that we’re having this episode coming right after with such a strong voices from Australia, but also coming right after Larry spanks letter. I mean, he is, he might be criticized that it’s only whatever percentage of his funding that he’s putting towards, you know, sustainability, but having such a strong bold messaging saying, I will only invest in companies that put sustainability and climate change forefront and these are the issues that are going to be durable in the longterm for longstanding investment. It’s massive, but we should not leave those things only to either governments or institutions. I love the story of, of Barclays as well, but individual actions, you know, like people have to understand how important it is that you, when you’re looking at, you know, politicians, you’re not only voting for what they say domestically you have to care about what Politicians are saying about climate change.

Edie (28:13): And I think you were talking about individual action. It’s not too far of a leap to take to talk about one of our previous champions. We’ve had news from the South pole, from our friend Robert Swan. What have you heard?

Claudia (28:26): Uh, one of our first episodes ever on the global goalscast was following Robert Swan and Barney Swan, 60 miles, 60 days, uh, 100. What was he dealing with that they were doing? 600 miles, 60 days through the crab assists where our friend Robert Swan actually failed last time to complete his journey because the changes of climate change have made in the ice on the Antartica that he has done before. So he gained back to the Antarctica, get to finish that journey, that 300 miles that he couldn’t do last time and he fell off and broke his hip in the last 40 miles. Barney, his son went down to finish his 40 miles. Robert Twan said that he is willing to go back to England to train because he wants to finish his journey and I quote him because I need to send a message that if I am making this effort being 64 years old, I’m finishing this. Everybody can make an effort for the planet.

Edie (29:29): I think the other thing that is useful to talk about is the whole issue around communication and the climate change, communication challenge. How do you motivate action with a message that you’re increasing the probability of something, even if that increases dangerous, it’s really hard to get your head around that risk, especially when we still see people including the media in Australia and elsewhere sowing doubt and this challenge we faced in this episode. There’s still a lot of evidence that talking about apocalypse demoralizes people and deters action. So how do we in the media or a scientist handle that?

Claudia (30:06): That’s absolutely right, Edie. There’s a climate change communication problem, so we would love to hear from our audience and get suggestions from you so that we can talk about it the next episodes. What would trigger your action and talking about actions Edie beyond saying good luck and well done to Robert Swan and Barney Swan for finishing that journey and sending again a message. Strong message. It is time for our facts and actions.

Edie (30:35): It is first up are facts to impress your mother in law around the dinner table.

Claudia (30:41): Fact number one, not that we have not said it enough, but here we goes. Climate change is real. Extreme events are becoming more common and more severe as we see it in Australia.

Edie (30:53): Fact number two, Justin from the world economic forum for the first time that they’ve done their survey of risks to come their 10 year outlook, the top five global risks that they see in terms of likelihood are all environmental.

Claudia (31:09): fact number three for all the talk last year, the level of carbon emissions still went up and it needs to be going down.

Edie (31:20): And now for our actions. First from our friend Rob Galluzzo, so he’s the founder of Lions Share, followed by Pollyanna Darling from the Tree Sisters.

Rob Galluzzo (31:31): Hi Claudia and Edie Rob Galluzzo here, from the Lions Share. The Lions Share is a new fund backed by the United Nations. It’s essentially a new system whereby brands can contribute to a fund every time they use an animal in their advertising. I live in Australia and I’ve just seen firsthand the devastation that’s unfolding before our eyes. Look, there’s three simple actions I guess that we need to take. The first is obviously there is a primary fundamental need to provide adequate aid to Aussies fighting for their lives and their properties. There are a lot of volunteer Bush firefighters and firees that really need most support. The second is to develop longterm solutions in new methods and technologies for fire resilience. And the third, I guess would be to support initiatives like the Lions Share. Hopefully there’ll be many more like it, but all around systemic change. If we can find, uh, opportunities for real systemic change in fighting climate change, but not just climate change, I guess the way the private sector, the United Nations and the conservation world can come together and really change the way we operate. I guess the last point would be be imaginative. Be compassionate and see what other systemic change we think we can put in place as people work better in harmony with the planet.

Edie (32:55): Two more from Pollyanna, and it won’t surprise you that she wants you to plant a tree!

Pollyanna Darling (32:59): Preferably a native tree that’s appropriate for where you are. That’s going to support the wildlife where you are. And the other is to grow your own forest through Tree Sisters. We’re planting in Madagascar and Nepal, Cameroon, India, Brazil, Kenya, West Papua and Mozambique and supporting some of the world’s poorest people and helping restore biodiversity and watersheds and so much more. And you can grow your own forest by going to our website tree sisters.org and everything you need to do is there. We’ve got a beautiful way for you to keep track of how many trees you’re planting through your funding and it’s a really wonderful way to give back to the planet that gives us absolutely everything.

Edie (33:45): Thanks to Rob and Pollyanna for those actions.

Speaker 3 (33:49): Edie, Edie before we go we are going to hear from Dina Liberg and Aina Tennyson from universal music, which are our new sponsor and music partners for this. And we love them because they are supporting gender diversity in the production music world through their 100% her initiative.

Dina Liberg (34:14): You hear production music every day, whatever you know it or not in film and TV programs, radio advertising and the podcasts. The main difference between production music and commercial music is that production music is pre-cleared. That means that we own both the master and publishing rights. So it’s easy to clear the music for usage. At universal production music, we have over half a million of tracks, which is recorded in top studios around the world, such as Abbott road, British Grove, Capital studios, et cetera. We have a lots of clients that used to compose music specially for the TV programs, which can be very time consuming and expensive. So with our catalog we give them an alternative with high quality of tracks and a lot of Verity, you can find anything from rock and roll music to big scores. Imagine in the old days where it was only one TV channel and only one radio channel that needed music. How many do we have today? A lot. And in all of those new programs, music is demanded more than ever. And then we also have the podcast and the video on demand industry, which also requires music. This means that the production music market is actually bigger than an ever been before,

Aina Tennyson (35:38): At universal music. We believe in diversity, so it’s definitely our responsibility to ensure that we develop opportunities for women to create music for our catalog. Gender imbalance can be seen as early as when studying music. So in music technology, music production, mastering engineering, which has always been historically overrepresented by males. I think the opportunity for women is actually quite big. So if your music is in our global catalog, you have the potential to receive royalties from all over the world. And just recently universal music UK, won their women in music award for diversity. So we’re definitely on track, but we are equally aware that there’s a lot more work to do.

Dina Liberg (36:28): In general, we have a good balance of women at all levels, including senior positions at universal production music. Actually, our CEO of the entire publishing company is a woman and half of the music supervision team in the UK are female.

Dina Liberg (36:44): In the end of last year we partnered with, she said so, which is a global network of women in the music industry with the support of the global known prophet, She is the Music, to recruit female composers to work with us and to educate them about production music. The objective was to encourage female composers, producers and artists to submit their work to universal production music.

Aina Tennyson (37:07): So we ran a month long competition, which consisted of a global call for female identifying composers and producers to be part of the launch viral 100% her album, which is to be released in March, 2020 for international women’s day. We had over 450 submissions and initially we were expecting much less. So the outcome has been absolutely fantastic. We had women from all over the world submit their tracks, including the UK, the USA, France, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands from Brazil, Russia, Asia. We’ve now finally selected the final 10 amazing women to be part of this 100%Her album, we’re just finalizing the masters, which by the way had been mixed and mastered by female engineers. And once that’s all complete, we will be preparing the album to be cut to vinyl, which is also very exciting. Hopefully this is just the beginning of how we can continue to support talented women from all over the world who are seeking a career in the production music industry.

Edie (38:21): What a fantastic project. We look forward to sharing some of the 100% Her music and our next season.

Claudia (38:30): Thank you for listening to season three of global goals cast. We will be back soon with season four, so please like and subscribe via iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and follow us on social media at Global GoalsCast.

Edie (38:44): And give us five stars and see you next time. See you next season. No, see you next week.

Claudia (38:50): See you next week. See you next season. Bye bye. Thank you so much. Bye.

Speaker 1 (38:58): Global goals cast was hosted by Edie lush and Claudio Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes, editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider and our interns Tina Pastore and Brittany Segora. Music in this episode was courtesy of universal production music, one of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media including podcasts, original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Krohn, and Andrew Phillips. This episode is brought to you by Mastercard, creating scalable solutions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Thanks also to CBS news digital and Harman . The official sound of Global GoalsCast.

‘We are True Heroes’ – One Migrant’s Story


His name is Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh. He is one of thousands of young African’s who have crossed the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in search of opportunity. Thousands more have died trying. We usually hear the tragedy and the controversy about migration, as cohost Edie Lush notes. So in this episode, Global GoalsCast wants you to meet one migrant and to hear his story, from him. Ibrahim is a remarkable young man. Courageous, resourceful and, it turns out, poetic. 

“In plastic boats, we are choked up as much as they can

   just like fishes in a sardine can. 

Irrespective of our religions, we pray for God’s mercy. 

 For it was only by his grace that we made it through that great sea. 

A true hero is what we are…”

Ibrahim retraces his journey from his village in Sierra Leone to the Libyan seashore. A trip that took him a harrowing nine months. He started as a teenager running away from tribal initiation. But by the time he was done he had joined an extraordinary stream of humanity flowing north. 

A report by the United Nations Development Program shows that Ibrahim is representative of a large group of young migrants from West Africa. They are by no means the poorest or the least educated from their countries, explains Mohamed Yahya, lead author of the report. Indeed, they are prompted to risk the dangerous journey as their rising aspirations outstrip their sense of opportunity at home. Yahya urges both African and European officials to address this opportunity gap. 

This episode also features Ann Cairns, from our sponsor Mastercard. She discusses Mastercard’s Digital Food initiative in partnership with the World Food Programme to provide money to refugees to buy food themselves, along with other basic necessities. 

Featured guests

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh, is a young man, 20 years of age, from Sierra Leone. He lived in a village with his family, helping with the farm and local shops. As a result of his family’s huge sacrifice, he used to go to school there, so he wasn’t among the poorest. Sadly, he was forced to escape when approached by a secret society that “grooms boys to become men”, facing tortures and threats. He then went on a journey eventually making his way into Italy. He arrived in Italy as an unaccompanied minor 3 years ago at the age of 17. The way there was not easy. He was kept as a slave in various locations on this journey. His boat was rescued crossing the Mediterranean Sea. His arrival at a reception center for refugees in Calabria was not very welcoming, the center was very crowded and would not offer services, such as education, for minors. After overcoming these roadblocks, and even learning Italian, Ibrahim was recognized as a bright writer, winning renowned competitions, such as the Moleskine Foundation and the U-Report Contests. Once his voice was heard, he became a U-Ambassador and active member on the platform and U-Blogger on the move. Thanks to his active participation, he applied to Refugees Welcome for a chance to be hosted by an Italian family, He was accepted and is now living there. He was also granted the Never Alone bid for a 2-year scholarship at the renowned United World College of the Adriatic.

Mohamed Yahya

Mr. Mohamed Yahya resumed duties as Resident Representative of UNDP Nigeria on 20 June 2019. Prior to his appointment to Nigeria, Mr. Yahya was the Africa Regional Programme Coordinator for  UNDP between October 2014 and June 2019. Based in Addis Ababa, he was responsible for regional development initiatives in support of the African Union and Africa’s Regional Economic Communities. He has also served as UNDP’s post-conflict recovery specialist supporting UNDP interventions in
Afghanistan and Liberia. Before joining the UN, Mr. Yahya worked as a senior peacebuilding advisor for the non-governmental organisation, International Alert, with a focus on West Africa. Mr. Yahya holds a master’s degree in Conflict and Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and History from SOAS, University of London.

Ann Cairns

Ann Cairns, Vice Chairman of Mastercard. In her role as Vice Chairman Ann represents Mastercard around the world, focusing on inclusion, diversity and innovation.  She plays the important role of senior ambassador and executive leader and sits as part of the company’s global management committee. Ann is passionate about the role Mastercard can play in delivering inclusion through innovation and has continued to build new global partnerships with governments, businesses, organizations and NGOs including the World Food Programme. Ann sits on the group board of the Fortune 500 Company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is chair of ICE Clear Europe. Ann has a Pure Mathematics degree from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics and honorary doctorate from Newcastle University. 

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Mohamed Yahya: 00:00 This is a story of pioneers, a story of adventurers, a story of those who say, my circumstances of my birth shall not limit my dreams.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 00:13 Some of the words that he said to me, I could still remember those like, “I really want to be a lawyer and when I become a lawyer, I’ll have fights against our corrupt leaders that are causing some of us to run away from poverty and stuff”… I had to fend for myself. I had nowhere to go. Throughout the journey, I can’t recall a day that I slept in a house, like a house where there’s a roof on top.

Claudia Edelman: 00:51 Welcome to the Global GoalsCast!

Edie Lush: 00:53 A podcast that explores how to change the world.

Claudia Edelman: 00:56 In this episode, we will introduce you to an extraordinary young man. He’s a migrant from Sierra Leone and so much more.

Edie Lush: 01:05 Claudia, you and I talk to our kids about how to have grit and resilience. I think Ibrahim defines those words. He’s not only brave, he’s studious and he’s a poet. He wrote this about the track he made across the Sahara and the Mediterranean.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 01:22 A true hero is what we are. We may not be recognized but that just what we, yeah.

Claudia Edelman: 01:29 A true hero… when you hear his story you will understand why we say that, and you will experience migration from the migrant’s point of view. Right after this…

Presenter: 01:39 This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by Mastercard. Mastercard is dedicated to building an inclusive world, in which the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere.

Ann Cairns: 01:55 The World Food Programme had a vision that they called it: Digital Food. In other words, actually giving refugees the money and the wherewithal to buy food for themselves instead of parachuting in bags of rice.

Claudia Edelman: 02:09 Later in this episode, you will hear about how Mastercard’s technology helped the World Food Programme feed refugee. And also we want to thank CBS News Digital and Harman, the official sound of the Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 02:28 Welcome back, I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush: 02:29 And I’m Edie Lush. We have spoken here, Claudia, on the Global GoalsCast, about migration and the central role it plays in the global economy and in achieving the Global Goals.

Claudia Edelman: 02:41 There are 260 million migrants in the world!

Edie Lush: 02:44 And you and me are two of them!

Claudia Edelman: 02:47 260,000,002! And there are likely to be many, many more migrants in the years ahead. So we need to understand who the migrants are and why do they make their journeys. We need to understand the four steps of migration and the four milestones: from the moment of departure, the journey, the arrival and the return.

Edie Lush: 03:09 And sadly we don’t hear the migrant stories very often. What we hear about migration is controversy and tragedy.

Mohamed Yahya: 03:18 We’ve had 30,000 Africans drowned in the 4-5 years in the Mediterranean.

Edie Lush: 03:23 This is Mohammad Yahya from the United Nations Development Program. I asked him about the horrifying death of those 39 Vietnamese people in a refrigerated truck in the United Kingdom last week.

Mohamed Yahya: 03:35 The death of the 39 truck is a huge tragedy and a sickening one and I suppose confirms our data in terms of risk and I think more people will unfortunately take this risk. This is why a different system needs to be thought through, because these are people who are chasing a different dream… coming all the way from Asia and this current system unfortunately just empowers human traffickers in many ways.

Edie Lush: 04:01 Later in this episode, Mohammad Yahya, we’ll be back to tell us about the United Nations Development Programme report on what they call irregular migration from Africa to Europe and how important it is for all of us to understand what drives the migrants to take such risks.

Pause: 04:17 [background music]

Edie Lush: 04:19 Claudia, here we go with the Global GoalsCast lexicon. Are you ready?

Claudia Edelman: 04:24 Damelo mami! [Translation: Give it to me, sweetheart!]

Edie Lush: 04:24 Irregular migration. It’s kind of fuzzy. It means without documents or legal permission to enter the countries they’re trying to reach. Irregular in this story led to exploitation, modern slavery and extraordinary risks. All to pursue an aspiration.

Claudia Edelman: 04:43 We are all part of this story. We can look away if we choose and allowed choices to be made on fear and misinformation. Or the alternative that we want you to take is to learn about the facts, to learn about migration and understand migrants, whether they cross the Mediterranean, or the Rio Grande, or if they follow some new silk road from Asia. These people are people, people! Human beings with families and aspirations just like us.

Edie Lush: 05:12 Just like us. I was surprised reading the UN report about who these migrants are and why they leave home.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 05:24 [Ibrahim reciting his poem] We once had a home / to call our own / with friends and loved ones / now a thousand miles away. // We sobbed and cried / as we tell goodbye / for those precious moments / can hardly come by. // Living a beautiful life was a hope / so we dreamt of moving to Europe / with the possibility as thin as a rope. // [reciting continues in the background]

Claudia Edelman: 05:46 We want you to get to know one of these migrants the way we have gotten to know him here. His name: Ibrahim Kondeh.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 05:55 [reciting fades back in] We wanted to keep alive // we are like sheep without a manger / knowing that every second of our lives was in danger. // Forced to work without pay / and if you dare / they pull the trigger. [reciting continues in the background]

Edie Lush: 06:05 He’s from Sierra Leone and he is just the kind of irregular migrant that the UNDP wants us to understand.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 06:12 [reciting fades back in] In a war zone we came unstuck / we made up our minds and said no turning back. // In plastic boats / we will get choked up as much as they can / just like fishes in a sardine can. // Irrespective of our religions / we pray for God’s mercy / which is only by his grace / that we made it through that great sea. // A true hero is what we are / We may not be recognized / but that is just what we are. //

Claudia Edelman: 06:40 The Global GoalsCast team spent hours talking with Ibrahim here.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 06:44 [Edie starts interviewing Ibrahim in the background] This is my first year.

Claudia Edelman: 06:46 Edie was first introduced to him by our partners at UNICEF. She called him to talk about his use of an innovative text message service that helps migrants, but then when she heard his whole story, we wanted more! So our executive editor, Mike Oreskes, called him back and spoke for another two hours.

Mike Oreskes: 07:06 Okay, great. I’m so glad we were able to set this up… [Mike’s voices fades out in the background]

Edie Lush: 07:08 We took a lot of his time, probably when he should have been studying.

Claudia Edelman: 07:13 And even if the quality of the audio is not perfect, we think it’s compelling enough for you to hear it.

Edie Lush: 07:20 We have put this story together so that you can experience Ibrahim’s voyage as we did, from the beginning at home in Sierra Leone.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 07:30 I was living like far away from my parents because, at a very young age, my mom and dad sent me to the nation’s capital Freetown to go to school, because in the village where they we living in the provinces, there was no possibility for me to go to school there, because there was no structure truly. So I was living with my aunt in Freetown. I had the opportunity to see them only during holidays. I was happy going to school like, school was actually something that I was supposed to do, even if I don’t want to because it was like a priority. It’s something that was made known to me even at a tender age, because my parents never had the opportunity to go to school, so when I was younger they tried all their best to send me to school. So I could go to school, get good grades, and then eventually be able to redeem them from poverty.

Edie Lush: 08:34 In 2013, Ibrahim’s father died, leaving his mother with Ibrahim and two younger brothers. But his mother persevered. She kept working and she kept him in school.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 08:46 and so everything was okay. Everything was going normal.

Edie Lush: 08:50 Normal, that is until a trip home from school to visit his mom in their village in 2016.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 08:56 In March, I went on Easter holiday.

Edie Lush: 09:00 Which is when Ibrahim’s aspiration fueled by urban life and Freetown collided with tribal custom from his village.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 09:08 We do have certain things in Sierra Leone that happens during March, the dry season, which is mostly about cultural stuff… secret societies and because I didn’t grew up and my village, so I knew nothing about how things are done there. I didn’t know the rules. It was a time for initiation. Where, they have to catch boys and take them to, for initiation, because they do believe that initiating boys at a very young age is how they could prepare them to be, like good leaders. Anyone who is not a member of them is actually seen as a coward, so a lot of boys, it’s their dream for the day that they will be initiated.

Claudia Edelman: 09:52 What Ibrahim is describing are the tribal secret societies that play an important role in West Africa and those are initiating boys and girls into adulthood.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 10:03 I was not into that. The culture of the bachelor communities where I was born and, if my dad was alive, he would have forced me. But my mom who was there with me, she never wanted me to be part of it. And most importantly, I don’t like the fact that after the initiation, I have to be living with scars all over my body, because I’ve seen so many boys who have been part of the society. The have scars like everlasting scar is I will be with them until they die.

Edie Lush: 10:34 I’ve heard a great deal about the female version of these initiations because for girls, this traditionally involves removing the clitoris. I hadn’t heard as much about the male version, which does not include genital mutilation, but rather knife slashes that resemble claws or teeth across the back. Ibrahim wanted no part of this.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 10:55 So on that day, I was out with my mom, like at veranda of our house, and my mom has a little table where she sells foodstuff like biscuits, sweets. And so I was helping her pack in those materials into a box and then a group of men came around the town. So a lot of people run into their houses and I was out, I didn’t know that I was supposed to run because I’m not one of them. Because actually if you are not a member of a particular group that comes out on a specific day, you are not supposed to see them or neither be out whilst they are in a parade.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 11:39 And so, I was taken with them together with seven other boys from the village who got caught as well. We walked about two to three hours getting to the initiation place and I was told that I was caught not only because I was outside and I, I saw them when they came, but because I had to like represent my father to take the place of my father, because he was once a member, and it is obligatory that every first child of a family must take up the responsibility of the dad when he’s late. I wasn’t aware of that. I denied it at first but I have no power because they were huge guys. And so the initiation place was actually in a bush where it was divided into two places. Like the first side was for the new initiates and the second place was for the members of the society. Where I am during the day just stand outside. So under a big tree while they go on with some of their process, initiation process.

Pause: 12:43 [background music]

Ibrahim Kondeh: 12:43 I was there for about a week, together with different boys, and so every day they would go into town in search of new boys or food. So they might leave us with one or two people to guard us. That was when I ran away and I walked through the bush during the night, because it was night, until in the morning hours, like seven, I happened to like be on a highway. So I met with some guys who were loading some goods into a truck and I asked whether I could help, if they will take me to Guinea. The guy was like okay, no problem. So I helped and after we finished packing, we went to Guinea, until Conakry. I didn’t want to return home, because I was scared of being caught again. I didn’t know anyone that lives in Guinea. I had to like fend for myself. The very first night I slept on a stall, at the lorry park, and so in the morning, I’ll go outside like asks people if I could do little domestic work for them and get something, money or food, just to sustain myself. So that continued for several days until I had one lady who employed me actually because she sells mineral water. I saved up money for about three months and I’m moved to Mali mainly because of the currency rate. I was still thinking of like, how I can get something and send for my mom, so I wanted to get to a place that has a currency that is a bit higher.

Claudia Edelman: 14:44 After seven months in Guinea, he moved to Mali and there he spotted some familiar faces.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 14:51 One day I met with a group of boys who were actually from, from Sierra Leone who, whom I knew before.

Edie Lush: 14:57 Among these 10 boys was a friend from childhood named Daniel.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 15:02 I was happy because when I left home he was the only person that I came across who knows me, actually. When he told me about what is his journey was, I said, okay, you are my friend. I know you. So I trusted him that much. I said, well, we could start everything together. They told me that they’re moving. North Africa. Algeria in particular for work, because they were told that in Algeria there are a lot of job opportunities where people work in construction sites and it gets paid a lot of money.

Edie Lush: 15:40 Ibrahim and Daniel had made a pact to travel together. Ibrahim is no longer just a teenager running away from his village culture. He and Daniel and the other boys joined a great migration North.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 15:52 I agreed to move with him and so we left Mali. We had to pay with all the money that I earned from the work that I was doing. I paid from Mali to be taken to Algeria. So it was a full bus, very full bus. We sat in a group like people from Sierra Leone and we all just went to the backseat. We were there talking to each other.

Claudia Edelman: 16:19 Hour after hour. He and Daniel talked…

Ibrahim Kondeh: 16:22 Our discussions are mostly of home, like, how we left home… what our intentions when we might have money… what we will once we go back in our country. And he always has that dream-like he wanted it to be a lawyer. Some of the words that he said to me, I could still remember was like: “I really want to be a lawyer and when I become a lawyer, I will have fights against our corrupt leaders that are causing us… some of us to go away from poverty and stuff”. And so you can see like the passion in his eyes.

Edie Lush: 17:04 Rolling east across the Sahal neither Daniel nor Ibrahim could have possibly known all the trials that lay ahead, but they would soon learn that they had entered a very precarious world, vulnerable at every turn.

Claudia Edelman: 17:23 We will rejoin their journey in a moment with first a break, so that Ann Cairns from our sponsor, Mastercard, can tell us all about technology that helped the World Food Program feed refugees.

Pause: 17:38 [background music]

Ann Cairns: 17:38 We actually began in 2012 working with them on helping refugees as they moved from Syria into Jordan, and then Lebanon and further afield. Get access to food and the World Food Programme had a vision that they called it: Digital Food. In other words, actually giving refugees the money and the wherewithal to buy food for themselves instead of parachuting in bags of rice, basically, because the lands that they were moving into were very fertile and the first thing that we did was roll out cards so that these refugees could actually shop in local shops. And not only were they able to buy fresh food for themselves and their families, but also the self-esteem of basically choosing the food that you wanted to buy was huge. And of course it had a positive impact on the local farmers. Now, one of the things that we found out was particularly for example, in the refugee camps, we could track exactly what was bought and sometimes it was medicine by the way. And we could tell if the medicine was running out and actually get people to order more. But also we found that the highest amount of food that was bought was actually powdered milk, because with so many babies in those camps. And when we looked at that data and shared it with the World Food Programme, they actually could go and negotiate a discount from the providers of powdered milk, because they’re buying for millions of people rather than just each individual. So this is a great example of how you can use data for good and how you can use technology to actually be able to predict, what food you need or what medication you need.

Edie Lush: 19:25 Thank you to Ann Cairns from Mastercard.

Claudia Edelman: 19:34 Ibrahim and Daniel had joined the stream of migrants. The migrants were flowing toward North Africa, but in the eye of the corrupt and the criminal, that human’s dream looks like a revenue stream. Those migrants are easy to exploit. Their status makes it hard for them to turn to the police or other authority for protection. In Niger, Ibrahim and Daniel were told they were changing busses. The next bus would be right along, but it wasn’t, they were left standing in a parking lot with many others.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 20:09 We were dumped in Niger, as a huge number of us. Those that can afford it at that particular time had to pay again to move.

Claudia Edelman: 20:18 For two weeks, Ibrahim and Daniel helped load and unload trucks in that parking lot. But finally, they got a ride as part of their payment.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 20:29 So there are many cars because it’s like a bus stop. Cars coming from different parts of Niger and around some other countries. So we started to work with one of these big trucks. They used to move with goods from the capital city of Niger to the border in Algeria, so we sometimes pack loads for them. So we did it for two weeks or three weeks. And so the man actually said, okay, the next trip that we took to the border, he just left us there as part of our payment.

Pause: 20:59 [background music]

Edie Lush: 21:04 They’ve made it to Algeria. Ibrahim and Daniel scratched out a routine, squatting with other migrants in a partially finished building without a roof. Three to four months, spending his days with Daniel, sometimes locked in, other days allowed out to work.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 21:25 So in Algeria, we went to a camp like where many migrants… where many people from different parts in Western Africa were. So they just stayed there. In the morning, we’d go out in search of jobs. Where there is like construction sites, then worked throughout the day, and in the evening, there was a little store where they’d sell foodstuff. So every evening back from work, we’d grab some foodstuff, like rice, vegetables, and then come back to the unfinished building and try to cook. But actually waiting to cook, it’s always like in line because there are a couple of other people that wanted to cook as well. So we might end up cooking around 11-10 at night. And then after food, we draw our cardboards to sleep because there is nothing like a bed. It’s like it’s like an open space.

Claudia Edelman: 22:22 Ibrahim and Daniel met some traffickers in the camp and after a few months they decided to go with them East to Libya. But again, things didn’t go according to the plan.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 22:37 We paid the traffickers about 300 or 400 US dollars to take us to Tripoli, which is the Capital, where the port is. Where people used to move. But it didn’t, like, go as we planned. They told us it would take us two days to reach in Tripoli. But we actually spent one week in the desert before we were able to see normal land or buildings. It takes so long because one the distance and two, we had a breakdown. And uh, one thing about, about the desert, there’s no specific route to go. So people use different routes and some of them just follow the traces of other cars that have passed by. And most times that their security personnel, little soldiers or other gangs, that do chase people in the desert and always, they are always armed. And so, we reached to a certain point that we had to wait, where they knew that it might be a potential place where they could get in contracts with these different gangs. Another thing that is on, we bought it actually, people only knew about the amounts of people that die in the sea, but actually there’s a huge number of people that die in the desert… Going through the desert, you could see like fossils like remains of people that have just been dumped, left to dry out in the sand. People that died out of dehydration. People that just died out in the cars and there was no way to wait. It was just taken among children out and sometimes you just think about that maybe the next minute, it’s me. You have no hope of seeing the next day you just said, okay, I’m alive for this minute. Maybe the next minute. I’ll be dead.

Edie Lush: 24:39 Before reaching their promised destination of Tripoli. The journey comes to an unexpected halt. They’ve arrived in Sabha, a notorious hive of human trafficking. It’s hard from our modern vantage point to believe a place this lawless still exists on Earth. Ibrahim and Daniel asked the trafficker why they weren’t going on to Tripoli.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 25:00 He just told us that that is where his journey has ended, that we need to pay again in order to continue. And so we were then given mobile phones to call our parents back home to request for money before we could be free. And so people who have the chance to call their parents for money would then be transferred to Tripoli or to wherever there is the sea. And so I couldn’t call my mom by then because she knew that I went to Mali. But when I left Mali. She didn’t know. So I didn’t call her because she couldn’t afford to give me that money at that time. And that stress I didn’t call. So people who can’t pay will stay there. And then there are different building construction sites or works that happens on the farm. So if Libyans that live in that area, if they want like assistance or they want a laborer, they will come to this site and then ask the leader of the camp and then the leader would give out people to go and work in that particular place. I couldn’t exit the gate without their permission. And I would only go out in a car, in their car. That is when we are going out for work. And when we get paid, the money will never be in our hands. It will be paid directly to the leader of the camp. We would never have that money.

Claudia Edelman: 26:38 They had gone from being migrants to being captives, modern slaves.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 26:44 So it’s like, you have to work in order to pay for… like a ransom actually, so I was there for a couple of months, like working daily.

Edie Lush: 26:56 The business model of the traffickers is to move people long after they’ve worked for awhile…

Ibrahim Kondeh: 27:02 Every Friday 26 people are suppose to leave. And so one evening while he was counting, there were only 25 and so he just saw me because I was one of the youngest little boys among a group and so they just were come go with them. So that was when I had to leave that place. That was the only opportunity. I had to leave on that faithful evening to get out with other people. And then we went to Sabratha, which is like the seaside,

Claudia Edelman: 27:37 nine months after running away from his village on that day in March, Ibrahim and his friend Daniel reached the Southern shore of the Mediterranean.

Ibrahim Kondeh: 27:51 Throughout the journey, I can’t recall a day that I slept in a house where there’s a roof on top, I can’t recall. And so at the seaside, it was very cold and very cold. It was in December, very cold and we had to be outside and we get food, a loaf of bread, once a day. And so I was there for like two weeks because we had to wait for the construction of the, the dingies and also the weather condition. And so when the time came one evening around 12 to 12:30 AM, on the 12th of December, I still remember, they called us, we were about 130 to 140 of us loaded and that on that boat that… in that morning.

Edie Lush: 28:51 And in the gloom of that cold night, Ibrahim in the prow of the overcrowded boat and Daniel crammed in further back, set off across the Mediterranean Sea. Both tragedy and success. Lay ahead.

Claudia Edelman: 29:10 And we will tell you the rest of Ibrahim’s story in the next episode of the Global GoalsCast, but now we want to pause to look more deeply into how Ibrahim’s voyage illustrates so many similar journeys.

Mohamed Yahya: 29:28 This is a story of pioneers, a story of adventurers, a story of those who say that my circumstances of my birth shall not limit my dreams that I have for myself and if I don’t meet it at home, I’m happy to cross any barrier to achieve it. So it was really important for us to tell those stories and voices in a balanced but in a way that most people can access. We wanted that because we wanted to inform policy-makers that these unknown faces that we hear drown in the seas or exploited or enslaved in some parts in some North African countries. We wanted to put faces and we wanted their voices to be at the center of … of future debates.

Edie Lush: 30:18 That’s MohamedYahya of the UN Development Programme, explaining why his report included a series of video interviews with individual migrants. They’re actually incredible films. I encourage you to go look at them on the internet, as well as the findings from nearly 2,000 interviews with African migrants who had reached Europe. And one very important finding was that many of those migrants had a job at home or like Ibrahim were in school.

Mohamed Yahya: 30:47 That does not mean that African young people are not looking for jobs or neither doesn’t mean that employment is not an important factor. What it means is that the quality of employment matters and that people’s aspirations and the power of their dreams are much bigger than only economic factors. And then related to the risk itself, what was very interesting is if you go to many African capitals, you see a lot of the discourse around whether if they only knew about the risk, maybe they will not have taken this journey, this dangerous journey. But what we found was that although 93% of those who migrated, experienced extreme distress and found the journey itself to be extremely dangerous, but only 2% say knowing what we know now will not have done it. So the majority of them will still have come. This paints a different picture of what we hear normally. One thing we know is that the status quo does not work for young Africans or Africa in general. Africa is losing those, it has invested in, but also it doesn’t work for many Europeans who find irregular migration itself something that concerns them and a sense of losing control over their borders. So how do we move the discourse of migration to a new level with the evidence we’ve provided? And that is essentially, uh, what, what that report aims to do.

Edie Lush: 32:15 For me, the most amazing point there was that only 2% wouldn’t have done that same journey. Knowing how dangerous it was. That to me is extraordinary. By 2030, Africa will have 1 billion young people and Africa is not equipped to receive that amount of youth. They don’t have enough schools, they don’t have enough jobs. First cities, second cities, third cites are growing at the pace that is like incredible. And while economies are growing in Africa, so is inequality, and so you will expect more people to take the risk that 2%, you know like only 2% would not do it, to do more because their dreams are not confined, their infrastructures are. So as a society we have to really embrace the migration debate and try to see how those frameworks are really gonna be not only good to have, but essential to continue understanding what will be a natural trajectory of the population.

Edie Lush: 33:21 One of the recommendations of the report was to work more on these legal pathways, in fact to encourage when possible circular migration so that you can come if you want to go to Europe to work. And then if you want to, you can come back home.

Mohamed Yahya: 33:39 What resonates in the report is that this sense that young people do not feel that their countries offer them ladders of opportunity. A sense that there’s a ceiling or a fence, essentially there cultural fences, political fences and an economic fences. And on the cultural side is this deep sense that being young is seen as a huge disadvantage in many of African cultures. So if you’re young, you are ambitious, you are creative, in most parts of the world that would be an advantage. But in many parts of the African continent, there’s fences and barriers for young people. So that is what the story of the scaling fences is also in the sense that those who not only are they scaling legal fences in terms of coming to Europe and, and finding barriers to their dreams, but they actually come from or have already scaled several fences back home… and culture seems to be one of them as well.

Claudia Edelman: 34:43 I remember when we were, I think that it as like our second or third episode ever – sounds like an eternity back then – of season one when I was still working for the Office of the Secretary-General while working on the Global Compact for Migration. When we did this episode on migration saying: one migration is ancient, unstoppable and positive. And second that we need to get more on the understanding of the human story of what would be the circumstances for you to take such a desperate move as leaving everything that you know, knowing that is going to be horrible and nevertheless do it. So there’s a deja vu moment that I’m having here on listening to these and saying like we still have to do more to make people feel that they have the pros and the cons of migration so that they can make up their minds and understand a phenomena that is so important for our future as opposed to just dealing with the fear.

Pause: 35:43 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 35:47 Ibrahim’s story fits the UN report in another way.

Mohamed Yahya: 35:52 You’re not getting the least educated, low-skilled people. What you are getting is aspirational, dynamic, people who want to improve their lives. And that more will be coming. The trend is not one that over the long run that reduces. So it’s time to start looking at legal pathways. By legal pathways, we referred to the issue of labor migration. What do we see in that report is there is a need in some parts of the European continent for the labor that these young people provide. How can we put in place something that is manageable because of the irregular nature of the migration itself? It creates anti-migration feelings in Europe because no ordinary person will want to sense that they have lost control of who comes into their country. So once you have a legal pathway, we are confident, the irregular nature and the anxiety that is related with the ungoverness of illegal migration may go down, but it will need courage. Courage on both sides and it will need a new debate around migration. And we hope this report provides for Europeans a sense of understanding who’s coming and maybe a debate around what kind of migration Europe needs.

Claudia Edelman: 37:16 Understanding data, facts, stories. This is what we want to provide to you so that you understand migration at heart.

Edie Lush: 37:24 And before I let Mohamed go, I asked him to provide this episode’s facts and actions.

Mohamed Yahya: 37:31 Fact one is that most of the African migrants, they are on average more educated than their peers back home. Secondary under some university-level education. Fact two is that those who are more likely to want to go back after been in Europe or those who are working. This is really important evidence that making life difficult for them, not allowing them to work in Europe is creating the opposite incentive, of staying rather than going back to their home country. Another fact that it will be interesting is the risk of the journey, I mean is overpowered by the power of dreams of re-imagine in your future. So the 2% saying that knowing what they know, they will not have done it, is a very, very small and shockingly small, considering the risk that is associated with the journey.

Edie Lush: 38:24 And tell me three actions that our listeners, if they care about these issues, could go out and take.

Mohamed Yahya: 38:31 One is supporting the transformation of Africa, not through aid only, but through trade and other aspects. So the relationship between Africa and Europe has to be one of a mutually beneficial system. Structurally transforming Africa is one of the things that will then allow young people to want to stay in their own countries. At least give them that option. Second is that legal pathways are a really, really important. There is no getting out of this politically. It may be very difficult now, but the entire discussion around creating legal pathways, this is what the Global Compact calls for the open migration, creating processes whereby people can come through labor migration. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but it has to be legal. And then the final part is changing the discourse of migration from what it has been to one that is much more sober that is informed by evidence.

Edie Lush: 39:32 Thank you to Mohamed Yahya of the UN Development Programme for those facts and actions and thank you to Ibrahim Kondeh for sharing his story. And we’ll be returning to it and our next episode.

Claudia Edelman: 39:42 And thank you all for listening! Please like and subscribe via iTunes or whatever you get your podcasts from and follow us on social media at Global GoalsCast. See you next time!

Edie Lush: 39:55 And give us five stars! Don’t forget the stars! We love those.

Claudia Edelman: 39:58 See you, Edie! Safe travels from the desert!

Edie Lush: 40:07 Adios!

Claudia Edelman: 40:07 Bye, bye!

Credits: 40:07 Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes, editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider, and welcome to our new intern Tina Pastore. Music in this episode was by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Kaity Crone, Aasheesh Paliwal and Andrew Phillips.

Claudia Edelman: 40:38 This episode is brought to you by Mastercard, creating scalable solutions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. And thanks also to CBS News Digital, and to Harman, the official sound of the Global GoalsCast.

Maybe the Poor won’t always be with us


Is it possible to eradicate extreme poverty? Here is the remarkable thing. For the first time in history, the answer is yes. Co-hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman talk about the new thinking about how to end the worst poverty. Macro solutions like growth, trade and migration still matter, a lot, they agree. But so do local solutions. Tanya Accone of Unicef explains how a failed effort to involve Silicon Valley in anti-poverty efforts produced a different approach in which solutions are developed with local communities not just for them. A good example from Uganda is Spouts of Water, which has invented clay pot filters that cost no more to use than the previous system of burning wood or coal to boil the water. Plus, Ugandans like the flavor! One of the basic lessons is that to help very poor people, often at the end of long dirt paths or isolated in slums, solutions must be designed for their situations, Accone explains. Context is crucial.

Edie and Claudia also discuss the meaning of two Nobel prizes that connect directly to eradicating poverty – the prize in economics for the new field of research-based solutions and the peace prize to Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, for his efforts to create stability in the Horn of Africa, one of the world’s poorest regions.

Ending extreme poverty is the first of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Edie points out that the idea we can even talk about ending poverty as a serious goal captures how far the world has come. Both proportionally and numerically, the number of poor people has been shrinking for decades. Much of this has been the result of broad economic growth, particularly in China.

But that’s left us with some of the most difficult situations, for example in rural India and sub-Saharan Africa. It will require sustained effort on multiple fronts to address these areas. 

Facts and Actions are offered in this episode by Saskia Bruysten, co-founder of Yunus Social Business, which invests in sustainable businesses such as Spouts of Water.

Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chairman of our sponsor, Mastercard, describes their Hundred Million Meals program to keep children in school by making sure they are fed. The effort is run jointly with the World Food Program, a Global GoalsCast partner.

Featured guests

Tanya Accone

Tanya Accone’s career has focused on helping international public and private sector organizations understand how to amplify their impact through the convergence of people, ecosystems and innovation. She is committed to applying innovation for social impact and as a public good, especially with and for young people. Accone has been at the forefront of advocating for and leading ground-breaking initiatives at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale, she has led UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre to support 90 countries to identify, adopt and adapt innovative solutions that have changed the lives of 180 million children and their communities. 

Saskia Bryusten

A leader in the social business movement, Saskia Bruysten co-founded Yunus Social Business (YSB) together with Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus. YSB is a Philanthropic Venture Fund that turns donations into investments in sustainable social businesses that provide employment, education, healthcare, clean water and clean energy to millions of people worldwide. Under Saskia’s leadership, YSB has also been working with over 20 global corporations to help them use their core competencies to address social problems. She was appointed to the EU Commission’s expert group on social business and has advised on Ban Ki-Moon’s UN MDG Advocacy Group. Prior to YSB, she was Co-CEO of the Grameen Creative Lab and a senior management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. She holds an MBA from the European Business School in Germany and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Paul Matovu

Paul has worked in multiple charitable entrepreneurial roles in Uganda prior to joining SPOUTS.  He brings in extensive experience in impact evaluation and has been working with SPOUTS for over four years.

David Yin

Daniel is the CEO of SPOUTS of Water, a social enterprise dedicated to providing clean water to Uganda.  He worked in the financial industry in the U.S. for over 5 years prior to joining SPOUTS of Water. He has previous experience in scaling internal and financial operations in SMEs and has been leading SPOUTS for the past two years.

Ann Cairns

In her role as Vice Chairman Ann represents Mastercard around the world, focusing on inclusion, diversity and innovation.  She plays the important role of senior ambassador and executive leader and sits as part of the company’s global management committee. Ann is passionate about the role Mastercard can play in delivering inclusion through innovation and has continued to build new global partnerships with governments, businesses, organizations and NGOs including the World Food Programme. Ann sits on the group board of the Fortune 500 Company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is chair of ICE Clear Europe. Ann has a Pure Mathematics degree from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics and honorary doctorate from Newcastle University.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Helene Dufour: 00:00 Our goal is to make sure that the fight against poverty is based on scientific evidence. Extract from the idea that often the poor are reduced to caricature and often even people who tried to help them do not actually understand what are the deep root of the problems that are addressing the poor.

Tanya Accone: 00:21 People that had expert knowledge on business modeling on, you know, the actual filtration techniques but completely not matched to the context that we were asking them to solve for

Pause: 00:36 [background music]

Tanya Accone: 00:36 In innovation, we often say that technology is just 10%, but 90% is about people and so really having that people focus and focus on designing with, not for those communities is sort of a fundamental way that we have learned to work.

Daniel Yin: 00:54 The cofounders and the management team really reached out to the community and to see what they prefer in their water. After doing about three years of R and D, we realized that ceramic water filters was the solution we wanted to provide to the Ugandan population.

Claudia Edelman: 01:18 Welcome to the Global GoalsCast!

Edie Lush: 01:20 The podcast that explores how to change the world.

Claudia Edelman: 01:23 In this episode, the latest on global goal 1: eradicating extreme poverty. The fact that we can even have this conversation, Edie, reflects one of the greatest achievements of human history. The number of profoundly poor people in the world has been declining fo half a century! We’re that close!

Edie Lush: 01:43 But getting it close isn’t getting it done. Traveling this last mile may well be the hardest. It’s gonna take a new kind of thinking to end poverty and it will require the inclusion of poor people themselves in that thinking and in the doing. We’re going to tell you all about that right after this.

Presenter: 02:04 This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by Mastercard. Mastercard is dedicated to building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere.

Ann Cairns: 02:16 The world really wasn’t designed with girls in mind, and education is one of those things where there has been an imbalance between the number of boys and girls going to school. Later in this episode, y’all hear about Mastercard’s 100 Million Meal Challenge, keeping kids in school by making sure they are fed. Thanks also to CBS News Digital and to Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 02:46 Welcome back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush: 02:48 and I’m Edie Lush. Jesus said it, “The poor you will always have with you”.

Claudia Edelman: 02:53 Or as Moses put it, “There will always be poor in the land”.

Edie Lush: 02:57 But what if they were wrong? What if we could eradicate poverty or at least the very worst poverty?

Claudia Edelman: 03:04 Well, I was there, in 2015, when the United Nations said that it could be done! And the point was made dramatically. Ending extreme poverty was made the very first of the 17 sustainable development goals, and my former boss Ban Ki-Moon, who was Secretary General summed up the history when he said,

Ban Ki-Moon: 03:23 We are the first generation that can put an end to poverty.

Edie Lush: 03:31 It’s such a big ambition. I’m not sure we really grasp it. And Claudia, at the risk of taking the religious references too far, I went to the Bible of the Global Goalscast. My copy of Hans Rosling’s book, Factfullness. In 1800, almost everyone about 85 and a 100 people lived in what today we would call extreme poverty on less than the equivalent of $2 a day. But those numbers have improved, dramatically, and more or less steadily. In the 1960s, we passed a milestone, where less than half the people in the world lived in extreme poverty.

Claudia Edelman: 04:07  And today, only about 9% live below that extreme poverty line. So, the progress is amazing. And nevertheless, 9% is still about 700 million people. And those are the people who we’ll be talking about today, because we need to understand deeply what it will take to end extreme poverty now, that it has become the exception rather than the rule of human life.

Edie Lush: 04:36 Exactly. This is a very exciting moment. In fact, the Nobel committee’s awarded not one, but two Nobel Prizes this year for work that leads directly to ending poverty.

Claudia Edelman: 04:46 And we will talk later about those prizes in economics and the Nobel peace prize. But the big message was simple. Ending global poverty requires facts on the ground, on locally tailored actions and we have to take them now.

Edie Lush: 05:00 And to take a close look at these ideas. We found a guide at our beloved partner, UNICEF, a woman like you who really gets it.

New Speaker: 05:11 My name is Tanya Accone and I’m UNICEF’s Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale.

Claudia Edelman: 05:17 There are two things about Tanya that make her a knowledgeable guide, I would say. First, is the way she grew up in South Africa…

Tanya Accone: 05:24 As someone who started off life in quite an impoverished kind of contexts themselves, I can sort of see that connections of everything to kind of Goal 1, because so many decisions that are really difficult for families and young people in communities to make have an underlying economic disadvantage as a major driver.

Claudia Edelman: 05:42 And then, second, there was how one of her early efforts to combat poverty ended up in a heartache and frustration. The big brains of Silicon Valley couldn’t grasp how different life is when you live on $1.90 a day. Well from that failure emerged, a new way of thinking about how to end poverty, as she told us…

Tanya Accone: 06:08 A number of years back, we were looking at innovation as an opportunity to do something different that really accelerates and exponentially improves our results and the capability to deliver more to children in their communities around the world with less ideally. And so we thought a place where that’s just a hotbed of great ideas and disruptive thinking is Silicon Valley and we want to disrupt development in order to do better. So what better place could there be than to sit ourselves down with some of the Valley’s, most cutting edge thinkers and think through these problems? We’re really interested in a couple of different challenges. So one of them is in the area of water and sanitation, and this is really key for UNICEF because in the development sector it’s one area that we are responsible for no matter where, no matter when. And we wanted to get ideas from people around how would you solve this massive challenge? Which is essentially also a massive market opportunity of getting clean water to people no matter where they are. And it could have been anything from water quality monitoring to monitoring with a water points or are working or not. So it could have been a mobile app, it could be geospatial solutions, it could be really practical filtering type things. The door was open.

Edie Lush: 07:28 And so what were the solutions that these folks in Silicon Valley had?

Tanya Accone: 07:33 If there were two characteristics that they had in common, it was one overwhelmingly just could not imagine the kind of context that we’re talking about. Even though, you know, we unpacked, here’s the persona that you’re solving for, this is what they earn. They earn, you know, a $1.90 a day, suggesting that someone is going to go to the local council office or something like that. That doesn’t work because the cost of that action, which seems like nothing in a industrialized country, is, is a massive cost. And I think the other piece that they couldn’t really conceive of was just what does living on a $1.90 actually mean? Cause I mean we all should know how much money that is, but I think it was just unimaginable. So to unpack, say a couple of the solutions that came out, particularly around water purification, we had a group that came up with a solution for a very high quality water filtration system that was intended to go to villages, but it was sort of the size of a container. So to get it anywhere it had to go on kind of a flatbed truck. And when you’re talking about last mile delivery, meaning that last mile, or in most cases, that last many miles, are winding pathways, their foot paths, and some cases, you’re going by donkey are going by, you know, foot, you’re going by bicycle if you’re enough to have one. So you’re certainly cannot be tracking something on the back of a flatbed truck. And there was another idea around how a version of that could be used in emergencies, which is another area that UNICEF is, you know, very involved in and of course has to deliver clean water in those situations. But the solution there was around being able to fly these in on helicopter. So flying in something by a helicopter is an incredible expense and that just doesn’t kind of compute when you’re talking about the costs, the accessibility, etc.

Tanya Accone: 09:28 And then when I looked at examples that people had for ideas for households, so not at the whole village, but let’s see, what could we provide each household to use in terms of getting safe water. And there are already a number of, of approaches that people use. So they use chlorine straining. I mean there were a lot of just very simple techniques that are currently in use. But instead what we got was a whole business plan that was sort of for a filter system as similar, but it was not. But some of that in concept to, a Britta filter, or a pure water filter and the business plan was that, you know, we’d give the jug and three filters away for free and then we were going to make money off selling the filters. And again, that had had no relationship to how much money people have, what they were going to be able to afford, distribution of these things, you know, not understanding, you’re not talking about going to the supermarket to buy a filter. This is not the reality that people are living in. And then of course, worst of all, not really thinking about the whole waste-stream. So after a month you’re finished with this filter. What exactly is happening to it? So I think there was just this fundamental mismatch. So people that had expert knowledge on business modeling, the actual filtration techniques, but completely not matched to the context that we were asking them to solve for.

Edie Lush: 10:52 What did you do next? You went to Africa in places where people were living in the lowest quintile and asked them to help you design. Is that right?

Tanya Accone: 11:02 That’s right. And we’ve kind of built on that where we have very much a human-centered design or design thinking based practice because with, you know, that’s really an important way of being able to level the playing field of ideas and needs, in a context where you’re pulling together many stakeholders. So it’s really important to, especially where you have representatives of those marginal communities that they feel as empowered and as equal to others that you’re going to bring into that same room. And what we found is by looking at and with communities and guiding was facilitating a process around them, exploring what their greatest challenges are, you can come up with much more relevant solutions that are immediately informed by the context. And what we’ve done is added to that the sort of the expertise of Silicon Valley but not in terms of you design the solution, but in terms of help us think through ways to, you know, strengthen this. And those are the things that have actually scaled most effectively to more places serving in some cases 180 million people today, some of them in 60 countries. So really powerful. And I think in innovation, we often say, that technology is just 10% but 90% is about people. And so really having that people focus and focus on designing with, not for, those communities is sort of a fundamental way that we have learned to work.

Claudia Edelman: 12:35 When we come back, we will check out how the signing with a community in Uganda produced a clean water solution that worked.

Edie Lush: 12:42 But first, here’s Ann Cairns from our sponsor at Mastercard to tell us about a program Mastercard supported to keep kids in school.

Ann Cairns: 12:51 The world really wasn’t designed with girls in mind. It’s been designed in a way that don’t really meet the lives of women and women as they’re growing up. And education is one of those things where there has been an imbalance between the number of boys and girls going to school. And what we’ve seen is that if schools are open and parents know that their children can be fed, then they’ll send both their boys and their girls to school. In Mali, there were recent funding challenges that forced 40% of the World Food Programme canteens to close down. And the interesting thing here was that the regular attendance of the schools that were affected fell by 90% so this really gives you a feeling that those parents are sending their kids to school so that they can be fed. And now Mastercard is the top funder of the schools in Mali and we helped the World Food Programme reopen the canteens and actually expand to new locations. The student retention rate for the schools increased to 96% from an average of 63%, so it was really very impactful.

Edie Lush: 14:08 And tell me about this 100 Million Meal Challenge. Why did you choose 100 million?

Ann Cairns: 14:16 Here at MasterCard, we deal in billions of people and… so to us we wanted to target something which seemed a reasonable goal that was going to affect the lives of children all over the world. There are around 80 million people who are hungry every day on this planet. And so by aiming for a hundred million meals, we were effectively feeding the world for a day. The really good news is that we’ve actually exceeded our target earlier this year, which was very exciting. And I think it really motivated everyone around the world. Our employees, for sure, but also many of our customers.

Edie Lush: 15:00 That was Ann Cairns from our sponsor, Mastercard.

Claudia Edelman: 15:02 Mastercard! It’s really great to have their support for another season! They’re so great and they have great stories!

Edie Lush: 15:10 Right? I feel very supported.

Claudia Edelman: 15:12 Yeah, I feel the love!

Pause: 15:17 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 15:17 So before the break we heard Tanya Accone describe how projects designed from Silicon Valley did not work for really poor people because they designed for the community, but not with them. But we found one of our partners that was doing things with the community.

Edie Lush: 15:33 Yes, Yunus Social Business. They invest in local businesses that help to improve living conditions. One of those businesses that they invested in is called Spouts of Water. And Spouts of Water solved the very problem of clean water. They had confounded all of those folks in Silicon Valley. I spoke to Daniel Yin, the CEO.

Pause: 15:52 [background music]

Edie Lush: 15:55 So tell me about SPOUTS and tell me about the technology that it has produced. It looks like a flower pot, but it’s not. It’s a filter. How does it work?

Daniel Yin: 16:06 Embedded within this filter, there are microscopic pores that remove all of the bacteria and protozoa from the water. So if you pour in any type of water, no matter how turbid it is, only clean water goes through and all of the germs and bacteria are removed.

Edie Lush: 16:24 How did the founders of SPOUTS come up with the design? I’m interested in how they worked with the community to do that.

Daniel Yin: 16:32 The whole design process was a collective effort all the way from our founders and our management team to the customers. The co-founders came in 2012 and they had the R and D process for about three years. So in these three years, the co-founders and the management team really reached out to the community and to see what they prefer in their water. What we found out is that a lot of families in the village, once they treat their water by boiling it or through chlorination tablets, they store the water in clay pots, giving it that distinct clay tastes, which a lot of families are accustomed to. So after doing about three years of R and D, we realized that ceramic water filters was the solution we wanted it to provide to the Ugandan population.

Edie Lush: 17:22 They use two types of surplus clay, yellow and black, which they buy from local farmers. Paul Matovu who runs SPOUTS, NGO side of the business knows firsthand the negative impact that dirty drinking water can have.

Paul Matovu: 17:36 More than 46% of Ugandans, actually, boil their water using the firewood or charcoal and they spend a lot of money. But also I was working with schools at that time before they joined. So there were lots waterborne disease cases in schools, because the schools don’t have the money to prepare drinking water for the kids. So when kids fall sick, they cannot attend school due to illness. So there are very, very many factors, but mostly to me it was mostly about the environmental, bit of it, reduction in carbon emissions, but also the social aspect of people not having to fall sick, people not having to spend on preventable waterborne diseases.

Edie Lush: 18:17 I asked Daniel how much these filters cost.

Daniel Yin: 18:21 Our filter costs around $24 and because we’re the only local manufacturer here in Uganda, we’re able to provide the filter at less than one third of the other imported water filters sold here. To make this even more affordable to the population here in Uganda, we offer a financing plan as well. So and that requires, you know, just a $7 down payment with the weekly payment of one and a half dollars. With this financing plan we’re able to reach even the base of the pyramid customers.

Paul Matovu: 18:54 You know, most people know buy firewood and charcoal to boil their water. And so our impact reports actually show that households save a lot of money by using our, our product.

Edie Lush: 19:07 The weekly cost of the Spout System is no more than and is often less than the cost of fuel to boil the water, which is what people were doing before.

Pause: 19:19 [background music]

Paul Matovu: 19:19 We installed water filters on islands and other rural communities. Last year alone, we stored over 30,000 filters in more than 4,000 households. One of our pilot programs was on the island called Bavooma Island. It’s on Lake Victoria, where people were suffering from biohazia and there were also many cases of diarrhea and typhoid. So we partnered with RTI, which is an international organization that has an office here in Uganda, and we found that after our intervention, the kids attendance in class increased by over 36%. This was attributed to the fact that, uh, about 98% of the students who are now taking water from our filter. And so, uh, beyond just the statistics there is this particular lady, I remember the name, she’s called Joy, she’s over 80 years old and she has more than five grandchildren. And prior to our intervention she had reported very many cases of diarrhea and typhoid. But then after one year of using our product, she reported that uh, high expenditure on waterborne diseases had reduced drastically and also she didn’t have to spend money to treat her kids, her grandchildren for typhoid, diarrhea, and other waterborne related diseases.

Edie Lush: 20:44 How much money did they save?

Paul Matovu: 20:46 So on average households spend between $1.60 US dollars actually to $3 dollars per week just spent on boiling.

Edie Lush: 20:55 How do you think this filter helps to overcome extreme poverty?

Paul Matovu: 21:01 Wow. Um, when I think about poverty and how it affects our communities. It’s not just about people not having the money, but it’s also about people having to unnecessarily spend the little money they have on treating preventative waterborne diseases. So our product has helped people. One to not spend money on boiling, but also not to spend money on treating what have one diseases like diarrhea and typhoid. We have some cases where people spend more than $50 just treating typhoid. These are very, very underserved and impoverished communities. So I’m convinced that people are saving a lot of money in different ways. The other bit is that time is money. So when people saving more of their time, they can use the time to make more money. We found that it’s mostly women and the girl children who do the preparation of drinking water and so on. The side of the ladies where they use this time for is to go and participate in more economic activities. I would say like farming or crafting stuff that they can sell in the market. On the side of the kids, they use the time to read their books.

Claudia Edelman: 22:17 Once again, this captures how making progress in one area can lead to making progress in another. So progress on clean water leads to progress on keeping kids in school. Plus, less water boiled means less carbon used and you get the idea.

Edie Lush: 22:34 It’s like a virtuous circle. Like the SDGs. In fact, I asked Tanya at UNICEF whether innovation done within the right context is enough on its own to eradicate extreme poverty.

Tanya Accone: 22:47 No, it is not. Um, I think another couple of lessons that we have learned, um, but I think we’ve always have known that from the start is um, and it’s uh, it’s often said to be an African proverb, but as an African I tell you, I’m not sure that it is an African proverb, but you know, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We’ve learned we need to go together. And that means being very rooted and making sure that you have experts in the context that you are designing with and for there together with strong partnerships from the best minds, you know in Silicon Valley, I’m using that as a, as a proxy for the private sector, for other kinds of public sector innovation and those parts of the ecosystem are incredibly, incredibly important. So you really need to be involving the entire ecosystem because you know the kinds of of challenges that we all are looking at triumphing over together in terms of the SDGs and you know, poverty reduction just being one but an incredibly important one. We can’t do that in a piecemeal way. So connecting, catalyzing and really collaborating is essential. We welcome people to reach out to us and explore how could we work together on something that would actually help to change the trajectory in a positive way of reaching the SDGs.

Claudia Edelman: 24:10 That’s our mantra, Edie, at the Global GoalsCast! It is all connected! We can only make it together! We only win when we all win!

Edie Lush: 24:21 Winner, winner chicken dinner. Speaking of which, there was big news this week about the Nobel Prizes.

Claudia Edelman: 24:28 I like the chicken connection to the Nobel Prizes, but I agree. Yes. There was this announcement from the chair of the Norwegian level committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

Berit Andersen: 24:39 As prime minister, Abyi Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice. The Norwegian Nobel committee hopes that the Nobel Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abyi in his important work for peace and reconciliation. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side effects.

Claudia Edelman: 25:09 This fits right into our conversation about Goal 1 and eradicating poverty. I remember our episode about conflict and hunger. Conflict is one of the prime sources of poverty and hunger, so eliminating conflict in the horn of Africa opens a road not only to peace but also to eradicating poverty.

Edie Lush: 25:29 And that region from the horn of Africa West across the Sahel along the Southern Sahara desert remains one of the poorest and most stripe torn regions in the world.

Claudia Edelman: 25:39 The Ethiopian economy is already one of the fastest growing economies in the world and that is reducing poverty. But 20% of the population, which is more than 20 million people, by the way, still live below the poverty line. Many still don’t have clean water and of course conflict and violence have been around them all the time. So to leave the Ethiopians and the rest of the region out of poverty, we need both: an end to conflict and the innovation of homegrown solutions that Tanya Accone describe to us.

Edie Lush: 26:10 In just a few days after the prize to prime minister Abyi, a second Nobel Prize was announced that goes right to the question of finding approaches that work.

P. Fredrickson: 26:20 So this year’s prize in economic sciences is about alleviating global poverty or how to reduce global poverty is a fundamental but also daunting question. Effective policy alleviation requires that we can answer these questions and the most credible way of answering them is to try particular interventions in field experiments. This experimental approach has completely reshaped research in development economics. The results have a clear impact on policy and keeps improving our ability to fight global poverty.

Edie Lush: 26:58 That was Peter Fredrickson, chair of the Economics Award Committee, one of the three winners. Helene Dufour is a professor at MIT and she described her work,

Helene Dufour: 27:09 Our goal is to make sure that the fight against poverty is based on scientific evidence. It starts from the idea that often the poor are reduced to caricature and often people who tried to help them do not actually understand what are the deep root the problems that are addressing the poor. Poor people are supposed to be either completely desperate or lazy, or entrepreneurial, but we don’t try to understand the deep root and interconnected root of poverty. So what we tried to do in our approaches to say, look, let’s try and unpack the problem one by one and address them as vigorously and scientifically as possible. And that’s how we developed and use the experimental approach to better understand what are the reasons for particular problems. For example, the learning crisis that Professor Fredrickson was talking about and what can be done about it, what works, what doesn’t work and why.

Edie Lush: 28:11 Professor Dufour pointed out that while international assistance can be helpful, particularly during natural disasters or pandemic disease outbreaks, most of the resources for ending poverty will come from individual countries themselves.

Claudia Edelman: 28:25 Which of course is why they must use those resources wisely and effectively.

Edie Lush: 28:29 Which is another way of saying what Tanya Accone was saying. That context is king and what Helene Dufour and her two economics colleagues are saying when they insist that the fight to end poverty be based on solid field research and not just good intentions.

Claudia Edelman: 28:44 What I like is there seems to be a real urgency, like momentum, traction in the announcements to awarding these prices now to send a message, not just to give an honor.

Edie Lush: 28:55 And the three economists are decades younger than the typical Nobel winners and prime minister Abyi has only been in office a year.

Claudia Edelman: 29:04 Yes, but it’s been quite a year! In his first year in office, Prime Minister Abyi ended the border conflict with Eritrea and worked to resolve all the regional conflicts which believe me are so deep and complicated. And he also took strong steps to open Ethiopia to economic and political change. He freed journalists from prison, welcomed dissidents back, and he has promised free elections next year. And Edie, we shouldn’t actually believe the honeymoon, but I am very optimistic about what’s happening these first year for Ethiopia.

Edie Lush: 29:36 Let’s not forget that he’s brought many more women into government as well.

Claudia Edelman: 29:40 Yes. As well as representatives of every religion, language and ethnic group, of which Ethiopia has many and that is a kind of inclusion that can sport innovations! And Ethiopia is so wonderful, so big on powerful, Edie!

Edie Lush: 29:57 I really want to go there and I think that we should go interview prime minister Abyi. What do you think he should invite us to come?

Claudia Edelman: 30:04 Prime Minister Abyi, if you’re listening to this episode, consider these an open, uh, space for you to send us an invitation for the Global GoalsCast with him in Ethiopia.

Edie Lush: 30:16 The Nobel committee made it clear they had chosen Prime Minister Abyi to inspire support for his goals as much as to honor what he’s achieved so far. And Professor Dufour accepted the award on behalf of what she called the movement for researched-based development policy.

Claudia Edelman: 30:33 There’s some sort of debate among some economists, Edie. Some point out that most of that extraordinary progress in ending poverty is simply the result of growth. As countries get richer, individuals become well at least less poor. So they argue that free markets, migration and trade will do the most to end poverty, not any other SDG policy.

Edie Lush: 30:57 It’s not either or, right? Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Of course that helps, but without peace there would never be prosperity for everyone. How’s this going to turn out? Will these prices look prescient or premature? Can poverty really be eradicated in 10 years?

Claudia Edelman: 31:16 Well, we believe so. We absolutely… Were like on the optimistic team here. We’re on the possibilistic team here. If we would actually follow the SDGs and we accomplished the 17 goals and the 169 indicators, by the majority of the world, we will eradicate extreme poverty from the world completely! But what we cannot promise is that people will do it, that countries will follow it. What we can promise is to follow the fight to end poverty right through 2030 in future episodes of the Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 31:54 Now for the section of this show where we give you the three facts that you can show off with your mother-in-law and the three actions to guide your to do list for today…

Edie Lush: 32:03 I actually do want to know is your mother-in-law impressed when you show off with the three facts?

Claudia Edelman: 32:12 [laughter] I do showoff with some facts. I tell you there’s no sexier thing than to have some data points to back up any evidence in there in the argument.

Edie Lush: 32:20 So you heard it here. Data is sexy! [laughter] Okay, so joining us for that welcome. Saskia Bruysten, co-founder and CEO, Yunus Social Business.

Saskia Bruysten: 32:33 The first fact is that there is some great progress happening. Extreme poverty has halved in the last two decades. That is fantastic news, but we need to keep in mind that moving out of this bracket still means to only live on $1.90 a day. If the world managed to cut this number by half, we should be able to reduce the amount of poverty to zero by 2030. My second fact is that last year, 26 individuals earned the same amount of money as 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. Despite the fact that extreme poverty has been going down, inequality has still been rising. Billionaires now have more wealth than ever before. While only 5% of all new income generated from the global growth trickles down to the poorest 60%. My third fact is that poverty can be addressed by business. This may not seem logical at first, but we actually really need business if we want to make big changes. You’ve heard earlier in the episode about Spouts of Water, which addresses one problem of poverty, the lack of access of clean drinking water through a social business approach. But there are many other social business companies around the world that address important issues like clean energy, health, education, or even just creating income or jobs for poor or the marginalized. I wanted to leave you with three concrete actions that you can take yourself. So number one, to find out more about practical social business solutions, to end extreme poverty, please read my co-founder, Mohammad Yunus’ book: “A World of Three Zeros”. Number two, make sure your own savings, however small they may be, are invested in socially and environmentally responsible fund. Ask your banker or consider investing yourself in a social business that actively makes a change in the world. Go to organizations like Kiva… or go to Yunus Social Business funds. Number three, start your own social business or get your organization involved. Pick a problem that you want to tackle yourself and that you’re passionate about and start a company that addresses it. Or if you work for a large corporation, reach out to your CEO or your department, or your innovation team and ask them to consider setting up a social business.

Claudia Edelman: 35:17 This was incredible. Thank you to our guests and thank you all for listening. Please, like and subscribe via iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Edie Lush: 35:28 And give us five stars. We love the stars!

Claudia Edelman: 35:30 And follow us on social media @Global GoalsCast and see you next time.

Edie Lush: 35:34 Adios. Have fun in San Francisco.

Claudia Edelman: 35:37 Bye!

Presenter: 35:42 Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider. And welcome to our new intern, Tina Pastore. Music in this episode was by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crone, Ashish Paliwal, and Andrew Phillips. This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by Mastercard, creating scalable solutions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Thanks, also, to CBS News Digital and to Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Greta, CEOs join Global GoalsCast to Save the Planet


Is the zeitgeist shifting toward action to curb global warming and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Veteran Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett joins Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman to consider that question in the aftermath of the United Nation’s climate summit and General Assembly. While the actions of governments were disappointing, they see a new attitude among many businesses, who were far more engaged in UN activity this year. “The balance of risks in the eyes of many business executives have shifted,” says Tett. Many executives now think it is “riskier to stand on the sidelines and do nothing than to actually be involved in some of these social and climate change movements,” Tett reports. The challenge now is not whether to act but how. Edie completes her visit with Professor John Sterman at MIT, whose En-Roads computer model of the climate lets Edie identify policy actions that will hold contain heating of the atmosphere. “The conclusion here is it is, technically, still possible to limit expected warming to 1.5” degrees Celsius, Sterman concludes.

Facts and Actions come this week from Bradley Tusk, venture capitalist, political strategist, writer and host of the podcast, Firewall, which looks at the intersection of tech, politics and culture.

This episode is sponsored by BSR, a non-profit working with member companies to support corporate social responsibility. Check out their upcoming event here: https://bsr19.org/Podcast

Featured guests

John Sterman

John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society, and director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. Prof. Sterman has published approximately 200 works spanning corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, and climate change. Author of award-winning books and papers, he pioneered the development of interactive “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems, which are now used by governments, corporations, and universities around the world. These include the En-ROADS and CROADS energy and climate policy simulations, developed in partnership with the non-profit, Climate Interactive, which have been used by policymakers, negotiators, business and civil society leaders, educators and the public around the world. 

Max Boykoff

Maxwell T. Boykoff is an Associate Professor in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He teaches in the Environmental Studies program and is Adjunct Faculty in the Geography department. In addition, he is a Senior Visiting Research Associate in the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Max has ongoing interests in climate adaptation, cultural politics and environmental governance, science-policy interactions, and political economy and the environment. His research has been mentioned in a range of outlets such as Science, Nature, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Grist, Utne Reader, La Razon (Spain) and National Public Radio (US). Check out his new book Creative (Climate) Communications: Productive Pathways for Science, Policy and Society and follow him on tweeter @boykoff

Bradley Tusk

Bradley Tusk is a venture capitalist who protects startups from political risk. He is the CEO and founder of Tusk Ventures, the first venture capital fund dedicated to working with and investing in startups in regulated industries. His fund, Tusk Ventures, has now worked with and invested in dozens of startups like Bird, FanDuel, Lemonade, Circle and Ripple. Bradley previously served as Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign manager in New York City, Deputy Governor of Illinois, and Senator Chuck Schumer’s communications director.

Laura Gitman

Laura is a global expert on corporate sustainability, with two decades of experience in strategy consulting and has advised senior executives at global companies across a range of industry sectors and sustainability issues. Laura has also been a leader in BSR’s organizational growth and impact. She launched BSR’s financial services practice and New York office, and she is currently the Chief Operating Officer, leveraging her strengths in strategy, organizational change, and people management. Laura works with leading global companies to develop and enhance their sustainability strategies to maximize value for business and society. She is sought after to facilitate senior-level strategy workshops and multistakeholder collaborations. She has published reports on environmental, social, and governance trends among investors as well as sustainability integration and leadership. From 2006 to 2010, she facilitated the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, growing the initiative from 15 to more than 50 companies.

Gillian Tett

Gillian Tett is the US editor-at-large and chair of the editorial board, based in New York. In this new role, Tett works to shape FT’s global editorial strategy and opinions, organizes Editorial board briefings and writes two weekly columns covering a range of economic, financial, political and social issues throughout the globe. Tett plays a key role in developing FT’s US growth plan and initiatives.

From 2014-2019, Tett served as the US managing editor, leading the FT’s editorial operations in the region across all platforms. She previously served as assistant editor responsible for the FT’s markets coverage and US managing editor from 2010-2012.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Greta Thunberg: 00:06 How dare you? You have stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words.

António Guterres: 00:15 So more and more people are feeling that climate change is impacting on them today. And this is changing public opinions. Governments have less of less influence in countries as a whole.

Gillian Tett: 00:26 To the balance of risks in the eyes of many business executives have shifted from it’s riskier to stand on the sidelines and do nothing than do actually be involved in some of these social and climate change events.

Prof. Sterman: 00:38 So the conclusion here is it is technically still possible to limit expected warming to one and a half. It’s time to fight. This is not going to be easy, but it’s gotta be worth it.

Edie Lush: 01:06 Welcome to the global goals Cast, the podcast that explores how to change the world. Ah! What a week you could feel the tensions, protesters in the streets. Greta Thunberg lecturing the world from the general assembly podium and the secretary general rallying the people to pressure his own bosses, the governments of the world.

Claudia Edelman: 01:27 We are here to walk you through what just happened during climate week called UNGA or the global goals week. And to present to you part two of Edie’s effort to save the world from a catastrophic warming on the climate interactive computer model at MIT.

Edie Lush: 01:43 That’s right. It was incredible to watch the real world argue how to curb climate change and compare that to the lessons I learned from the climate simulation.

Claudia Edelman: 01:53 We will have all of that and a special guest from the Financial Times, but first, this.

Presenter: 02:03 This episode of global goals cast is brought to you by BSR, building a just sustainable world. Join BSR, November 12th through 14th in San Jose California to hear innovative companies are navigating a new climate for business and paving the way for people and planet to thrive in an era of unprecedented change. BSR nineteen.org/podcast. Thanks to CBS news digital and to Harman, the official sound of the Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 02:39 We’ll come back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush: 02:42 And I’m Edie Lush. To help us sum up climate week, we have brought in reinforcements.

Claudia Edelman: 02:48 We’re so glad to have our friend and colleague from the financial times, US editor at large and just launched Moral Money. Gillian Tett. Welcome to the program.

Gillian Tett: 02:58 Great to be here.

Claudia Edelman: 03:00 This is my 16th General Assembly Week and it is the first time that it felt mainstream that more people cared than the usual suspects.

Gillian Tett: 03:08 Well, I will get a medal for surviving 1615 general assembly weeks. But what was striking about this year was that in the past UN General Assembly Week has happened somewhat in a bubble of governments and nonprofits. And that was kind of really it. This year Business and finance and all of the associated groups around them, including the financial times were all over on Goal Week for the simple reason that the UN recognizes it needs to reach out to the business and financial community. And at the same time, executives right around the world are suddenly setting up and taking notice of what the UN is doing.

Edie Lush: 03:49 So Gillian, one of the articles you wrote last week was about how climate change could cause a new mortgage default crisis That’s clearly something pretty cataclysmic for the financial markets. Tell me about that.

Gillian Tett: 04:04 Well, the key thing to realize is that as the discussion about climate change gather steam, increasingly you’re seeing a lot of mainstream consultants and financial analysts and investors doing some pretty urgent modeling to work out how climate change could impact their portfolios going forward for both good and bad. And one of the areas where they’re increasingly doing modeling is looking at the impact of climate change on residential properties, which are vulnerable to say flooding on the East coast of America and asking questions like if there was a lot of flooding, what would that mean for the value of those properties? What would it mean for mortgages? What would it mean for the insurance companies and the banks associated with that? And you suddenly start to see a series of chain reactions that could be potentially quite serious.

Claudia Edelman: 04:56 And you mentioned about the computer modeling brings us exactly to the center of what this episode is going to be all about. By the way, Edie and you have done simulators, I have a FOMO of not having been in one. So I want to hear all about Edie. So Gillian, stay with us so that we can talk a little bit later about the rise and success of moral money,

Edie Lush: 05:17 But right now we’re going to give Claudia a little more FOMO as we pick up my conversation with John Sterman. You’ll recall he’s professor of management at MIT. Last episode I worked with him on his climate interactive model to see if I could design a set of actions that would prevent catastrophic warming. Let’s just say we left the world hanging at the end of the last episode.

Claudia Edelman: 05:41 Kind of like Climate Week.

Edie Lush: 05:42 Which of course is exactly the point. The model and the real world are scarily in sync. Professor Sterman told me how he’s broken down locks in the simulation that just maybe offer ways to break deadlocks in the real world. He told me about one session from a few years ago with a delegation from China.

Prof. Sterman: 06:03 Their view at that time officially in China is, listen, you developed countries, you created this problem. You have to cut your emissions. We, developing nations, you cannot tell us that we can’t do what you did. That’s amoral and we’re not going to have it. So we get to keep burning fossil fuel until we become as affluent as you are. So their proposals were large cuts from the United States, large cuts from Europe and all the other developed countries and very little from China, India, and the other developing countries. And I showed them that under that scenario Shanghai would be almost certainly inundated. Shenzhen would be inundated and they would lose their biggest and most important cities and centers of economic activity. And at that point I said, so what does this mean? And there was a long, long silence and I asked again, and another long silence. And then, somebody spoke and what I heard translated in my hear piece was: it means we have to leave the past in the past. And what he meant was: yes, it’s true, the Western developed nations have contributed the most to this problem. But if we want to save our country, we have to cut also. And what’s important about this is if I had stood up and said that and said, you must cut, because look, even if I cut emissions from the developed nations a lot, you still lose your big cities. They would have folded their arms and shaken their heads and because you can’t tell people these things. Instead what happened was they were completely free to choose any path of emissions they wanted to. So I was just showing them what happened with their own proposes. So they saw the consequences of their decisions. And I think that’s the only way these kinds of insights are going to arise and really have an impact.

Edie Lush: 08:27 All that happened just before China and the United States negotiated a bilateral agreement in 2014 to reduce carbon emissions. Ideal to set the stage for the Paris Climate Treaty. But now the biggest disagreements are between countries but inside one country. [Music] And have you had similar teaching moments on Capitol Hill in the US?

Prof. Sterman: 08:53 Yes. So I’m not gonna mention any names, but since the beginning of this year, I’ve presented this model myself and my team-mates to about 38 members of the Senate, to staff in the House and the Senate, from both parties, and senators from both parties as well. And I just got to tell you, nobody wants to hear yet another expert come and show them a thousand PowerPoint slides about what’s going to happen if they don’t take action. It’s just doesn’t work. But when you do this interactively, people get very excited and it’s… these are all very, very busy folks. But the meetings typically run lot because they are eager to see what happens if I do this, what happens if I do that? How can we get there? What does it mean in the real world?

Edie Lush: 09:49 So that’s why this simulation is so valuable. You can experience the real world impacts inside a computer and then return to reality with a much better grasp of what’s needed. When we took a break, we’d brought the temperature down from just above 4°C warming to 3°C warming. So we’re not doing too badly, but we’ve already lost New Orleans, lost Shanghai. So, that’s not looking so good. Does everyone who does this find it as difficult as I am?

Prof. Sterman: 10:26 In a word? Yeah. Most people are surprised that it’s as difficult as it is to get down towards 2, and people come at this with different positions on the political spectrum. Some people like pricing carbon, some people like a more regulatory approach, but it doesn’t matter. There’s no one lever that you can pull that gets you all the way there. We will see… if you can get us where we need to go Edie.

Edie Lush: 10:58 Oh my goodness. Okay.

Prof. Sterman: 11:00 But yeah, it’s hard.

Edie Lush: 11:03 14% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation. So let’s look at energy efficiency in transport. So this is cars, trucks, that kind of thing?

Prof. Sterman: 11:17 Well, it’s all modes. So it’s cars and trucks. It’s trains, it’s also shipping and aviation. And all of those have and can have more improvements in energy efficiency. So let’s pull that lever. I’m going to pull it just about as much as I pulled the lever for energy efficiency in buildings. So we were at 3. You pull it out here we’re at 2.9. So it helps, but there’s a couple of reasons it doesn’t help more. Unlike buildings, it’s generally not possible to retrofit cars and trucks, aircraft and so forth. So you know, you bought an SUV, you’ve been driving it around for a few years in the United States, that car is going to last for 16 to 20 years. You might not own it that long, but somebody is going to be driving it, and that old car continues to be driven around using the same inefficient engine as before. So that helped!

Edie Lush: 12:18 A 10th of a degree of Celsius. So what about the electrification lever? What happens if we..

Prof. Sterman: 12:25 Transport?

Edie Lush: 12:25 Transport? Yeah!

Prof. Sterman: 12:26 Great. So this would be a move towards electric vehicles. So let’s pull that lever and we can highly incentivize it. Not all the way. And that got us another 10th of a degree.

Edie Lush: 12:40 So we’re now at now plus 2.8°C increase. Goodness. I thought getting electric cars was going to do more than that. That is surprising to me.

Prof. Sterman: 12:52 So why do you think it doesn’t have more impact? I’ll give you a hint. Look back here on the mix of energy sources.

Edie Lush: 13:01 It looks like we’ve still got coal and oil still… at least a pretty big mix there.

Prof. Sterman: 13:07 Electrifying transport definitely reduces the amount of oil, especially in the second half of the century when all those existing cars and so forth are replaced and as electric cars have become cheaper and more capable and more widely available. So, it definitely reduces the size of the wedge of the oil. What about the coal? By the end of the century, we’ve got a lot of clean green, renewable energy, but between now and 2050, there’s still a lot of coal still being used. One of the challenges here is can you green up the electric grid faster? So how could you do that?

Edie Lush: 13:51 Can we tax coal? Can we move to nuclear?

Prof. Sterman: 13:55 Sure.

Edie Lush: 13:55 I feel like I’m getting slightly desperate here! I feel like we have to save the world in 20 minutes! I’m not sure if we’re going to get there!

Prof. Sterman: 14:02 No need for desperation! Let’s tax call. You tried that before. One thing you can do is simply stop building any new coal infrastructure, no new mines, no new electric plants powered by coal, etc. In what year do you think we could implement a policy that would essentially stop the construction of any new coal powerplants?

Edie Lush: 14:27 Around the world? Goodness. 2025, 2030.

Prof. Sterman: 14:33 Well, let’s try 2025. You can change it at anytime you want, and let’s see what that does. You can see the coal is going down much faster now.

Edie Lush: 14:42 The coal wedge definitely goes down. We’re still holding it 2.7 plus, + 2.7.

Prof. Sterman: 14:50 2.7 now. So everything helps.

Edie Lush: 14:51 Ok!

Edie Lush: 14:51 You could also accelerate the retirement of existing coal plants. That helps a little bit. But the economics of new coal plants and existing ones are unfavorable generally speaking. But I think this makes a very important point. Even if coal production were to peak next year, 2020, which is what’s happening now, it takes a while before all that coal disappears and is driven out of the energy system by renewables and energy efficiency. And in the meantime, all that CO2 is still accumulating in the atmosphere. Now you mentioned nuclear. So just as we’ve subsidized renewables, we can also subsidize nuclear, and well, let’s just do it and see what happens. So first of all, we’re at 2.7. So now subsidize nuclear about the same as the renewables. So what happened?

Edie Lush: 15:50 Nothing happened.

Prof. Sterman: 15:51 Almost nothing. Right? Temperature didn’t go down.

Edie Lush: 15:54 Nope, we’re still at +2.7.

Prof. Sterman: 15:56 Let’s figure out why. So let me subsidize nuclear a whole heck of a lot more. So now we’re getting a lot of nuclear.

Edie Lush: 16:04 Right.

Prof. Sterman: 16:05 But it only notched us down less than a 10th of a degree. So we’re at 2.6 something. But why? You know. So take a look at this graph of primary energy production and let me back up all the way to where there’s no nuclear and there’s a huge wedge of green energy now. Right? So now let’s heavily subsidize the nuclear.

Edie Lush: 16:32 I see. So by subsidizing nuclear, you’re actually cutting into the renewables, but not doing very much to impact oil and gas.

Prof. Sterman: 16:43 You’ve made a great observation here. A lot of people think, well before I pulled the nuclear lever, I’ve got this giant wedge of green energy, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal. With the storage you need to make it useful. Even when the sun’s down and the wind is not blowing and now we’ll add nuclear and if we can get a certain amount of nuclear, it’ll add to the green and we’ll be better off. But in fact what happens is you do get more nuclear, you have to subsidize it very heavily, but it squeezes out the green and you’re not really getting any significant net increase in carbon free energy.

Edie Lush: 17:24 Ok!

Prof. Sterman: 17:24 And it’s very clear that this, this would happen, right? If nuclear energy becomes cheap enough that the market wants it, then it’s going to be cheaper for a utility to do that than to invest in wind farms and utility scale solar so they won’t.

Edie Lush: 17:47 Okay, so let’s look at protecting the lungs of the earth. As Macron said the other day. So we want to reduce deforestation and let’s also plant some trees. Let’s increase the number of trees in the forests. What happens there? We’re at 2.7°C increase now.

Prof. Sterman: 18:11 So I’m going to put in a moderate reduction in deforestation and that was worth a 10th of a degree C and if we go a little farther, you can see emissions come down a little more and a very large reduction. Yeah, it helped a bit.

Edie Lush: 18:28 Okay. So we’re at plus 2.6. Yup.

Prof. Sterman: 18:31 So that helped. Now let’s plant some new trees on previously deforested land. And so that’s afforestation and that’s… I’ve got medium growth here. That’s we’re down down to 2.5 and we could do more. So that helps. Absolutely helps. So this graph on the bottom shows how much carbon dioxide is being removed every year by those trees, the new trees, as they grow. And well what do you notice about that?

Edie Lush: 19:05 So it takes a while for the CO2 to be taken out of the air. So really till you’re planting them now, it’s just before 2040 that you start to see any increase in removal of carbon dioxide from the air.

Prof. Sterman: 19:19 Right.

Edie Lush: 19:20 So I guess it takes a while for trees to grow.

Prof. Sterman: 19:23 Absolutely right. So you know, when you start a massive afforestation program, then you plant a million seedlings in a day, which I believe Tanzania just did. That’s fantastic. But those seedlings have almost no carbon in them next year. Maybe they’ve doubled in size, they still have almost no carbon in them. They don’t really start to remove carbon until they become rather large. And it takes, depending on the species and the climate, a hundred years before they’re really starting to store a lot of carbon. Afforestation is a great thing to do, but it doesn’t help in the near term.

Edie Lush: 20:09 Okay. Here’s another great thing to do. Let’s take a brief break to hear from someone. We’re very positive about. Laura Gitman, the chief operating officer of BSR, a global nonprofit that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world. I asked Laura if purpose alongside profit was an idea that is going mainstream.

Laura Gitman: 20:36 I think it’s a redefinition of profit and a redefinition of purpose. I think it is redefining what it means to have a profit. Where, how are those profits distributed? You paying taxes? Or is the community that is contributing to your profit? Are they benefiting from those profits? And so I think it’s, it’s a more fundamental restructuring of the role of business itself, as well as a fundamental recognition that business is a critical player in helping society achieve its overall purpose. So a perfect example of this is the climate strike, which started more as a school strike with Greta Thunberg. But now we’re seeing employees from Amazon, and Microsoft, and Google walking out in support. So it really is employees standing up for what they believe in and what they expect their companies to be able to support and to demonstrate to the world their commitment.

Edie Lush: 21:34 And Laura, you’ve got an event coming up in my home state of California. Tell me about it.

Laura Gitman: 21:39 We do. So BSR has our annual conference. This year it will be hosted in San Jose on November 12th through 14th.

Edie Lush: 21:48 To learn more about BSR and to attend their conference, go to BSRnineteen.org/podcast.

Claudia Edelman: 21:59 Welcome back. When we left Edie, She limited temperature increase to 2.5°C above the pre-industrial level.

Edie Lush: 22:09 So the clock is ticking. We’re at 2.5 degrees increase now. What about agriculture? Because I know that we get a lot of methane emissions from cows from the front end. I know that there’s a big push to reduce meat consumption. What does that do when we pull that lever?

Prof. Sterman: 22:31 You’re absolutely right. A lot of the methane is coming from the technical term being enteric methanogenesis, but more popularly known as cow burps. Also, the nitrous oxide is coming from agriculture much of it. So let’s pull that lever and let’s have a moderate reduction in the methane.

Edie Lush: 22:51 Wow. That made a big change. So we’re now at +2.1°C or +3.8°F. That was a big one. Why is that?

Prof. Sterman: 23:02 So first of all, cutting the emissions from agriculture is feasible with technology we have today. You mentioned several things that would need to be done, reducing food waste. The IPCC in the UN and others, FAO estimate about 30% of all the food produced in the world is wasted. Even small reductions in that reduce the need for land, for agriculture, for uh, fertilizer, for all the fossil fuel that goes into cultivation and harvesting and processing. So that makes a big difference. Secondly, shifting to a less meat intensive diet for those who find that to be attractive, that can help a lot. You don’t have to become a vegan, but even cutting back your beef and meat consumption a little bit, not only make you healthier and ease your food budget, but it reduces methane and nitrous oxide emissions that come from livestock. So this is something that can be done and it makes a big difference. You’re almost there!

Edie Lush: 24:04 We’re almost there! We’re at 2.1. We haven’t pulled the lever yet on electrifying buildings in industry. What does that do when you pull that lever and what is that all about?

Prof. Sterman: 24:16 So it’s analogous to electrifying transport. It’s what I did in my own house here where we completely ripped out the fossil heating system, put in those air source heat pumps that are powered by electricity, which in my case is coming from our solar. But in general, that means you’d be running your heating and cooling your buildings, entirely with electricity. So as we’ve green the grid here, we get climate benefits. So lets do that and I’ve got about the same degree of electrification for buildings as we have chosen for transportation. And where are we now?

Edie Lush: 24:55 So we’re now at 2° increase Celsius, which is what the Paris Accords have put as the upper limit, which is good. I have to say though, we’re still not at 1.5 to stay alive. So I still feel like there’s something else we got to do.

Prof. Sterman: 25:11 Right. There’s a couple of options. We could try a higher carbon price. So let’s just do that.

Edie Lush: 25:16 It was at $50. We’re now putting it at $100 a ton.

Prof. Sterman: 25:20 So that’s about 90 cents a gallon, in the United States, which would leave the price of gasoline still well below European levels today. And it’s phased in gradually over a period of a decade. So people would have time to plan and adjust. And that got us to 1.9. There’s other ways to do it. So one of the things we haven’t tried is what if there’s a radical new technological breakthrough?

Edie Lush: 25:48 Like, what?

Prof. Sterman: 25:48 We have this lever here we call new tech, new technology. So what would it be in the real world? Well, it might be fusion, it could be an advanced next generation nuclear fussion technology. And maybe it’s something we haven’t thought of yet. Artificial leaf for, I don’t know, iron man’s arch reactor. So, because so many people believe that if we just had more R&D, we could come up with a breakthrough like this and make fusion feasible or make one of these other technologies feasible and then that would solve the problem. So what we’ve assumed here is when I pull this new tech slider, we’re getting a 100% carbon free energy source that’s going to be cheaper than coal. So let’s try it. So I’ve got a pretty big breakthrough here right now.

Edie Lush: 26:43 Huge breakthrough.

Prof. Sterman: 26:43 It’s this orange band.

Edie Lush: 26:43 A new tech band has appeared on your global sources of primary energy and absolutely nothing has had happened to the temperature of the earth. It’s still at 2°C!

Prof. Sterman: 26:57 So why is that?

Edie Lush: 26:59 Because it’s taken away from bio energy and renewables it looks like, or bio energy and nuclear. Yeah.

Prof. Sterman: 27:08 So this is quite interesting what you’ve just discovered. So I could make it an even bigger breakthrough. And now there’s a gigantic amount of this new tech, but it only is worth a 10th of a degree because you’ve squeezed out even more. So here’s the dilemma. New tech will grow sooner and faster if it’s really, really cheap. But the cheaper it is, the less nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, and the less efficiency people are going to invest in. New tech is so cheap. Why would anybody want to spend the money to insulate their home or put good windows into their home? Because their electric bill is going to be way, way lower. So you’re getting a… compensating effect, or a rebound effect.

Edie Lush: 27:59 Okay. And what about changing the assumptions about consumption? We know from our final episode of season 2 that we have this unsustainable ratio of 32 to one so Americans are consuming 32 times what an average Kenyan does. Can we fool around with that?

Prof. Sterman: 28:17 We can! So I’m showing you a graph of GDP per capita in each of the big regions and countries of the world, the U S European union, China, India, other developed and other developing economies. And if we reduce the focus on consumption, we do in fact slowed down the rate at which affluence continues to grow. Nobody’s getting poorer here, they’re just getting more affluent at a somewhat slower rate.

Edie Lush: 28:50 All right, so I’ve got us below 1.9°C, but it’s not enough for the, the low lying island nations.

Prof. Sterman: 29:00 So your carbon price is still pretty low at $50. Pretty low relative to what might be needed to get big changes in energy use and more renewables out there. So let’s increase it and we’re at 1.9, 1.8, I’ll make round this off here. I’ll make it $170 a ton. A lot of economists believe that’s in the ballpark of what might be needed. And we phase it in gradually, and you can give the money back to the people. And then, you know, one of the unfortunate realities of the fact that we’ve waited so long to do all this is that it’s very, very hard to get much below 2 unless you have what’s called negative emissions. And so we do have over here the different negative emissions technologies, like bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, like bio char, direct air capture and agricultural soil sequestrations, etc.

Edie Lush: 30:07 So this is under the broader, broader theme of technological carbon removal. What happens when we pull that lever?

Prof. Sterman: 30:15 It actually does quite a lot. And if I, if I pull it most of the way towards what various experts believe is the maximum that could be done.

Edie Lush: 30:29 We’ve now hit 1.5 degrees! Gosh, that was a close.

Prof. Sterman: 30:32 Yeah! congratulations.

Claudia Edelman: 30:37 Wow! Edie, you made it. But technically possible is only part of the challenge, right? It is politically possible to keep warming to 1.5°C.

Edie Lush: 30:47 Step one is to show it’s possible, giving hope and encouragement to those willing to roll up their sleeves and try. I talked about that with professor Sterman. Jonathan Franzen and just the other day said, we should just give up. It’s over. We’ve lost the fight to contain global warming. So seen from our work today, he’s wrong! And we shouldn’t give up and there is a reason still for optimism despite the current political climate.

Prof. Sterman: 31:18 So I think he is wrong. I think it is still possible technically to limit the expected warming and even if this turns out to be somewhat over optimistic, whatever we do makes for a safer world for ourselves and our kids and for all the kids then giving up. So I just utterly reject his approach. I mean one way to think about it is if you believe as he does that it’s too late, that people are never going to learn to cooperate. They’re never going to take the actions that can make such powerful differences as we’ve seen here, they’re never going to overcome the political interference of the fossil fuel industry. If you believe that you are going to get to be right because you’re not going to do a darn thing about it. And so do you want to be right or do you want to make a difference? I think we can make a difference, but we’re only gonna make a difference if we stand up and take action. And that action has to be personal. Insulate your home. Put solar on your roof. It has to be professional work to have your company become more efficient and get off of fossil fuels. And it has to be as a citizen, we aren’t going to succeed without collective action. It just makes no sense to give up. It’s time to fight. This is not going to be easy, but it’s gonna be worth it!

Edie Lush: 32:50 Another way to put it is this. Not the time to roll up our trousers and get ready for the floods, but it’s time to roll up our sleeves. No, not a great joke? Okay. Max Boykoff, at the university of Colorado, has a new book on how humor can move people to action while bad news just depresses them. Here’s an example from Jimmy Kimmel.

Special Clip: 33:11 “Attention galaxy! Planet Earth is going out of business! We’ve lost our minds and everything must go! Insane deals on everything on Earth. Panda bears! Giant sequoias! Large inflatable ducks! Portugal! Porcupine! Oceans! 50% off nocturnal animals: insects, reptiles and amphibians! Unused home gym! Artificial pine tree! St Patrick’s Cathedral! Bats! Other bats! Salmon! Tide pods! But you must act fast because Planet Earth is over soon and when it’s gone, is gone!”

Claudia Edelman: 33:42 Wow. all right. So both of you, Edie and Gillian, first of all, it’s so great to be able to have our conversation after the craziness of the UNGA & that we’re like able to reflect and, and talk to the audience that is not able to be here in New York and give them a sense about like how big this is. But both of you have done computer modeling, so how did that change your mindset?

Gillian Tett: 34:05 Well, people are forever modeling the outlook for the economy, and demographics, and the recently things, the energy standard demand, and all kinds of macroeconomic variables in businesses already. It’s really been just recently though they began to do it in relation to climate change. They should probably should have done it many years ago. And that’s really having impact not just inside the C-suite, but also amongst investor committees, and also amongst regulators. I can’t stress this strongly how significant, what the actions of central banks are right now, in terms of trying to concentrate minds inside the financial sector, because when you look at these models and think about the potential for defaults or asset price impairment, they are very significant.

Edie Lush: 34:48 So what I learned from this simulator was first of all, how every action that you can take, so whether it’s taxing coal, planting trees, whether it’s protecting trees, whether it’s worrying about population, they all start to impact each other. So you think you’re doing something great and actually it’s not great at all, or it doesn’t have as much of an impact as you thought it would on bringing the increase in the temperature down. It was really hard to keep that temperature from increasing, mostly because of the collective effort that it’s going to take to do just that. And I actually wanted to ask you guys, what was your impression from UNGA from the whole week about the promises from governments?

Gillian Tett: 35:32 Well in some respects what happened is that it quite disappointing because we didn’t see a lot more announcements. The Chinese who many people have been looking to for action essentially are so concerned about their domestic economy slowing down right now that they deliberately did not put themselves at the stage of this debate and of course the U.S. Administration is currently denying that climate change is really an issue at all. However, if you look around the edges, there were some encouraging developments, whether it’s a fat that the British government is increasingly trying to redefine the concept of aid and channel people’s pensions in the UK towards more socially positive in types of investments. If you look at the fact that the regulators and central bank governors are moving ahead with efforts to force the financial system to really get involved in trucking climate change, there are all kinds of measure that are happening one level beneath the very top presidential suite, which are very important, but anyone looking for the big bang, unfortunately we’re going to be disappointed.

Claudia Edelman: 36:33 And nevertheless, I do feel that these UNGA managed to get a zietgiest. There’s something that changed in the way that we see these things as relevant.

Gillian Tett: 36:43 The fear in many C-suites, many corporate boards, many investment committees is if they don’t get engaged in these issues, they’re going to suffer reputational damage. Their employees will be unhappy, they might lose money on their portfolios, their businesses could suffer. And so the balance of risks in the eyes of many businesses executives have shifted from it’s riskier to stand on the sidelines and do nothing than to actually be involved in some of these social and climate change movements.

Claudia Edelman: 37:10 And that is how you launched Moral Money.

Gillian Tett: 37:13 Well, absolutely. I mean, we first started looking at the idea of doing a special website, a newsletter around green issues, socially responsible business issues quite long time ago. And we’ve thought a couple of years ago was quite a minority, interest topic in the sense that it was really only mattered to people who were actively investing in a way that wanted to deliver social change. And then early this year, we realized that actually the rise of what people called environmental social and governance issues, ESG issues, was actually convulsing almost every corporate board and investment committee and bank across the Western World, because it’s now become part of risk management in the sense that businesses and financers know that if they ignore ESG issues completely, they actually run big risks now. We did a survey recently of our readers to see why they were signing up to it and reading it. So, voraciously, and what this shows is that the vast majority of people think that these issues, ESG, environmental, social governance issues, are really important to their jobs. But also the vast majority of people who responded, and they were mostly mid level employees, most of them don’t actually know how to make sense of it. So all we’re trying to do is find a way to cut through all these acronyms and get a sense of companies and individuals and employees can do to, at best, promote these new ideas and build a better world, but at least at worst, avoid the risks of ignoring them.

Edie Lush: 38:49 The other conversations that I’ve had last week but also actually in Davos, Gillian, were about how it’s still tough for the C-suite to figure out how to support the Sustainable Development Goals because there’s still so much work to be done around setting standards. So I wonder if you saw some movement last week around that.

Gillian Tett: 39:09 That’s certainly a lot of concern inside the C-suite and investment committees about just how difficult it is to actually take this sustainable development goals and turn it into an action plan. I’m in the argument right now isn’t about why, it’s really about how. Now the good news is that actually efforts to look at the accounting issues and the management issues and rating issues are really accelerating right now. There’s an explosion of innovation and competition amongst private sector companies to provide solutions. And the even better news is that a lot of big companies are now stepping up to try and provide this demonstration effect. There was a group of 17 companies which call themselves the Business Avengers after the Hollywood characters who are promising to take a lead in this respect, but still a long way to go.

Claudia Edelman: 39:57 Business Avengers. I love that. As long as they look as hot as the real Avengers. So thank you so much Gillian Tett for being here.

Edie Lush: 40:09 Thank you Gillian! Now facts and actions, usually we take a global view, but this episode has led us to something a little different. As John Sterman said, it is technically possible to contain global warming, but is it politically possible, especially when the government of the largest economy in the world is in gridlock for facts and actions on the deadlock over climate in the United States, we decided to turn to a multi talented guy. He’s a political strategist of venture capitalist and the host of the podcast firewall here is Bradley Tusk.

Bradley Tusk: 40:48 Hi, this is Bradley Tusk and I am giving you 3 facts and 3 actions from my perspective on climate change. The first one is the most obvious thing you’ve heard all day, which is Congress is wildly dysfunctional. There is no ability to pass or move or change anything and it really comes down to two reasons. One is because of gerrymandering, the vast, vast majority of elections are decided in primaries, not in the general election and the primary because turnout is really low is usually a contest to see who is either the most left wing or right wing depending on the district. The problem is, as a result, when you have 15% turnout in primaries, you’re mainly sending far left wing and far right wing members to Congress, for whom compromise or getting things done. It’s a lot less important than ideological purity. The second is the status quo that you can’t solve climate. To do anything meaningful climate, you’re gonna need legislation, which means compromise on a carbon tax or a much higher gas tax or a carbon sequestration funding. All of that means moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats working together. And third, if you’re on the left or the right, it’s not in your interest to change this. If ideological purity is what you care about, that’s kind of what gets you up in the morning and gets you out of bed, get you reelected, helps you raise money. So those are the facts. So what can you do about it? Three actions. The first is we need support moderates from both parties. I’m an independent. I think both parties are wildly corrupt. Most of my giving and voting tends to be for Democrats. But I do look to find moderate Republicans to support as well. Because if we don’t have moderate Republicans, then we’re never going to have the ability to get anything done and climate or any other issue. The second is we fundamentally have to reform the way that we vote in the first place. So the reason why things are the way they are, it’s why every policy out produced the result of a political input. I want to turn out, it’s 15% most primaries in most districts are gerrymandered. Politicians know that they have to keep that 15% happy at the exclusion of everyone else. But imagine turnout were 60 or 70% in the primary, then you’re trying to keep the mainstream happy and I was trying to keep a small vocal minority happy. How does that happen? If people can vote on their phones? How does that happen safely through the blockchain? So there have been now experiments run in West Virginia, Denver and Utah where deployed service men and women have been able to vote on their phone over the blockchain in elections. They have all got extremely wealth, the national cybersecurity center has ordered each of them and found that the elections were secure. As that trend continues, that becomes your opportunity to radically increase turnout in primary elections, which ultimately leads to more moderate candidates, more consensus, and then getting actually things done. And the third is more of a personal thing, but just don’t worry about passing anyone else’s litmus test but your own. Don’t worry about being considered woke. Everyone loves to have standards and that you have to meet in their purity tests, but their purity test is totally glued to their own self interest. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about what’s good for them politically. It’s about what’s good for them economically and the only thing that matters is what you believe.

Edie Lush: 43:42 Before we go, thanks to our guests Gillian Tett and John Sterman. To find out more about John’s En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator, go to ENroads.org that’s ENroads.org.

Claudia Edelman: 43:57 And thanks for listening. Please like and subscribe, wherever you get your podcast and follow us on social media at Global GoalsCast. See you next time. Bye Bye! Adios!

Edie Lush: 44:06 Adios!

Presenter: 44:13 Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes. Editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider and welcome to our new intern Tina Pastore. Music in this episode was by Neil Hail, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Krohn, Ashish Paliwal and Andrew Phillips, who just won an Emmy for his music on “Stolen Daughters”, the HBO documentary on the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Congratulations, Andrew. This episode was made possible with the support of BSR also CBS News Digital and Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Can Global GoalsCast Save the Planet?


The Climate challenge is sprawling and extraordinarily complex. It is too much for any individual to hold all of it in their head. That knowledge void has become a major political obstacle to effective climate action (SDG 13) as we fill it in paralyzing ways, from denial to apocalyptic fear.  The best way to learn that we can curb climate change is to do it. So Global GoalsCast co-host Edie Lush sat down with John Sterman, professor of Management at MIT, to solve the climate crisis on his ClimateInteractive model of the world’s climate and economy. Edie tried everything from energy efficient homes to a steep tax on carbon in a search for solutions that would hold global temperature increases under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). How did she do? 

To find out, listen to this special two-part episode of Global GoalsCast, timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit and the global journalism effort to increase awareness of the climate challenge, #CoveringClimateNow.

Facts and Actions are presented by Elizabeth Sawin, Co Director of ClimateInteractive.Org, the not-for-profit which makes the climate simulation available worldwide. Dr. Sawin is an expert in what she calls “multisolving,” helping people find solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing multiple benefits in health, justice, equity, resilience and well-being. 

Featured guests

John Sterman

John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society, and director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. Prof. Sterman has published approximately 200 works spanning corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, and climate change. Author of award-winning books and papers, he pioneered the development of interactive “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems, which are now used by governments, corporations, and universities around the world. These include the En-ROADS and CROADS energy and climate policy simulations, developed in partnership with the non-profit, Climate Interactive, which have been used by policymakers, negotiators, business and civil society leaders, educators and the public around the world. 

Elizabeth Sawin

Elizabeth Sawin is Co-Director of Climate Interactive, a think tank that applies systems analysis to climate change and related issues. A biologist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth trained in system dynamics and sustainability with Donella Meadows and worked at Sustainability Institute, the research institute founded by Meadows, for 13 years. Beth’s work focuses on helping people find solutions that prevent future climate change, build resilience to unavoidable climate impacts, and provide opportunities to people who need them most. She writes and speaks on this topic to local, national, and international audiences. She is a member of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists and climate scientists. Beth’s work also focuses on capacity building – helping leaders achieve bigger impact. She has trained and mentored global sustainability leaders in the Donella Meadows Fellows Program, and provided systems thinking training to both Ashoka and Dalai Lama Fellows in recent years.

Laura Gitman

Laura is a global expert on corporate sustainability, with two decades of experience in strategy consulting and has advised senior executives at global companies across a range of industry sectors and sustainability issues. Laura has also been a leader in BSR’s organizational growth and impact. She launched BSR’s financial services practice and New York office, and she is currently the Chief Operating Officer, leveraging her strengths in strategy, organizational change, and people management. Laura works with leading global companies to develop and enhance their sustainability strategies to maximize value for business and society. She is sought after to facilitate senior-level strategy workshops and multistakeholder collaborations. She has published reports on environmental, social, and governance trends among investors as well as sustainability integration and leadership. From 2006 to 2010, she facilitated the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, growing the initiative from 15 to more than 50 companies.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


John Sterman: 00:02 Research shows that showing people research doesn’t work. You can tell people the science, you can show them the science, you can give them the presentations and it just doesn’t change people’s behavior, their thinking, their attitudes. The way learning happens for most people almost all the time, is people learn from experience and experiment. But in the climate situation, as more people find out that, holy cow, this climate change is really a serious threat to our lives, our prosperity, our security. It’s just going to be too late. We can’t afford to wait, and there’s no way to run experiments. We only have our one planet. So that is why you need simulators.

John Sterman: 00:49 So your job, Edie,

Edie Lush: 00:51 if I choose to accept it…

John Sterman: 00:52 well, you don’t have a choice right now because the world is, the world is counting on you.

Claudia Edelman: 01:05 Welcome to the Global GoalsCast!

Edie Lush: 01:06 The podcast that explores how to change the world. Claudia, welcome to season three!

Claudia Edelman: 01:13 We’re back! We’re back! We’re amazing! Award winning, 125,000 downloads – featured by apple, inspiring , real action! The Global GoalsCast is back!

Edie Lush: 01:25 Yes. And do you know what? I missed you this summer when we were not recording.

Claudia Edelman: 01:30 I know I lost actually, like, practice. Let’s see how today goes. But today, Edie, today and in this episode we’re going to tackle the biggest challenge of all: climate change. Edie, this really is the biggest challenge that human beings have ever faced. It involves everyone on earth. It affects everything – from how we work, how we eat, and even how we play. It affects fairness, poverty, well, the entire human society is affected by climate change.

Edie Lush: 02:01 And Claudia, the problem is so big and so complex that many people either just deny the problem… or they throw up their hands and say: ah, we’re toast anyway… we can’t solve it, so let’s just get ready to live with it.

Claudia Edelman: 02:14 Yes, yes. And I read Jonathan Franzen in the New Yorker saying that, exactly that… how depressing!

Edie Lush: 02:20 Climate apocalypse, which is what he was talking about, I don’t think is helpful. And at the Global GoalsCast, we prefer to talk about the champions who are doing something. Optimists! The glass half full types… the never say never people… and we find them! And when we come back, we’re going to introduce you to one of them. You can join me in saving the planet, but first this…

Presenter: 02:49 This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by BSR – Building a just and sustainable world. Join BSR November 12th to 14th in San Jose, California, to hear how innovative companies are navigating a new climate for business and paving the way for people and planet to thrive in an era of unprecedented change: www.bsr19.org. Thanks to CBS News Digital and to Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 03:28 Welcome back! Edie, seriously? You saved the planet in your demo?

Edie Lush: 03:33 Actually, Claudia, you’re going to have to wait for part two to find out. No spoilers. What I can tell you is that I spoke to an MIT professor who’s built a computer model of the global climate and the global economy. 60,000 people have played his simulations. Everyone from Chinese technocrats to members of the US Congress. Our editorial maestro, Mike Oreskes, calls it a flight simulator for piloting the planet to a safe future.

Claudia Edelman: 04:03 Hmm, a flight simulator is a teaching tool according to the maestro, isn’t it?

Edie Lush: 04:07 That’s right! Professor John Sterman of MIT explained why that’s such a good analogy and then he put me in the pilot’s seat.

Claudia Edelman: 04:14 Oh my God.

Edie Lush: 04:18 Hello. Can you hear me?

John Sterman: 04:20 Yes.

Edie Lush: 04:21 Great.

John Sterman: 04:22 Good morning.

Edie Lush: 04:23 Good morning or good afternoon. Almost good evening here. So thanks so much for being with me. I am delighted to be speaking to you and tell me about what I am looking at right on my screen. What is this?

John Sterman: 04:38 Well, you’re seeing an interactive energy and climate policy simulator.

Edie Lush: 04:43 And why did you create this?

John Sterman: 04:47 The way that basic research in climate science proceeds is using some of the most complex largest simulation models ever developed. These models are essential for understanding how the climate works and moving the frontier of climate knowledge forward. Uh, but they take weeks or in some cases, months to run on some of the largest supercomputer clusters in the world because they have an enormous amount of detail. And this is essential for basic progress in climate science, but because of that and because they run so slowly, they are not helpful for education and for policy makers and negotiators who meet, for example, through the UN every year. So what we did is we developed a set of models that behave the same way as the large models do at the global level or at the level of a few countries. Can’t give you all the detail that the big models do. But in return, they run essentially instantly on an ordinary laptop. And that makes them useful for policy makers, negotiators, business leaders, leaders and civic society, the media and others. Why don’t the policy makers, negotiators and other leaders simply use the results of the big models? The reason is simple research shows that showing people research doesn’t work. And this isn’t just about climate, uh, whether it’s you should wear your bike helmet and your motorcycle helmet, you should buckle up your seatbelt. When you drive, uh, you should quit smoking. Vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and save lives. You can tell people the science, you can show them the science, you can give them the presentations and it just doesn’t change people’s behavior, their thinking, their attitudes.

Edie Lush: 06:52 Hmm.

John Sterman: 06:53 So the way learning happens for most people almost all the time, is people learn from experience and experiment.

Edie Lush: 07:02 Hmm.

John Sterman: 07:04 But in the climate situation, experience is going to come just too late. We can’t afford to wait and there’s no way to run experiments. We only have our one planet and we can’t…

Edie Lush: 07:16 But it does feel like we’re, we’re actually in an experiment right now. I mean even just this morning, the news on the radio was that yet again, we’ve had another summer of insanely hot temperatures in Europe. In France. They were over 40 degrees.

John Sterman: 07:32 Right.

Edie Lush: 07:33 We’ve seen one time in a lifetime, storms happening twice within two years. So it feels like we are an experiment yet we still need a tool like this because governments, companies, people aren’t making the changes necessary.

John Sterman: 07:50 So that’s absolutely right. We’re running a giant uncontrolled experiment. And when we find out, as I think we already have, but as more people find out that holy cow, this climate change is really a serious threat to our lives, our prosperity, our security, it’s just going to be too late. There won’t be any option to go back. So that is why you need simulators and you’re exactly right. We call these tools management, flight simulators, and we’ve been developing them in my group for decades. So that’s what we’re up to here.

Edie Lush: 08:24 Okay, so let’s fly the plane if that’s the right analogy. Let’s fly the simulator.

John Sterman: 08:31 Great! So think of this as the cockpit of the simulator and you’ve got these graphs.

Edie Lush: 08:36 Ok!

John Sterman: 08:36 You just asked me what you’d like to see. If we’ve got it, we can bring it up on the screen.

John Sterman: 08:44 So as you can see, and as we just mentioned, uh, under this business-as-usual scenario in which population of the world keeps growing according to the UN’s projection, uh, the economies of the countries around the world keep growing. So people are becoming more affluent and the last developed countries are rising out of poverty. Uh, that is accomplished right now with no climate action, with an awful lot of fossil fuel, a lot of coal, oil and gas. And that drives emissions up and that leads to warming of over 4°C by the year 2100 – 7.4° Fahrenheit. And the consequences of that are, are likely to be nothing short of catastrophe.

John Sterman: 09:31 So your job, Edie?

Edie Lush: 09:33 Yeah, if I choose to accept it!

John Sterman: 09:35 Well you don’t have a choice right now because the world, the world is counting on you.

John Sterman: 09:41 So down at the bottom of the cockpit.

Edie Lush: 09:43 Yeah!

John Sterman: 09:43 You’ve got a whole lot of different policy levers that you can implement.

Edie Lush: 09:48 So let’s start off with looking at burning fossil fuels. I think we know that…

John Sterman: 09:56 Great.

Edie Lush: 09:56 … globally, 25% of greenhouse gas emissions today comes from burning fossil fuels to create heat and electricity, mostly for residential and commercial buildings. So what slider do we need to push to try to look at that issue?

John Sterman: 10:12 Well, you could try to change the energy mix.

Edie Lush: 10:15 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 10:15 You can tax or regulate coal.

Edie Lush: 10:18 Let’s do that. Let’s tax coal.

John Sterman: 10:20 Great. So let’s tax coal. Now as I do this, as I move the slider, you’ll see that the graphs are changing instantly. And as I move the slider to, to the left, what do you notice?

Edie Lush: 10:30 It says highly taxed and the temperatures come down. Hmm. Not so much, so above, from above 4°C to now 3.9°C or plus 7.1°F.

John Sterman: 10:41 Right? So you took 2/10 of a degree, C uh, off of the expected warming. So that’s good.

Edie Lush: 10:48 Okay. That’s a good start.

John Sterman: 10:50 Uh, it doesn’t solve the problem all by itself.

Edie Lush: 10:53 Okay.

John Sterman: 10:53 And by the way, take a look at the graph of the energy sources. So I’ll move the slider back…

Edie Lush: 10:59 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 10:59 And watch, watch the coal wedge.

Edie Lush: 11:01 Okay.

John Sterman: 11:01 So the coal wedge should go down.

Edie Lush: 11:04 Coal wedge goes down.

John Sterman: 11:05 Yeah.

Edie Lush: 11:06 Gas went up and oil went up too.

John Sterman: 11:09 Yeah, it is right.

Edie Lush: 11:10 Oh, crumbs!

John Sterman: 11:11 That is right. Also, the renewables went up.

Edie Lush: 11:14 Yup. Okay, let’s celebrate that. But we also had issues.

John Sterman: 11:17 Right. So what do you think it’s going on there? Why did gas and oil get, uh, have their demand increase?

Edie Lush: 11:25 Well, because they become more economically attracted.

John Sterman: 11:29 Right. Right. You’ve made coal more expensive through this taxation and that causes people to substitute more gas, for example, in the generation of electricity.

Edie Lush: 11:41 Alright, so let’s do something about that. Let’s let’s, what do we do tax, oil and gas as well?

John Sterman: 11:47 Great. You could do that. So let’s tax oil. So I’ve pulled that to a, a high tax. And as I did that, let me go back. You’ll see it real quickly. What happens to the oil wedge?

Edie Lush: 11:58 It definitely came down, but that didn’t do anything to the temperature…

John Sterman: 12:02 Right. Well, so watch the natural gas switch…

Edie Lush: 12:07 Oh!

John Sterman: 12:07 So that’s without…

Edie Lush: 12:09 This is so complicated [laughter].

John Sterman: 12:12 Right! So you’ve got a very complex economic system here with multiple markets, and by taxing coal and oil, you’ve definitely reduced their use. But you’ve done nothing to reduce the overall demand for energy. And so you’ve increased the incentive for electric power to be generated by natural gas. You are getting more renewables too, the green wedge of renewables has increased, but not enough to make much difference on the temperature.

Edie Lush: 12:41 Can we give renewables some incentives?

John Sterman: 12:45 So over here on the, the renewable slider, I’ll slide it over to the right and that implements a moderate subsidy to promote renewables. So in the real world, what that looks like is, uh, put into place or expand tax credits for individuals who go solar, for companies that go solar, put wind turbines in, for electric utilities who want to go with utility scale solar and wind, including the storage investments that they need or the changes in the way the grid works. And what did that do for us?

Edie Lush: 13:20 Well, where we get, we’re now down to an increase of 3.5°C, which is better.

John Sterman: 13:27 Oh, we’re still quite far.

Edie Lush: 13:29 Yeah.

John Sterman: 13:29 But there are… there is news here. Now, one thing to notice is subsidizing the renewables did a lot more than just taxing the fossil fuels.

Edie Lush: 13:41 Hmm

John Sterman: 13:41 Uh, and one reason for that is in many parts of the world today, renewables are already cost competitive with fossil fuels.

Edie Lush: 13:50 Hmm.

New Speaker: 13:52 But they also benefit from a very powerful learning curve effect and from scale economies. So, for example, every time cumulative production of solar panels doubles, which is happening every couple of years or so, the costs of the next ones you build go down by a little over 20%… and this is because we have not yet reached the limits of what these technologies can do. It’s the same for wind. It’s the same for, uh, energy storage that you need to handle the variability of wind and solar. And so by subsidizing renewables, you’re having an additional benefit that you’re driving their costs down faster than they would have gone otherwise. And that then leads people to use even more of them, which drives their costs down even faster. You have a beneficial reinforcing feedback loop there. You have a virtuous cycle that the more you use, the cheaper it gets.

Pause: 14:59 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 14:59 That’s right! We need more positive feedback loops! Virtuous cycles instead of vicious ones.

Edie Lush: 15:05 You know, I couldn’t have said that better myself, Claudia. But let’s take a brief break to hear from someone we’re very positive about. Laura Gitman, the chief operating officer of BSR.

Pause: 15:20 [background music]

Edie Lush: 15:21 So what’s the new climate for business? And how and why should companies be preparing for it?

Laura Gitman: 15:27 So we’re living through a period, as many people know, of absolute fundamental change. The only constant is change. And businesses really need to figure out how would they respond to these changes given that the entire framework in which how they operate in is evolving. So from climate disruption to the role of automation, to the implications of artificial intelligence, these create new opportunities for business, but they also change the rules of the game. And at the same time we’re seeing increasing pressures and expectations from employees, from a political environment, from regulators, from consumers that actually redefine and question the purpose for business overall.

Laura Gitman: 16:09 So every day we work with companies as they think about these questions. And one aspect is figuring out what are the issues that are going to impact them. So first we help companies make sense and anticipate the changes that they’re going to be facing. And second, help them figure out how do they meet that challenge. So what are the strategies, what are the products, the services, the ways of partnering and collaborating, in new different kinds of opportunities that enable them to meet those challenges but also meet the challenges that our collective business community are facing. Right? So the challenges of achieving the goals of the SDGs, of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate, and that therefore working together to redefine what that new climate for business means.

Edie Lush: 16:55 And Laura, you’ve got an event coming up in my home state of California. Tell me about it.

Laura Gitman: 17:01 We do! So BSR has our annual conference. This year, it will be hosted in San Jose on November 12th through 14th. To find out more, you can go to www.bsr19.org.

Pause: 17:16 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 17:18 Welcome back! So Edie, how’s the simulation going? Can you give me some hope? Because here, in real life, I’m still very concerned about climate change.

Edie Lush: 17:26 Ah, the simulation is tough. It gives you such a big sense of how complicated everything is, how many choices there are, how everything is interconnected. You think you’re doing something great and then you’ve caused something not okay to happen. However, one thing that is impressive is how well John Sterman is able to explain those choices.

Edie Lush: 17:49 Tell me what about the, the carbon price? I’m interested in what happens if you fool around with that.

John Sterman: 17:55 Right! So up until now, what you’ve done is asked me to tax coal, oil and gas individually, which you can certainly do, but that’s going to be complicated. So I’m going to actually undo those.

Edie Lush: 18:08 Okay.

John Sterman: 18:10 And then we’ll implement a carbon price. So what a carbon price means is that either through a fee, a tax, or a cap and trade program, the price of any CO2 emissions would go up according to how much CO2 is generated. So the carbon price is measured in how many dollars, or euros, or whatever, per ton of carbon dioxide released. So that’s going to affect coal more than natural gas because coal is the most carbon intensive fuel.

Edie Lush: 18:47 Hmm.

John Sterman: 18:47 So let’s pull that lever up to a… a medium level. And remember where we started. We start at now 3.7°C with our subsidies for renewables. Uh, and now we’ll pull up the carbon price to a medium level. And we’re down to 3.3°C.

Edie Lush: 19:06 What does that actually mean? Like consumer going to the pump to fill up their car with gas? What would that mean in terms of a carbon price? Our prices at the pump?

John Sterman: 19:17 Absolutely, great question. So, uh, on all these policy levers, I can click on a button and it shows me all the details. It gives me more advanced options. So right now, we have a carbon price of $50 per ton of carbon dioxide. So what does that mean in the real world at the pump, as you say? Well, in the United States, that would mean that gasoline prices would go up by about 44 cents a gallon. Wow. So, well is that a lot or a little?

Edie Lush: 19:46 Well, I mean it’s definitely internalizing the price on the planet, but it’s a big jump for you know, many people.

John Sterman: 19:55 This is a great, great point. Uh, what are we gonna do with all the revenue from this carbon price? So let me… let’s, let’s take a look at that graph. So, if I look here at the financial impacts, I can look at the revenue and the cost from taxes and subsidies. So you’re subsidizing renewables, that’s going to cost money. Now you’re taxing carbon that’s going to generate revenue.

Edie Lush: 20:19 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 20:19 And you can see here on this graph that the revenue from this carbon tax generates about $2.4 trillion dollars a year globally. And that actually, uh, outweighs the subsidies for decades. So, then the question is what do you do with the revenue? So one of the most popular proposals is rebate it to every person on a per capita basis. So, you would get a carbon dividend check every few months, every quarter of the year, say… and you can do anything you want with that money.

John Sterman: 21:02 So, uh, if you rebate the money to individuals on an equal per capita basis, you convert the carbon price from something that could be regressive to something that’s going to be progressive and help the lower income segment of the population more.

Pause: 21:26 [background music].

Edie Lush: 21:27 Hmm. So what if we look at the next middle part of your screen, or my screen? 23% of greenhouse gases come from the result of burning fuel for industrial purposes. So what happens when we start changing that mix of energy efficiency and electrification? What do those mean?

John Sterman: 21:54 We’ll work on the energy efficiency of buildings and industry. So this includes, uh, industrial facilities and the processes that take place within them. It also includes the energy used in commercial and residential buildings. Now, having a carbon price already has led to some increase in efficiency, but now let’s implement a policy that would do more. So I’ll pull the energy efficiency lever for buildings and… uh, I’ll increase it moderately. And what did it do for us?

Edie Lush: 22:31 Wow, we’re at 3°C!

John Sterman: 22:33 Well, we’re making progress. And that did a lot. One of the reasons which you’ve pointed to is an awful lot of the world’s energy is used in buildings, industry, industrial processes, but also just buildings, commercial, residential, industrial buildings for heating and cooling and all the electricity that’s used within them. So, we’ve done a lot by increasing energy efficiency and there are many, many ways to do that. The other reason that this lever makes a big difference is buildings and processes can almost always be retrofitted.

John Sterman: 23:10 So for example, I’m sitting here with your sound guy, Chuck, in my house and uh, it’s a 90 year old, typical New England home, made out of, uh… you know, uh, what we call stick frame construction. So, two by four studs and so forth. Uh, and, uh… when it was built, it was heated by coal and it had no insulation. Uh, when we bought the house, uh, it was heated by oil and still had no insulation.

Edie Lush: 23:43 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 23:43 So, over the years we, we insulated, we gradually replaced the appliances as they needed to be replaced with much more efficient ones. I swapped out a lot of the light bulbs, etc… and that actually lowered our, uh, carbon emissions for the home quite a lot. But then, uh, about four and a half years ago, we did what’s called a deep energy retrofit. So what does that means? It means, we put in a huge amount of insulation, not just blown into the walls, but extra insulation on the outside of the house. The windows, which were original, were leaky and in pretty bad shape. We put in much better windows that are super efficient. We put in led lighting everywhere, very high efficiency appliances, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc… we put in heat pump hot water that’s super efficient, gets most of the heat to warm the water from the surrounding air.

Edie Lush: 24:42 Hmm.

John Sterman: 24:42 And we completely eliminated the, uh, fossil fuel heating system, uh, and replaced it with air source heat pumps that provide heating and cooling. And then, we put a solar array on the roof. And now today, uh, our house generates 50% more energy than we use, with no fossil fuel whatsoever.

Edie Lush: 25:13 Wow. So in fact, we need the whole world to do what you’re doing…

Pause: 25:22 [background music]

Edie Lush: 25:22 I want to recap where we are and what we’ve tried. We started at over 4°C of increased in temperature by 2100. We’ve subsidized renewables…

John Sterman: 25:33 Right!

Edie Lush: 25:33 We’ve made the price of carbon higher and we have, uh, worked especially on energy efficiency of buildings. And we’re now at an increase of 3°C, which is still not great. So, this is hard, because so far who either, we’ve already done a lot of work and we’re not there yet. As we know, we want to keep that increased to 2°C or 1.5 would be even better.

John Sterman: 26:08 Right.So the Paris target is no more than 2°C and striving for 1.5 and although you’ve done a great job getting us on the path, 3°C isn’t where we need to go. And just to show you what that means, let’s look at some of the impacts.

Edie Lush: 26:25 Oh, no!

John Sterman: 26:25 Sea level rise, right?

Edie Lush: 26:28 Oh, no!

John Sterman: 26:28 So sea level rise is barely less than what it would have been.

Edie Lush: 26:33 Right!

John Sterman: 26:33 And it’s over. Uh, it’s just about… it’s over a meter right now, and that’s a conservative estimate. So…

Edie Lush: 26:41 I mean it looks like a… it looks like a kind of… one of those… not quite a hockey stick graph, but definitely, you know, on the steady increase…

John Sterman: 26:49 Yes, right.

Edie Lush: 26:51 Over a meter of sea level rise still means a lot of island nations… that great refrain from the Paris accord was 1.5 to stay alive. A lot of those island nations will not be where they are now.

John Sterman: 27:07 Right. And I gotta tell you, it’s even worse than what you’re seeing, because there is a significant risk that sea level rise will be much higher than what you’re seeing here, because of faster melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets than the literature accommodates. So…

Edie Lush: 27:31 Oh my gosh!

John Sterman: 27:31 It is entirely possible…

Edie Lush: 27:31 Oh no, we’re up to 1.8 meters!

New Speaker: 27:36 Yeah, uh. Right. You’re almost a two meters even with your policies so far, this is not at all impossible according to the more recent science and evidence about, uh, accelerating melt of Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheet. So, what does that mean? Well, let’s take a look. It’s not just, uh, you know, for the island states. Here’s a…

Edie Lush: 28:02 So you’ve now pulled up a map of the world.

John Sterman: 28:05 Right. I’m going to zoom in on Shanghai just as an illustration. We can look anywhere you like.

Edie Lush: 28:11 Okay…

John Sterman: 28:12 And Shanghai, like many of the world’s great cities is a low lying coastal city on a river delta. What you’re seeing now is Shanghai today.

Edie Lush: 28:21 Mmhm!

John Sterman: 28:23 20 to 25 or more million people in the greater Shanghai area. Uh, now let’s take a look at what happens if there’s 2 meters of sea level rise, which is close to what happens in your scenario so far. And all of these blue areas now are inundated. There are saltwater intrusion coming up through the sewers. Uh, high tides, you’re going to have sunny day flooding as we already have in Miami and up and down the east coast. But it’s worse than this because Shanghai and the coast of China is subject to typhoons! And, uh, a large typhoon like Haiyan, which hit the Philippines a few years ago, or the typhoon that, uh, hit, uh, Tokyo recently, uh, they bring storm surge multimeter storm surge. The storm surge in typhoon Haiyan was 4 meters. So what I can do is I’ll now take our 2 meters of sea level rise, which is causing immense economic hardship all throughout the Shanghai area. And now let’s add a 4 meter storm surge on top of that.

Edie Lush: 29:42 Oh my goodness. Wow. It looks like it’s completely underwater.

John Sterman: 29:48 Right? So, we wouldn’t have to wait until the year 2100 for a disaster like this to be very likely. Uh, and it’s similar if we go elsewhere around the world. Here’s south Florida with 2 meters of sea level rise and a 4 meter storm surge.

Edie Lush: 30:08 So it looks like most of South Florida is blue, as in covered with water.

John Sterman: 30:15 Right. Here’s the Gulf Coast focused on New Orleans…

Edie Lush: 30:19 It looks like it is completely underwater.

John Sterman: 30:19 and New Orleans is already under the the sea level.

Edie Lush: 30:23 Right.

John Sterman: 30:24 It’s gone.

Edie Lush: 30:25 Goodness. Okay. So back to the simulation.

John Sterman: 30:29 Yeah. And you’ve done a great job, uh, with a variety of policies here. Price on carbon, subsidies for renewables, promoting energy efficiency for buildings and industry. You’ve gotten it down more than a full degree C and it’s, so that’s great. It’s still not enough. So, when we come back, I’m going to ask you to see what else you might want to try to get us down towards no more than 2°C.

Pause: 30:55 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 30:59 And we will come back to this and find out if Edie is able to save the planet. But we will do that in the next episode, which we will release after the Climate Summit and the UN General Assembly.

Claudia Edelman: 31:11 We felt that this topic was so important, that we decided to devote these two parts to this area.. and talk about solutions… and I cannot actually tell you how much my imagination goes to see Edie with a red cape and actually like super woman style, flying around that simulator and saving the world!

Edie Lush: 31:28 Hahaha.. you’re just going to have to wait for that , Claudia. In fact, I’m going to see you on Sunday, at the start of of Global Goals Week. We’ve got 5 UN summits, we’ve got 17 big goals. I feel like though, once again, the attention of the world is on New York next week.

Claudia Edelman: 31:46 Yeah. But again and again the relevance is completely different. Today was the day of the opening of the General Assembly and the Secretary General, summed up challenge. He said: we’re losing the race against climate change and our world is off track in meeting the sustainable development goals.

Edie Lush: 32:05 So what we’re talking about with professor Sterman in this whole special episode is how to get the world back on track.

Claudia Edelman: 32:11 And you and I are on the optimistic, we’re actually possibilistic. We are based on Hans Rosling factfullness… when we see the world through data, and the data indicates that we’re on the right track. And nevertheless, there are things that we should pay attention that are concerning. But one thing that I’m very, very clear about, Edie, is how purposed, the sustainable development goals, sustainability, are back on track and are absolutely moving the agenda forward and becoming mainstream. Like the tortilla effect.

Edie Lush: 32:44 What is the Tortilla effect?

Claudia Edelman: 32:46 The tortilla effect is fascinating as an analogy for what we’re talking about. It Is an economic and behavior theory that indicates how a product that is like on the corner of a store, like tortillas in this case, in the Mexican aisle or the exotic food, and have been pushed by consumers to become mainstream, and now have been traveling from one aisle to the other until they are in the mainstream of bread. And people don’t use tortillas anymore only for tacos, they use it for wraps, they use it for snacks, and that is what I’ve seen happens with sustainability and purpose that it has been pushed by consumers to the different aisles and now it’s actually moving from corporate social responsibility in countries, or companies to become part of their central strategy of growth.

Claudia Edelman: 33:29 But there’s another way to get the tortillas from the Mexican corner to the main bread aisle, which is, when the owner of the store would decide, I’m going to impose this product here. And I think that that’s what we were hoping to see next week with decision makers making an imposition and following the trend of purpose and sustainability to impose some action on climate change because that really could have a ripple effect.

Edie Lush: 33:52 I love the Tortilla effect and I think what you’re saying there makes me think of this episode and the idea of what is happening with electric cars when they’re going mainstream and it is coming through in the next couple of years. But we do have to be careful because while electric cars are great, if the electricity that they’re using is not clean, if it comes from coal, then we don’t actually bring the temperature down enough. And I learned that from playing with a simulator from professor Sterman. Individuals don’t clean the power grid, companies do. We have seen some great companies out there and there was a great example a few years ago when Greenpeace, the head of Greenpeace at the time, Kumi Naidoo stood up with the head of NL and agree to take this energy company away from dirty power towards renewables, towards clean energy. So companies have a role to play as do governments, as do consumers.

Claudia Edelman: 34:48 That great news here, Edie is that there’s pressure on decision makers by young people. Greta, coming to New York, arriving with 17 different boats and making waves, and increasingly attracting the attention of citizens, of voters, and of players. And because we’re so many more people like John doing simulations and doing groundbreaking innovation, I think that we have a great opportunity to be part of history, and be, as we say, the first generation that can really stop the impact of climate change. So now my favorite section of the show, where we give three facts that you can show off with your mother-in-law and three actions that you can take so that we can go on climate change, action, action, action. So for these we went to a colleague of John Sterman.

Pause: 35:44 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 35:46 often addressing climate change is framed as a big sacrifice, as though we have to suffer now in order to protect the climate for the future. But is that an accurate way to think about it? I’m Dr Elizabeth Sawin. I’m co-director of climate interactive, and my research focuses on what I call multi-solving. These are policies and investments that address climate change in ways that save money, improve people’s health, and open up economic opportunity. Here are three examples of multi-solving.

Pause: 36:17 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 36:17 If 50% of short car trips were replaced by cycling in the biggest cities in the Midwest, each year, 1,295 lives and $8.7 billion would be saved from a combination of improved air quality and better health through increased physical activity. That’s from a study in the journal, environmental health perspectives.

Pause: 36:34 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 36:34 Between 2000 and 2016 all of the energy efficient LEED certified buildings in the United States combined to reduce air pollution from energy use, enough to avoid hundreds of premature deaths, hundreds of hospital admissions, tens of thousands of asthma cases, and tens of thousands of lost days of work and school.

Pause: 37:00 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 37:00 Urban trees in Fort Collins, Colorado provided more than double the return on investment required to plant and maintain those trees. The savings came from reducing energy use, improving air quality, reducing storm water runoff, sequestering carbon, and increasing property values,

Pause: 37:16 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 37:17 …which leads to these three actions. We participate in multi-solving whenever we do home energy tune-ups or add features like green roofs and rain gardens to our properties or walk or cycle to work. These steps, save money in the short term, reduce air pollution and improve our and our neighbor’s health, while also reducing emissions and helping protect the climate for the longterm.

Pause: 37:39 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 37:41 Many multi-solving opportunities are bigger than one family can take on though. So a second category of action is to engage elected officials to make sure that public spending is directed toward solutions like these multi-solving solutions with multiple benefits. All of us can practice connecting the dots in our own heads and in our conversations with friends and family so that more and more people can see how protecting the climate for the future helps create jobs, economic opportunity and improved health today.

Pause: 38:14 [background music]

Edie Lush: 38:16 Alright, that is it for this special climate episode, at least part one. We’re going to have the second half after next week’s climate summit.

Claudia Edelman: 38:26 Wow Edie, I’m so excited by our new season. We take on climate right at the start. Whoo! See you’re next time Edie.

Edie Lush: 38:33 See you on Sunday in New York, and until then, the big message is, if you liked this, please give us five stars, please subscribe, please tell all of your friends, and go to our social media. @GlobalGoalsCast. Adios.

Claudia Edelman: 38:49 Adios. Don’t forget the Tortilla Effect, Edie. It’s going to come after you.

Pause: 38:58 [background music]

Presenter: 38:58 Global Goals Cast was hosted by Edie lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. Your editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes. Editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider. Our interns last summer, we miss you. where Addy Gisby Ashley Esquivel, Darcy Nelson and Hugh Cruickshank. Music in this episode was by Neil Hail, Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crown, and Ashish Paliwal. This episode was made possible with the support of BSR, also CBS News Digital, and Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

The Next Generations: We Can’t Save the World Without Them


” The youth will be the future leaders of countries, captains of industries, the innovators to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.” Tae Yoo, SVP of Corporate Affairs, Cisco

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will make the world a better place for all, but the world cannot reach these goals without the active energy and new thinking of young people. Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman explore that idea in this episode about youth and political activism. Speaking to young people on every continent, they find a strong desire to team up with friends to solve social problems, though, they also hear concerns about “clicktivism,” a tendency to confuse expressing a desire for action on social media with real action. This episode touches on the increasing role of young women as leaders and the shapers of agendas, including more attention to issues of concern to women, such as menstrual health, as well as efforts to bring more women into politics and governing. Also, hear how our sponsor, Cisco, introduces you to a valuable resource for youth, Global Problem Solvers: The Series.

Featured guests

Aditi Sharma

@aditiraisharma Aditi is currently a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She is a fierce advocate for women’s health, specifically menstrual health and hygiene. Most recently, she was the Health Focal Point for the Emergency Medical Response Team at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Chautara, Sindhupalchok, the epicenter of the 2015 Nepal earthquake. As the sole health program officer for the IOM in the region which suffered the highest casualty, she covered a wide range of responsibilities. In 2014, Aditi founded Kalyani with peers who are also dedicated to improving the lives of women in Nepal. This NGO works to empower women through promoting sustainable livelihoods.

Kenny Imafidon

@kennyimafidon Kenny is the co-founder & Managing Director of ClearView Research Ltd, a leading-edge research company, who specialize in research focussing on young people and social impact evaluation. Described by Huffington Post UK as a “young rising star making waves in UK politics,” Kenny has written influential & award-winning publications and has led on innovative partnerships with global brands such as Uber, Tinder and Deliveroo, on campaigns to get young people registered to vote and turnout in UK elections and the EU referendum. His work in both the worlds of research and politics has taken him around the world to countries such as, the United States, Brazil, Austria, Tunisia, Israel, and Hong Kong.

Tabata Amaral

@tabataamaralsp Tabata Amaral, 24-years old, is an education activist. She graduated magna cum laude with highest honors in Government and Astrophysics from Harvard College. Coming from the outskirts of São Paulo, Tabata is the co-founder of Movimento Acredito, a political renovation movement, and Movimento Mapa Educação, a movement that strives for a quality education for all Brazilians, accompanying educational policies and holding debates to make education, in fact, a priority in the national agenda. She received the “Makes Difference” Prize of O Globo (Society/ Education Category) in 2016, McKinsey’s Next Generation Women Leader Award in 2017 and Glamour’s Women of the Year in 2018.

Tae Yoo

Tae leads Cisco’s social investments and stewards CSR and sustainability across the business. She directs Cisco’s business, technical, and financial assets to accelerate global problem solving to positively impact people, society, and the planet.  Under Tae’s leadership, Corporate Affairs strives to inspire, connect, and invest in global problem solvers to nurture innovative solutions and catalyze an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports progress and inclusive growth. Corporate Affairs also invests in developing digital skills so everyone can participate in the digital economy and become a global problem solver. Corporate Affairs has committed to positively impact 1 billon people by 2025. A founding Cisco employee, Tae pioneered Cisco’s Business Development – establishing new markets through partnerships for joint product and market development. She is a Trustee of the Cisco Foundation, a member of the Service Year Alliance Board and of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Education, Gender and Work.

Katie Clemens

Katherine Clemens is a manager for K-12 initiatives that help strengthen the pipeline for entrepreneurship and innovation. She is responsible for designing and implementing programs related to learning through design thinking and hands-on applied projects, including teacher training and high school after-school clubs and programs. Prior to joining ASU, Katherine served as an English teacher at Maryvale High School, where she designed and implemented an innovative, rigorous curriculum that resulted in unprecedented student growth and achievement. Katherine entered the teaching profession in 2010 through Teach For America, an organization that seeks to raise student achievement in high-need schools. She continues to serve as a content leader for Teach For America, facilitating professional development sessions for corps members and supporting teachers in planning and implementing strong curriculums. Katherine received her B.A. in political science from Purdue University and her M.Ed. in secondary education from ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. 

Laleh Khalili

@LalehKhalili Laleh Khalili is a professor of Middle East Politics at SOAS University of London and author of Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: Politics of National Commemoration and Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies.

Isatou Bittaye

@ladeebittaye Isatou Bittaye is a human rights advocate and feminist with almost a decade of experience working in women’s and girls’ rights and young people’s empowerment. She serves as the Communications Manager of The Girls’ Agenda, a youth led organization working for the empowerment of young women and girls and advocating to end FGM, child marriage, promoting sexual and reproductive health rights, life skills and leadership, and girl’s access to education. Previously, she served as the Senior Program Officer at the National Council for civic Education where she led the programs team and educated Gambian citizens on their constitutional rights and civic duties and responsibility to hold the government accountable. She holds a BSc. in Political Science from the University of The Gambia and Master’s in International Studies from National Chengchi University in Taiwan.

Celina de Sola

Celina de Sola is Co-Founder and Vice President of Programs at Glasswing. She aims to design and implement innovative, community-based initiatives that bring institutions and people together through joint action. After almost a decade leading humanitarian responses and developing public health programs in over 20 countries around the world, Celina decided to return to her home country of El Salvador. Celina is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and its Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice (MSW), as well as Harvard University’s School of Public Health (MPH). Celina is a Fellow of Ashoka, LEGO Foundation Re-Imagine Learning, Penn Social Impact House, and is a Tällberg Foundation Global Leader. 

Lori Adelman

Lori Adelman is the Director of Youth  of Women DeliverEngagement. An advocate and mediamaker focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights, Lori has a decade of experience promoting the health and rights of women and girls in the U.S. and globally. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Executive Director at Feministing.com, a popular and award-winning online community run by and for young feminists. Lori has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General’s flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on feminist and women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. She has appeared on outlets such as MSNBC and WNYC, and in publications like Elle, The Grio, Rookie Magazine and The New York Times. She has contributed to several books such as “The Feminist Utopia Project” and “My Freshman Year of Life”.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of

Additional Resources

Global Problem Solvers: The Series (by CISCO)

Preparing for the Future As technology continues to shape our world, it is becoming increasingly important to prepare future business leaders and workers with the right digital skills. That’s why Global Problem Solvers: The Series has been designed for students during a critical development period and inflection point in STEM adoption. Through this program, we aim to demystify technology and explore the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) for social good. By leveraging an engaging combination of animated stories and activities, the program helps educators introduce students to important skills like complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, and coordinating with others. It also emphasizes social consciousness, entrepreneurship, and the potential of technology to accelerate bringing positive change to the world. More Than Just Ideas Students focus on real-world social, economic, and environmental problems around the world. Through the program, they learn that coming up with ideas is just the first step in problem solving. While interacting with each other, they discover the stages of making ideas real – design, manufacturing, deployment, maintenance, and funding. By approaching social change as an entrepreneur and applying technology to accelerate the difference they can make, students are challenged to find solutions that are scalable and sustainable. In doing so, they also learn the skills they will need to thrive in an increasingly digital world. Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility believes that our future will be defined by global problem solvers – global citizens ready to thrive in a connected and digital future by thinking like entrepreneurs, innovating like technologists, and acting as agents of social change.


[00:02] Tabata: How politics works, everything’s made for young people not to be a part.

[00:08] Kenny Imafidon: If you don’t do politics, then politics will do you.

[00:11] Celina de Sola: The generation below the current millennials is about action. They are taking situations and issues into their hands and their being a lot more vocal about it.

[00:22] Speaker 1: Don’t romanticize the youth, but don’t also demonize them.

[00:27] Edie Lush: This is the Global GoalsCast.

[00:29] Claudia Edelman: The podcast that explores if we can change the world.

[00:33] Edie Lush: In this episode, are young people the secret to achieving the global goals?

[00:37] Claudia Edelman: We will dive into that question right after this.

[00:41] CREDITS: This episode was made possible thanks to the support of CISCO. And thank you to HARMAN, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

[00:51] Edie Lush: Welcome back I’m Edie Lush.

[00:53] Claudia Edelman: And I’m Claudia Romo Edelman

[00:55] Edie Lush: And for this episode of the Global GoalsCast, we want to look at a very big and very basic question.

[01:00] Claudia Edelman: That is right Edie. We have talked about how big a task it will be to achieve the sustainable development goals and how us, somehow older folks…

[01:09] Edie Lush: Hang on. Are you calling me old?

[01:11] Claudia Edelman: Of course not! How we owe it to future generations to create this more equal, more sustainable world, the one that the global goals envision by 2030. One of the things that I see unique about our podcast is incredible range of partners that we have, more than 12 UN agencies, more than 35 non for profit companies, All of them, depositing their trust on us to tell their story. And what we have in common, all of us is the desire to have a better world and we know that this framework of the sustainable development goals cannot be achieved without young people getting involved.

[01:49] Edie Lush: Right? Here’s the thing we want to talk about today: These goals aren’t just something we do for the next generations, but with the next generations or we are never going to get there.

[01:59] Claudia Edelman: Exactly. It requires young people’s energy, their creativity, and most of all their new thinking to be the change that is needed on everything, from gender equality to climate change.

[02:10] Edie Lush: Not Too much to ask, is it?

[02:11] Claudia Edelman: Well, why don’t we actually wait until later to answer that question and start with what you found out about what some young people are already doing.

[02:21] Edie Lush: Thanks Claudia. We know that the famous or infamous millennial generation is rapidly becoming the largest demographic group in the world. In some countries they already are. These are folks as old as 38 and as young as 23, so they’re already adults and even their younger brothers and sisters, that so-called generation z or generation zed in the UK, are starting to leave their teen years. I’ve been there for too long. So what is their impact already and what will it be between now and 2030 to find out? I started by meeting several young people who are already working hard on the future. The range is breathtaking. One is using tinder in London to encourage voter registration. In both Africa and Latin America, I found others working to get more young people and women to run for office, but let’s start in Nepal with a fight to end the ostracism of women during their periods.

[03:19] Aditi Sharma: I went to England and I did my masters of public health from there. I found an organization called I RISE international, who were working with menstrual hygiene in east Africa and I introduced them to this problem in Nepal. And then when I came back I got a couple of my friends together and I said, guys, we have to do something about this. So we started an NGO called Kalyani, which is a youth-led organization because it’s all of my friends from undergrad and we work specifically in menstrual hygiene.

[03:55] Edie Lush: That’s Aditi Sharma. She’s a young leader with our fantastic partner, Women Deliver, describing something we found all over the world, young women and men banding together working in teams as a community to address whatever problem most concerned them.

[04:10] Aditi Sharma: So it started in 2011 when I took a trip to the far western region of Nepal. And I found out about this practice called chhaupadi, which was rampantly practice there, where women and girls were banished to outdoor sheds during their periods because they were considered impure and untouchable. Coming from Kathmandu where I was, uh, you know, raised in a very liberal family, I was shocked that, you know, might come to fights in the rural areas of Nepal were suffering. So that’s how I started working in women’s health and especially menstrual hygiene.

[04:50] Edie Lush: Aditi created a small NGO with her friends from university and raised money to work in western Nepal. I heard this same idea all around the world. Let’s get together and get something done.

[05:01] Kenny Imafidon: For me, the key reason why I really got involved in political participation and voter engagement and voter registration was because once I realized that all the issues I care about are political, then that means that I need to be involved in politics.

[05:16] Edie Lush: Kenny Imafidon. He’s an ambassador for another great partner of ours, One Young World.

[05:21] Kenny Imafidon: I come from a place called Peckham in Southeast London, which is considered as a very deprived community growing up.

[05:27] Edie Lush: And when he was just 17, Kenny was arrested with several of his friends and right after his 18th birthday, charged as an adult with murder. His friends went to prison, but Kenny’s case was thrown out, a very narrow escape. Indeed.

[05:41] Kenny Imafidon: That just really was for me a life changing, a life changing moment. And it was just something that just take my whole perspective on life, truly.

[05:52] Edie Lush: Kenny, now 24 years old, wants to make things better for kids like him.

[05:57] Kenny Imafidon: Very fundamental. If decisions are being made about people like us involved in that process, then of course injustice is going to continue, if that makes sense. And I feel like no matter issue you care about around criminal justice, the environment, housing, inequality, politics is at the heart of it. And if people are not participating then there’s going to be problems. Like I always say, if you not at the table where decisions are made, then that means you are on menu.

[06:33] Edie Lush: So how do you increase political participation for young people, especially from those coming from marginalized communities?

[06:40] Kenny Imafidon: The major irony in politics is that those who are most affected by the decisions that politicians make, are the ones who are least likely to participate. And as a result, we are the ones who when there’s time for cuts to be made, you suffer the most and that’s mainly because a lot of these politicians don’t feel like there’ll be any backlash from them making decisions. And particularly young people, you can just [inaudible] the UK to use as a, use as an example, if you look at what young people get compared to what much older voters who vote get, there’s massive differences. The main thing has been around actually truly empowering people to know their rights and to understand that actually that if you don’t do politics, then politics will do you. we were the organization who coordinated the national voter registration drive, which, which is the most successful registration drive in any Western democracy.

[07:44] Kenny Imafidon: And we partnered with people, like Uber for example. When people ordering their Uber during the week of National Register drive, whilst I was on the APP, they’ll get a message whilst they are waiting for the cab, and the uber usually takes three minutes to come, and during that time, they get a message that flashes up on the screen that says, don’t be a, don’t be a passenger on the decisions affecting your life, register to vote now.

[08:09] Edie Lush: Now tell me about how it worked with tinder.

[08:12] Kenny Imafidon: And Tinder, whilst people were swiping, doing what they do on Tinder, they would see, they would see one of our cards come up. And then we actually done two campaigns. One they see our card up and then they do a quiz, and then after the quiz, they encouraged to register to vote. And then we’ve also done one where it was just like a photo and then once they click on it, they get a message that kind of just tells them, look, you need to go and register. And it was literally that simple, we were bringing the conversation to where people already are.

[08:44] Edie Lush: In both Latin America and Africa, I spoke to women who are going a step further increasing voting and running for office, too. I spoke to Tabata Amaral de Pontes, a one world ambassador who grew up in Sao Paulo, one of the largest cities in the world.

[09:00] Kenny Imafidon: It became clear with the years that if I really wanted to change education in Brazil, I need to change politics. But the party system here and just how our politics works, Everything’s made for young people not to be a part and for like normal people, common people to be scared and not engage in politics. So that’s why together are friends from all over Brazil, we are in 15 states out of the 27, we decided to found a political movement. Our biggest goal is to fight inequality in Brazil and we went to engage ordinary people in politics again. We are building our own agenda to fight inequality. We always invite people in our nuclei around Brazil to do politics in a daily basis. So there’s so much we can do because our politicians are really not used to having us mobilizing and engaging and protesting and so on. And we also selected by voting to any foreign leaders all over Brazil to represent the movement in this year’s election. And that’s amazing because if I was alone, there was no way I would be a candidate this year. But when I saw the possibility of doing that with people that I trust, that come from similar backgrounds as mine and at the same time represent the diversity of Brazil, entering politics for the right reasons, that gave me a lot of motivation and hope and courage maybe .

[10:41] Claudia Edelman: What interesting stories Edie, and always that idea: together with friends,

[10:45] Edie Lush: Like us!

[10:46] Claudia Edelman: …as Tabata was putting it – exactly like us this morning working out before coming here or yesterday when we were at the United Nations, when you were getting your award!

[10:54] Edie Lush: I know which I brought into the studio with me. And it’s such a great award Media for Social Impact from the United Nations!

[11:01] Claudia Edelman: Because now you made the Global GoalsCast an award winning podcast! Okay, so but first something new and special for us here at the Global GoalsCast, we have sponsors and our new sponsor is Cisco, that has been powering the internet, since 1984.

[11:18] Edie Lush: I didn’t even know the Internet existed then!

[11:20] Claudia Edelman: And they have a story they want us to share with you.

[11:24] GPS: I , Putri, have called together this group of Extraordinary teens, Adrian Gilliam, Christina and Sitoshi. We are the Global Problem Solvers. So many crises in the world require creativity and teamwork to solve.

[11:40] Claudia Edelman: So that was a clip from the Global Problem Solvers. A cartoon that Cisco created as part of an education program. I spoke to Tae Yoo senior vice president of corporate affairs at Cisco and Katie Clemens, director of youth entrepreneurship and innovation from the Arizona State University about the work they are doing to inspire young people. Wow. Those are long titles.

[12:06] Tae Yoo: The youth will be the future leaders of countries, captains of industries, the innovators to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. And so Cisco hass always banked on the young people and the future potential of the youth and what they can do. We also wanted to make sure that we work with youth in the middle school and below area to really create this web series, it’s called the Global Problem Solvers: The Series, and this is a web series for students who are younger than our traditional, uh, youth programs and to help these students explore entrepreneurship, learn life skills and basically how to use knowledge for social good.

[12:50] Katie Clemens: The schools that we work with, all are high need schools in underserved communities and the students throughout the course of the year, they watched the GPS theories, but along the way they also came up with their own new idea for a solution to a challenge in their community. So they learned the entrepreneurial process and then they actually got to apply it at the same time. The feedback that we got from both students and teachers was that it was incredible to have 11, 12, 13 year olds in these real world situations where they are truly tackling something that impacts them in their community and then there are also thinking about it at a global level too. We’re experiencing in this here, but how are other people experiencing this across the world?

[13:36] Tae Yoo: The animation series is designed for people in middle school and below because we want them to develop an entrepreneurial muscle and then be able to exercise that muscle on a regular basis so you come of age confident that you have the capability to be a Global Problem Solver. And then to be able to work globally as a team many times is virtually, you can still have a dramatic impact and become a true social entrepreneur.

[14:05] Katie Clemens: They want to help solve problems of tomorrow. They want to know how to do that. The ‘I want’ is the easier part, the ‘I can’ is the tougher one. And we really work with programs like this on building their self efficacy. They want to change the world through technology, but how do we help show them that they really can do it?

[14:28] Claudia Edelman: Welcome back. More from that Cisco program later. And we’ll also hear from the kids who were inspired by the Global Problem Solvers. We’re talking about companies that are doing good. I think that our audience and consumers want to know where to make their choices. Now, Edie, let’s go back to our discussion of the next generation. There is always a next generation.

[14:49] Edie Lush: That sounds like Star Trek…

[14:49] Claudia Edelman: So the question is how is this one any different?

[14:51] Edie Lush: So I think I know the answer. It’s the engagement of women and therefore women’s voices being heard much more and the issues they care about being heard. Claudia, you remember Aditi, who’s working in menstrual health in Nepal, so as a member of generation X, I’m not that much older than her, but I can’t ever remember discussing periods outside of sex education class. I wanted to see if this was a broader theme. So I spoke to a friend of mine, Lally Khalili, she’s a professor of Middle East politics at so us University of London and an author of several excellent books about the Middle East.

[15:28] Laleh Khalili: One of the things that May, 2011 in some ways very different than past revolutionary or moments of revolt in Europe and North America and parts of the world say 1968 and then it was a very significant one, was the extent to which an everywhere – I’m thinking Bahrain, I’m thinking Yemen, I’m thinking Egypt, even Syria before the civil war broke out – How much women were not only figureheads, not only people who appeared on say video streaming or news reports, but actually in the organizing of protests and events. How much young women were at the forefront of the youth activism. And I think that this is one of those big changes that has happened, that is that has partially to do with the changes in the political economy of most countries where more and more women are becoming educated and are stepping in to the workforce and they’re facing some of the same problems that the young men are facing in economies which have slowed down or sluggish. So on the one hand, they’re very educated and on the other hand they can’t get jobs. But what is particularly interesting is that of course in all societies, there’s a lot more social pressure on women to conform to certain gender norms of behavior. Even in places which have progressive reputations. Women are still considered to be as much significant for their biological functions, for example, for their ability to bear children, as they are for being members of the society, earning or being active or whatnot. And what makes it particularly interesting in the Arab world was how much the young women who stepped forward rejected these gender norms. They fought alongside the men. They were as articulate, if not more articulate than the men. And in many instances some of the courage they showed, for example, Maria Malka Raja in Bahrain in sitting in while the police was trying to drag her out of the of the square where the protests were going out or a number of the women who organized not only interior square in Cairo, but also in the factories in the suburbs of Cairo. And the women were at the forefront. Of this, and I think that this is really exciting and it’s something that we should watch out for.

[17:41] Claudia Edelman: So a big new dynamic, we’re seeing more and more young women working in the public sphere.

[17:47] Edie Lush: Like Isatou Bittaye, she’s young leader from our amazing partner, Women Deliver. From The Gambia and she is passionate about increasing female representation in politics.

[17:58] Isatou Bittaye: Women are about 13 percent in the current parliament, which is quite low because if you look at the history of Gambian politics, women have always been participating. They have always been voting. They have always been mobilizing and campaigning for men who are running for elections. We have a new government and the, according to the information coming out from the government, that will be a new constitution, so we believe that women should equally be represented in decision making, at least they should meet the UN recommendation of 30 percent in all decision making level. Also, we are writing and lobbying and also talking to people that have influence in the political parties to ensure that the political parties have constitutions that are gender friendly because most of the political parties have women as members, but when you look at the party structures, if you have 15 people who are executive members of the party, maybe just four or three are women. That’s an agenda balance, so we’re talking to partners to make sure at least they have more women or equal women as men in their party executive committees.

[19:09] Edie Lush: Let’s hear more from Tabata Amaral De Pontes, running for Congress in Brazil. She finds it for her, running for office means breaking the current political system.

[19:18] Tabata: You need to be affiliated to a party in order to run in Brazil. We have thirty five parties which is a lot. They don’t represent 35 projects of Brazil judges, institutions that have access to public funding and basically have the monopoly of deciding who is going to or not. Our parties don’t have internal voting to decide the candidates. They are required by law to have 30 percent of their list dedicated to women, but that doesn’t mean anything when you see that the woman, the parties are not receiving funding, visibility and so on. And that’s the same for young people, so in order for you to appear in a parties list to receive funding, to receive visibility, tv time, etc, probably you are son or brother or nephew of someone important in politics. I have friends all over the world who identify with the sentiment we have here in Brazil regarding politics, that its not made for us. It doesn’t represent us and it’s time for us to do something and take our future back.

[20:32] Edie Lush: In a minute, we’re going to ask that question. Are we expecting too much from the next generations?

[20:36] Claudia Edelman: But first, the rest of that inspiring story from our sponsor, Cisco on their Global Problem Solvers program.

[20:43] Edie Lush: You got it!

[20:45] Katie Clemens: During the first series of students is in Malawi and they come across this problem that there are contaminated and broken wells in the home, in their home communities.

[20:58] GPS: Young people in Malawi don’t have access to clean drinking water. 3,000 children die each year as a result.

[21:04] Katie Clemens: So that’s causing lots of challenges, including students having to walk quite a long way to access clean water. They’re not able to be in school during that time and as they dive deeper into the problem, they just realized that the impact is much more than they ever could have imagined.

[21:23] GPS: The demand in Malawi is simple, Christina, clean drinking water.

[21:28] Katie Clemens: They brainstorm and they brainstorm and they devised this network of sensors so they start to set up this network and they test it and they run into problems. ones along the way and one of those is extreme flooding. So they have a flooding situation and they have to really stop and say, okay, let’s go back and we need to figure out how we’re going to overcome this and work together. And it really shows you that entrepreneurship and innovation is a process. They have their challenges, they worked through them and then they come up with a business plan.

[21:59] GPS: Hey guys, remember when I was diving in Lake Malawi, I realized that we need to involve local people in our solution for it to succeed. That’s right.

[22:09] Katie Clemens: Finally, at the end they shared their new social enterprise and they begin spreading it more widely and they begin marketing and sharing via social media and they have this final functioning company and entity that they’ve come up with.

[22:25] GPS Students: My idea’s a watch that can contact the police with just a simple touch of a button, has gestures. Um, you can customize it, you know, it comes in different colors and it’s very cheap, cheaper than most watches.

[22:38] GPS Students: I get to help people around the world with flooding. So our project that we’re doing is a device that helps detect you droning and it can save people’s lives. We started off not knowing anything and we went on knowing more about technology and marketing business.

[22:57] GPS Students: I enjoyed working with my friends and just coming up with ideas that can help change the world. You know, you never get to do this when you’re this young and you know, it kind of prepares you for when you’re older.

[23:08] GPS Students: It’s inspired by goals because it helps me help more people and a community with problems they have everyday.

[23:17] GPS Students: To help others around you. Don’t be selfish basically to help people in need. There’s more people that need help and I have the power to help them create something that can really change the world.

[23:28] Katie Clemens: I encourage everyone to check out gps to theories.com. There are tons of great resources there.

[23:35] Tae Yoo: We would love for you all to provide feedback, share it with schools and your own children, students, you know, educators, and then you can download the teacher’s guide on the GPS Series, website, gpstheseries.com. We are all Global Problem Solvers and collectively we can solve the biggest, most challenging issues that we face in the world today.

[24:00] GPS Students: I’m a global problem solver. I’m a global problem solver. I am a global problem solver. I am a global problem solver.

[24:09] Claudia Edelman: Tae Yoo from Cisco, Katie Clemens from the Arizona State University and some of the children taking part in the Global Problem Solvers program. So Edie, we tend to get very excited about all the changes young people bring with their energy and enthusiasm, but do we sometimes get too excited? Are we putting too much on them?

[24:33] Edie Lush: Excellent question. Celina de Sola, she’s coming to us from our partner global dignity is 42 and she is at times exasperated by the millennial generation.

[24:43] Celina de Sola: The generation below the current millennials is about action and yes, there’s social media, but I really feel confident that they are taking situations and issues into their hands and they’re being a lot more vocal about it. Will that translate into political participation? I’m not sure yet because they’re coming into the age when they can vote so that we’ll see. In Nicaragua for example, the entire movement was driven by young university students and even younger students. So I think there’s definitely some things are turning around. We really need to really propel that forward in the most constructive way because it can also be destructive if it’s, you know, if we don’t give them the tools and the information.

[25:30] Edie Lush: Kenny also has cautionary words about his generation.

[25:34] Kenny Imafidon: So the one thing I would definitely say is that yes, millennials are definitely more socially conscious than older generations. That is for sure. However, it is also a lot of research that shows that despite millennials being more socially conscious and saying, that they care about feelings. However, did at least a generation that should do something about it.

[25:57] Edie Lush: That’s a bit scary, isn’t it?

[25:59] Kenny Imafidon:Yeah, and also that’s because given the world of online, we’re now in and the rise of clicktivism, as you could call it, a lot of people feel like once I’ve expressed it online, then that’s really it.

[26:11] Edie Lush: And Laleh Khalili, says, we shouldn’t project our hopes and dreams onto a vast generation.

[26:16] Laleh Khalili: The youth are often romanticized. We see them, we hear about them as agents of change. We hear about them as sort of progressive forces for the future harshly because of the ways in which the creativity of the youth and changing popular culture is so incredibly visible. We tend to think of them as perhaps an outsize kind of a category for the transformation of the social. This also happens in the negative sense in the in the sense that a lot of fear mongering, for example, about the Middle East tends to pivot around the figure of disaffected unemployed youth who tend to outnumber jobs and therefore because they’re unemployed and bored, they’re going to be radicalized. Both of those cliches don’t take account of the fact that you’ve are different in different times and in different places. They come from different social classes they have, they come from very different kinds of backgrounds. They come from different kinds of exposure to degrees of activism.

[27:14] Edie Lush: Before we wrap up, Claudia, I want to share one more observation. This is from Tabata, 24 running for office in Brazil.

[27:21] Tabata: We always say that people in Brazil, they should be less radical on their ideologies, their ideas, and more radical on their practice.

[27:33] Edie Lush: In a world plagued by polarization and partisanship, that is a pretty radical thought and it may well be that the biggest change underway is the new thinking of younger people. Disillusioned by politics as they knew it, eager for action and practical solutions.

[27:48] Claudia Edelman: But we know also that today we’re at this crossroads where were the first innovation that can eradicate extreme poverty for all, but will also the last generation that can stop and mitigate the impact of climate change and for the first time in history we can elevate the playing field for all. There is no way to achieve a better world without the young people really taking control and being powered.

[28:20]: Edie Lush: So now for the part in our show, when we give you three facts to help you look smart in front of your mother-in-law, as well as three actions you can take.

[28:29] Claudia Edelman: Here are the three facts. Number one, the number of youth between 15 and 24 years of age is 1.1 billion, that constitutes 18 percent of the global population. Number two is given to us by Celina de Sola.

[28:46] Celina de Sola: We know that two hours a week of after school clubs improves kids’ grades in math, science, in reading, and also makes them more resilient than their peers. So basically it’s through play, right? It’s learning through play, so doing two hours of something really fun, if it’s well curated, can actually not just improve your life skills, but also your academic performance, your conduct and your resilience.

[29:19] Edie Lush: And fact number three, fifty three percent of global millennials say they often support causes on social media, but don’t act in the offline world.

[29:28] Claudia Edelman: I love the third fact because it talks about young people be buying with their beliefs and voting with their heart, taking action and believing in purpose.

[29:36] Edie Lush: And it also raises that concern about clicktivism like just because I liked something on twitter or facebook doesn’t mean I’ve taken any action.

[29:43] Claudia Edelman: Or does it mean that they are enough actions for people to take if they have their heart in the right place Maybe it’s just about making sure that people know what actions they can be taken.

[29:52] Edie Lush: So here are some actions coming to us from some of the people we spoke to. Here’s Laleh Khalili.

[29:58] Laleh Khalili: Don’t romanticize the youth, but don’t also demonize them. That means that don’t necessarily imagine that just because the youth numbers are increasing, that means that there’s going to be radicalization or instability or whatnot. But don’t also imagine that youth are going to be the foot soldiers of progressive causes. They can very easily be attracted to quite right wing or quite destructive forms of mobilization.

[30:25] Edie Lush: Next one comes to us from our partner women deliver from Laurie Edelman. She’s the director of youth engagement

[30:31] Lori Adelman: Support the youth advocates in your community, see them, support them, don’t just offer them a seat at the table. Don’t just call them the future of our world, but offer them actual resources, support and capacity building so that they can engage today and if your listeners are interested to continue these conversations, the women deliver 2019 conference taking place in Vancouver in June 2019 is a great place to do that.

[31:03] Edie Lush: And finally Aditi Sharma.

[31:05] Aditi Sharma: We could start with destigmatizing menstruation and it’s just simple things you know, like stop using euphemisms for example, like stop trying to hide your sanitary products from other people just talking openly about menstruation.

[31:21] Claudia Edelman: The last action that we always recommend for you to take is to read Factfulness, to believe that the world is making progress and be engaged in the change that you can be.

[31:36] Edie Lush: So thank you for listening. Please subscribe to us at Apple podcast or wherever you listen. Follow us on twitter, instagram, and facebook at global goals cast and like, subscribe and download our latest episodes.

[31:47] Claudia Edelman: That was Edie Lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelman

[31:50] Edie Lush: And this is the Global GoalsCast.

[31:52] Claudia Edelman: Thank you for being with us.

[31:56] CREDITS: Thank you for the ongoing support of our partners. UN Foundation, World Food Programme, UNICEF, Malaria No More, Rollback Malaria, UNDP SDG Action Campaign, the United Nations, Project Everyone, IDLO, the International Office for Migration, Action Button, Global Dignity, Women Deliver, One Young World, GAVI, Save the Children, RED, Apolitical, UN University, Slow Food, Mercy Corps and Yunis Social Business. Music in this episode was by Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Asheesh Pilawal, and Ellis. This podcast is powered by CBS news digital.