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

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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

Transcript

Coming soon!

Maybe the Poor won’t always be with us

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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

Transcript

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

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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

Transcript

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?

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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

Transcript

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

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” 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.

Transcript

[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.