Michelle Cooprider

Our Post-Lockdown To Do List


Returning to work and curbing coronavirus are not competing ideas. That is a false choice. We can have jobs and health by building back in new ways that improve workplaces, education and medical care while deterring the infection.  Co-hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman seek out provocative ideas for immediate change.

They are joined in this search by Gillian Tett of the Financial Times, inventor and editor of the FT’s Moral Money newsletter and coverage. “The key question is how do we go forward and build back better and not merely survive but thrive in the future.”

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City Health Commissioner, says that “an equity lens” is essential to recognize that risk of disease weighs heavier on communities of color and lower incomes. Repairing this requires not only improved access to health care, but also to better housing, jobs and education. “We are only as healthy as our most challenged resident,” she said.

Jack Hidary, the Artificial Intelligence expert, serial entrepreneur and leader of Alphabet’s X project in quantum computing, says that we have sixty days to use the crisis to convince leaders to adopt immediate innovation. He suggests, for example, that big companies decentralize and create satellite offices so no employee has to commute more than ten minutes to a desk. He says he has discussed this with WeWork. He also offers ideas for on-line learning and telemedicine.

David Milliband of the International Rescue Committee speaks with Edie about how innovations spurred by the fight against coronavirus may have long-term benefits. Improved sanitary conditions, for example, curb other diseases in poor countries. Milliband notes that the simple instruction to wash your hands regularly is a major challenge for the one billion people who don’t have clean running water at home. Their conversation was part of a ‘ThinkIn’ that our colleagues at Tortoise run for their members and is included in Global GoalsCast with their blessing.

Facts about the crisis and Actions to build back better are presented by Alice McDonald of Project Everyone.

From our sponsor, Mastercard, Senior Vice President Amy Neale describes how Startpath, Mastercard’s startup network, solved a COVID-19 fundraising challenge for the City of Los Angeles in eight days.

Featured guests

David Miliband

David Miliband is the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a non-profit organization that responds to some of the world’s worst crises, delivering aid that saves lives while paving the way for long-term recovery. He oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries, as well as its refugee settlement and assistant programs in 29 U.S. cities. He was a member of parliament for 12 years and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom for 3 years. Miliband received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, politics, and economics from the University of Oxford, and his Master’s Degree in Political Science from MIT.

Jack Hidary

Jack focuses on AI and physics at Google X, and does medical research in oncology through his foundation, The Jack D Hidary Foundation. He is a tech entrepreneur that co-founded EarthWeb that eventually went public on the NASDAQ. He was the Chairman and CEO of EarthWeb as a public company for 3 years before becoming a board member of Trickle Up, which provides support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. He established his foundation to focus on medical research in biotechnology. Jack received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Neuroscience from Columbia University.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot

Dr. Oxiris Barbot is the Commissioner of Health for New York City, a position she assumed in December 2018. With more than 25 years of experience in public health and healthcare delivery, Dr. Barbot has dedicated her career to achieving health equity. As leader of the nation’s premier health department, she uses a racial equity lens to center communities, promote physical and mental wellness, and bridge public health and healthcare delivery to get better health outcomes faster. Dr. Barbot received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and holds a medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She completed her pediatric residency at George Washington University’s Children’s National Medical Center. Dr. Barbot serves on the Columbia Mailman Board of Overseers. @NYCHealthCommr and @DrOBarbot

Alice Macdonald

Alice is an international development professional with over a decade of experience. She is Campaigns and Policy Director at Project Everyone, a not-for-profit founded by film maker Richard Curtis which seeks to put the power of great communications behind the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As well as leading campaigns and strategy work, Alice’s work includes building partnerships with organisations around the world from the UN to civil society. Her prior experience spans politics, the NGO sector and the private sector. She was previously Head of Campaigns and Advocacy at Save the Children where she ran one of the biggest global coalition campaigns ever focussed on the SDGs. She has worked around the world including as a governance adviser in the Office of the President of Rwanda and supporting country level advocacy work in South Africa and Ethiopia. She began her career at the British Labour Party where she headed the Research Unit and was a senior political adviser on international affairs. She is a local councillor in Southwark in London where a strong focus of her work has been focussed on opportunities for young people.

Amy Neale

Amy leads Mastercard’s Start Path program for fintech/startup engagement. Through the program, Mastercard has engaged with over 200 startups from across the globe that have collectively raised +$2B in capital investment after the program. In January 2020 Start Path was awarded ‘Best Innovation Program’ by US publication Tearsheet, and in December 2019 Mastercard was recognized by the European Commission as one of the top 12 European corporates for our work with startups. Amy has a PhD in computational linguistics from Cardiff University and is passionate about making sure the world of technology is fully inclusive. Originally from the UK she now calls Ireland home, living in Dublin with her husband and son.

Thank you for making this episode possible:


Dr. Oxiris Barbot (00:02): Putting into place support systems that ensure the emotional connections of individuals really adapting the way in which we live life, to be more focused on reinforcing our mutual dependency and not seeing that as a bad thing, but seeing that as a good thing and that we need each other to get through this.

Jack Hidary (00:28): Here’s what we don’t want. We don’t want the old economy. It is clear that if you’re Hispanic in America, you do not want the old economy. If you’re somebody who wants to be entrepreneurial and is coming from a household without the means of privilege, you do not want the old economy. You want to move and leapfrog to a new kind of structure.

David Miliband (00:48): If the world wakes up and says, now we’ll look 3 billion people not having hand washing their own home is something that is a threat to life and livelihood everywhere we do all sorts of out. That will be a serious silver lining.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:08): This is the Global GoalsCast,

Edie Lush (01:10): the podcast that shows how we can change the world. In this episode, building back from the pandemic.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:16): This is a crisis we cannot afford to waste. We can build a better world, a better economy, a better society.

Edie Lush (01:25): And better means safer too.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:29): Stopping the pandemic and building a more equitable world are not two separate ideas. Think about it. Equity means better access to healthcare. It means digital access to online learning. It means better foods, safer workplaces, even shorter commutes, all the elements to a better life.

Edie Lush (01:51): Claudia, you said it. That is exactly what this episode is about. Building back better includes holding the line against Coronavirus, so we have brought in some very smart people to help us tell the story. The New York Health Commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, will join us from the front lines of the pandemic. Jack Hidary, tech entrepreneur, will offer three specific ideas to improve work, education and health, while reducing our vulnerability to infection. And, as the virus continues to spread around the world, David Miliband will talk about protecting the most vulnerable.

Claudia Romo Edelman (02:28): And bringing her sharp thinking is one of the podcast best friends, our work colleague and friend from the Financial Times, the inventor and editor of Moral Money, Gillian Tett. Gillian, welcome!

Gillian Tett (02:42): Great to be on the show! And I’m particularly delighted to be on the show because this is a theme which is passionate and really dear to my heart and the heart of the Financial Times, which is we’ve had this crisis, it wasn’t a shock. We’re now starting to, in some ways adapt to it, but the key going forward is indeed how do we go forward and build back better and not merely survive but thrive in the future?

Edie Lush (03:07): Gillian, you have been writing brilliantly in the FT about this so we can’t wait to discuss which we will, but first this.

Narrator (03:19): 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.

Amy Neale (03:30): We raised $10,000 within the first 20 minutes of the campaign being live and then we tied that to a MasterCard solution that enabled disbursements of those donations to reach the most needy in the ecosystem.

Narrator (03:44): Thanks also to CBS news, digital and Universal Production Music, and to BSR, working with business to create a just and sustainable world.

Claudia Romo Edelman (04:00): Welcome back. So pleased to be joined by Gillian Tett of the financial times. Gillian, I know that you at Moral Money and all your Financial Times colleagues have been thinking hard about the path forward, about the new agenda. So tell us how things will change and how that change can be shaped for the better.

Gillian Tett (04:19): Well thank you Claudia. And what we’ve been thinking about at Moral Money is very much what we call the ESG, Environmental Social Governance Platform, and all three of those elements are going to change in the future and it’s a way to frame how we look at the post COVID-19 world. If you think about the environmental aspect, some people say well maybe the shock of COVID-19 means that people won’t have the energy to have any focus on the environment going forward. We think it’s quite the reverse because actually we’ve woken up and learned in the crisis that there are serious systemic issues where science can shed light on our challenges, which cannot be ignored. And that applies to the medical world and applies to the environmental issues too. And the fact that the global economy is interconnected, it is prone to contagion and again that matters as much for environment as it does for the medical risks. On the S factor, what are the key questions going forward is going to be very much the social issues and how companies deal with our staff, and there’s a real awareness that companies which are not treating staff well, and employees well companies which are essentially ignoring suppliers, ignoring the wider environment will probably face some element of consumer, if not governmental, censure going forward. And on the G factor, the question about how companies are running themselves, whether the governance is just for shareholders or a wider sense of stakeholders again is likely to become increasingly important going forward.

Edie Lush (05:55): Hold that thought. We’re going to to it. First I want to share my conversation with the public health official who’s perhaps closer than anyone to the center of this pandemic, the health commissioner of New York City, Dr. Oxiris Barbot. You’ve just been or you’re still going through, in fact, one of the most difficult health crises in human history and you’re in one of the cities that has been hit the hardest by this pandemic. So I wonder what lessons do you see now that you’ve learned for public health?

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (06:31): It’s been an unprecedented time. Clearly no one would ever predicted that we would have been in the situation that we are in. And you know what I’ve been telling my staff is that our preparedness training has really paid off all of the years of training for this. It’s now game day as they say. And you know, the reality is that we are learning every day that no matter how much you train, there are always curve balls that are going to be thrown your way. There are always going to be aspects of a scenario that you could have never really taken into account. And I think one of the things about this pandemic that characterizes it is that it has not been a straight shot, every turn has had complications that we would have never anticipated. And so the lessons learned here are it’s not only about the expertise and the skill set, which of course is critical in terms of data analysis, in terms of laboratory capacity, community engagement, health systems support, communications, and of course mental health. But it’s also about how we apply this expertise through an equity lens, through an approach that builds relationships of trust with community members. And that above all incorporates adaptability.

Edie Lush (08:06): What are some of those curve balls you mentioned that the virus threw?

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (08:10): Oh my gosh, where to begin, right? I mean, every single day we are learning more and more about how this virus behaves. And that has been, I think the biggest challenge to communicate to New Yorkers on a daily basis. This is where we are right now, but it may be that the guidance that I’m giving you can change tomorrow. And so part of those curve balls have been adapting to communicating to New Yorkers that says, our guidance right now is based on the best evidence that we have, but moving forward, we may need to adapt it. So, for example, you know, the latest curve ball, up until now, the majority of people that have been affected by COVID have been adults, 80% of whom do well, 20% need more care. And it’s only been, I would say in the last maybe five days that we have really shed light on how children are being affected by COVID-19 and presenting with symptoms consistent with a fairly rare condition in pediatric’s Kawasaki’s disease that affects the cardiovascular system, but that now seems to be potentially one of the atypical ways in which this virus is manifesting. And so that’s just the latest curve ball that’s been thrown our way.

Edie Lush (09:46): So I wonder, given the fact that the virus is still mutating or that there are still lessons being learned in terms of public health, do you think there’s also lessons that you can already point to as we start to look at building back?

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (10:01): Oh, absolutely. I think one of the the biggest things that we learned early on and that we put into practice is the degree to which some of our data was incomplete and the reasons for it being incomplete were because the healthcare delivery systems, other parts of our healthcare system didn’t necessarily see the value of incorporating those data. And I’m talking specifically about race and ethnicity indicators. And so without having had that emphasis on our part of leading this response through an equity lens, we would have never really pushed to have our partners incorporate race and ethnicity into that data, which would have then I think significantly delayed our response to communities of color that are being disproportionately affected by this virus. Specifically, we have black and brown communities here in New York City that are seeing rates of death at twice that of the white population. And that’s a big concern.

Edie Lush (11:14): And why do you think that is?

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (11:17): I think it has to do with longstanding inequities that contribute to things such as inadequate housing so that when we give someone advice to isolate at home, because that’s the best way they’re going to prevent transmitting the virus, they’re not able to do that in a safe way. They’ve got overcrowded housing and so you have multi-generational families and so someone who has the illness may have it very modestly, but if they live with an elder, then that puts that person at risk. Other also is the concentration of chronic diseases in communities that have had poor access to healthy foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise opportunities, economic opportunities. I mean really a multitude of inequities laid on top of one another and manifesting in the most acute of ways during a pandemic, which then result in just, you know, a human toll that I don’t think any of us could have anticipated.

Edie Lush (12:35): So what do you think we need to be doing now to protect ourselves until there’s a vaccine?

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (12:40): The important thing here is that apart from the basic preventive measures that will continue for who knows how long, meaning you know, adherence to the hand hygiene, adherence to staying home and not going to work if you’re sick. I think what we need to really look forward to and start planning now is putting into place support systems that ensure the emotional connections of individuals, really adapting the way in which we live life, to be more focused on reinforcing our mutual dependency and not seeing that as a bad thing, but seeing that as a good thing and that we need each other to get through this. And it’s not, we need each other here just the New York City, but we need each other throughout the world to get through this and that we are only as healthy as our most challenged residents and ensuring that we’ve got stable housing, economic supports to make it easy for, easier rather, for people to endure isolation and quarantine because it’s inevitable that we’re going to have a second wave. And so I think we need to not only prepare for that eventuality, but really look towards seeing this as an opportunity to reimagine what it means to live in a world where we support people’s total health and looking at housing, education, economic support as part of what drives health.

Edie Lush (14:25): So are there any specific policies that you would advocate in terms of supporting that whole person’s experience as a result of COVID-19?

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (14:36): Yeah, you know, interestingly, I have been really pushing my staff to think about in their work, you know, what are the things that are, we are asking to suspend in, in people’s best interests so we can get through this pandemic. And, you know, it’s, it’s really looking at how we distribute, for example, medication to help support people in their recovery. Why is it that we have, you know, methadone distribution clinics? Why isn’t it that we can have methadone delivered to people’s homes, rethinking, you know, what’s the value of mass incarceration? All of these huge societal issues that really have a bright light shown on them now through this pandemic, I think gives us an opportunity to interrogate things that we have taken for granted as this is the way it is to really question how does it really contribute to our health, our community’s health, our country’s health.

Claudia Romo Edelman (15:49): Wow! That’s a big thought and I love the fact that Barbot said something that I’ve been thinking about a lot about how incomplete is the data that we have about people. For example, in the case of Hispanics it’s incredible to see the how inequalities and inequities are just like showing up every time more. We’re highlighting this virus and this pandemic is just highlighting all these inequalities is exacerbating the issues that were out there, but were not as visible for everybody and I do think that it is a time for all of us to start scratching and just bringing them to light. For example, in the case of Hispanics, what she was talking about, it’s 34% of Hispanics that are the mortality rate of New York we’re 18% of the population, but 34% of the mortality rate in New York City, 16% of Hispanics have no access to terms to be working from home or educating from home. If you don’t have data enough, you would actually just like think through and say like, “yeah, it’s the lack of internet.” So let’s look at internet access for everybody in New York. But as a fact, the more that you look into things, we found out the problem in New York is that the kids that cannot go to school is a lack of routers. So We Are All Human is going to be working through the Hispanic Start to provide 10,000 routers to kids that don’t have it. But it is super important. And in this time of crisis, we tend to forget things such as the census. So for example, Edie and Gillian, what we’ve been doing is doing help by distributing food, 10,000 dispensers and food baskets in the South of Texas, but at the same time, making sure that we do that when people registered to the census, we just have to be counted. We have to have data that is complete to make sure that people in policy can take those decisions. Gillian I do not want to go back to the same.

Gillian Tett (17:46): I think you raise a very good point here because the pandemic on one level is a great leveler. We’re all human. We can all get exposed to the virus and we can also have it terribly and another level. The fact we’ve all been forced to start relying on digital technology, those of us who are lucky enough to have access to it. Again, the internet can be a great leveler and connect the world, but the reality is the way it’s played out has actually in many ways been as much about a great divider and reinforce hierarchies and inequalities rather than leveled us. And it’s become a bit like a sort of television with the contrast buttons turned up in that people who are already in a good position have emerged relatively better off and people who are not have not. And as you say Claudia, I think the issue of digital access, internet access is absolutely critical right now because if you cannot get internet access, you can’t do your job from home, you can’t do your learning from home, and that’s going to exacerbate inequalities going forward. One of the variants in developments in this crisis is the rise of what you might call reverse innovation are people learning lessons from so called developing markets and bringing them back to the so called developed world. Although many of those distinctions are breaking down right now. So there are programs like one laptop per child which have been used very successfully in places like it would require to distribute cheap ultra cheap versions of laptops and equipment. You need to connect with them to a large numbers of households, which one could very usefully borrow and reproduce in a country like America. There are many other examples of reverse innovation in the medical field as well about how to get cheap, low cost vaccines or other crucial medical innovations and try and use techniques we’ve already seen in places like Africa and bring them back to America. That’s the kind of thinking we’re going to have to embrace and very much part of this idea that we are indeed all part of one world. We need to look out for each other.

Edie Lush (19:47): You know, Claudia, Gillian, you could feel just a tinge of regret in some of the commissioner’s words. It was like she was saying, “if only we had gotten this all done in the past.” Perhaps there was also some frustration just as we were saying goodbye. We asked how well she thought global communications had gone in fighting this pandemic and our answer was diplomatic, but very clear. Within the U.S. She speaks directly with other health commissioners and they keep each other informed, but there’s nothing quite like that to keep warnings and advise moving easily between big cities around the world. Urgent information first flows up to national governments.

Dr. Oxiris Barbot (20:27): To the degree that health commissioners of key cities around the world could have a network convening, maybe as a part of, you know, the UN or some other body, I think would be a useful way to do real time sharing both in what we’re currently saying peace, time and war time, right? This pandemic response is war time. But to the extent that we can be brought together in other times I think would be useful.

Edie Lush (21:04): So Gillian, any reflection on that from you?

Gillian Tett (21:10): Yeah, I think she raises three very important points. Firstly, there is a desperate need right now for more global communication and learnings. Not just at the national level, where there are bodies like the United Nations or WHO which are under attack right now, but do you provide some kind of state to state communication. But there needs to be much more communication at the lower municipal level because one impact of this crisis has been that people are trusting local organs of government much more than national or supernational, and many of them are providing the most effective responses. Even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, there was a growing discussion amongst city mass around the world about whether they should or could be more networks to connect them all. And you know, some of the joking that it’s time for different mayors in particularly in a country like America to start creating their own foreign policy and dealing with each other directly. But I think this is going to accelerate it. So you’re going to see much more of this kind of communication and frankly many more of these networks. Um, which brings me onto my last point, which is that thankfully there are these networks up and running already to a degree. Mayor Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York himself, has been very active in creating these global city networks. And so I suspect that groups like the WHO ought to be putting as much emphasis on activating those and working with those as they are on the actual national governments.

Claudia Romo Edelman (22:43): I couldn’t agree more. I absolutely couldn’t agree more. And I think that that is part of what we w we should be thinking about the new architecture of networking and our Global GoalsCast “Post Pandemic To Do List” is coming together! More communications about local health officials do not settle for the way things were in a moment. Three specific ideas for better workplace, education and healthcare from Jack Hidary from Google X!

Edie Lush (23:10): But first, here’s Amy Neale from our sponsor MasterCard.

Amy Neale (23:17): For MasterCard partnership has always been a really important part of the way that we do business. We have partners and stakeholders of all guises right across the globe and that really informed our thinking for why we set up the Start Path Program six years ago. Why is Start Path relevant now? Well, one of the reasons is we have about 200 startups that we’ve worked with over the past six years and with whom we’ve built enduring relationships. You know, one of the things that has meant in terms of the crisis is that we have this amazing portfolio of companies that we’re able to engage very, very quickly to solve some major challenges. A great example is the city of LA in the U.S. Reached out to MasterCard to see if we could help them to solve challenges around COVID. In particular, they were interested in setting up a giving campaign, a donations campaign, because of our relationship with U.S.-Based startup, good world. We were very quickly over the space of eight days able to stand up a giving campaign so citizens within the city of LA were able to donate using Goodwill’s platform, which enables donations over social media and MasterCard’s donations platform and we raised $10,000 within the first 20 minutes of the campaign being live, and then we tied that to a MasterCard solution that enabled disbursements of those donations to reach the most needy in the ecosystem.

Edie Lush (24:50): Thank you. Amy Neil from our sponsor, MasterCard. Claudia, you have someone really interesting for us now.

Claudia Romo Edelman (24:58): Yes, I love that idea of interrogating things so that we just don’t accept them as they are. So here’s one, a great interrogator. His name is Jack Hidary. He runs artificial intelligence for Google X, and he’s a tech entrepreneur and a philanthropist. And he has been joining me in doing a number of things for Hispanics, including giving a webinar for the Hispanic response and recovery plan the other day. And here are some of his insights.

Jack Hidary (25:32): Many of the politicians are talking about let’s reopen the economy, let’s reopen the economy. And of course we do want to have a robust economy going forward as we go past some of the peaks of COVID. But the question is, what economy do we want? What structure do we want? What society, do we want? And here’s what we don’t want. We don’t want the old economy. It is clear that if you’re Hispanic in America, you do not want the old economy. If you’re somebody who wants to be entrepreneurial and is coming from a household without the means of privilege, you do not want the old economy. You want to move and leapfrog to a new kind of structure. And this opportunity of COVID gives us that, roadmap. And so the old economy was characterized by, high pollution, low quality of life, you know, unequal access to education, unequal access to healthcare, daily norms have been changed and this is the opportunity to really rethink the status quo. And so right now the perceived trade off is that you hear from the politicians is do we favor public health and protecting everyone right now from COVID or do we up the economy? This is the binary choice that we’re being given. We actually beg to differ. We think actually there’s another way. The numbers are very clear. We have to go to a better economy, a better structure. If we want to address issues like this, this is the time to do it.

Claudia Romo Edelman (27:00): Jack gave us three ideas as examples of a better way to reopen the economy.

Jack Hidary (27:06): Idea number one, we call it 10 minute hubs or distributed hubs. We want hubs of work that are no more than 10 minutes from your house, no more than 10 minute commutes. The average commute in America now each way is one hour, one hour to work, one hour back. This destroys and really harms the ability to have good quality of life in terms of spending time with your children, spending good quality time with your parents, relatives and others, spending quality time with your own family, uh, being able to go to the gym and exercise. These are all impacted by people spending two hours in a car, not to mention which inhaling the air pollution on the way. We don’t have to have that going forward. We’ve seen now with telecommuting that that can work. Is the future just everyone’s staying home and telecommuting? No, we don’t believe so. What we believe is that HQ can be there for those people who live very close to HQ of that company. Let’s say it’s City Bank and Midtown Manhattan, JP Morgan and Midtown Manhattan. Great. If you live within 10 15 minutes and you want to pop over and work in the headquarters, great. But if you live in Hoboken, New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island City, Long Island, any of these surrounding areas, stay where you are. We’ll create a hub for you. Have a hundred people working for your company. It will be managed saved by a third party. This could be a way, for example, for We Work to regenerate itself. I just spoke to We Work this week and they said, in fact, yes, they’re going after this business model now to not keep opening We Works in downtown, center cities, that’s where they are today, but shut those down and actually open up in the periphery to enable Citibank to say to all its employees who do not live right next to it’s head office, “We’re going to create turnkey offices for you.”

Claudia Romo Edelman (28:52): Idea number two is about education.

Jack Hidary (28:55): We want to take laid off workers and empower them as freelancers and provide them with services. Small businesses that provide freelancers who are former laid off people. All ready to lay offs, are starting to happen all across the board. Small businesses, medium sized businesses, all kinds of businesses. We want to empower them and we can start new companies to empower the freelancers who are the former laid off workers that leads to online education. In the old economy of six months ago, an online degree was seen as the stepchild of a “real degree”. Quote unquote real degree, right? The quality of online education has increased rapidly in the last five years, but the the HR folks have not caught up with that trend. Let’s work with CEOs. Let’s work with heads of HR. Let’s work with community to convince them that the online version is actually preferred over sitting in a classroom. We’d rather have people stay in the workforce, continue to earn money for their families and get their degree. That is actually a preferred way to go rather than the other way. I’m now focused mainly on professional development. When you’re in the workforce already, you’re 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, 60 years old, you want to retool, you want to upskill. We have to help, particularly the Hispanic community upscale so that they do not bear a greater brunt of the layoffs that are about to come. 2021 will be massive, massive layoffs and the end of 2020 will be massive layoffs and we need to help people up-skill today, right now, right here, let’s get them analytics skills. Analytics is the number one requested skill in the United States of America today by companies.

Claudia Romo Edelman (30:33): And this is Jack Hidary’s is idea number three.

Jack Hidary (30:37): Let’s now talk about telemedicine. This is one of the key areas of inequality in America: access to good healthcare, and we’re not going to solve it in the old way. Having doctor’s offices, having people go to the emergency room because they don’t have a local doctor, a good doctor and emergency who becomes their primary care doctor, which is the case in many communities of color. This is not a great way to go forward with healthcare. We want to really stop the entire system of healthcare, which just happened now because of COVID, reassess and emerged with a different kind of healthcare system. One of the reasons why Elmhurst hospital in Queens is overrun compared to other hospitals is that the communities around Elmhurst did not have good primary care physicians and access to great healthcare in their primary care setting. And so they rushed to the hospital with any kind of symptoms because they don’t know, they don’t have a structure to lean on. And so Elmhurst had to provide that structure in addition to providing structure for the very, very seriously ill on ventilators and so forth.

Claudia Romo Edelman (31:42): The community can receive better healthcare for less by using simple digital tools and avoiding the emergency room.

Jack Hidary (31:50): This would mean that a single mom who has two kids and suddenly their kid is having a fever, she can quickly find out very immediately what exactly the temperature is and get this information to a tele doctor, get that doctor online within 30 minutes at 2:00 AM at 3:00 AM at 1:00 AM whenever the time is that the kid is sick, monitor that child and allow the doctor to tell her in the next 10, 15 minutes exactly what may be going on with that child. Do a number of other tests that can be done in the home. Even small blood tests. If you see the glucometer over here. If there’s a family member for example, who might have glucose issues, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, you could do these quick tests, transmit those to the doctor to see if maybe there’s an issue there and you could even do EKG if someone’s having potential heart issues. Obviously if it’s a heart attack, you need to call the ambulance, need to go to the hospital. But somebody who has say some history of heart issues and want to see if there’s an arrhythmia or other kinds of issues instead of, again, making appointments, taking time, going to doctor’s offices. This could be done clinical grade and all of these are FDA approved already. These are small startups that have done great jobs of making this happen, but they’re in the margin of healthcare system. Let’s bring them out to be the core of how we do healthcare going forward, not at the margin.

Claudia Romo Edelman (33:13): Jack Hidary is on a campaign. Instead of going back to an old idea of normal, he wants to capture the urgency of now to come back better. In other words, as I said earlier, do not waste the crisis and take this as an opportunity.

Jack Hidary (33:29): A lot of people are joining us in this movement to reopen the economy to a better one, a smarter one, a more equitable one with better access to education, more equal access to healthcare. These are the kinds of things that we can now do, but we only have about 30 to 60 days to convince leadership to do that.

Claudia Romo Edelman (33:50): You will hear more about Jack Hidary’s campaign. As I mentioned, we’re partnering with him to reinvent those rules for women particularly, and for Hispanics. Now, Edie, we’ve been pretty US-focused in this episode, or at least the Global North rich world focus, which I get, but as you pointed out in our last episode and as Gillian mentioned, there are parts of the world where the pandemic is just getting started.

Edie (34:16): So I am glad you brought that up like everyone else. I have spent my fair share of time on zoom calls recently. I joined one put out by our friends at Tortoise where the editor, our friend James Harding was interviewing David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He was a guest in our first season. Remember Claudia?

Claudia Romo Edelman (34:37): Yes, of course! He’s so focused on some of the poorest and most strife torn places on earth. Coronavirus only adds to the deep troubles.

Edie Lush (34:48): Right! So I asked him about what Emma in Gaza had told us from Kenya in our last episode: how the push for better sanitary conditions to curb COVID was also reducing other intestinal illnesses and diarrhea? Building back better really meant building things that should have happened long ago. Was that a silver lining to Coronvirus?

David Miliband (35:13): Well, it’s a great point. And necessity is the mother of invention. I mean, that’s the truth. So we’re using radio now for remote education. We are using motorbike riders to go and do child protection work. We’re using social media to take on fake news, which just in parenthesis is a huge problem in the places that we work. We’re running our finance department without having, without anyone having to go into an office in New York. So there’s all sorts of innovation that is coming out of this, and forced innovation, which is a good thing. And my friend Peter Heiman has started a website about education in advanced countries called “Learning from Lockdown”. And our mindset is all about learning from lockdown. We’ve got to do the prevention, we’ve got to do the health response, we’ve got to deal with the immediate collateral damage, which frankly is appalling in terms of violence against women and girls, which are massive things in the place we work. We’ve got to adapt our programs like with the radio example I gave you and then fifthly, we’ve got to learn the right lessons. And the lesson is that when you have such huge holes in domestic and global safety nets, you’re courting disaster and tell you living in the U.S. You see what having holes in the safe near me. Undocumented workers don’t dare go to the hospital in case they get have to give their name and address and get registered and hand it over to the immigration authorities. And that fuels a really dangerous cycle. In the global system 3 billion people have no access to hand-washing in their own home. And so that lesson learning, I think it has to draw from the real examples of the kind that you’re, that you’re giving the exams. I’ve given us not quite silver linings in the same sort of way, but if the world wakes up and says, now we’ll look 3 billion people not having hand washing their own home is something that is a threats to life and livelihood everywhere, we’ve got to sort it out, that will be a serious silver lining.

Claudia Romo Edelman (37:09): That’s a wrap. Let’s talk about this. So we got three different ideas for building back better. So what do you think Gillian?

Gillian Tett (37:17): I think it’s very inspiring and I think if you want to understand how inspiring this can be, it’s worth going back to one of the times that the West fought an actual war as opposed to a medical war, which was World War II and after world war two when the soldiers went back to their homes, both in America and the UK or the allied soldiers, there was a presumption amongst many world leaders that they’d go back and they’d simply vote to support the people who have been running the war campaign and everything would go back as it was before. In fact, what happened to the UK was an election where they voted out the old government and brought in a new government that then introduced some sweeping changes to the welfare system and created the national health system, which in many ways is something that today Britain is very proud of. In the U.S. the returning soldiers were part of a new wave that fought for, for example, extraordinary, educational opportunities through the GI bill, which essentially enhance social mobility for many years to come in America as people went to college for the first time. And those are just two tiny examples of what can happen after a crisis. The “build back better” phrase was actually created after World War II and I think the fact that so many world leaders are now turning to variants that now shows that crisis and war of any sort can be both a devastating shock that causes untold human misery and pain, but it can also be an effort to disrupt the system and create a fresh opportunity. So let’s hope that even amid this horrific pain, there are leaders with the imagination to seize on the second opportunity.

Edie Lush (38:59): So not every idea that we heard in this episode is a new one Gillian and they’re all newly urgent because they can curb the virus and help build back better, but how do you think we sort ideas from somebody who’s talking their own book or promoting an idea that they had before the virus, their agenda, and sort those from the ones that are actually quite innovative or will really work?

Gillian Tett (39:26): Well I think one of the themes that you’ve very much highlighted on this podcast is equity. So it’s going to be extremely important to not just have equity or distributional resources, which are going to be very important in the coming weeks when we come to issues like food and medicine and tasks and ultimately a vaccine, but also equity of access to information and healthcare, but also going forward equity of voice in terms of how we fashion this new world because we can’t afford to just have the rich essentially control innovation and ideas and proposals for solutions. We need to have what’s been called reverse innovation, which is learning from the developed world. We need to make sure that the ideas we’re listening to are those that are coming also from some of the more marginalized and long ignored parts of the economy, the poor people. And above all else, we need to make sure we actually have a way to get a proper debate and surface innovative ideas going forward. And yes, inevitably some of the great ideas will be coming from some of the more privileged parts of society who want to defend their own interest. Silicon Valley is immensely privileged, but they do also have lots of fantastic ideas. But it really is now about a system of checks and balances that make sure that just as America has fought for years to have checks and balances in the constitution legally, we now in a sense need social checks and balances, which, enable all people around the table and all people in society to have a voice. Because one thing we’ve learned is that we’re linked to the global chain of humanity, and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And a pandemic shows that if the weak, weakest link breaks, we all suffer. And that’s going to be true for the future as much as it currently is in the present.

Claudia Romo Edelman (41:14): And I think that part of what you started with Gillian is like, we have parts of our facts and actions in these episodes must be having a historic perspective. And just going back to seeing, you know, like this is again, not even a new phrase and this is not a new pandemic. And what are the lessons that we can historically go back to, even in the Hispanic called the Spanish flu, learning how information was denied, uh, and, and the government banned actually media to talk about the pandemic. And you know, it took, it took more than 5% of the world’s population. And what are the patterns, what we can be seeing from again, from wars and from history?

Gillian Tett (41:59): One of the amazing things about the current crisis is it not only does the current generation have a chance to learn from history, if it chooses, because it has access to so much information on the internet, but also there’s lessons can flash around the world at an at truly astonishing speed that would have been unimaginable just five, 10 years ago. So to give you a tangible example of this, various branches of the Federal Reserve have engaged in some astonishing research recently looking at the impact of the 1918 influenza on say, productivity and growth. What happened in cities, which braced a quick lockdown and those which didn’t, but also looking at topics like the, the statistical link between the Spanish Flu and populism and fascism in subsequent decades. This is very controversial research. It’s highly to the credit of the different branches of the Federal Reserve that they’ve even done this research. But what’s striking is that they put this research out with an incredible speed and that’s now being read right around the world. So the internet can spread good ideas as well as bad. And we’ve seen how globalization can create medical contagion, it can also create innovation contagion. And let’s hope that that happens as people look back to history, share the ideas, not just with each other but also with people around the world and hopefully find a better solution. But that requires having the will to look.

Edie Lush (43:36): Gillian, thank you so much for joining us yet again on Global GoalsCast. You are our favorite guests. I don’t know if we’re allowed to say that.

Gillian Tett (43:44): Well, thank you. And I should say, by the way, it’s also having the will to listen. And for that reason, I do salute podcasts like this, which are trying to take these messages out to a wide audience.

Claudia Romo Edelman (43:55):Thank you Gillian. Let’s stay safe and let’s say strong.

Gillian Tett (43:58): Thank you all!

Edie Lush (44:00): So to take us out of this episode, I’m going to hand you over now for our signature facts and actions. Today we are delighted to have Alice McDonalds. She’s the policy and campaigns director at Project Everyone.

Alice Macdonald (44:13): So firstly in the recovery we have to ensure that no one is left behind and that’s a commitment that underpins the goals. Why is that? Because we know that the most vulnerable are and will continue to be hit the hardest. For example, a recent report predicted poverty could increase for the first time in three decades, pushing more than half a billion people into poverty. In addition, the UN has predicted at least 15 million more cases of domestic violence and the number of acutely hungry people worldwide could nearly double. Secondly, we need a holistic approach. The SDGs are unique and that they applied to every country and span a huge range of issues from development to gender equality to the climate crisis. Carbon emissions have fallen by 6% due to the outbreak and we’ve seen cleaner air across the world. However, as the UN has warned, that fall is probably only temporary and we have to have a consolidated plan and efforts to preserve some of those small gains. Thirdly, we need global cooperation and coordination more than ever. The goals are founded on the principle of partnership and that is very much needed, especially when it comes to finance. One recent estimate is that the cost of protecting the most vulnerable 10% of people in the world’s poorest countries is approximately $90 billion. That sounds a lot, but it is equivalent to just 1% of the global stimulus package that the world’s richest countries have put in place to save the global economy. So we need the same kind of concerted and consolidated efforts to raise those funds. So what can you do? Firstly, you could campaign and advocate for both the short term and long term solutions we need like universal health coverage, debt relief and social protection measures. One thing you could do right now is donate to the WHO’s Global Solidarity Fund. Secondly, you could read Donut Economics by Kate Rayworth, a different holistic model for thinking about the economy, which is closely linked to the SDGs. Thirdly, you can join a global day of solidarity on the 22nd of May and send a message that we are stronger together. You can find out more about the day on www.solidarityinaction.org and if you want to find out more about project everyone and the Global Goals campaign in general, please go to www.globalgoals.org.

Edie Lush (46:26): Thanks to Alice Macdonald from project everyone for those facts and actions!

Claudia Romo Edelman (46:36): And thank you to our guests in this episode.

Edie Lush (46:39): And thanks to our listeners for listening, please like and subscribe via iTunes or wherever you listen and follow us on social media. If you don’t know it yet, it’s @GlobalGoalsCast. See next time, adios, hasta la vista, adios!

Narrator (47:01): Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie lash and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes, editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooperrider and our interns, Brittany Segarra, Taryn Rennie. and Dylan Pott. Music in this episode was courtesy of Universal Production Music, one of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing, music, film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media, including podcasts. Original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crowd, and Andrew Phillips. This episode is brought to you by MasterCard, creating scalable solutions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Thanks also to CBS News Digital and to BSR working for a just and sustainable world.

How do we come back from this?

Not since World War II has so much of the world been so shattered by a single global event. How do we recover? 
We look at recovery from multiple perspectives. An Israeli peace-maker turned comic shares her frightening tale of Covid-19 diagnoses and survival. She was quarantined in a Jerusalem hotel with Arabs and Jews, an education in the true meaning of coexistence. Dr. Tom Frieden, one of the world’s leading public health physicians, describes how to keep coronavirus in its box so we can carefully resume at least some parts of life and work. From two parts of Africa, Kenya and Cameroon, we hear about the fight to keep the pandemic from running rampant over Africa.
Facts and Actions are offered by Jonathan Rivers, the Head of WFP’s Hunger Monitoring Unit of the World Food Program, which warns that the economic disruptions of Covid-19 are increasing serious hunger in several parts of the globe.
Amy Neale, Senior Vice President Start Path & Fintech at our sponsor, Mastercard, highlights two start-up companies that pivoted quickly to apply their abilities to challenges of the pandemic.
Our partner, One Young World, played a special role in this episode. They introduced us to three of our guests.
The Israeli comic, Noam Shuster, who first appeared on Global GoalsCast last year in our episode on how comedy can demolish stereotypes. When we heard about her Covid-19 experience we invited her back. She was a One Young World Ambassador.  So are both of this week’s guests from Africa, Achaleke Christian Leke of Cameroon and Emma Ingaiza of Kenya.

Featured guests

Dr. Tom Frieden

Dr. Tom Frieden served as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Commissioner of the New York City Health Department. His work made New York City’s tuberculosis control program and overall health department models for the world, established effective programs in India, and improved morale, effectiveness, and impact at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Tom Frieden’s influential publications have identified the what, how and why of action to improve health. Dr. Tom Frieden is a physician with advanced training in internal medicine, infectious disease, public health, and epidemiology.

Emma Ingaiza

Emma Ingaiza. Health Manager, Shining Hope for Communities; Emma has more than 6 years’ experience in health programs design, management and implementation with a focus on increased access to affordable and quality primary healthcare among underserved communities. She has experience in designing and implementing programs addressing disease management, maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV care, adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), and is highly skilled at building cross-cultural relationships among communities in urban informal settlements. Emma is a clinical officer with an ongoing distance learning Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Health Systems Management. She is currently overseeing SHINING HOPEFOR COMMUNITIES (SHOFCO) primary healthcare services in a level 2 hospital in Mathare , Nairobi. She has had an opportunity to represent Kenya internationally as a One Young World Fellow and regionally in the Young African Leadership initiative East Africa (Yalieastafrica) Fellowship under Public management track.

Epie Marc Ewang Ndelle

Epie Marc Ewang Ndelle is a medical lab scientist with clinical experience for over 5 years. He also served as a Research Assistant for over three years in filarial drug discovery at the pan- ANDI centre of Excellence, university of Buea, Cameroon. He is presently working with superior health Foundation; serving as the Assistant Director in which he organizes humanitarian rapid response mechanism to people in hard to reach communities in conflict zones in Cameroon. He has been serving in crisis affected areas for over four years now, providing community health services, mobile clinics, clean emergency delivery kits and managing tropical disease outbreaks in these affected areas.

Achaleke Christian Leke

Achaleke is a youth Development, civil society activist, youth expert and university lecturer on peace building and preventing violent extremism with 11 years of experience. He is the 2018 winner of the Luxembourg Peace Prize, recognised by HM Queen Elizabeth II as Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2016, winner of 2016 Commonwealth Youth Award of Excellence in Dev Work, and named 2016 most Influential young Cameroonian
He was born in a community renown for youth involvement in violence and violent extremist activities. Even though he was a victim of radicalisation and violence, he succeeded in transforming himself from an agent of violence to an Ambassador of peace and change.

Noam Schuster

Noam Shuster-Eliassi, 32 , is a comedian, actress, public speaker and activist who grew up in the joint Israeli-Palestinian village Neve Shalom~Wahat Al Salam. She is fluent in Arabic, which strengthens her Middle Eastern identity that is based on family roots in Iran. Ms. Shuster has worked in peacebuilding with Israelis and Palestinians, including with populations often excluded from the peace process. Today Noam uses comedy to tackle issues of racism and identity.

Amy Neale

Amy leads Mastercard’s Start Path program for fintech/startup engagement. Through the program, Mastercard has engaged with over 200 startups from across the globe that have collectively raised +$2B in capital investment after the program. In January 2020 Start Path was awarded ‘Best Innovation Program’ by US publication Tearsheet, and in December 2019 Mastercard was recognized by the European Commission as one of the top 12 European corporates for our work with startups. Amy has a PhD in computational linguistics from Cardiff University and is passionate about making sure the world of technology is fully inclusive. Originally from the UK she now calls Ireland home, living in Dublin with her husband and son.

Thank you for making this episode possible:


Noam Shuster (00:01): And I realized that I’m one of the only comedians in the world that can write no form in front of live audience, not in zoom. And I just saw the most diverse group of people, everyone, Palestinians from all walks of the Palestinian society, Israelis from all walks of the Israeli society. It was experiencing and witnessing, you know, radical compassion.

Acheleke Christian Leke (00:25): People are very excited and happy to see that young people came together to respond and a young people from different walks of life. On Saturday, we realized that we had produced a 10,000 bottles of these hand sanitizers.

Dr. Tom Frieden (00:38): The more we can recognize that we’re all in this, the other, that there’s only one enemy, that enemy is a virus. The safer we’ll all be and the better we’ll get out of this. And that to me is perhaps the biggest lesson of hope that we do have the ability to work together and to get things done, and to recognize that we’re all connected. And global solidarity is something that benefits everyone.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:11): This is the Global GoalsCast

New Speaker (01:13): The podcast that shows how we can change the world. This episode, recovering from the pandemic. Recovery. Such a simple word yet contains so much both our personal and family stories and the challenges of communities and countries. Yes, really all of us everywhere. We’re going to talk about recovery from different perspectives. We will hear from dr Tom Frieden, one of the most important public health experts in the United States who will explain how to box in Corona virus so that we can begin to resume life and work and we will also visit Africa to talk with health workers whores, steel bracing for the worst of the pandemic. But find a moment to think about life after this passes, which is exactly what experts advise. Plan for recovery even as the crisis surrounds you. We will hear all of this and when we come back we will speak with an old friend of global goals. Now she’s a young friend, okay? A long time friend, the Israeli Israeli comedian, Noam Schuster, who will share her remarkable story of contracting COBIT 19 and how the virus brought Arabs and Jews together in a quarantine hotel in Jerusalem.

Noam Shuster (02:29): e have this like external thread that is the disease and we’re all sick so Jews are not getting more than Arabs and Arabs are not getting more than using. We’re just like we’re operating in a way that is detached from the power dynamics that exist outside of the hotel and I’m like all my political knowledge and awareness just went to the garbage I was experiencing and witnessing, you know, radical compassion and something that I haven’t seen before with people and I’m like, why do we have to go through a global pandemic for us, for, for us to see these these things?

Edie Lush (03:02): No, I’m sure there at the Corona hotel right after this,

Michelle Cooprider (03:08): this episode of global goals cast is brought to you by MasterCard. MasterCard is dedicated to building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone everywhere.

Edie Lush (03:19): We have seen some fantastic examples of companies that we’ve worked with pivoting their own solutions to address the crisis.

Michelle Cooprider (03:28): Thanks also to CBS news, digital and universal production music and to BSR working with business to create a just and sustainable world.

Edie Lush (03:40): Welcome back one your world introduced us to norm Schuster and I remember her so well me too.

New Speaker (03:48): That was one of my very favorite episodes of global goals. Cast three female comics who use their humor to break down stereotypes and Irish lesbian with OCD, a former investment banker originally from India who now lives in London and nom, you’ll recall that gnome is an Israeli who turned to comedy when she became so frustrated trying to use more traditional diplomatic tools to get Arabs and Jews to at least co-exist her comedy includes a finally sharpened sense of irony. So when she saw the invite from the Harvard divinity school through its religion conflict and peace initiative, it let her tell her story.

Noam Shuster (04:32): They approached me to come up with a creative project that has to do with the middle East, re-imagining Israel, Palestine, all of those topics as a committee. And the first thing that came to my mind is to offer them to develop a one woman show. And I called it the coexistence my ass, which is a cynical way of looking at everything here. Uh, what I love to do and I got an email back saying, norm, we would love to have you developing a coexistence. My asset, Harvard, everything was going amazing. This year was a dream year for me. I had a comedian called Mazda brand new was one of the, you know, the biggest Iranian American comedians that I admire producing my show. He put me on stages like the Wilbur theater in Boston and the Kennedy center in Washington, D C and then the Kennedy center booked my show for a premiere in may.

Noam Shuster (05:27): I was accepted to HBO, women in comedy festival and everything was going so smoothly. And then what happened to you? Happened to me, to all of us, our emails started looking like a cancellation festival and I realized that I need to make a decision. I have nothing to do in Boston anymore. Everything is canceled, tomorrow is canceled and what do I do? What do I do? So was I was mourning and I was crying and documenting myself. You know, going through all of this and realizing that right now, Benjamin, the 10 year is a better option than Donald Trump.

Noam Shuster (06:12): Usually people from the middle East want to go to America. But with the Corona crisis, people from the middle East wanted to run away from America back to the middle East. I got on a plane to Tel Aviv and there was no way to be a hundred percent safe on this journey. I immediately quarantined myself. I did not say hello to my parents, just from afar. And four days after I started developing the symptoms and my goodness, I don’t wish this to my biggest enemies. I had all the symptoms. I was really, really suffering. The worst day was losing a lot of oxygen and not being able to breathe. And ambulance came and took me to the hospital. And you know, I’m 33 I’m healthy. I have nothing in my medical background. I’m not a smoker, I’m not a joker, I’m not a midnight talk skidding.

Noam Shuster (07:15): But in the hospital they gave me 24 hours of of oxygen and then I was released to a Corona hotel. That is so crazy. So what is the Corona hotel? Oh my goodness. It’s a hotel that is managed by the, the ministry of defense by the army. And so once you’re admitted into this hotel with a bunch of sick people, you cannot live until you heal the quarantine us in this hotel, they contain us. And ironically, all the sick people together in this hotel are allowed to socialize, to hug, to do whatever they want. Well, the healthy people outside are lonely and separated. And so I was thrown in this hotel straight into a Zumba class in the lobby

Noam Shuster (08:17): and I realized that I’m one of the only comedians in the world that can write no proform in the lobby, in front of live audience, not in zoom. And so I very, very quickly realized that I’m in a very special place, maybe one of the most unique places in the world right now as people are separated in. And I just saw the most diverse group of people all to Orthodox religious Jews there, everyone, Palestinians from all walks of the Palestinian society, Israelis from all walks of the Israeli society. And all my life, I’ve been part of dialogue groups and peace camp and I grew up in this coexistence community and I speak Arabic also. Uh, I do comedy in Hebrew and Arabic and suddenly all these organic connections are happening, not artificially because we have this like external thread that is the disease and we’re all sick.

Noam Shuster (09:09): So Jews are not getting more than Arabs and Arabs are not getting more than Jews. And we’re just like, we’re operating in a way that is detached from the power dynamics that exist outside of the hotel. And I’m like, all my political knowledge and awareness just went to the garbage I was experiencing and witnessing, you know, radical compassion and something that I haven’t seen before with people. And I’m like, why do we have to go through a global pandemic for us, for me, for us to see these, these things. And you know, and then people are cynical and they’re telling me, Oh, it’s not a real life, blah, blah, blah. But I couldn’t look for problems from under the carpet. I couldn’t see any racism. I couldn’t see any, anything toxic. People were just really taking care of each other and I was like, damn, what’s happening?

Noam Shuster (09:56): There’s going to be like peace now what am I going to do stand up about? But luckily this place provided me with a lot of materials and really the show also was um, it was really, I mean I hardly had a voice. It was very hard for me to project because we didn’t have any equipment or something. The only spaces available for us are our rooms, the lobby and a balcony. So it’s not like the entire hotel in the spine getting massages and stuff. Right. Everything. It’s, it’s like a war zone. And did it work? How, how was the show? Did, did everybody laugh? Did, did both sides of the audience laugh when you’re stuck together? Sick in a hotel, you are hungry and thirsty for everything and obviously for laughter and it was great. People were laughing, people were happy, you know, it brings people together.

Noam Shuster (10:54): okay. I was kind of introducing myself to the audience and I was saying how much I’ve been through a hard time because I left the U S and I was supposed to put on a show there in Hebrew, Arabic in English, and then I asked is there someone speaking in Arabic in the audience? And a few were audience members raised their hands and asked, where are you from? And they told me a name of a village where there are cases there that supermarket cashier has got half of the village sick. So I said, Oh, did you hear about these cashiers? They’ve got all these people sick. And then she raised her hand and she said, that’s me. I was like, damn, no arm. It’s like God told you, Whoa, Harvard Kennedy center, blah blah blah. Come, come, come, come back home. I’m going to get you sick, but I’m going to get you skinny and famous and you’re going to be the only comedian performing in a lobby.

Speaker 6 (11:48): So we’re trying to look at the positive side of this.

New Speaker (11:55): About your thoughts about coexistence my ass now.

Noam Shuster (11:59): Well that’s a good question. I’m going to have to sit with all of this like mushroom trip that I’ve been through, sit with all these materials and see where I was, where I am now. Also what’s happening in the real outside world. But I know one thing for sure, I’m not going to look for problems where they don’t exist. I’m going to try to look at the beauty and really the uniqueness of what I saw and take out the funny parts from it and try to give strong messages to people and see what we can learn from it and what we can take from it. I think I dropped some of the cynicism that I had beforehand and I will try to really grab this experience and try to give people some of the good when it exists.

New Speaker (12:41): So what do you think recovery looks like for you?

Noam Shuster (12:45): So for me, recovery would be about storytelling, about telling people, you know, what I’ve been through about, uh, telling people the good things that I saw and also highlighting the challenges that come with it. I was in the real world of the struggle to recover from this virus and I feel like a survivor now. I got a call from the hospital telling me that I developed immunity and I can donate. Do you call it plasma also in English?

Edie Lush (13:12): Yeah, exactly. The plasma, the antibodies,

Noam Shuster (13:15): it has to be two weeks after recovery. So I’m, I already have an appointment to go and a thought that I, my body developed a, you know, antibodies that can go and now save other people. It’s a feeling that I can describe in words. It’s hard to think a disease and it’s hard to thank a very, very devastating moment for all of us. But you know, I’m Jewish, we’ve been through a lot. Today’s Holocaust remembrance day in Israel. I have to look at the good, I have to see a light going forward. It’s a, it’s in my blood, you know, aside from the antibodies in my blood.

Edie Lush (13:54): So it’s amazing. Cause I, I was watching one of your YouTube videos that was saying as you were leaving, it was like collective circumcision. Right. How does that feel now?

Noam Shuster (14:05): Wow. I mean, what, when I said that it’s collective circumcision. I said that, you know, in Judaism the circumcision has to be about a bond. You know, a Brit, we call it a bond with God. Oh my goodness. Did I feel God during this whole process? Oh yes. They, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not a huge religious person, but I, I do believe, you know, in a higher something, you know, and I felt it. I felt like something was leading was like, you are the chosen strong woman that is going to be in this experience and, you know, go tell the world. I felt it very, very strongly. You know me a little bit, Eddie, you know that I feel a huge responsibility on my shoulders to humankind, to Jews, to Arabs do, to healing parts of our trauma, traumatic pasts. And I couldn’t avoid it even now. I was like the UN ambassador of the hotel. So I’m taking it all with me. I have no choice.

Edie Lush (15:05): The chosen people, man, that’s what you are.

Noam Shuster (15:11): Oh, yay.

Edie Lush (15:15): Oh, amazing. This virus is so powerful, so horribly powerful. But so are these lessons that we have to take an embrace.

Edie Lush (15:27): And I know Claudia, that this is very close to home for you. So how is your mom?

Claudia Romo Edelman (15:32): It’s horrible. It is. I was telling you before, this is probably the worst time in my life. There’s nothing I can do. There’s no power. There’s no Grinch that I can do with my hands that tremble of not able to be doing anything and 16 days hospitalized and after that day the virus just took one aggressive turn and put her in intensive care where she has been for eight days. So she’s in the ventilator prone, meaning upside down where she’s sedated and just fighting my entire life since our eight days have been devoted to trying to help finding, I know more about like the drugs of this pandemic than anything. I know what is exciting doctors all around the world. I went to talk to doctors in China, in Italy, in Spain, and I’m seeing how this knowledge is incredibly useful for people in Mexico, Latin America and how important it is going to come to Africa.

Claudia Romo Edelman (16:32): So the more that we as a humanity can come together, the way that I am pretty much doing it myself and not only learning, but also passing and connecting doctors from the States to Mexico where my mother is, and ideally opening doors and deals so that pharma companies that are trying products in in one country can try them in others. I think that the last conversation I had with my mom was talking about what we were doing with a Hispanic response or recovery plan and hearing her say like, well what really are you saying? What are you doing? She was like, I know like, well, you know, we’re trying to put information and organize, well, what really are you doing? I was like, well, I think trying to get a number of people moving from fear to action from fear to home and she said, okay, that’s a good job, keep doing that. And so I have to be the first teacher of my own lessons. So I’m trying to do exactly that. Moving from the paralyzed fear that I have to action and trying to be educated about this and trying to share that knowledge with other people and what this program is. It’s about doing a plan for recovery. That’s exactly where my mind is

Edie Lush (17:44): and so Claudia, I am really pulling for your mom and I know that everyone is so I want you to know that I think about you and her every day. Thank you. Everyone is feeling some kind of stress whether they are personally affected or not, but in the developed world, one of the biggest strains right now arises as countries begin to contain the pandemic that spurs the desire to get back to work and to life as we once knew it, but the wrong moves could unleash the virus all over again. We all need to understand this better because we’re likely to be living in this tension. For quite awhile. 80 we turned to dr Tom freedom. He was a head of CDC, the center for disease control and before that he run New York city health department. Now he runs a global non-for-profit called resolve to save lives. Their mission is to save millions of people in poor and middle income countries. How have you found this whole experience, Tom?

Dr. Tom Frieden (18:52): It’s surreal and it’s horrifying. I was born in New York city. I did my medical school training here. I did my internal medicine training here, my public health training here. I was an epidemic intelligence service officer here. I worked for about 20 years for the city health department and I was the commissioner, uh, for about eight years. And the extent of the devastation is really very hard for people, uh, for anyone to get their minds around. There’ve been probably more than 16 or 17,000 deaths from Corona virus in less than two months for comparison in the 1918, 19, 19 influenza pandemic, there were 30,000 reported deaths in two years. So this is an unprecedented problem and I think all of us new Yorkers will for the rest of our lives. Just remember the ambulances we’ve heard day and night and knowing that each of those is someone’s life, someone’s story, someone’s tragedy. That’s why it’s so important that we work together to limit the harms that Corona virus causes.

Dr. Tom Frieden (20:03): This episode is about recovery and so we’re in the midst of the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu a century ago. How do we think about coming back from something this devastating? What does recovery look like and how do we get there? Well, first thing to understand is sheltering at home is only half of the equation. The other half is strengthening our health and public health systems so that when we begin to come out again, we can prevent another explosion of cases. That means strengthening our healthcare system so that health workers aren’t at such risk of infection. No health worker should get infected and it means strengthening our public health system so we can box in covert with testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine. If we can get the four corners of that box right, we can reduce the risk. We can limit the spread of cases and clusters of covert and increase our ability to go out, but it’s not going to be going back to normal.

Dr. Tom Frieden (21:11): It’s going to be to a new normal, a new normal where people who have underlying health conditions and the elderly will need to shelter in place for longer a new normal where we may need to use hand sanitizer anytime we go into a building, a new normal where we may be using face masks for some time to protect others and ourselves a new normal where we’ll have to be sure not to go out if we’re sick, even slightly sick because we may be spreading illness to others. And that’s something that’s hard to understand. This isn’t about necessarily making sure that we’re safe. It’s about collectively making sure we’re all safe by taking measures that will protect each of us. We’re at very different places in this pandemic in at different times. And uh, what we see is parts of the U S and parts of the world haven’t yet had a problem. We can’t predict what the future is going to be, but we know that there is essentially no immunity in the population. We don’t know if the virus will behave differently in different climates or different weather, but we can’t count on it.

Edie Lush (22:27): What’s the hardest part of those four aspects that you’ve mentioned, do you think to get right?

Dr. Tom Frieden (22:34): I think all four of the aspects are challenging testing. We’re still weeks or months behind having enough tests throughout the U S in terms of isolation. We’re still not doing what we need to do to protect healthcare workers. We need to provide an option for people who cannot be safely isolated at home to safely and comfortably isolate somewhere else, whether it’s a hotel or a dormitory and not risk getting others sick. We also need to protect our nursing homes. So isolation has challenges. Contact tracing is going to require a large core of contact tracers reaching out to people and um, the public understanding that this is a warning service. This is a way of alerting them so they don’t make their family and friends sick. Avoidably and quarantine can be challenging. So coming up with community supports for people who are under quarantine will be important. All four corners of that box are important. And if any one of them is weak, the virus can get out and spread widely.

Claudia Romo Edelman (23:36): I like the way dr Fraden doesn’t just tell us what we must do. He explains in simple, clear ways why we need to do it. I agree Claudia,

New Speaker (23:46): and after this break I talked to him about the disparities between the global North and South as the pandemic spreads. It’s complicated and scary, but first, here’s Amy Neale, senior vice president and global lead for MasterCard star path.

Amy Neale (24:07): So Start Path is MasterCard’s startup engagement program. We work with startup companies from right across the globe and our goal is to select the best and brightest, slightly later stage companies and engage them with MasterCard’s broad network – broad ecosystem. We have about 200 startups that we’ve worked with over the past six years and with whom we’ve built enduring relationships. One of the things that has meant in terms of the crisis is that we have this amazing portfolio of companies that we’re able to engage very, very quickly to solve some major challenges.

Amy Neale (24:44): We have seen some fantastic examples of companies that we’ve worked with pivoting their own solutions to address the crisis. So we have an Israeli company called voca.ai And voca basically harnesses artificial intelligence to create natural sounding empathetic, automated customer services conversations. That’s what they’ve always done. In response to covert. They’ve teamed up with Carnegie Mellon university to deploy their expertise and start collecting voice samples from covid-19 patients. And what they’re doing is looking at these models and seeing whether these models can actually be used to detect speech signals of the infection in the human voice.

Amy Neale (25:27): So they never anticipated that they would be a company operating in the medical or healthcare space and yet they’ve been able to pivot very quickly to take their technologies and solutions and pivot them to something that could be incredibly valuable for us as we think about how we detect this virus going forward.

Amy Neale (25:45): Another example I would provide is a Brazilian company idwall. So idwall is all about ID verification for onboarding new financial services customers. You need to demonstrate you are who you say you are. Idwall has pivoted that solution to enable telemedicine. So they’re now able to verify registered medical practitioners are who they say they are in order for them to deliver telemedicine – medical services – at distance over digital.

Amy Neale (26:16): So I think for what we’re currently experiencing, speed has been the underpinning. The impact has happened so quickly, but the response is happening incredibly quickly as well.

Claudia Romo Edelman (26:28): Welcome back to our conversation with dr Tom Frieden.

Edie Lush (26:35): Does it feel like to you that countries that aren’t as well off but that have very recent experience with infectious might in some way be better prepared than the more developed West?

Dr. Tom Frieden (26:50): It’s been interesting to see in many of the countries where we work in Africa, contact tracing is much better understood than it is in the U S because it is something that we still do in the U S but not much because we don’t have much tuberculosis here anymore. And, um, it’s not done perhaps as extensively for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and measles and other diseases as it might be here. Uh, but in Liberia, Nigeria, many other countries in Africa, they’ve been dealing with Ebola or Lassa fever or typhoid or other problems where they have to do contact tracing quite regularly. In fact, I was just seeing that Liberia with a population of roughly half of, uh, new York’s, uh, was hiring 6,000 contact tracers and identifying large numbers of contacts for each case so they could try to contain it.

Edie Lush (27:43): So thinking about the other areas in the world that you work in, are there any cautionary tales from there or indeed, anything that you’ve seen that could be implemented in the West as well?

Dr. Tom Frieden (27:57): One of the real risks is a sense of false confidence that it’s not going to come here. And I worry about parts of the U S or parts of the world that are feeling like they may be immune to this. And it may be that for some time they avoid severe illness. But what new York’s experience should serve as a warning to any place in the world of how devastating this virus can be, even with the terrible death and devastation that’s happened here so far. If we hadn’t sheltered in place when we did, it would have been twice as worse and that could get much worse as we come back out. So I think the cautionary tale is the need to take this virus very seriously. There’s no such thing as overreacting to covert 19 there’s plenty of ways to react inappropriately, but there is no such thing as overreacting to it given how serious the threat is.

Dr. Tom Frieden (28:52): On the other hand, there are some really important lessons from around the world. We’ve seen countries put in excellent services for people who are being isolated or quarantined that encouraged them to stay separate and that’s good for them. It’s good for their families, it’s good for the community. We’ve seen examples from around the world of scaling up the traditional tried and true contact tracing where people go talk to patients who are ill and help them to warn the people who may have been exposed so that they don’t end up making others sick. So I do think we’re learning about the virus. We’re learning about what works to confront it, and that really is a global community of learning.

Dr. Tom Frieden (29:39): I’m optimistic given the devastation this virus is causing. The world is going to learn a lesson and say we have to make sure that we take off the table the possibility that something preventable like this will happen in the future. Uh, my organization resolve to save lives, has been working for years to try to get resources to reduce the possibility of an epidemic emerging from Africa or Asia or elsewhere and spreading worldwide. And we’ve made progress. But nothing like the progress that’s needed. It is inevitable that there will be another serious outbreak. What’s not inevitable is that we will continue to be so woefully under prepared as a world. I’m optimistic though that people recognize now that the costs of not doing that are astronomical and we have to close those gaps for all of our salads sake. It’s the right thing to do and it’s also the prudent thing to do.

Edie Lush (30:39): We asked dr Frieden why despite all sorts of warnings, many people in countries seem caught on prepared for the pandemic.

Dr. Tom Frieden (30:49): I think we do suffer from a short termism that because of whether it’s political timeframes or the way our minds work, thinking about what will be good for us in the medium to long term doesn’t come naturally. Uh, there’s a fancy term for this in economics called hyperbolic discounting where we undervalue results that are in the future, uh, compared to what may happen tomorrow. If you were told, for example, if you smoke, you have a 30% chance of dying tomorrow, you’d probably quit. Uh, but because that chance of dying is spread out over the next 10 or 20 years, you’re much less likely to quit in the same way. If we said, we know there’s a terrible pandemic, another one coming tomorrow, we would put all of our resources into it. Therefore, I think we really have to counteract some of the ways both our brains and our political system are inclined to work. But that’s what good governance is about. That’s what global solidarity is about. That’s what activism can promote.

Edie Lush (32:00): Claudia, dr Frieden’s optimism reminds me of the way you often look at tough challenges as a job to be done.

Claudia Romo Edelman (32:07): That’s right. He, even in the most personal and challenging circumstances like the one I am feeling with my mother right now, we just have to get going. But getting the work done also means understanding the full story, informed optimism, informed possibilities for that. You spoke to the frontline workers in Africa? Yes, in Cameroon and Kenya. All three introduced to us by one young world Archer, like a Christian is in Cameroon and I reached him in his office

Edie Lush (32:40): that he’s turned into a mini factory for producing hand sanitizer.

Acheleke Christian Leke (32:45): Well a, it’s a very scary moment, uh, in the sense that people are panicking and I’m sort of far, we have 1000 plus cases, so there’s a lot of here and uh, there’s a lot of issues of misinformation and uh, some people are afraid to go to the hospital.

Edie Lush (33:04): [inaudible] is a 26 year old youth organizer. Actually. He’s a former gang member and street fighter. His own personal story is incredible. He then became someone who fights for peace and works with former violent extremists. As coronavirus began to spread around the world, he focused all his efforts on trying to contain the virus. Hand sanitizer was in short supply and very expensive. So he went onto the world health organization website and found the recipe.

Acheleke Christian Leke (33:33): Our office decided to form a coalition where we um, reached out to young people who are health practitioners at different levels, pharmacies, uh, medical doctors and uh, lab scientists and um, safety and a water hygiene and sanitation engineers to get them to see how we could be able to produce these hand sanitizers and give to communities for free. Because we realized that it was not only us, we could not purchase this, uh, preventive materials, but look, our communities, the ones who don’t have access to resources find it very difficult and it created some kind of panic and fear. So we decided then to step in by creating the rapid response laboratory where we were producing these hand sanitizers.

Acheleke Christian Leke (34:25): People are very excited and happy to see that young people came together to respond and a young people from different walks of life. And today we have been able to mobilize also volunteers using online platform. We have about 350 volunteers will som come and support to do a leveling of bottles and some are currently working on a training to see how we can work on misinformation and uh, you know, try to sensitize more people using online platforms and all of that. So I mean this has been what we have been doing on Saturday. We realized that we had produced a 10,000 bottles of this hand sanitizers, which is a big thing for us.

Edie Lush (35:06): [inaudible] has been working in cities, but if you think that’s hard work, his colleague Mark Andela is working in the Southwest part of Cameroon, which has been the scene of a separatist rebellion. What Mark calls the crisis. He told me about people living in bushes cut it. Their homes have been burned down and if that isn’t enough, they’re now facing the global pandemic.

Speaker 8 (35:29): We are carrying our rapid response in the hard to reach areas in the Southwest region where it has been highly hit by the crisis. So we produce clean the emergency delivery kits and we carry out consultations, mobile health clinics in those areas where internally displaced people have created new communities in, in bushes.

Edie Lush (35:52): And tell me why those areas are in such need

Speaker 8 (35:56): due to the crisis. The houses are villages have been burned down so some of them don’t have families in other cities. So they are forced to move into bushes for them to set up like new houses there in the bushes. That’s the only option they have to recover them. Uh, yeah, it’s, it’s a tough time. But um, as a humanitarian with the zeal to always help out, I just had to move. And even though there is much more fear out out there, we just have to do what we have to do to, to help out. Now. Smelly

Edie Lush (36:40): I spoke to Emma and Garcia from a health center in Kabira, the crowded slum in Nairobi. Emma is part of a program called shining hope for communities. Shopko for short, which even before the pandemic has been putting local health workers in the community, she describes the same fears. I’m panicked as in Cameron and also the inspiring community actions leading the way to recovery and and unexpected both welcome side effect of the increased hand washing

Edie Lush (37:15): for the first time in healthcare. I feel like the power to manage disease, the power to be able to arrest the spread of disease is moving from healthcare providers to communities and for me that is really huge because all the time in the past has been the healthcare provider who has all the power about what to do when to do but this time we are empowering the community members and it’s coming in handy. It is the most powerful tool we have currently as [inaudible] because they are trusted more than known in the community and therefore they are able to pass the information better than you would at facility level. We’ve had them go door to door, we’ve had them distribute soaps that have been donated, we’ve had them demonstrate hand-washing. They’ve been able to give us data that influences even other things like people living with disabilities, the pregnant mothers at home and just help us map the very high risk areas in the community. For the first time with the hand washing that comes with COBIT. There’s been MCAD increased in wash activities and the urban informal settlements I’m experiencing less and less at cases of diarrhea cases reporting to the facilities.

Edie Lush (38:37): Stronger basic health services have always been central to the global goal city and we can see why now it is a striking as Emma reports that the sanitary measures wash as we call them in developing language adopted to curve covered are reducing other maladies among the urban poor in Nairobi slums. So the question is can we keep these advances after the pandemic ed after listening to all these, I think that we have to recognize how these pandemic is hitting like in waves, it’s like one tsunami that comes in one continent and then goes to the other and then goes to the other and then goes to the other. And we have not seen really how many waves and how strong they will continue being. So it is quite hard to see countries and continents like Latin America and Africa just starting to get these pandemic and not being able yet to get the playbook and to get the best practices.

Edie Lush (39:41): So I would love to see more of that. What we were talking in the last episode is turn up the volume, tune it up, make sure that people understand how serious this is and that we can get going. I’m absolutely really, really clear that there is an aspect of this pandemic that is showing us how it’s not only horrendous. This is a really, really terrifying virus. This is the worst thing I’ve ever lived in my life. And you know me, I’m the optimist of the century, but this is really horrendous. It’s like a horror movie that has no ending. But what I can see is that this is humanizing us. This is getting people to be by far more humble. We’re seeing the incredible side of like, Oh my God, I really didn’t need to be working in an office so much. This is working for me.

Edie Lush (40:30): Or look at the sky is green and you know, we have more clear skies than ever before. So it’s humanizing or some putting us all in a same area. But it is not the same boat. It is the same storm. And for some people it is more comfortable storm than for others. And I think that the other part that we have to be looking at ed, how incredibly clear inequalities will be starting to surface for those that are affected the most. And I can tell you in America the work that I do here with the U S Hispanics again and again, I go back to how Hispanics are disproportionately affected with the highest mortality index, where the highest lost jobs, incomes and salaries. Because the industries where we work and we’re the hardest more disproportionally exposed because we’re the ones that are running the country, delivering the food, working in hospitals and so on. So I think that there’s a lot of global reflection that has to be done about how we need to really think about what will be the world after college.

Edie Lush (41:35): Exactly what you were just saying there. I think that we’re all in the same storm. Some of us are weathering in super yachts and others are weathering it and rafts on the seed. That risk being broken apart. And we’re going to build on this in the next episode when we talk about building back better and the inequalities that we are facing. I was so struck Claudia by listening to president Macron the other day who saw covert 19 as an existential threat to humanity. He thinks it will change the very nature of globalization and the structure of international capitalism and actually he took a very global goals cast view by saying that in recent years globalization has increased in qualities in developed countries. So exactly what you were talking about there. He said that it was very clear that the kind of globalization that we’ve taken for granted was reaching the end of its cycle because it was undermining democracy.

Edie Lush (42:37): The other thing I wanted to mention was I think we’ve had the sledgehammer, so I really liked this idea of the hammer and the dance. 30% of the world was locked down. So we’ve had the sledgehammer in parts of the world and for those parts now it’s the dance so you can keep the virus contained, you can’t get rid of it. Right. Dr Frieden described it to us as boxing it in with his four steps, test, isolate, trace and quarantine. So we could call it dr Frieden’s box step. But I think that was fascinating and the only thing keeping me going is that there is going to be some kind of new normal, while it’s not going to be normal is definitely going to be new. The other thing that I want to introduce is the world food program. Who has warned that as a result of coven 19 we could be facing a famine of biblical proportions. And that is not just for countries that import food, that is extreme hunger in places like the United States and with people like exactly those people that you are working with. That’s

Edie Lush (43:43): correct. And in America you have only 25% of pork production. So the farmers and the people that are with you saying the goods are getting infected and those quarantines. And so I do see a cycle that we have to break and what gets me excited, EDI I think is that since that last conversation I had with my mom moving us from fear to action, moving us from fear to hope. So while we’re in these and really scared because it’s the scariest time that I think that everyone of our living generations has seen. But I think that for anyone of us, this is the scariest thing, but we have to move from fear to action and from fear to hope. And I think that that’s the power of looking at advancing this theory like these making muscling, the spirit, the human spirit to see like I know I’m scared and nevertheless I have to look two steps ahead.

Edie Lush (44:38): And that’s where the word recovery comes so much into mind. I had a conversation today with Jack Hidary, Jack Hilary who I hope we can introduce in the next episode who was talking about like rethinking the future, rethinking what kind of an economy we could create a summit like reshaping the new economy so that we can come back with a different set of rules and talking about like the type of work that we will do, the type of education that will have to have the type of healthcare system that we have to have and if we can actually start looking at building back better. I hope that we can also understand that recovery is a word that has a heavy connotation. If we want to do it right and we need our plan and I hope that we can bring to the global goals, cast all those people that are clever enough to be in a room and start looking at how does recovery is constructed so that we can get there. Particularly for those that need to recover the most.

Edie Lush (45:39): It’s really interesting what’s happened to the trust within covert 19 with this episode showed for me is that the local community networks that are being set up as a result of covert 19 whether it is my WhatsApp group in London bringing me much closer with my neighbors, I’m going to pharmacies for my neighbors. I’m doing shopping for my neighbors who cannot leave their houses to the people in Kibera in the Kibera slums who are going out and helping other people wash their hands more. It’s incredible to see it in action and I do think that that idea of local communities, the power of trust that will help dr Frieden’s box step work, even better.

Edie Lush (46:26): Ed, you have something to show off and this is a time of darkness that could do with a little sparkle.

Edie Lush (46:35): So I was on the citizens climate lobby podcast and it was an incredible episode actually talking. It was supposed to be talking about climate grief. So that feeling that we feel helplessness turning into action around climate change. It ended up comparing the grief around climate change to the grief that we’re feeling around coven 19 and it was an incredibly powerful experience for me to be part of it. I had actually, I was just listening to the episode before coming on today and it’s incredible. It’s a bunch of people talking about the grief, the really deep feelings that they have every day dealing with Cova 19 and also comparing that to what we think about climate change and feeling an action towards that. You can listen to the citizens climate lobby.org or you get your podcasts

Edie Lush (47:37): ed every episode from the very beginning we have our section of facts and actions never so relevant than now. So we give you three facts that you can take on and show off with whomever you can show off in that so meeting and just like demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about on this area and three actions that you can take this episode from our partners, the world food program, WFP, we’ve got Jonathan Rivers who’s the head of world food program’s hunger monitoring unit. They are scaling up in a hurry to respond to the pandemic.

Speaker 9 (48:19): Fax number one prior to the emergence of covert 19 2020 was already anticipated to be a year of unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Consider these numbers for one second. 821 million people or one person out of every nine goes to bed hungry every night. In 2019 alone, 135 million people up from 113 million a year prior experienced acute food insecurity and by acute food insecurity, I mean their lives or their livelihoods were in immediate danger. Of the 135 million, 77 million were food insecure due to conflict. 34 million were food insecure due to climate change and an additional 24 million were food insecure due to economic crisis. And let me, this was before covert 19 fact. Number two, WFP expects the covert 19 pandemic to disrupt global supply chains and have significant livelihood impacts in countries across the world, ultimately exacerbating what is already a worrying food security situation. In fact, WFP estimates that in 2020 just due to cover 19 we will see another 130 million people experience acute food insecurity on top of the 135 million people identified as vulnerable in 2019 so in other words, the number of severely food insecure is likely to double as a result of carbon 19 fact number three, witnessing the multitude of ever changing consequences of this pandemic.

Speaker 9 (49:47): Good quality data is now more than ever a vital priority. Right now, WFP is continuously monitoring supply chain livelihood and food security impacts of COBIT 19 in real time across 17 countries. Soon we’ll be expanding this level of monitoring to more than 30 countries where WFP expects the impact of covert 19 to be greatest. These efforts to capture robust timely data allow us to provide accessible information to support the strategic priorities of the global humanitarian response plan. This data will also be accessible and available as a global public good to support everyone who is working to address covert 19 across the world, including governments and civil society. These monitoring systems will not only allow WFP and our partners to save lives and livelihoods in the short term, but they will also help facilitate and provide the evidence base for a better and stronger recovery. Longer term.

Speaker 9 (50:43): And here are three concrete actions to support the global covert 19 response. First, protect the vulnerable and save lives in practice. This can be things as simple as not panic. By panic buying can disrupt supply chains, drive commodity prices up, and make it difficult for the poor and vulnerable in your community to access the goods and services that they need. This could also mean simply checking in with those at risk in your community to ensure that their essential needs are met. If your focus is more global than download, WFP is share the meal application through this application. A donation of just 50 cents can feed one child for an entire day. If many people do this, it can have a very big impact. Second, do what you can to support local livelihoods wherever possible. Buy locally, reach out and support your local businesses. And if you’re thinking of donating to various organizations or charities, check that these donations go to organizations who are empowering local locally hoods. Third, join our global effort to respond to COBIT 19 and the poorest and most vulnerable countries around the world. This has already brought a range of key humanitarian organizations and civil society together. Learn more about the lands and whether it’s the sharing of key information through your social media for exploring how your community or company can support every voice and every action counts.

Edie Lush (51:56): Well, thanks to WFE for those facts and actions and thank you for our guests on this episode and thanks to you for listening. Please do like subscribe and share and follow us on social media at global goals cast. Stay safe, stay home, stay strong and wash your hands. See you next time. Bye.

Michelle Cooprider (52:22): Global goals cast was hosted by ed lash and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial guru by Mike [inaudible], editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooper writer and our interns, Brittany Segarra, Taryn Remi, and Dylan pots, music. And this episode was courtesy of universal production music. One of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media, including podcasts, original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie crowd, and Andrew Phillips. This episode is brought to you by MasterCard, creating scalable solutions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Thanks also to CBS news digital and to BSR working for a just and sustainable world.

Igniting the Power of Women: Melinda Gates and SDG 5


Global Goal 5, gender equity, is both a purpose in itself and a vital accelerant to achieving all of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. “We’re trying to move past the gravitational forces, the barriers that hold women back,” explains Melinda Gates, philanthropist, author and mother of three. “Because if you can remove those barriers and help lift women up, they will lift up the world.”

In this special episode, Claudia Romo Edelman and Edie Lush share the How To Academy podcast in which journalist Hannah MacInnes interviews Melinda Gates in front of a live audience in London. For the last twenty years Gates has been on a mission to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. One lesson she has learned is that to lift society up you have to stop keeping women down.

The How to Academy hosts leading artist and thinkers in London for public talks, debates and conferences. Selected talks are featured in the How to Aacedmy’s podcast series, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Featured guests

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates is an American businesswoman and philanthropist who—with her husband, Microsoft Corporation co-founder Bill Gates—cofounded the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. Gates has maintained her position as most powerful woman in philanthropy as co-chair of the Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. She’s increasingly visible in shaping foundation strategy, solving tough global challenges from education and poverty to contraception and sanitation. As part of the foundation’s mission to help all people lead healthy, productive lives, she has devoted much of her work to women’s and girls’ rights. She released her first book in 2019, titled The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World. Now, Gates’ mission is to close the funding gap for female founders, through her investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures.

Hannah MacInnes

Hannah MacInnes is a regular host and moderator for the How To Academy, chairing interviews, events and debates across a wide range of subjects and current issues. Before going Freelance she worked for over 7 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a producer / filmmaker. Whilst there she secured a number of newsmaking interviews with leading figures, including former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Mikhail Gorbachev and a UK broadcast exclusive with Hillary Clinton, as well as with a range of cultural names from Helen Mirren to Benedict Cumberbatch. She writes for the Radio Times and moderates at other major literary events including Hay and Cheltenham Festivals. Hannah also writes print journalism and hosts the “#ACupOfTeaWith” monthly interview series and podcast with Good & Proper Tea, which gets authors as varied as William Boyd and Dolly Alderton discussing their new books over tea cocktails and crumpets. She enjoys running and swimming in her downtime, and is an advocate for the power of exercise for changing your mood. 

Special thank you to:


Melinda Gates (00:04):

That moment we’re in, the engines are ignited and the ground is shaking and it’s rumbling and, and finally the rocket lifts off to space was just such an exciting and thrilling moment.

Melinda Gates (00:17):

So when I thought about the title of the book, I thought, you know really that is what we’re trying to do for women. We’re trying to move past the gravitational forces, the barriers that hold women back. Because if you can remove those barriers and help lift women up, they will lift up the world.

Claudia Romo Edelman (00:49):

This is a Global GoalsCast,

Edie Lush (00:51):

The podcast that explores how we can change the world.

Claudia Romo Edelman (00:54):

I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush (00:55):

And I am Edie Lush and we have something special for you today.

Claudia Romo Edelman (00:59):

Yes we do. Our friends at the “How to Academy” have shared the recent podcast with us and we are sharing it here with you.

Edie Lush (01:09):

Claudia, we have spoken many times on global goals cast about the importance of global goal five: gender equity.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:17):

Exactly. It is about empowerment of women and girls. And in this episode of the “How to Academy” podcast, you will hear from one of the most important voices for gender equity, Melinda Gates.

Edie Lush (01:30):

How to Academy is a place for people who think big. I love their courses. In fact, Claudia, I actually teach a How to Academy masterclass here in London. Can you guess what it is?

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:40):

Oh my God. Um, let me see. It’s not about cooking or dancing, but do you do anthropologie trying to find Mayan ruins.

Edie Lush (01:50):

I don’t, but I do teach about how to speak in public.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:53):

There you go, well, you know Edie, since you can get their podcasts wherever you listen. You hear these thinkers wherever you are in the world.

Edie Lush (02:03):

Just like Global GoalsCast, the How to Academy podcast has featured Elizabeth Gilbert, Eric Schmidt, Lisa Taddeo and now you’ll hear journalist Hannah MacInnes in a live conversation with Melinda Gates.

Hannah MacInnes (02:19):

Hello everyone. Good evening. And I’m delighted to see so many of you here as Daisy said, and as you might feel from the slight squeeze, it’s a sellout. Sold out I think in record time. So well done for getting your hands on such a coveted ticket. I’m thrilled to see that there are quite a few men in the audience too, so thank you very much particularly for coming. We need you on board with this as well. As you’ve heard from the video. I am delighted to welcome Melinda Gates here this evening on behalf of the how to Academy. It’s a real honor to have this unique chance to spend an hour hearing about her extraordinary work as a philanthropist, a business woman, and a global advocate for women and girls. She is, of course, the co-share of the bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which means that she is responsible for the direction and for deciding the priorities of the world’s leading philanthropic organization. She is also the founder of pivotal ventures, which is dedicated to improving social progress for women and for families in the US she’s the mother of three children. And of course she’s the author, as you now know of this book, The Moment of Lift. How empowering women changes the world, and that’s really the inspiration for our talk together this evening. The book is about and this evening will also be about how what Melinda has learnt from her exploration’s looking at the world over the last 20 years on a mission to save really those with the most urgent of needs. And of course from what she’s learned from these inspirational women as usual here that she’s met along the way. And I think the main point of the book, and you will hear this, is that it’s really driven home for her and brought into focus the fact that for any society to function, to function healthily and to function at all, we need gender equality. She says that no other single change can do more to improve the state of the world. So the main message really is that it’s for all of us, not just philanthropy, not just business, and certainly not just women to force that change. And I should say that the book is not just about women. Of course, it’s about anyone who society might deem to be an outsider. This week particularly, we might all be looking at the news feeling a bit despairing, thinking that we’re going backwards rather than forwards. But I feel that if anyone can restore a sense of optimism, it’s certainly, it’s certainly used. So thank you so much again for joining us and thank you all for being here. I should say that we asked you as you probably know, to submit your questions in advance and I will weave those into my questions this evening. I promise I will say when they’re yours, I won’t try and pass them off as my own. So thank you for coming.

Melinda Gates (04:57):

Thanks for doing this tonight and thanks everyone for being here. This is great to see such a great audience.

Hannah MacInnes (05:03):

So the first question I have for you is this title of your book, The Moment of Lift, how empowering women changes the world, where did it come from? And, tell us a little bit about the meaning of the title.

Melinda Gates (05:14):

Yeah, so I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I’m one of four children and my dad was an aerospace engineer and he worked on the first Apollo launch. And so those Apollo launches, I saw many of them over the years, but they were so central in our lives when I was a kid. And it was the one night that my sister and I got to stay up late and put our jammies on, and my parents would drive us across town to another engineer’s house. And we would sit in front of that black and white TV and the thrill of watching that rocket launch. And I had, even as a little girl, I had some sense of how hard it was for those engineers to pull off because my would talk about it so often. He was so excited in our house. And I would meet the other engineers, males and females at his company picnics. And so that moment where you know, the engines are ignited and the ground is shaking and it’s rumbling and, and finally the rocket lifts off to space was just such an exciting and thrilling moment. And so when I thought about the title of the book, I thought, you know, really that is what we’re trying to do for women. We’re trying to move past the gravitational forces, the barriers that hold women back. Because if you can remove those barriers and help lift women up, they will lift up the world. And that’s how I came up with the title.

Hannah MacInnes (06:38):

So you’ve been doing this for 20 years, you’ve been on your mission for 20 years. As I said, why did you wait till now or why do you decide now is the moment to write it all down.

Melinda Gates (06:48):

Well, I’ve been thinking about a book for a little while and as you say, I’ve been really incredibly lucky to travel on behalf of the foundation for 20 years and I have met so many women in the developing world and I go in as a Western woman and a pair of khaki pants and a tee shirt is all they know that I’m there to listen and learn about their lives and what the West might do to invest in help. And these women’s stories over the years, they just, they feed me and they’ve eventually called my life to action in ways I never could have imagined 20, 15 years ago. And I thought, you know, if those women’s stories called me to action, I want to write them down and also share part of my journey in hopes that it might cause others, inspire them to action.

Hannah MacInnes (07:36):

And you’ve been touring with the book since April, I think you’ve been everywhere from Oprah, David Letterman and of course book tours. How have you felt the reaction to has it has been and what’s the conversation that’s been built up around it?

Melinda Gates (07:50):

Well, it’s interesting because after the Me Too Movement, I was also traveling the globe and had a number of stops. Literally right after the me too movement sort of started in the United States. And I was first of all surprised how swiftly it was moving around the planet and how excited people were, whether you’re in India or France or anywhere else, places in Johannesburg. And it’s another impetus for me to do the book now because I felt like, you know, I lived through some of these times where we thought the window was open for equality, but it shut again. And to me this has blown the top off of it the Me Too Movement and so I want to keep that conversation alive with this book because I think there’s so many things we need to do. So one of the things that’s been surprising to me though that I would not have guessed having done book tours is the chapter on unpaid labor is the one that seems to resonate the most for women but also for men. I have had so many men come up to me and say, I just never really thought about the distribution of tasks at home and we never really had that conversation in my home. I just sort of assumed my wife was going to do these things or she assumed it and that’s what why I wrote that chapter and I was even pretty personal about my own home is because I think we, we go into our partnerships often and we just sort of assume the woman and the man both just sort of assume she’s going to take these tasks on in the household. And if we don’t stop and really look at that and look at it as work because it is work, our economies are built on the back of this unpaid labor. And if we don’t look at it, then we make mistakes. So here in the UK women do a hundred more minutes of unpaid labor every single day than a man does a hundred minutes. And if you average it out around the globe, it is seven years of a woman’s life. Now, I don’t know about you, Hannah, but I know what I could do with seven years of my life. I might go back and get a PhD or a couple of them. You know and so that unpaid work, if we don’t look at it and redistribute it, it keeps women from focusing on their own health or doing something productive in the workforce. And some of the labor at home, we have to be honest, are things we want to do, caring for our loved ones, reading to our kids at night when they’re little, but some of it is just chores and it’s filling lunch boxes and doing the laundry. And doing the dishes and so we have to look at that and decide who’s really going to do what. And I don’t think I really thought about it terribly on my own until I saw all the unpaid labor being done in the developing world by women carrying water, chopping wood, cooking in the cooking hut for six hours that I came home and started to realize how much of it we do in my own country in the United States. It’s again, it’s 90 minutes more a women does every single day than her husband in her home.

Hannah MacInnes (10:50):

Now you’ve pulled that chapter off. I will ask you, you write very honestly and very openly in that particular chapter and you say you found that quite hard to do. Why did you decide to be so honest about what goes on in your own home and what lesson are you trying to teach people from that?

Melinda Gates (11:06):

I want people to relate to me. I think sometimes they think, well, you could farm every single task out in your home. I suppose I could, but I wouldn’t be raising my kids with the values that I want them or that Bill and I want them to have. So one of the things we do every single night after dinner with the kids is we do the dishes. All five of us do the dishes and you know, and so that was actually going pretty well. Everybody expected to participate, clean up the table, do the dishes. But I realized at night, one night, gosh, I’m spending another like good 15, 20 minutes downstairs when Bill would sort of wander back to his computer upstairs and do, I don’t know what. And the kids would wander off to do their homework or you know, text a friend and I’m thinking, why am I still down here doing the last minute things? So I’m not always very eloquent and my home, they will tell you. But I got pretty frustrated. One night I finally just said, nobody leaves the kitchen till mom leaves the kitchen. And guess what, those last minute tasks, instead of taking 15 or 20 minutes, they get done in about three minutes or five minutes and everybody goes upstairs at the same time. And, but I think it’s important to say that to recognize the actual work for what it is, it is work. Just because economists didn’t choose to call it work, they said they could only measure productive labor. Well, when that productive labor got set as a measurement, it was males who were deciding what was productive labor. But I think there’s a lot of productive things that happen in our home.

Hannah MacInnes (12:34):

And there’s a particular story about when you were deciding a school for your child.

Melinda Gates (12:39):

Yeah, so our oldest daughter, Jen, she’s 23 now, but when she was about four, Bill and I had to decide on an elementary school. We looked at a lot of them. We absolutely agreed on this one school and once she started she was going to go there all the way through middle school. We both agreed on the school, but as we got close to signing her up, I was like, ugh. I could see the years ahead, you know, in the minivan and it was not close to our house. It was a good 40, 45 minutes away, round trip. And so I said to Bill, let’s just put her in the neighborhood preschool for a while and then we’ll move her when she gets further in elementary school. And he felt very strongly that she began at this school at the beginning. And again I was pretty frustrated. And then he, he asked a question but then he answered it immediately himself. He said, what can I do to help? And then he turned around right after that he said, you know, I could drive a few days a week. And I, at first I wasn’t sure he was serious. I had to look at him and say, are you serious? Because for him it meant an hour round trip cause he would drop her at school and then go back to Microsoft. And inadvertently two things happened. One is he learned that he so valued the time in the car with her and she valued it, that he kept it up with our other two children after they were born. And about three weeks into the school year, some women kind of sidled up to me in the classroom and they said, did you notice anything in the classroom? And I said, yeah, it seems like they’re more dads dropping off. And they said by gosh, we went home and said our husbands if Bill Gates can drive, so can you! So inadvertently by asking for what I needed in my household and Bill being able to step up and responded, we ended up role modeling something we didn’t expect. But that’s why those conversations in our own homes are so important. You know, we have to look at quality in our homes, in our communities and our workforce. And I think often one of the places we need to start as in our homes.

Hannah MacInnes (14:41):

You say in the book that I think it was around 23 years ago, you were first asked if you were a feminist and you didn’t quite know what to say to that. Now you say you are an ardent feminist. What changed and what is a feminist to you?

Melinda Gates (14:53):

Yes, so the first time someone asked me about 23 years ago was actually a Catholic nun. She was running an all girls school in Seattle. She asked me to do a speech and she asked me if it would be okay to ask me on stage if I was a feminist and I had to really think about it and I said, I’m not ready to answer that question because I didn’t feel that I was, and it took me quite a while with wrestling with the term and then all the years of travel to realize I’m an ardent feminist because I think we have to take the definition, take hold of it for ourselves. There are some things that got attached to feminism, the first wave of feminism where they got labeled angry feminists by the side that didn’t like them. And yet sometimes it takes anger to break through to break through heart issues. What I know now to be true is that to me, feminism means that when woman has her full voice and her full decision making authority in everywhere, that she lives her home or community and her workforce that is the definition of feminism. And if that’s the, that is my definition and I can more than embrace that. And I think that when a woman has her voice and her full decision making authority, what I know to be true, both from seeing it in the developing world and my own country and from the statistics is she empowers everybody around her. And yet there are so many barriers that hold women back in both direct and indirect ways from having their full voice or decision making authority.

Hannah MacInnes (16:25):

I want to come back to developed countries in a moment. But you obviously have spent a lot of time working in developing countries and I think you started your mission with family planning and contraception. You saying contraceptives are the greatest life saving poverty ending women empowering innovation ever created. Is that still your number one priority and why is contraception so important when it comes to the barriers between them?

Melinda Gates (16:51):

Yeah, so we originally started in vaccines. We did a little bit of family planning or contraceptive work in the beginning, but what we really came to do deeply at the beginning of the foundation’s work were vaccines because they saved so many children’s lives. And when we got into that work, we realized there used to be a vaccination system that worked worldwide, but it had crumbled. And so it was taking 25 years from when a vaccine would come out, say in the UK or in the US to make it to various countries in Africa or even India or Bangladesh. And even when it got there, it didn’t have the right strains for, for those strains of the disease they had in those countries. And so we kept thinking a 25 year lag, are you kidding? Like there has to be something we can do. So we got deeply involved in the vaccine work and I would be out in villages or in health clinics talking to women, standing in line about vaccines for their kids. And they would tell me the great lengths they would go to get their children vaccinated because they knew it saved lives. But if I stayed long enough and really sat with the women and talked with them and let them turn the conversation back to me, what they wanted to talk about were contraceptives and they kept saying to me, but what about my shot? Why? Why is it I used to come to this health clinic where I get my kids vaccines and I can’t get my shot anymore. And the number one type of contraceptive used in most countries in Africa is something called Depo-Provera. It’s a shot, actually a very painful shot you get intramuscularly and a woman gets it once a quarter. And so she has to walk a long distance and get it. And as I started to hear this, this sort of rallying call all over the world, I was shocked how much women knew about contraceptives and how much they were asking me for them in country after country, village after village, you know, slum after slum. And so I got that that just can’t be. And so when I came back and read the global data. Again, there’s a problem with data and statistics we can get into around women’s issues. We don’t fund them. But anyway, the global statistics said, well, contraceptives are stocked in, well what was stocked in were condoms because of all the AIDS work that had been done, which was great, but women will tell you over and over again, they cannot negotiate a condom even in the context of their marriage because they would be suggesting that either their husband had been unfaithful and was, might bring AIDS into the home, or that they had been unfaithful and might have HIV AIDS. And so they were going these great lengths to walk and get these shots because it was a covert way of getting contraceptives and they knew it was life saving for their children. So in 2012, after hearing this and learning so, so much and learning about it, I finally decided that we would step up and it was actually the UK government that came and said, will you host an enormous global summit and help us raise the money around the world to get this back on the global health agenda? And I kept kind of looking for the other advocate who would do it. I was willing to put money and funding in, but I kept trying to look for the global advocate who could do it. And then I finally realized somebody’s got to do it and I guess it’s gotta be me.

Hannah MacInnes (20:06):

You had quite a struggle in many ways deciding that it was going to be you because of course you’re a.

Melinda Gates (20:12):


Hannah MacInnes (20:12):

You’re a very strong Catholic and the Catholic church is very opposed to contraceptives. So how did you reconcile that and did it, do you question your faith because of that?

Melinda Gates (20:23):

I wrestled with my faith for probably two years to really square that circle and I couldn’t, I mean at the end of the day I had met so many moms and dads who had lost babies. I mean you go into a village and you sit with a group of women on a mat and there might be three dozen or more women there to talk with. And if you ask them, do any of you know someone who has died in childbirth? Almost all the hands go up. I mean, they know death because they’re having babies too soon and too often and their bodies aren’t ready for it. Or they will say to you, it’s not fair to the children I have for me to bring another in the world. I can’t hardly feed these. And so I kept thinking, okay, if my faith tells me we’re just supposed to not have children die or mothers die needlessly and yet we’re not delivering what they’re asking for, you know, you have to say, where does that rule come from? And at the end of the day, that is a manmade rule and yet it’s a life saving tool. And I also have this total belief in social justice. I got that from these amazing Ursuline nuns that I was educated by in high school and you know, they sent us out in the community to work and they taught us that one person can make the difference in the life of somebody else. I worked in the local school, local hospital, Dallas County courthouse. And so finally I just thought I finally came around to the fact that, you know, I use these tools and when I started to think how will I counsel my own three children when they get older, my two daughters and my son, I knew I would counsel them to use contraceptives. So if I believe and use the tool, I have to be willing to speak out on it. So I eventually told my parents that’s what I was going to do. They fully supported me cause they’re very Catholic and you know everybody around me that was in the Catholic community and I decided it was just the right thing to do for women around the world.

Hannah MacInnes (22:25):

One of the audience questions is about that struggle and whether you’ve seen it, whether it’s happened to you anywhere else. She says you’ve talked in other interviews about this two year battle you faced with yourself in the decision to make contraceptives a priority in a platform for the charity. Have you faced a similar battle initiating other platforms to raise attention to and funding and why?

Melinda Gates (22:45):

Well, I describe in the book that after we’d led this big family planning summit in the UK, I think it was July of 2012 I was, I was first of all exhausted and I felt like, Oh my gosh, we have finally raised money. We raised $2.6 billion on behalf of this cause we’ve got it back on the global health agenda despite the various controversies and particularly lots of controversy in my country. And so I kind of thought, okay, we’ve done our job. Like, I’ll keep pushing. You know, I knew there was lots of work ahead on family planning. We have to build a data system. We had to get the supplies out, we would have to fundraise again. I knew in five years, but I thought, okay, this is the issue. But as I described in the book, I went to a dinner that night with a group of women, almost all from the UK, very influential women doing work in their various sectors in the field and they basically opened my eyes and they said, don’t you see what you’ve done? And I said, yeah, this is supposed to be a celebratory dinner. We’re all having a glass of wine. I’m thinking we raised this money, we’ve got on the global health agenda. And they said, no, you’ve just begun. There is so much more that has to be done on behalf of women. And I thought, Oh my gosh, I am not signing up for that. That is no, I know how big that agenda is. And I knew how hard it would be to drive the agenda, but as time passed I realized no, there are so many more things we need to do. And yes, at times it takes courage and at times, you know, stepping out and saying this is the right thing to do. You know where to go into a meeting. I go into meetings in the UN where nobody used to talk about women, much less girls in the UN and investing in them and now I stand up in front of rooms of mostly men and say this is what we need to do. This is the agenda of the future. And my job is to get men and women on board with that. And I’ve gotten more confident doing that over time. But it takes a while.

Hannah MacInnes (24:43):

I mean one of the things that you’ve gone in and talked about is child marriage. That also is a chapter in the book. Tell us some of the heartbreaking stories. We can’t go into all of them now, but some of the stories about child marriage and why that is such a, again, another huge barrier in the developing world.

Melinda Gates (24:57):

Yes, that is a huge barrier and there are many advocates who lead that. And let me just be clear. Everything I’m talking about tonight, every single issue, whether it’s vaccines, whether it’s women’s issues, children’s issues, girls issues, these, anything the foundation does is in partnership with somebody else. We do nothing alone. We could not begin to achieve these goals. So I had met Mabel van Oranje over many years. She’s from the Netherlands and she has been leading an effort on child marriage with many partners in the field. And as I would come upon the issue out in the field, I wanted to learn more about it. And so I met, one of the stories I tell in the book is I went to Ethiopia and I met with a group of young girls. First I met with a group of girls who had been pulled out of school and were already in marriage. And then another group of girls who were still in school. But knew they were going to be married off and these girls, they are so young and talk about not having your voice. I mean it just, it broke my heart. I mean some of them are nine, some of them are 11 some of them are 12 and they will tell you I want to stay in school. I’m doing everything I can to stay in school. But their families would often, you know, trick them. They would think they were going out to get the water, which is what most young girls do. You’re assigned that task usually by your parents in the developing world. They’d go off to get water and they’d say we need water, fresh water. Go to the water well to get it, cause we’re going to host a party today. And they would come back and find out it was their own wedding. And when a girl is married off young, she is often the property essentially of the other family. And you want to talk about losing your voice, no chance for education. And then you basically are in a destitute situation, a life of slavery and many of these girls are, you know, they marry somebody who’s of course not of their village and so they may travel a long distance and not even know how to get back to their home and have no contact. That is just sad.

Hannah MacInnes (26:59):

But you’re trying it in these places essentially to change culture and tradition. One of the things that you seem to wrestle with a bit in the book and you bring up Hans Rosling who I also been very lucky enough to meet the statistician, he said to you, was warning you that American billionaires giving away money will mess everything up. When you’re helping in these areas, how do you try and make sure that that isn’t the case? What was he talking about?

Melinda Gates (27:25):

Yeah, he was really concerned and rightfully so, and I think we all have to watch for this all the time is you can’t just take a Western idea into community and decide we’re going to change this. We want to fix this. You know, you have to try and take your Western hat off and say, if I was living in this community and somebody was bringing in a new idea or a new piece of technology, and by technology I mean even a vaccine, what would I have to know or, or want or need to understand before I would listen to that person? We’ll often, well first of all, if somebody comes in with their own point of view, and a judgmental point of view, you’re not going to get anywhere. And second of all, it takes the people around you to educate you with the right information. So what we have learned early on, I was lucky enough that president Jimmy Carter came to the foundation very early and I said to him, president Carter, he had been working in global health and for many, many years after his presidency and doing very effective work. And I said, president Carter, what is it we should know that took you a while to learn that hopefully we wouldn’t have to relearn. And he said, you know, Melinda, you have to go into any community, whenever you’re going into community, to bring knowledge or new information or trying to help change society. The community has to want what the information you’re bringing in and they have to own it and they have to see it as theirs. And if you don’t do that, you might get a little bit of change for a while while you’re there. But as soon as you leave they’re going to go back to what they were doing before because it’s not that they really believe you, they might be incentive to do what you wanted. And so we work with partners who’ve been working on the ground in these communities often for 30 or 40 years and the partners often have people who are from the community working there and so they have to start conversations and build trust and knowledge and hear what’s interesting to the people in the local community, in the village, work on those things first and then start to bring new knowledge and see if the villagers want to take that up.

Hannah MacInnes (29:24):

Do you think that the conversation then in that is more important than the science and the technology?

Melinda Gates (29:29):

No, I don’t think it’s one or the other. I think that you absolutely have to have new technology. I mean, why do we not face polio in the United, in the United Kingdom or United States? Why are we essentially eradicated smallpox in our countries because of vaccines? You know, I have an aunt, I write about her in the book. I’m very close to her. She is still paralyzed from polio. My mom was ostracized. No one would play with her because once her sister got polio, they didn’t know how it was spread and they thought maybe my mom had it. So we forget the difference these vaccines make, but it’s that science that moves the world forward. But the way you bring it into a community and get them used to the idea has to be done with a lot of trust and a lot of listing and a lot of cultural context. Now when you go to Africa, people are asking us for vaccines or contraceptives because they see and know the difference it makes. But without that technology, I don’t care how much conversation you have, but if you don’t have a good vaccine for pick your favorite disease, smallpox, it’s going to likely break out in that community and children are going to die. No amount of conversations going to change that. So you have to mirror together the best science and the latest science and thinking. Bill and I are absolute believers in innovation but with the right way of doing what we call delivery. And if a parent doesn’t trust you, they’re not going to accept a vaccine in their body or their children’s body and for good reason. I mean we’re all concerned about what we put in our bodies and our health, so it has to be done. You have to put both together the great science and the great trusting relationship to get people to trust and to bring, accept new knowledge and then to carry it forward.

Hannah MacInnes (31:13):

One of the things that really struck me is the technology obviously can be so simple. And the difference between having a phone, the story back to child marriage of the girl who had the app on her phone, which saved her from a child marriage. Tell us about that.

Melinda Gates (31:27):

Yes, she was in India and she was going to be married off and quite quite often the family is marrying the girl off because one, they sometimes don’t have the assets to feed all the children they have and two, they think they’re protecting the family’s honor by making sure that she’s married and married young, so she’s not in a violent situation or she’s not promiscuous. But anyway, this girl did not want to be married, but her parents had arranged for a marriage and she was lucky enough to have access to this app on her phone in India where she could push a button and and a notice when out, an emergency notice went out to some trusted sources and a group came in and pulled her out of that situation and saved her. Now that is an amazing first start because she wasn’t then married off. But think about it. She’s from that family and she’s from that community that believes in marrying girls young. So without the knowledge and teaching the villagers how and incentivizing them for their, how their families will be better off if they don’t marry their girls young, you’re not going to get the cultural change. And so you both have to have great policy at the top. You have to have ways of enforcing it, and you have to have community change. So communities start to accept, we just shouldn’t marry our girls off.

Hannah MacInnes (32:44):

I’m going to bring in one of the audience questions here because you were speaking about the decision and the difficulty. Someone else was asking about how to decide, where to put, where to, where to dedicate. And this question is, with so many issues that need to be addressed, how did you decide which areas to focus on from the world’s most pressing problems?

Melinda Gates (33:04):

Well, initially, you know, initially we took a very economic approach. I mean, we want to make sure that every, you know, $100, a hundred pounds if we, if we go and ask the British government to put down a hundred pounds of tax payer dollar, we want to know that money’s being spent well. And so we initially looked at what is the, where does the greatest death happen in the world for children and for adults and disabilities for adults that if you get several bouts of malaria, you then don’t go, you miss, you know, many weeks or months of work in the developing world. So we looked at the biggest death for children and death for adult and disability for adults. And then we started to say, well where could a philanthropic organization make the most change in that? And what are the levers? Are there levers for change? So we first worked on childhood diseases and adult diseases, which takes you very quickly to vaccines and fixing the vaccine system coming out with new vaccines. The two biggest killers of children are diarrhea and pneumonia in the developing world. Those are needless deaths and vaccines will save many of those children. And actually are now. So we started with innovations in health. We started to work then on delivery. How do you deliver those in the ways that I talked about earlier and over time we have come deeply to this women and girls work because we realized that if you make an assumption about a new tool, a new piece of innovation, getting out equally into the hands of men and women in the developing world, that’s a false assumption and you have to do specific programming to reach women because quite often the system doesn’t reach them and yet it’s the women and their husbands who will tell you over and over again. It’s my wife’s job to feed the kids and to look after their health and then it’s our job to make sure we have the fees for school and so we have to do specific programming to help women, but we are basically, our goal is to try and help people lift themselves out of poverty and we look for the greatest levers of change that we can help create with our partners to make that happen.

Hannah MacInnes (35:09):

You say the world’s richest countries don’t care about the poorest, and I’m sure you know that here there’s often a debate about 7% and people who don’t think that we should be giving that away. And I have an inkling, I might know the answer is your answer to them to those complaints.

Melinda Gates (35:27):

I think people do care. I think you have evidence of it in your own country with red nose day. I mean look how generous people are on red nose day. Look at what happens. There’s an emergency situation and it’s almost, it’s obvious that money will help, right? People step up and give. And so I think sometimes though you get this backlash from a small group that says we shouldn’t do that or we should care more about our own or for good reason. People ask and they should ask, is this aid being effective? That is a fabulous question. And because we do need to measure aid and know that every hundred pounds that’s put up of UK payers money is well spent. But what I think sometimes you get pushed back from this small group of loud voices and sometimes it’s quite honestly driven by the press. And what I know to be true is that when you make investments on behalf of others in the developing world, when you make these foreign aid investments, it’s not forever. South Korea is a perfect model. Lots of foreign aid went in. They grew from low to middle to high income. They now give aid because they see the difference it makes, but it’s also if we want peace and prosperity in the world, people have to have a good functioning health system. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t mean you have to have big gleaming hospitals all over, but it means you have to have a functioning health system and that often means you have a health clinic that’s maybe three quarters the size of this stage. That’s the first place a mom and dad goes. And so you have to make sure people have good health where they are because then their kids can go on to get a good education and then they can go on to create prosperity in their own society. And when you do that, people by and large want to stay where they are. If their country and their community is prosperous, they want to stay with the people that they know and they want to be able to lift up their families. But conversely, if they can’t, then they will do the horrific, horrific thing of uprooting their family and ending up on the high sea in a high risk situation in the Mediterranean. So if we want peace and stability in the world, we have to invest in low income countries and help them get on their way to being middle income countries because that is their goal ultimately for themselves.

Hannah MacInnes (37:45):

When you look around your own country, I know you write quite openly in the book that you’ll have great frustrations with the US administration. I obviously, your main point of the book is about overcoming the need to create outsiders, and that’s the greatest challenge as human beings. I don’t want to dwell too much on Trump, but how do you, how exasperating is it for you? How much despair do you feel trying to do all these things across the world when you have a president who’s telling African American women to go back to where they came from? Or do you think there’s a sense that there’s a spur behind all of that and people galvanized more than they were because against it?

Melinda Gates (38:24):

Well, I think we have to understand that what Trump wants us to do is focus on Trump. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what he’s doing every single day. He’s creating some sort of outrageous or he’s trying to right. But what I know to be true is luckily in the United States, the administration proposes a budget, but Congress disposes the money, now. So this administration chose to zero out. The proposed budget was to zero out the accounts that had to do with women or women’s reproductive rights, but Congress in their wisdom held up the funding because they know the difference that that makes. So what it means is yes, the job is harder when we go to Washington DC now, absolutely for Bill and me and all of our partners, but there is still wisdom on the Hill and what we have to do on Capitol Hill. What we have to do is make sure we find this coalition of the willing, and it is harder though because Americans are more polarized just as you’re seeing more polarization in many countries, but you have to find the places where we are the same. And I do think people care about other human beings and we witness it all the time in an emergency disaster relief when there’s a catastrophe, people open their pocketbooks and they give money. So we have to stop focusing on him because that’s what he’d like us to do and focus on what’s actually possible and then make a decision that we’re going to keep focusing on that and doing the actual work. So I haven’t changed what I’m doing. Bill hasn’t changed what he’s doing. Yes, we call on different people, fewer people in the administration. Believe me, we still made the rounds and the administration, but luckily the people making many of those decisions are on Capitol Hill.

Hannah MacInnes (40:05):

I want to come onto the workplace where you spoke about at the beginning, and obviously we’ve already talked about inequality in the home and this is obviously a huge problem in developed countries in the workplace. You experienced it yourself at the beginning of your career. Tell us a little bit about that and what you learned from those experiences you had about perhaps how we should aspire to be as women in the workplace.

Melinda Gates (40:31):

Yeah, so I, I by and large had a fabulous career at Microsoft. I was there nine years. I’m a computer science graduate, undergraduate, but have business degree. So there were not very many technical women at Microsoft at the time. I had a fabulous career inside the company. I learned a lot. It was very hard charging. Outside, when I would go in industry, I would see a lot of bias against women. But I will say this inside the company, you know, we were moving fast, we were aggressive, the company was aggressive. And I will say after I had been there a little less than two years, I thought I might leave because I really enjoy the products. I enjoyed building products. I knew we were changing the world. We were, we were creating things that didn’t exist, but I didn’t really like that abrasive culture. And we would go into meetings and you kind of fought your point tooth and nail every single time. It kind of felt like the boys debating club. And I learned to be great at the boys debating club, but when I would be off at the grocery store, you know, or interacting with somebody in the community, I didn’t like who I was becoming. And so I thought, you know, I’m probably going to leave. That’s okay. I knew I could get another great job, that would’ve been fine. But I thought, well, I’ll try just before I leave, I’ll try being myself. And I was pretty sure it would fail. I was quite sure it was going to fail and just fall flat on my face. And I actually sort of warned my parents that I was probably going to leave the company. And anyway, I tried being myself and it worked. And when I started to realize was that cause I was managing large teams by then, people would say, how did you get that amazing developer off of that other product to come work for you in the consumer division? And I would say, well maybe he just wanted to work in an environment that was supportive and not embrace it. And I embraced teams. I believe that a really great team and getting the best out of people’s talents as a team, you can create great things in the world. And we had each other’s backs. And so I learned from that to just be yourself and let people take it or leave it. If they don’t like it, that’s okay too. But I know that if we can be our full selves at work, people are more fulfilled and more likely to stay in the place that they’re working, if they can bring their whole self to work.

Hannah MacInnes (42:42):

So obviously women often think that they should emulate men and male culture. It happens today a lot. And your message is absolutely that, that they shipping themselves. And that can be the change.

Melinda Gates (42:52):

Yes. But it often takes a group of women or it takes a man to stand up for a woman. So if you’re sitting in a meeting and a man re-explains a woman’s point, it really should be another man that says, Hey, not okay. She already just said that. Right? Or if a man interrupts a woman, somebody should stop the meeting. I’m lucky enough now at the foundation, I sit at the head of the table. So when I see that happening I’ll say, Oh wait, it looked like that person. She wanted to get her point in. Right. And so we have to look at all these small behaviors that we do. And it’s not just men, it’s women too. But we have this norm because in pretty much every industry you can look up and young men can see, you know, three dozen different archetypes of male role models and they can say, I don’t want to be like those 20 but you know, those other 16 are pretty good guys. I want to be in that industry and be that type of person. A woman looks up a young girl or young woman and she doesn’t see very many archetypes of women and particularly of women leaders and particularly in the past you’d get one who made it in an industry or two and they often had to assimilate and be like a man to get where they were. Instead of saying, Hey, what is it we need to change about our culture? All of us so that women and men can show up as who they are. So I applaud when a man says he’s leaving work to go to his kid’s soccer game. I’m like, great. I think that’s a great thing. When a woman leaves the workforce at five o’clock to go to her kid’s soccer game, fabulous. It has to be okay for us. If we have kids to both be parents and work hard and be in the workforce.

Hannah MacInnes (44:31):

One of the things you talk about though is that it’s a vicious circle because of the culture. Women are often that have riddled with more self-doubt than men and call themselves perfectionists. There’s a sort of fear they have to wait till they’re absolutely perfect to go for anything. How do they overcome that?

Melinda Gates (44:50):

I had to look at that in myself a lot because I definitely grew up thinking I had to be perfect to achieve certain goals and I think we all have to look at that and say, no, no, no. It’s okay not to be perfect and though we have to change the workforce and the culture because the workforce is saying to women all the time, you’re not going to get there unless you’re perfect unless you do it. Unless you act a certain way, you’re expected to look good and be able to present and not look too bossy or look too aggressive. Who can achieve all of that? Are you kidding? I met with, I had several meetings today where the women came in. I guess in the UK you call them trainers and I was like, why am I not smart enough to do that? Like I should just do that more. Right? I mean we have to how we dress and how we act. You know, why is it the cultures always telling us we have to be a certain way. No, we can be any way that we want to be and we should be free to do that. So I think we have to look at it in ourselves, our own perfectionism and doubt. I think women create doubt for other women at times. I think men create some of that doubt, but we have to look at it and bring that down for everybody.

Hannah MacInnes (45:59):

Before we end on a more positive note again about the solutions, perhaps you can, there’s some very depressing statistics and you say gender discrimination is in law across the world.

Melinda Gates (46:10):

Tell us a little bit about the slightly depressing scene before we work out how we can get away and do something about it. Well, I think without going through all of them, I think we have to look at every place in society where women can’t have their full voice or their full decision making authority. I’ll give you an example. In the United States, we are the only industrialized country in the world. The only that doesn’t have a paid family medical leave policy at the federal level, the only country, and think about what that means for women. More than 50% of women in the United States work now and yet they’re doing this second shift. They’re doing unpaid labor at home and they’re trying to work. That is an impossible task. So in the U S one of the big things we have to do, first of all is look at how do we get paid family medical leave. The federal game is too hard right now. So we’re bringing it to the States. The States are starting to roll it out, but only 14% of our workforce US workforce has paid family medical leave. So that’s a huge issue in my country. In other countries, some of the issues are child marriage. We have to look at, you know, how is it that we get more women to run for politics? Are they being funded? Do they have a chance of running? Do they think they can run? How do we help women with their self confidence? We know having women at the head of political institutions makes an enormous difference. So I sort of look at four industries in the developed world. I look at finance, politics, the media, because they tell our stories about ourselves and I look at tech and we are not far enough in any of those industries and we need to push on all of that because I know equality can’t wait in the world’s going to be better if we get it.

Hannah MacInnes (47:49):

Often the argument is that it’s biology or it’s nature and not nurture. You said it’s unimaginable to me how flawed that logic is. And yet how widely believed opportunities have to be equal before you can know if abilities are equal and opportunities have never been equal.

Melinda Gates (48:04):

Right, until the opportunities are equal, we don’t get to run that experiment. So just saying it’s biology doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, even in the tech industry we sort of say, Oh well women aren’t as interested in tech. No, part of the reason women aren’t interested in tech is it turned a certain direction and they’re not interested in having jobs where they go in and they’re not welcomed in the industry or where it’s too abrasive for them. You don’t. We marketed computers in the United States when personal computers first came out. At first they were neutral. I played the Atari games, the pong games, everything that were completely non genderized, but then all of a sudden the IBM PC came out and within a year they started marketing it as a boy’s toy. So boys started playing with the home. They started getting really good at coding so girls weren’t offered this computer. I was in my home. I was really, really lucky. My dad actually got my sister and I one. I loved programming. It was fabulous, but then the games became very male dominated and became shoot them up games. So many, many things happened that then drove women out of the industry. So in my country where women were on the way up in technology, computer science degrees. When I was in college late 1980s we were on the rise, just like medicine and law. Medicine and law, now in my country, 50% of graduates are women. Same with law. In fact, slightly more so we weren’t sure women could make it or were they interested in medicine? Were they interested in law? Turns out they are. Well in technology, we went up and then unlike medicine and law, we came down because of what happened in the way that was marketed. We need to bring that number back up because our future, in my opinion is being influenced massively by tech. I think that’s a good thing, but if you don’t have women with a seat at the table or you don’t have minorities with a seat at the table, we are baking bias into our systems. Systems that have profound effects on our legal system, our health, so we have got to get women back into tech and we have to work on that, but it’s not that women aren’t interested. We made it unwelcoming inadvertently.

Hannah MacInnes (50:14):

I said at the beginning that the message was, we can all individually, not just you doing great work and business, but when people walk away from the room, obviously there’s a huge amount, but what are your main bits and advise people to go away and be a force for change for themselves. And it’s the How to Academy, so to take away.

Melinda Gates (50:33):

I would say start in your home. Do you feel like you have a quality in your home and if not, speak up about it. Do you feel like even what you’re telling, if you have a son or a daughter, you tell her, are you giving them the same messages? I wasn’t in my own home. I had to look at my own bias of what I was doing in my home. So look in your home, look in your community. Are there things you can do to lift up another girl or a woman in your community? Whether you’re a woman or a man, what can you do to mentor somebody? What can you do to sponsor somebody for that very first job in the workforce? That first job makes an enormous difference. What can you do if you work in the workforce already? What can you do in your workplace? Can you demand transparent pay? Do you know whether men and women are paid equally for a given piece of work? Does your company have a great paid family medical leave policy? You know, are women promoted at the same rate that men are promoted? Can you help sponsor a woman for a job? Tell her you are ready for that job. We know when a good job opens, men all think they’re qualified. They’d all throw their name in the ring whether they had the qualities or not. There’s good research around this. Whereas women wait until they feel like they have 100% of the qualities. Whereas a man jumps in when he has 60% so how do we help women know they actually are ready for that promotion and to put their name in the ring or go to another manager and say, this woman over here, let’s mentor her because she will be ready for that job in a year. Those are all things we can do. And if you do any of those things in your home, your workplace, your community, or your workplace, I’m telling you, it makes a difference.

Hannah MacInnes (52:11):

I’m just going to finish with a couple of the audience questions and someone asked what impacts do you hope that you and the foundation will have made 15 to 20 years from now? And they’ve said, please be as specific as you can.

Melinda Gates (52:26):

Okay, I’ll, I’ll just be incredibly specific. So we and many, many partners around the world, including amazing investments by DFID, the UK government of UK tax payer dollars as a world since 1990 we have cut childhood deaths in half in half. So that means that means every single year, 5 million more children are alive. Who wouldn’t have been alive. And when a mom or a dad in a low or middle income country knows that two of their children will survive till adulthood, they actually bring down naturally the size of their family because they’re, they want to make sure a couple of their kids survive. So a very specific goal we have is to cut that childhood death rate again yet in half in the next 15 years. And it can be done. It’s not going to be easy, but it can be done.

Hannah MacInnes (53:25):

And the other question was advice for people who want to get into impact investment.

Melinda Gates (53:30):

Well, I list in the back of my book, I list a whole bunch of organizations that you can invest in. And what I want people to know in the room is think about your own assets. You have your time and your energy. You have your intellect and knowhow and you probably have some resource and any one of those three are worth spending on somebody else to make the world better. And you can do it in any combination you choose, one, two or all three and I’m will tell you it makes an absolute difference on someone else’s life. And you might find along the way a little bit like Bill and me. It also gives great meaning and fulfillment to your own life. So I hope everybody thinks about it, how they can do something for someone else.

Hannah MacInnes (54:15):

That feels like a good place to end. Thank you very, very much indeed.

Edie Lush (54:31):

What a powerful discussion. Claudia.

Claudia Romo Edelman (54:33):

I always love hearing from Melinda Gates. We’re very grateful to the How to Academy for letting us share their podcast with you.

Edie Lush (54:40):

Subscribe to follow them the same way you subscribe to Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Romo Edelman (54:44):

and do not forget to like and share both the How to Academy and the Global GoalsCast. See you next time.

Edie Lush (54:50):


To Stop Corona, Listen


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

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

Featured guests

Dr. David Nabarro

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

Dr. Bruce Aylward

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

Special thank you to:


Dr. David Nabarro (00:02):

If when a case arrives, you prevaricate, you’re halfhearted, you pretend it’s not real and you wait perhaps two, three, four weeks before you start to implement measures of any kind that are serious. What happens is that it basically doubles in scale every two to three days.

Dr. Bruce Aylward (00:26):

I don’t think the listening has kept up with the learning. I think there’s been an incredible speed of learning, incredible dissemination of lessons. And the other thing of course was it was landing on, not deaf ears, but ears that wanted to hear a different story. They wanted to hear it was going to be okay that this was like flu. This is like seasonal flu and it’s not. And it never was. We knew that from day one.

Dr. David Nabarro (00:47):

If we can turn up the volume now, particularly with self-discipline by people and really good quality public health and that will show up in a period of misery that if we can’t turn up the volume, if we can’t do it as a responsible society then the misery will go on a lot longer, it’s all in our hands.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:14):

Welcome to the Global GoalsCast.

Edie Lush (01:16):

The podcast that explores how we can change the world. In this episode lessons from the pandemic.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:22):

We can stop this virus. That is the first and most important lesson, but only if we quickly act on what China, Italy, and other places have already learned.

Edie Lush (01:37):

We will hear from two of the most important public health doctors in the world who tell us the challenge right now is not about science or medicine.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:46):

It is about communications and listening and cooperating. It is about turning up the volume.

Edie Lush (01:54):

and we are going to turn up the volume right now. I am Edie Lush.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:58):

and I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush (02:04):

Claudia, it’s only three months since the world first encountered a new Corona virus and the frightening illness that it brings called Covid-19. One of the scariest things about this virus is the explosive way that it spreads.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom (02:18):

The pandemic is accelerating. It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second hundred thousand cases and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.

Claudia Romo Edelman (02:46):

And by the way, only three days to reach 400,000 cases. That was the head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros, he is from Ethiopia and he has been handed a big job getting the world to act together to stop these Corona virus

Edie Lush (03:04):

Like billions of people all around the world, we here at Global GoalsCast, have had our lives and our plans turned inside out. I’ve been staying at home sheltering in place with my family here in London

Claudia Romo Edelman (03:16):

and I am working here from home in New York City where officials are fearful that the spread of the Covid-19 will soon overwhelm medical services. So we wanted to do something useful in this podcast.

Edie Lush (03:30):

and I know that so many people feel the same way.

Claudia Romo Edelman (03:33):

So like most of you, we are adopting. This is the first of a series of episodes in which by doing what we do at Global GoalsCast, we hope to be some value in this crisis.

Edie Lush (03:45):

That’s right. We always look for the solutions we ask who is succeeding, who are the champions, making things better. And then we share that with you. And it turns out that is badly needed right now because it turns out the virus is spreading faster than the world’s ability to understand and act on what we already know about how to stop it.

Claudia Romo Edelman (04:09):

So this episode is about what we already have learned in one place and how can we adopt it in other places while there is still time.

Edie Lush (04:20):

So to sum up those lessons, our editor Mike Oreskes and I sought out two of the world’s leading public health figures. The first is Dr. David Navarro. Claudia, you and I know him really well.

Claudia Romo Edelman (04:32):

He is not only part of the advisers of the Global GoalsCast from day one and my former boss, but he’s the right guy for these jobs. The special advisor for the World Health Organization and corona virus. He’s the one who worked in Ebola and SARS and others. So I’m super pleased to have Dr. David Navarro on the show.

Dr. David Nabarro (04:56):

Just to give you a perception of where I think the world is right now. Yeah. This, this pandemic actually advances as a, a number of small outbreaks that then grow quickly into large outbreaks and then become explosive. The truth is that actually it doesn’t have to go on advancing exponentially. It can be contained and we’ve got really good evidence now from China, from South Korea and from Singapore and it doesn’t have to double in scale every two or three days. And if you respond early, as soon as you’ve got a case that’s been discovered or an early chain of transmission by isolating the person who’s got the disease and then by finding the contacts the person has had following up those contacts, quarantining them. And if you do that rigorously backed up by testing, you have a really well-disciplined public health workforce supported by communities that know what they’ve got to do. This can be contained. And I think that’s probably what’s happening in Japan where they’re going about life normally. But if when a case arrives, you prevaricate you’re halfhearted, you pretend it’s not real and you wait perhaps two, three, four weeks before you start to implement measures of any kind, that are serious, what happens is that it basically doubles in scale every two to three days. And so after two or three weeks you have an absolutely massive number of cases and your hospitals get overloaded and in the end, in order to deal with that, you have to implement these draconian lockdowns that totally damage your economy. Make a lot of people poor, make people super upset and don’t necessarily, unless you’re able to do an app study, massive effort, don’t necessarily push it back. But if you can do the massive effort as it’s happening now in Italy, sooner or later you push it back. But if you act on day one, two or three, you really have so much less of a response and you have so much less damage to the fabric of society than if you act on day 21 now, this was a life lesson available to us in mid-February from China, beautifully written up by the team that went to China from all over the world. And I remember at that time putting the word round, but I wasn’t anyone. Of course, Ted Ross, from WHO, did it saying, come on, do it quick and you can get on top of it. That’s slow, underplay it or whatever you do, you will get really badly damaged. And so the big damage is in Italy now, in Spain now, in France now, it’s coming into other places. Germany had been very clever and doing a good response. There would probably be not too bad. They have really, really pulled the stops out. What I do say is that just look at the experiences, the places that have done it well and those of you who are in New York or in California or in Seattle, yours who come in about two and a half weeks, I mean it may come in quicker because I get stories now that emergency rooms are filling up. Let me know if people are not doing testing, which they’re not in very much in the U S and in Europe, we have to accept that the global figures are a massive underestimate. We have to accept that the national figures are an underestimate. So what we go on crudely, it’s how many friends we know who are stuck at with high fever and cough and also what we’re hearing from health workers who are working in emergency rooms of hospitals. As it gradually builds up and as we’ve seen in Italy, you know the undertakers can’t do their work and a whole load of other things are going on as it gradually gets worse. Then

Edie Lush (09:20):

as that phone you hear suggest Dr. Navarro is spending his days talking to colleagues all around the world. He is very worried where the pandemic will go if it isn’t curtailed now.

Dr. David Nabarro (09:32):

That is basically my big message for everybody and why am I saying it because two reasons. One is even when you’ve got a big outbreak happening like Italy is having or like Spain is having, you can still beat it back and you’ve got to, because if you don’t it would just go on and on and on and get worse and worse and worse because it’ll take some time before you really infect all the people in your population who are susceptible. So you have to go and pushing it back is just that you need massive force and locked down on its own isn’t enough. You have to keep the good public health work going and you can’t give up on that. But the second reason why I’m saying it is that in all countries what’s happening in Milan or what’s happening in Seattle right now would be very damaging. You see, you’ve got so many people who are just barely scraping by on cash income and the first sectors that will go in any nation are the sectors that employ a lot of casual labor like hospitality and travel and even construction, which is being hit over again. So the economic and societal consequences for poor countries are going to be much, much greater to than they are in rich countries or in countries that have got capacity in society, for social protection like Singapore, like South Korea, like China. And so I really want very, very quickly to get the message out the poor countries when they get the first case or two instead of waiting and saying it’s not that bad, really and follow any example of some European or North American nations who’ve been a little slow. They’ve got to be really, really rapid, rigorous and robust from the beginning and bring their people with them and say, if you want to avoid the kind of mess that we’re seeing in Europe, we have to be really focused from the beginning. I’m seeing signs of this. I talk to a great colleague called Sam Bassow in Mali and they’re getting ready themselves really organized. We know there are cases in South Africa, we were talking last night, with colleagues from the African Union Development Agency how have got a base in Pretoria and they are getting very organized. So I want to just really make this point. The poor countries have a chance of not being really put into a most dramatic impoverishment. It means crash, upgrade of public health capacity, possibly bringing in medical students and others to support community public health workers. It means informing the population of their partners in the response. It means working on the economic and societal implications from the start so as to prepare social protection for the people who are most vulnerable. It also means the whole of government recognizing that one of the things we’re seeing in Africa at the moment is rising food prices already. And so we’ve gotta be prepared for increases in hunger and possibly civil disturbance. Riots and prisons have been happening in France and in Italy and they’re likely to happen in other parts of the world as well as prison visits are stopped. And there’s in some cases, prison staff go on strike or have to stop during their work because they’re quarantined. Perhaps the most important message I’d like to get out is this. We’ve seen that a period of miss coordination between provincial and federal health authorities led to a bit of uncertainty as to what to do and that’s been admitted and mistakes have been identified and have been, situations being rectified. We see in Europe different countries are doing different things, shutting their borders arbitrarily and all that sort of stuff. Every day lost and getting global solidarity is a massive impact. Every three days lost we have got double the size of the problem to deal with. So what are governments doing, why aren’t they just saying we will use all the coordination mechanisms at our disposal to deal with this as a common enemy as was done for bird flu in 2005 as we’ve done for the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 as was done for Ebola after a bit. And so I, I just find myself wondering whether the failure of multilateral behavior that we are seeing now in 2020 is going to prove to be a complete undoing because this is not going to stop where it is now, who knows? We might be 5% of the way in.

Mike Oreskes (15:01):

David, could I take you back for a second to February 24th I’m very interested in your judgment about what didn’t happen at that moment. Why didn’t those findings get fully out? I don’t know whether this was that they didn’t get communicated or that, so then why didn’t they reach people? Why didn’t they sink

Dr. David Nabarro (15:26):

I have hypotheses but a serious leader would realize that electability depends on good leadership, but quite a lot of the leaders we have at the moment, they find it hard to lead and hard to take the tough decisions that are needed to lead on behalf of your people. And they have looked at what Xi Jinping did and they managed to find folk with it and not recognize what he did which was suburb and also, what the South Korean leadership have done. What the Singaporean leadership had done and of course the reason why they moved quickly is they had SARS in 2002 so it didn’t really need an awful lot of explanation. They knew how much hardship they faced as a result of being, halfhearted on SARS for some months, but that still doesn’t excuse really the leadership of European and North American nations just doesn’t excuse them. And I think that it’s more a wish to try to make light of it or wish to try to imply that somehow everybody was wrong or wished to try to brace their way through it. The cost of those two or three weeks I think are gonna prove to be extraordinary in lost years of development and destruction of the financial system, in widespread unemployment in the 30% of industry of the GDP, it is made up of sectors that involve contact with people or travel or tourism. That’s Goldman Sachs figures from yesterday. I’m pleading with people everywhere just to even now to hear the lessons because they’re in front of our eyes. It will be an absolute total miracle if there’s not a massive outbreaks in the United States. Right. With huge impact on the lives of poorer Americans. What we will end up happening is that Europe and North America will turn out to be the amplifiers, something that increases poverty but which is actually harder for the poor countries to take. So Europe, North America with all their financial stimuli and all that stuff. Who bluster their way through, but there’ll be no financial stimuli and no safety nets, but people in urban slumbs in Indian sub continent or in Africa. I hope I’m wrong.

Edie Lush (18:19):

I asked Dr. Navarro about developments here in the United Kingdom

Dr. David Nabarro (18:25):

Well I think the UK is getting better. Kind of just work on community involvement, taking it super seriously. It’s a responsibility of everyone. Make sure your health workers can get to work, treat them like royalty or like you in America, treat the military, don’t give up. And then I’ve got a whole series of things that I’m offering on the struggle. Because of the delay in Britain there’ll be a lot of small businesses that are going to go under. A lot of people feeling very angry and uh, we just got to try to help people actually realize that if we can turn up the volume now, particularly with self-discipline by people and really good quality public health and that will shorten the period of misery that if we can’t turn up the volume or if we can’t do it as a responsible society then the misery will go on a lot longer, all in our hands.

Claudia Romo Edelman (19:33):

Turn up the volume, says Dr. David Navarro and that is what he has been doing all his life. Being able to turn up the volume and make sure that people actually massively act. Dr. David Navarro has been a friend of this Global GoalsCast since the day we started. For more he sent us to one of the world’s most experienced voices on infectious diseases and that is Dr. Bruce Aylward. When the World Health Organization needed someone to go to China in February to understand what was happening. They sent Dr Aylward to lead the mission. That report released in late February warned that the world was not prepared to combat this new virus. And sadly the message did not get through. Edie and Mike spoke to Bruce Aylward from the WHO office in Geneva.

Edie Lush (20:32):

Can I ask why you think the world wasn’t ready? Why they didn’t listen?

Dr. Bruce Aylward (20:38):

I think there were a combination of factors. One was this was a new disease which the West didn’t really understand, it didn’t trust all of the information that it was hearing. And you know, we are all human at a certain level and we tend to cherry pick that part of the information which we find most reassuring. Okay. This is happening in the winter, but it’s going to be spring for us and we’ll be out of flu season so it won’t be so bad. Oh, uh, the mortality rate was really bad in Wuhan, but the rest of the China, it was really low so it would be really low here. Oh, this is actually more like flu than it is like SARS. So the mortality rate will be really low. So there was a lot of cherry picking of those aspects of, uh, of the disease that were at least unsettling to us. Um, rather than really preparing. I think we’re going back and relearning a lot of the lessons from China. And in fact with the work I’ve been doing with Italy is some of it from a distance. A lot of it has been really sharing those lessons. So, you know, the, the first and probably most important lesson from China was that in the absence of a vaccine and in the absence of a drug that works against this disease, you could actually use fundamental public health measures around finding cases very rapidly isolating those cases, quarantining their contacts, and slow down what is a respiratory pathogen. And for those of us who grew up in the world of infectious disease control, one of the almost ingoing assumptions is a respiratory pathogen is almost impossible to stop without a vaccine. And so the first big lesson out of China was this is not flu. This is not the pathogens you’re used to. This is one that you can actually stop with these core public health measures. Super, super important lessons. That was a single, but you know, we’re not going into this war on armed. That was really the big lesson. People look at China, they talk about the shutdowns and the lockdowns and the rest of it. Those were enablers. Those were not the tools that turned the tide and stopped the, uh, the, the outbreak in China. So that was the first big lesson. But the second really big lesson out of China was that to get an edge on this virus though, you have to move very, very fast. Speed is everything. Because this is a respiratory pathogen at the end of the day. So you’ve got to be able to move very, very quickly to get in front of it. The virus can increase exponentially, which means you have to think exponentially, not incrementally to get in front of it and to achieve speed. What China and that really brought us to that, you know, third lesson was it realized that the medical community, yes we’ll deal with the consequences of this outbreak. You know taking care of the sick, et cetera, but it is going to be the population that will really have to stop the outbreak and that population is going to do it by washing their hands, by covering their mouths, by understanding the symptoms, by rapidly getting tested, having a very high index. So the population was primed, accountable, active in a way that simply extraordinary. The next big piece that they learned was that again, in terms of getting the speed you need your people, right? Don’t, don’t, don’t wait for the people to get to the medical system and then look at them, you know, get them involved even earlier. But the next piece was to achieve that speed. You need to take full advantage of technology and China, I think few people in the West really realized how technologically enabled China is.

Edie Lush (24:07):

That technological enablement. When I’ve looked at what, how China was able to deal with it. And also Singapore as well, seems to have been so key because it was enabled you to track who you were with, who, if you were infected, who you might have come into contact with through a tube journey or an Uber journey.

Dr. Bruce Aylward (24:32):

The importance of technology played out, I’d say in three big ways. One way was it helped to run the response itself. Yes. People’s cell phones in some places. I understand, I didn’t actually see it, but they actually had a little indicator on it that would go from green to yellow to red depending on where they actually were and the probability that they were at a high risk zone for actually being exposed to the, uh, to the disease. And that would affect then quarantine decisions and all sorts of stuff. But there was a whole bunch of technology that just helped make it possible to run a fast response on this scale involving hundreds and hundreds of thousands of, of people that eventually basically all of society there. But, um, so that was one part to help enable to respond and. And a neat example of that, for example, um, one day I was in Chengdu, which is the capital of Sichuan province. That’s where all the pandas are. So, and the reason we had gone there was this is a massive state which has both urban areas as well as rural areas. And we want to know like, okay great, maybe the cities you’re taking care of. What about these rural populations? And the governor is really interesting. In the meeting I was having with the governor, he said, well we were rolling out 5G at the same time this thing hit. And a big plan was to enable Chengdu, the capital first. And we decided no, we would roll out in the rural areas first so that we could establish centers of excellence that could be completely enabled and in real time work with the peripheral areas to provide them the best possible guidance, the best possible support, both to help and manage their disease, but to help keep patients alive as well. And people alive and everything they talked about always came back to keeping people alive and saving lives. But that was one sector. And then in the schools everybody keeps saying, well they closed all the schools in China. Actually the schools, the buildings closed learning went online and, and, and just the, the whole, the whole, uh, I kept hearing this from lots of mothers that I met actually about how their kids were in schooling, frankly. And then when it came to all the support services, the remember people, the city of Wuhan for example, locked down 15 million people living in their apartments or their apartment compound for over a month and a half. Those people have to eat. Those people have all these other services have to work all done online. Well not the eating part of course, but at least the ordering of the food and the return of it. So technology, you know, because it was such a technology, really advanced society and literate society, it could very rapidly move online and you know, that physical distancing did not become a barrier to its ability to, to implement the strategies that had to.

Edie Lush (27:16):

My entire family is now online learning. All my kids are online learning. I will say they’re not a huge fan of it. In fact, my, the youngest says, online learning is boring. So no huge fans here. But, let’s move on to Italy and tell me what are the lessons that you’ve seen come out of there?

Dr. Bruce Aylward (27:38):

First big lesson is just make sure you can run a safe system. The second big learning out of Italy, and I think that they, um, you know, they, they did well in this regard is they recognize that this disease does not increase linearly. It increases exponentially. So we have to think in big leaps in terms of our measures to get ahead of a virus like this. You can’t sort of, um, pussyfoot around it. And what they did was they, you know, they saw, they went from, you know, uh, individuals and dozens of cases one day to hundreds the next and boom, they locked down huge areas that were affected because they just realized, we, we, we’ve, we’ve got to get, take these extraordinary measures to try and take the heat out of this so we can get the other measures in place. So I think that was, you know, another, uh, um, a major, uh, learning out of, out of, um, out of Italy was what was that. And then related to that of course was just the whole, uh, speed and risk of the international spread. You know, I, I remember, um, way back when we were looking at H1N1, that was the last big pandemic of flu, uh, about 10 years ago and it didn’t cause a lot of deaths, but it spread very rapidly. In China, it took 123 days for that or something like that. 130 days to infect every province. This disease took 23 days and I don’t think it actually transmits as well as flu. You know, we’re just in a much more interconnected world. The consequences of which for controlling a disease like this are huge.

Mike Oreskes (29:11):

Can I intervene with a question? It’s very striking listening to you, Bruce, the, the feeling or the picture you paint of the virus moving faster than the things we learn about it and want to share with each other. Is that a fair way to describe it?

Dr. Bruce Aylward (29:29):

Yeah, I, I think, you know, this virus does move with the incredible speed. Um, what, what I think is, is truly extraordinary is the speed with which we’ve learned about this virus. Remember, this is a brand new virus, emerged 10, 12 weeks ago. And, you know, in terms of our, our knowledge of it, and during that time when it first emerged and people keep asking me about what happened in Wuhan and I say, look, they had a new virus causing a new disease in a new place with a, which required new approaches in terms of trying to control it. We didn’t understand any of those things. We didn’t even understand how to diagnose it. And in that time and, and, and here, credit has got to go just to the ingenuity and skill of Chinese scientists. I mean, they sequenced this thing within days. Um, they had primers and, and a test, you know, a few days later, they made all of that publicly available as fast as they generated it. And, um, and then, you know, they learned how to actually control it. And I think that, you know, the, and then if you look in the scientific literature, they just share that information incredibly, you know, quickly, this is what this disease does, this is how we’re trying to control it and this is the impact it’s having. Um, so I, I think actually, um, the learnings have moved very, very quickly. I don’t think the listening has kept up with the learning. Um, so I, I think there’s been an incredible speed of learning, incredible dissemination of lessons, but the listening and application of it and you know, how much of that is because of who was actually doing the talking. And the other thing of course was it was landing on not deaf ears, but ears that wanted to hear a different story. They wanted to hear. It was going to be okay that this was like flu. This is like seasonal flu. And it’s not an, it never was. We knew that from day one.

Mike Oreskes (31:13):

How do we address that problem. The extent to which the problem here is really a communications problem as much as it is a scientific or medical one.

Dr. Bruce Aylward (31:21):

It’s a leadership problem. Um, uh, to, to tell you the truth, uh, because I think, and, and it’s a little bit of a mindset, but when faced, uh, and I remember in the early days of this, I remember a friend of mine from New York, uh, was back and forth to me. The, I hadn’t heard from him in some years. Um, which is one of the great things about the work I do. I regularly hear from people I haven’t heard from for years. People I really liked. Uh, anyway, he wrote, he was in the business of looking at, um, at, at, at, uh, at advising businesses on investments and things like that. And, and, you know, where the world was going. And I, you know, and he said, look, when I compare this to, um, uh, flu, flu kills this many more people in the US et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And I said, you’re comparing a disease that we’ve known for a decades and decades for which we have vaccines for which we know, you know, the genetics of it, how we evolved with the disease that we’ve known for at that point 4 weeks, you’ve got to respect the uncertainties, um, with this. And when you respect those, you air on the side of no regrets. This may be a very serious disease. This may spread very, very rapidly. We have got to be prepared. It may overwhelm our healthcare system. Um, and, and I, I think, uh, you know, I think it’s a very human need to try and think the opposite. But um, you know, for those who work in crisis management and this is how we think, it’s not being pessimists, it’s, it’s being, you know, optimistic about what can be done. But it can only a, you can only be optimistic if you really envisage how serious this can be.

Edie Lush (33:08):

It’s a very different experience listening to you talk about Covid-19 than it is to listening to politicians. I’m here in the UK and I personally, I’ve been waiting for something to get more serious for the reaction to get more serious. And it wasn’t until last night that it looked like Boris Johnson had finally gotten some coaching in terms of how to actually talk about this. I don’t expect you to, to give me an overt critique of, of politicians, but how do you get people to listen to experts? Cause that’s really what this is about.

Dr. Bruce Aylward (33:40):

Well I’m actually very, very sympathetic to the challenge that politicians face here because they need to put in place, as we talked about earlier, kind of exponential measures for, for you know, for, for a very, very, uh, what people would think is small levels of disease. And that’s a very, very hard thing to communicate to. The politicians often get this many, the ones I’ve talked to, they got that right at the very beginning. But what they realized was once I put those things in place, the clock starts ticking. And I, in terms of how long I’m going to be able to do that in terms of how much disease I can prevent and how many lives I can save. I’m willing to take a bit of a hit and do this later because I think that’s going to save more lives and ultimately more of our society and economy as well. So I think what I’ve seen is most politicians acutely actually aware of, of, of, of these things and, and trying to find that balance because they know that they’ve got to bring that whole population with them, especially when it comes to the kind of measures isolating yourself for 14 days for a disease you may or may not have. Um, this is, these are tough and, um, you know, armies operate in very different ways when you know they’re, they’re, they’re drilling versus when they’re looking at the whites of the eyes of the enemy, so to speak. And so it’s really when the diseases is upon you that you can march all your troops in a different way. And I think, you know, explicitly or implicitly or intuitively that’s in the minds of many of the politicians who have to respond and manage. It’s a tough job. They have a tough job right now.

Edie Lush (35:20):

There’s discussion now around unifying efforts and taking collective action. And do you see that happening and how important do you think that is?

Dr. Bruce Aylward (35:32):

I think it’s super important because we’re dealing with a brand new disease that we’ve not seen before, first of all. So if we look at the whole area of understanding this disease and generating new knowledge, the faster you can pull information and results, whether from on the natural history of disease, disease, you know, that means what it looks like in different populations, how it affects the young, the old et cetera, um, to how drugs work in terms of trying to, to, to uh, counteract it. You know, the more you can pool together experience from multiple countries, the faster you’re going to get to your answer. And that’s why WHO for example, launched this thing called The Solidarity Trial, which it’s as simple as trial design in the world. But what it allows is multiple countries around the world to um, uh, what’s where to enroll patients very, very quickly and get to an answer in two weeks that might normally take two years. I mean, there’s extraordinarily clever people putting together ideas about how to get countries to collaborate together in, in, and get it, get answers in, in ways we hadn’t envisaged before. So that, that, that’s exciting, you know, in terms of generating new knowledge. But then as we look also just in terms of responding to the disease, the ventilators, the mass, the PPEs, there’s actually an awful lot of that in the world, but most of it is in the wrong places. So to get it to the right places and into the hands of the right people requires a tremendous amount of both international collaboration, but collaboration also within countries and in China. If I just divert for a second, you know, one of the most beautiful things I saw and I saw so many, you know, just absolutely beautiful things at the individual level and the way, the way I was going to say ordinary people. But there’s nothing ordinary about these people. So for example, when we went to Wuhan, the most difficult thing was getting physically getting there because the flights there is no flights, the roads are closed, there’s no trains, et cetera. But what they arranged was a special bullet train that we were able to take that that got us there. When we got there and we got off, it was, you know, the most haunting experience in some way, an eerie experience because we pulled into this hyper modern, gigantic, beautiful train station. And we got out of this ultra modern bullet train into a city of skyscrapers that was silent with this empty a, a train station where our footsteps echoed through the night there is, as we got off the train, then I heard people behind me and I thought, well, hang on, what’s going on? I thought no one could get off of in Wuhan. And I turned around, there’s another group. And I asked, I said, so who are these people? Who are you? And went to say hello to them. And it was a group of volunteer medical, uh, folks from Wandong, the city we had just left who had come to Wuhan to help and you know, just this incredible solidarity. They said, look, we’ve got the outbreak under control in, in Guandong. We learned a lot about how to manage this disease. So we volunteered to come and we’re going to run one of the wards here in Wuhan. And I think few people outside realize just the 40,000 medical workers from around China went into Wuhan with all their own PPE, not to use their other PPE as well as protective equipment to help manage this response. But, and every one of them I talked to were so proud of what they were doing. Cause I mentioned this to someone who said, Oh yeah, they probably had to do that. Are you kidding? These people volunteered. This was like incredible, incredible humans, right? And it was all about saving lives and doing their part.

Edie Lush (39:17):

So I wonder is it too early to talk about recovery? Is it too soon to be doing that?

Dr. Bruce Aylward (39:21):

Is never too early to think about recovery. And in fact in any crisis, and you will find that, you know the pros at this, they go into this thinking about how they’re going to come out of it because it will often affect your measures and what you’re doing in real time. So for example, if you want to be able to lift the major restrictions you’ve put in place on people’s movements or the shutdowns you put in place in terms of businesses, et cetera, you have to think, what do I have to do to be able to do that safely? Well, you need to be able to test every suspect case so you know where this thing is. You need to be able to rapidly isolate anybody however sick or not they are so that they don’t infect anyone else and slow this thing down. You don’t reinfect all these things you’re opening. And then you need to be able to properly quarantine people. So if you’re not thinking about that, because it’s going to take you weeks to put that in place, if you don’t have it. You know it took China, you know, weeks to build all these capacities. And so thinking about recovery is useful in that it forces you to think, gosh, how do I lift these restrictions? How do I do that safely? What do I have to put in place? And then all of a sudden you start thinking, okay, if I want to lift these restrictions in three weeks, I better work backwards to how fast I got to have enough testing capacity in my country, enough ventilators and beds, enough, uh, to manage any surge that accompanies that um, uh, as as well. I met a number of the governors and mayors in China, and remember these are mayors of cities of 25 million people and 15 million people and governors of a province of 150 million people. I mean, they have massive responsibility and they’re managing huge, huge resources. And so I would say to them like, well, congratulations. You’re, you know, you’re bringing cases down. Um, you must feel good about that and what next? And every one of them said to me, we’re building more hospital beds and we’re buying more ventilators. And I said, excuse me, but your cases are coming down. And they said, look, we do not know where virus came from. We don’t think it’s going to go to zero. We don’t have a vaccine. So we are worried that we get it down and then it’s going to surge again. We’ll get more cases or whatever. But we cannot afford to stop our economy again. We cannot afford to close our hospitals and make them Covid hospitals. We cannot afford to stop all the things that are so important to us as a society. So what we’re going to do is make sure we have the capacity to manage this thing at scale if we have to without closing businesses. And, and the other measures we’ve had to take. So, you know, here, here were these, um, and it’s so counterintuitive and, and it was so funny because here were these governors and mayors expending tremendous resources to buy ventilators, build hospital beds, et cetera, for a disease that was disappearing in front of them due to their extraordinary work. But then as I came back to the West and talked about it and told the story, people were saying, yes, but we have a more resilient health system. Yes, but we have this or that, whatever. And you know, here we are, uh, four weeks later with overflowing intensive care units, not enough ventilators. Um, you know, healthcare workers getting infected cause they don’t have masks and gowns. We’re pairing a terrible, terrible price, um, for this. And it may well not have been any different. Um, you know, one of the things I always tell the people who work with me, they go, oh gosh, that must really frustrate you and, and I know and you fight wars forward, um, you, you, we are where we are today. We move forward. Um, and you know, at the end of all this, you go back, you learn the lessons and you try and do it better next time. But, uh, the finger pointing, the, looking at the mistakes, it doesn’t really help fight this one forward. There’s a lot of lives to be saved out there. A lot of disease can be prevented

Mike Oreskes (43:21):

In that spirit of, of forward. If you were gonna summarize the lessons of communication and leadership that you’ve come to based on all of your experience and particularly the last couple of months, what would you do? What would you say?

Dr. Bruce Aylward (43:35):

First of all, tell people straight up what you’re dealing with. Um, don’t soft pedal anything. You can always dial it back. But tell him straight up, people are adults. Um, people will take responsibility, they will do the right thing, but they have to know what they’re dealing with. And one of the biggest challenges we faced in this was that people thought, were confused whether or not this was a severe disease, number one. Number two, tell them what they can do to take, to help themselves. I heard again and again, people saying, you know, almost weeping sometimes on interviews saying they felt so helpless. And I thought, my goodness, that’s a huge, a communication failure because no one more than you as an individual controls whether or not you get Covid, no one rather than, than you as an individual controls whether or not your family gets it and the probability of adverse outcomes. You have huge control of the potential outcomes here. And then the third thing is how you engage them in a meaningful way in the response itself. Um, and, and, and give them, you know, the time horizons as well over which these actions are gonna play out and then what they can do to, you know, for the broader effort. And we’re seeing extraordinary civil action in terms of helping, uh, manage this disease. You know, when I was leaving my, uh, apartment building this morning here in Switzerland, it was a little sign from Veronique on the seventh floor who was saying, um, you know, for any of you who may be housebound for any reason or, or, or a bit sick or just too tired to do it, um, I’m very happy to do your shopping for them. And then pasted right below that was, hi, we are Amy and Suzanne from the fourth floor. We can help when Veronique runs out of energy or shopping bags or whatever. But it’s just fantastic to see what people will do. All they need is to understand how they help. So that’s another such big piece of the communications.

Claudia Romo Edelman (45:41):

Wow, that was amazing. So much information and so packed with hope at the same time with fear. But you see when you’re Dr. Navarro, and fortunately for me, I have worked with him over time. I know that what he’s mapping out in his mind is what he wants to see, his global mobilization. And he wants to see how do I mobilize every government so that they can implement measures at the federal, and at the local level. How do I see private sector mobilizing, how do I see individuals mobilizing and in order to mobilize all of them are the instruments that we need. How do we need communication? And the one thing that I heard again and again is turn up the volume. And in these turn of the volume that he mentioned a number of times, it’s the role of actually organizations like ours Edie, to be talking about how serious it is and how important it is. I don’t want to have anyone having the illusion that this is up to individuals. Actually not. This is up to governments to take the measurements and the policies that allow individuals to understand clearly what they should and should not do. Individuals of course have to develop a sense of global solidarity and personal responsibility, but this is absolutely not about us. This is about governments getting their act together, understanding what their role is and having private sector CEOs launching measurements for their employees. This is a top down, bottom up issue,

Edie Lush (47:11):

So of course leaders matter. I thought it was really encouraging that in India, prime minister Modi locked down the country even though there were only 500 confirmed cases and one of the clips that we didn’t play from Bruce Aylward in fact was how important he said journalists and podcasts like ours were in terms of getting out the serious messages, the real news and avoiding anything that is not true.

Claudia Romo Edelman (47:42):

Two things I think I take from here, which is one, how important it is the last point that you mentioned Edie with Bruce, which is collective action and the importance of actually being unified and in that sense a world human. With our Hispanic arm, what we’re trying to do is get every Hispanic to have a platform, a clearing house for information and action. Hispanics, 60 million people in the States are most affected by Covid, in particularly small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent workers with restaurants that are closing, the hotels that are sucking people are affecting directly this community. So what we started doing is shifting the energy, the resources, the infrastructure and the networks that we had for the Hispanic start campaign, which was for perception change of Hispanics and mobilize it and move it to create something which is Hispanic Stars but in action. So we’re launching as a fact today the Hispanic recovery plan, which is a clearing house for information and action with the aim to communicate, organize and mobilize, to have weekly calls in which we bring experts to be able to talk and give an update of what’s happening, but also to mobilize everyone to create a sort of like a marketplace for people that need and people that want to give because experience of Bruce, seeing his, his building, someone saying, I’ll do the shopping for you. We have to provide a platform, a digital platform for people to do that all the time. When people lost the job and they can no longer have a studio to give a yoga lesson or someone who was working in a kitchen doesn’t have a space. You need to be able to have almost like a Craigslist to see who can help me. I can give yoga lessons online. Who wants to hire me? Because this is a time in which solidarity matters and having a recovery plan matters even more. And in that sense, the second point is that We Are All Human got called by the United Nations to help on the response of Corona virus 19, particularly on this area of communication and turning up the volume and what they said, what they need the most is to have a narrative on three phases. The first one is health. So we need to make sure that we are talking about the emergency and flattening the core number two about global solidarity suppression. Trying to make sure that people understand that we belong to the same human family. And if there’s one thing that is positive about Covid 19 is that it’s humanizing everybody so that we understand that it doesn’t matter what political party we have or not, it can touch you. Businesses can get you and it can affect us all the same way. So we’re starting to realize how important it is to be with our family and how important it is to be nice to each other. So the second point that the United Nations is willing to do is a global solidarity. And the third one, which has not been spelled out yet will be recovery. I’m pretty sure I need that sense, Edie, your Global GoalsCast should be an arm to be talking about these three steps that we have so that we can ask humanity, go back to our feet being more solidarity with each other while we heal.

Edie Lush (51:01):

One of the things I heard very strongly from Dr. Navarro and that he’s reiterated since speaking to us in his online narratives, which I usually suggest you go and read, is the effect on poorer groups of people and poorer countries as well. And I’m really interested in what’s happening in Mexico, Claudia.

Claudia Romo Edelman (51:19):

I mean like I was telling you about the Hispanics and Hispanics, you know like from the 60 million people, there’s a huge majority, 70% are Mexican. So our connection between Hispanics and Mexico is huge. And Hispanics in America have already understood, have already felt the impact, have already seen someone getting sick, have really lost their jobs, are in a state of panic. And that’s why having something like a Hispanic recovery plan moves people from fear to action. But it is absolutely devastating for someone like me, Mexican, Hispanic, leaving the state, seeing Mexico and seeing how the president just over the weekend said that Mexicans, you know, stronger than a virus that we should hold each other very tight and hug each other the Mexican way and then just going to have dinners and just yesterday the governor of Puebla for God’s sake, he said that Corona virus, hits only rich people Suggesting that Mexico one is not rich, two that is going to be invisible or invincible and those kinds of things are so dangerous. That’s why I was saying it all starts with the leadership in this case.

Edie Lush (52:31):

I,n rich countries, poor people are the most economically vulnerable. So it’s fine to tell everyone to stay home. But hospitals in New York nurses are reporting that some of their patients are telling them they can’t afford to stay home. People that do gig work like driving for Uber and for Lyft. In the UK, there’s been an announcement that we will see workers be able to get 80% of their salaries paid up to a certain amount, but there’s still been no announcement for the self employed and so when I was on my run this morning I did still see a lot of people going out to work and they did not look like key workers in terms of hospital workers to me.

Claudia Romo Edelman (53:08):

That’s where it is super important and I did work like Dr. Navarro in a couple of pandemics, SARS and Ebola and they have the same curve all the time. The question is how kind of curve do we want to use for the recovery of ours so we can be at the shape, which means you go down fast but then equally you have a plan and then you recover fast. So it goes down fast. You go up fast. Are we going to allow these to have a U-shape which is low down, so you go down and you stay low for longer and then you go up, you know like, and then you go up in the other way. Well we cannot allow this to happen is to be an L-shape where you go with down and then you stay low for long. What I am thinking that what what the part of our recovery that is so important is because most people’s mindset from one place which is a static and fearful to having a plan to having looking forward, that’s why doing this thing about getting Hispanics to have a plan , a recovery plan is mobilizing all the resources that we know of so that people can apply for credits and apply for loans because resources are getting put, at least in this country in America, there’s more than $18 billion available for people that have small businesses and being an entrepreneur. Also for those people that have lost their jobs and they cannot afford to stop working, there are resources that you put them together in a collective action, it’s much easier to deal with as a situation that if you do that in isolation and fear. And so that’s the play in which I think that the most vulnerable are for sure the people that you’re mentioning, if you will, in the gig economy, in the shared economy and working in the service industry.

Edie Lush (54:57):

And I think it’s important to talk about the, the lessons that we’ve learned, which we heard in this episode. Asia actually has done better. There’s a tendency to dismiss the lessons from China. Authoritarian Eastern culture must be different, but Navarro said, and I think what you’re saying too, is that they have experience of SARS. They understood the danger. They also have incredible technology to track people and an acceptance from the population that tracking is necessary to help combat that. And I think we’re seeing the effects of that.

Claudia Romo Edelman (55:29):

And so for all our listeners, we do want to give you the encouragement of the power that you have to make sure that you take this seriously, that you stay home, that you’ve washed your hands, that you have that sense of authority over your colleagues, over your peers. But that you also have a sense of solidarity for those people that cannot stop working or that cannot actually get a job anymore. So this is a time for us to be agents of change and to have solidarity for each other and here are the Global GoalsCast we will continue reporting on this virus and we will continue reporting on what the world has done, what are the lessons learned and the best practices are. And in the meantime the power is with you.

Edie Lush (56:14):

If you want to support our efforts in doing that, do let us know. All right, so Claudia, stay safe. Wash your hands and see you soon. Thanks for listening everyone.

Claudia Romo Edelman (56:31):

Thank you so much!

Edie Lush (56:32):

Like, subscribe via iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and of course follow us on social media at Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Romo Edelman (56:40):

If you live in America and want to be involved and support the Hispanic effort, go to Hispanicstar.org See you next time.

Global GoalsCast (56:52):

Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial guru by Mike Oreskes, editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider and our interns, Brittany Segarra and Taryn Rennie. Music in this episode was courtesy of Universal Production Music, one of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media, including podcasts. Original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Krohn, and Andrew Phillips. Thanks to CBS news, digital.

Your City Can Help Save the World


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured guests

William McDonough

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

Samir Bantal

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

Stan Stalnaker

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

Renata Rubian

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

Douglas Monticciolo

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

Kate Elizabeth Lloyd

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

Áine Tennyson

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

This episode was made possible through the kind support of:

Special thank you to:


Walt Disney (00:00): I don’t believe there’s a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere and finding solutions to the problems of our cities, but where do we begin? How do we start answering this great challenge?

William McDonough (00:15): A city is a congestion of the animals whose biological history is enclosed within boundaries and yet every conscious and rational act on the part of these creatures helps to shape the city’s eventual character. It is both a natural object and a thing to be cultivated. Individual and group. Something lived, and something dreamed.

William McDonough (00:41): As I think the city of the future is like that. We should look at our own poop as a resource.

Renata Rubian (00:47): It’s two trends that’s affecting the entire planet. One is obviously the rapid increase in demographics, population growth, and the other one is the rapid urbanisation.

Samir Bantal (00:58): In order actually to live in cities, what we haven’t seen or what we haven’t been able to recognise is that the countryside needs to be structured and organised on a scale that we’ve never seen before.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:20): Welcome to the Global Goalscast.

Edie Lush (01:21): The podcast that explores how we can change the world.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:24): This episode, are cities our path to a sustainable world?

Edie Lush (01:29): Claudia, that’s one of the biggest questions about the Global Goals and the future of the planet. So I want to tell you about my quest!

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:36): Oh, your quest, like Don Quixote – el hombre de la mancha.

Edie Lush (01:42): Instead of tilting at windmills, I decided to explore Global Goal 11 which is, you know, is sustainable cities. But what is a sustainable city? How do we create them? That’s what I wanted to understand.

Claudia Romo Edelman (01:53): With so many of us moving to cities, is there really any difference between sustainable cities and a sustainable world?

Edie Lush (02:03): You know what, Claudia, you are very clever. You should have a podcast, but we have this podcast. And that’s the question we’re going to look at, right after we thank the people who make this a sustainable podcast.

Claudia Romo Edelman (02:20): This episode of Global Goalscast is brought to you by Brevet Capital management.

Doug Monticciolo (02:26): Brevet believes that every investment should be 100% responsible. So when we look at an opportunity, our first questions are, is there a lasting solution to a problem, and does it make your community smarter?

Edie Lush (02:39): Later in this episode, you’ll hear how Brevet capital management turned an abandoned sawmill into a clean power plant that recycled waste. Thank you to CBS News Digital and Universal Production Music.

Claudia Romo Edelman (02:52): Welcome back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush (02:58): And I am Edie Lush. Claudia, have you and your kids ever been to Disney World? Because that is where I want to start this episode.

Claudia Romo Edelman (03:08): Okay. Even for you, this is weird. I thought we were talking about sustainable cities and now you’re coming up with theme parks.

Edie Lush (03:17): We are, but first, listen to this.

Walt Disney (03:20): We call it EPCOT. Spelled E P. C. O. T. Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. I don’t believe there’s a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere, and finding solutions to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin? How do we start answering this great challenge?

Claudia Romo Edelman (03:54): Was that who I think it was Edie?

Edie Lush (03:56): Yes. That was Walt Disney himself in 1966, describing his plans for the city of the future. The city of tomorrow. Walt Disney was one of those people who believed cities of the future were an exciting opportunity to create better living for all of us. And of course, there are others who warn that the city of the future would distill everything that is wrong with humanity and dystopia.

Claudia Romo Edelman (04:22): Like in Blade Runner.

Edie Lush (04:25): I love Blade Runner. Or the sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson’s written about New York 2140, where the city is drowned by climate change, by the poles melting. I think actually Claudia your new apartment would be underwater.

Claudia Romo Edelman (04:41): Oh God. Well, I’m glad 2140 still ways off.

Edie Lush (04:45): Right? But here is what is not far away. The UN says that by 2050, two thirds of us will be living in cities and that’s new. It was only in 2007 by the UN’s count that more people lived in cities than in rural areas. And if you go back 150 or 200 years, almost no one lived in cities, maybe one person in 10.

Claudia Romo Edelman (05:06): So Walt Disney had it right? This is a challenge for everyone, everywhere. And it is different from eradicating poverty or giving everyone access to educational healthcare. Those Global Goals may be hard to achieve, but they are easy to understand.

Edie Lush (05:22): Which is why I asked an expert to explain what the goal of sustainable cities meant.

Renata Rubian (05:30): This goal is focusing making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. So there are a lot of targets to be met by 2030, and one of the key targets is really the idea; How do we ensure that will be universal access, because it’s for all, for everybody. Access to adequate safe and affordable housing and basic services like access to education, access to health, access to water and sanitation and an important component is the upgrading of the slums by 2030.

Edie Lush (06:06): This is Renata Rubian.

Renata Rubian (06:08): I work with the UN development program as a policy advisor on sustainable inclusive growth based in New York City.

Edie Lush (06:16): It’s true that each of the goals Renata mentioned in explaining a sustainable city is also one of the 17 individual global goals, but she told me that focusing on achieving this in cities is vital because cities are becoming so important, so quickly.

Renata Rubian (06:32): It’s two trends that’s affecting the entire planet. One is the rapid increase in demographics, population growth, and the other one is the rapid urbanisation. So with rapid urbanisation, what we see is cities growing and expanding much more rapidly. That has been in past years. And with this rapid expansion, the tendency that these informal settlements or slum areas grow a much higher. And we see that in a lot of places in the world, like Nigerian Lagos, in Bangladesh, in Dhaka. So improving those conditions, it’s very important to focus.

Edie Lush (07:10): I think that’s really interesting what you just mentioned there. It’s the speed of urbanisation rather than the size or the density of a city.

Renata Rubian (07:22): That’s correct. So there are two things. One is obviously this rapid speed of urbanisation and the inability of local governments and societies to keep up and to be able to respond to those needs, to those challenges and the demand. And the second thing is actually the creation of new cities. Because when we look at today evidence and data, what we see is that smaller cities will grow much faster. In reality, we see the large cities will perhaps stabilise at some point. We see the trends that for instance, you may actually reduce its size. So it’s not a uniform process everywhere, because cities are a place where people go because of prospects of living. Right? So incentives. But we do see a tendency of new cities also to emerge in many places in the world. So these new cities and how they will evolve, it will be something very important to observe, to guide, to provide the adequate information, knowledge, experience that have been tried elsewhere and that’s adequate. So that context.

Claudia Romo Edelman (08:31): Many people come to cities to escape rural poverty. You might remember eating my friend from UNICEF, David Anthony, Who did this report about 2030 Africa would look like the youth of the world where we are going to have in one continent, 1 billion new people because people moving to see this and creating not only first cities but second cities and then third cities, and that’s where you start looking at the concentration of people. And the question there is when you’re going to have a lot of young people in one continent like Africa concentrated in cities, you will have to start thinking about design of the cities in a very different way, and also start looking at the consequences for those rural areas about agriculture and who’s going to be producing the food that those cities are going to be consuming.

Edie Lush (09:19): So we need to design cities so that they can take in all of those people, while making their lives better. We have to think about cities organically. We need to design them,

Claudia Romo Edelman (09:29): like an architect designing a building, so that everything fits together and everything is used and reused. Some people call these a circular city, or a smart city. Architect William McDonough calls this cradle-to-cradle design thinking.

William McDonough (09:48): Well, if we look at the point of a city, it is in some respects focused on the idea of citizens because it’s meeting the needs, wants, and loves of the people who live there. So it’s a place for people. And if we start with that and then work our way out, we discover using cradle-to-cradle thinking for example, which would be eliminating the concept of waste as one tenant using renewable energy as powering system, having clean water and places for dignified creative lives. That’s the criteria for cradle-to-cradle. You realise the city built on that premise becomes quite delightful. I wouldn’t call it a smart city, I’d call it a wise city.

Edie Lush (10:42): And how does cradle-to-cradle fit into what you mean there about a wise city?

William McDonough (10:49): With cradle-to-cradle, we look at the world and say there’s biological systems that are powered by the sun and by income from the atmosphere, carbon. And so I think the city of the future is like that. We should look at our own, you know, poop as a resource. That’s where the phosphate is. That’s where there’s carbon and there’s all these various nutrients which we require for nutrition, and we can actually return those to the soil instead of having to go to Morocco for phosphate for example. That’s where all of a sudden you see the city becoming connected to the world of nature and every scale and at every distance.

Edie Lush (11:25): So you’ve spoken about cities being less bad and doing more good. Talk me through what the difference is.

William McDonough (11:33): Humans have been using double negatives for a while now to say something positive. The problem is that if you say, I’m being less bad, so I’m making my city more efficient and carbon or water or something, but if you have the wrong system where you’re polluting the water and you say, I’m going to pollute it less, so pat me on the back and call me good. You can’t, because less is a numerical relationship. Good and bad are human values. So the real question becomes how can I be more good? See that way you look at it and go oh, I really want to turn my sewage into fertiliser that’s safe. Oh well then as you’re designing the city, you wouldn’t combine effluent from textile mills and factories that may be getting polluted to make sure it doesn’t release poisoned water. But on the other side, you want to make sure your water is clean enough to drink. So we’d like to look for more good at the same time as we look at less bad. So definitely be less bad. Certainly in the energy efficiency is less bad, but we might even find ourselves saying, wouldn’t it be wonderful to use hydrogen for thermal requirements instead of carbon based fuels? At this point in history, we know that CO2 in the atmosphere is a toxin. It’s the wrong material, wrong place, wrong dose, wrong duration. There’s nothing wrong with carbon or carbon dioxide. We make it every day. We make it every minute, but human produced carbon in excess of natural system’s ability to work with it in the atmosphere is a toxin. But the fun part is to make your buildings renewably powered. That’s what we tried to do. So we have buildings that produce more electricity from sun during the year than they require. Say, give it to the neighbours. These are energy positive buildings. So then the world’s getting better because we’re behaving like trees.

Edie Lush (13:34): When you’ve written about cities and spoken about them, you talk about replicating the operating system of the natural world. So you mentioned trees there. Can you talk me through the principles of, of how you look at this operating system of the natural world?

William McDonough (13:49): Natural world has exquisite complexity and interdependencies and diversity. So if we think about a city as an organism, in fact, there’s a great quote that I always was delighted by by Claude Levi Strauss.

Speaker 2 (14:10): A city is a congestion of animals whose biological history is enclosed within boundaries. And yet every conscious and rational act on the part of these creatures helps to shape the city’s eventual character, by his form as by the manner of its birth. The city has elements at once of biological procreation, organic evolution, and aesthetic creation. It is both a natural object and a thing to be cultivated. Individual and group. Something lived, and something dreamed.

William McDonough (14:54): So if you have a dynamic system, that’s what nature does and it’s really the more the merrier. So everything is adding to the benefit of the system. The waste of our system becomes the food of the next one, but it has to be optimised to be fabulous. And that means we start designing the products to become the next round of products.

Claudia Romo Edelman (15:20): Design is a big word here. You have to be intentional. Create city systems that act like nature.

William McDonough (15:28):

We designed all our office buildings to be convertible into housing at a drop of a hat. So if the markets change or this building wants to go on for another a hundred years, it could be converted to housing just like that. Those buildings are designed for reuse. And so that’s the circular economy. We can want to keep them. So that’s really the cradle-cradle message; Design safe and healthy for humans and ecosystems first, because the first job of business is do not kill your customers, you know? And then second is you know, design it for a circular economy and mature realisation. And then third is power with renewable energy. Fourth is make sure you have clean water, clean enough to drink. And fifth, make sure people have delightful, creative lives. They’re respected in the process. Social fairness. On the energy front, there will be no one answer. Just do that. There may be one answer here and one answer there. There may be a combination of answers, this for daytime this for night-time, so you don’t just say, I have one solution which is burn carbon 24/7 the rule of the first industrial revolution, once hydrocarbons were deployed was essentially if brute force doesn’t work, you’re not using enough of it. Whereas today we can be much more elegant and so buildings can be designed to heat and cool themselves in local conditions using ancient techniques as a baseline. It’s really fundamental wisdom and then you can add the SITECH wonders to tune them up anyway you want to, but there’s no reason we have to have that while we destroy the world. And so that leads to diversity. Like when we put the world’s largest green roof on Ford motor company factory, you could say it was for the birds and that would be true, but it also saved for $35 million in capital expense because we were using natural systems to purify water on the sites instead of large chemical plants and big pipes. That’s the equivalent of the 4% profit on an order for $900 million worth of cars.

Claudia Romo Edelman (17:45): When we come back, we will talk to an urban designer who says we cannot just think about cities. We need to reconsider the countryside too. But first, this.

Doug Monticciolo (17:59): Hi, I’m Doug Monticciolo, the CEO and cofounder of Brevet Capital Management. We provide financial solutions that brings investors and businesses together to address the needs of governments. Brevet believes that every investment should be 100% responsible. So when we look at an opportunity, our first questions are, is there a lasting solution to a problem? And does it make your community smarter? So every smart community has one thing, at least in common from what we can tell. And that is, it has abundant and sustainable jobs. It’s fascinating to listen to Will McDonough talk about creating smarter cities through circular principles because as investors, you know, it’s kind of what we do. Let me give you an example. We have a waste-to-energy project. You know, we invested in a business that took an abandoned saw mill. It was a town where everybody had been laid off and the community was a bit depressed. And so we took a sawmill and we turned it into a power plant. That power/energy plant that took unrecyclable waste and turn it into power also took that power and turned it into heat and it took that heat and turns it into cement. And that’s important because that cement actually took all the waste from the energy production and made it into better cement while doing it all and every clean and CO2 efficient way. So that’s a business that creates jobs, with stability, gives dignity to its employees and creates a future for the community. And it doesn’t rely on anything really complicated. This is not a fancy financial transaction. No, this is just simply a really good, highly reputable business model. So we believe in creating smarter cities and the jobs that fuel them is a responsible way to invest. At Brevet we’re combining tools, how do you take a sawmill, turn it into a power production plant, and education. How do you run that plant in the way you used to? Kind of think about the saw mill and here’s our capital as a catalyst to create the solutions that are sustainable.

Claudia Romo Edelman (20:29): Welcome back. Edie, you rushed into the studio fresh from a recording.

Edie Lush (20:32): Yes. I just got off the phone from a recording with Samir Bantal who runs a think tank within leading urban designer Rem Koolhaas OMA. So he has some fairly radical ideas and they’re all expressed in a new Guggenheim exhibit about the countryside. So AMO is one of the leading urban design companies, but when you walk through countryside, it feels like you’re waving a big red flag and saying, hang on. We have to think through this urbanisation thing again is that the message?

Samir Bantal (21:13): Cities only represent 2% of the Earth’s surface, which means that the other 98% perhaps is ignored. So there’s much more attention. There’s a almost a kind of single focus on urbanism and on cities while actually the countryside is perhaps the most interesting area to investigate right now, not only as architects but you know as humanity as a total for different reasons. And that’s what we try to show and what we tried to explain in the exhibition.

Edie Lush (21:47): when you walk in to Countryside, there’s a sign that most of the world’s people will live in 2% of the world’s land. And you describe it as absurd and I wonder why you use that word absurd.

Samir Bantal (22:00): If we look at the way our culture looks at our world, it often starts from a kind of urban perspective. And so you could say that in a way this 2% of the Earth’s surface dictates almost the role of the 98% and of course like it’s a, it’s a very charged statement to make. But what we say is that in order actually to live in cities, what we haven’t seen or what we haven’t been able to recognise is that the countryside needs to be structured and organised on a scale that we’ve never seen before.

Edie Lush (22:39): So I wonder, since cities are growing at an unsustainable rate, what are the changes needed in the way we think about living in an urban environment?

Samir Bantal (22:49): There is a price to pay for our life in the city and that price is often paid by the countryside. So whether it’s farming on a large scale, whether it’s a food production with HR energy harvesting, all of that happens mostly in the countryside in large areas for which we basically give up sometimes nature just to sustain our way of life in the city. And the effects of that, because it’s all remote, are not felt directly by people. And one of the things for example that we found was that in Reno, Nevada, the kind of digital life that we have and whether that’s on Facebook or through Google or whatever actually also has a physical representation. And this physical representation is large warehouse type of buildings scattered around in beautifully pristine landscape where still wild Mustangs are running around and grazing. But that is actually a physical representation of the internet. We called it the back office of the internet. We started to investigate what does this mean? Is there a way in this, how this has been incorporated into the landscape? Because teams to, kind of, urban planning without an urban planner involved, it seems as if it’s an architecture without architects involved. And it seems beautifully almost like designed interiors without an interior designer involved. So is this first of all a kind of realm that we as architects need to be aware of and should explore, but is it also a way for us to understand what the consequences are of our lives in the city? One change also would be to reconsider the countryside also as an area for progress and modernisation and forward thinking rather than that this is solely the role of the city. And so I think if we’re able to tell that story and to recalibrate almost the image of what the countryside is, then we might be able to have another option or another idea of how to plan and how to design our communities and therefore our planet.

Edie Lush (25:22): So I wonder what you’ve learned from your research that might offer some fresh thinking on the city of the future.

Samir Bantal (25:29): One of the things is the role of planning, and I think this is also what we’re showing in our exhibition in the 20th century and either through democratic or non-democratic regimes have always had a sense of let’s say, importance of the countryside. I think Europe is struggling with a kind of emptying hinterland. The countryside is emptying, it’s decreasing in terms of population and often we still see that planning is focused on making cities more viable, more diverse and more et cetera, et cetera. China, on the other hand, it has a kind of strategy into identifying let’s say five typologies of rural life, five typologies of villages, and tries to find a way in how these five typologies that are still to be found in the Chinese countryside have a kind of sustainable future. One example is that some villages are almost remodelled to become like open air fulfilment centres. So production is centralised and this is production not only farming but also like a furniture for example. And through a kind of training of farmers and local producers in remote areas by companies like Alibaba, people in remote areas are now connected to the internet and eCommerce and are able to sell their products even though they are very remote to people who live in the city. So this is a way that China, for example, tries to accommodate something like eCommerce or something like economical, viable future on an area that, for example, in Europe has almost been given up.

Edie Lush (27:21): So finally, there’s a quote in the promotion for the exhibition that we really liked. It says, the countryside is now the site where the most radical modern components of our civilisation are taking place. So I wonder what we learn from that as our cities face these challenges.

Samir Bantal (27:40): We’ve now reached the moment where the story of the city is, is mainly about comfort, security and safety. And so that anything that we do as to accommodate this, the smart city, which is a very interesting kind of connection between the market economy or the market thinking and a new Silicon Valley technology actually is not pushing any boundaries further. It’s again, trying to fulfill the idea of safety and comfort. As a result, cities are not very much progressing or developing. I mean the, the model of a city is now becoming a formula that is copied and repeated globally. So cities start to look like each other as they start to behave like each other because they all work according to that formula. So to what extent is there still space for a radical ideas or new forms of living, new forms of working, new forms of energy production? What we’re seeing is that actually these issues are taking place in the countryside and are taking place in a much faster and a much more radical spirit. And is there a future foreseeable where the city can actually learn from this more agile form of thinking?

Edie Lush (29:12): Samir Bantal and Rem Koolhaas are presenting ‘Countryside’ at the Guggenheim museum in New York through August. Claudia, I want you to go see that exhibit.

Claudia Romo Edelman (29:19): 1000%.

Edie Lush (29:23): Underneath everything is the question we began with; Our vision of the future. I asked Bill McDonough for his vision. And when you imagine the city of the future, what is it? Do you have a, a utopian, a dystopian vision or, or something else?

William McDonough (29:38): Designers are inherently optimistic by disposition, because we wake up in the morning intending to make the world better. So I guess utopian more than dystopian in terms of intention, but there’s also this kind of thing that is now referred to as sunny pessimism. Best described, I think by F Scott Fitzgerald in an article in Esquire, in I think 1953 where he said a sure sign of a high intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s mind at the same time and not ceased to function. So in a way it’s like you can see that the entire situation is hopeless, but we still strive to make it not so

Claudia Romo Edelman (30:35): Well I think that that was amazing for me, Edie, in the 25 years working in global organisations, it was the cities that had the power at the very, very end.

Edie Lush (30:44): Tell me about that.

Claudia Romo Edelman (30:46): For example, working for the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, we had an agreement with certain government and they agreed on imposing certain policies and certain actions towards prevention of AIDS because the president can just go ahead and say this is what we’re going to do. But it is a mayor of a city that has the decision making power about like his own funding and his own money. So you might have a federal discussion and a national discussion, but unless the mayor is on board on it, the city wants to do that, a priority is not going to happen. The issue of course, is that while they have a lot of power, they never have their amount of budget because they don’t generate taxes on the road. At the end of the day Edie, in order to advance the global goals, we need to think of cities as key players that will take the decision and move that forward.

Edie Lush (31:36): And I think what’s so important is that rapid urbanisation that we have spoken about, depending on how you define urban, that’s about 4 billion people living in cities, three and a half billion living in rural areas. But demographers say that virtually all the population growth in the years ahead will be in cities. So by 2050 there’ll be 7 billion people living in cities and still about 3.5 billion living in rural areas.

Claudia Romo Edelman (32:05): Wow, that’s so massive. And we, we, I, I don’t think that we have started actually grappling with Asia, right.

Edie Lush (32:11): Part of it is slums, right? A third of all city dwellers live in slums, favelas, makeshift homes. In some places like India, it is getting better, but in other places conditions are still deteriorating.

Claudia Romo Edelman (32:22): And that’s where design matters, and I’ve seen a number of people using their architectural knowledge and thinking to try to meet with the SDGs, 11 and tried to see how you actually develop a place that can provide a dignified leaving at the same time making it echo and have less usage of energy and so on. I think that this is an exciting moment that we should follow it more carefully.

Edie Lush (32:47): What you’re saying there about designing, that’s part of planning and that’s the message all the way from Walt Disney at the start through to Samir, is that we can plan for it. We can think this through. Cities are what we make them.

Claudia Romo Edelman (32:59): Facts an actual city facts. This is the time in every one of our episodes, we give you the three facts that you can show off with your mother-in-law at dinner and we give you the action so that you can actually implement something good. So in this episode, Stan Stalnaker, a friend, a very dear friend and partner of the Global Goalscast and the founder of Hub Culture.

Stan Stalnaker (33:28): Hi, I’m Stan Stalnaker from Hub Culture. Thanks for having me today. I’m here with three facts and three actions related to SDG 11: sustainable cities. Fact one: according to UN environment, today over 700 million people live in an urban slum, which is almost one in three city dwellers, but economic dynamism is possible in these areas. I just returned from Rio de Janeiro where Vidigal, a famous favela, is transforming into a hotspot for Airbnb rentals. The digital economy is beginning to reach these areas. Fact two: rapid urbanisation is a new experience for humanity. In 1900 only about 16% of the world lived in cities. Today it is 55% and headed higher with over 4.13 billion people living in urban environments today. Fact three: virtualisation is an economic powerhouse for sustainable economic development in urban areas. By 2025 the global market for virtual goods is expected to reach 189.7 billion US dollars, which means that workers will be able to earn incomes in new ways through virtualisation without consuming physical resources in the same way. This shift points toward economic enrichment through digitisation regardless of your physical location. And there are also three actions you can do. Number one, make your community carbon positive. We need wise cities to be carbon positive. The only way to reach the 1.5 degree imperative to avoid the worst effects of climate change is to make sure new developments in cities are not just carbon neutral but carbon positive. This means they should generate more energy than they consume through renewable sources like solar, and in so doing become an energy contributor instead of an energy consumer. This is now possible if we build new buildings with consideration and seek to renovate and improve existing structures that are already existing. Number two, connect and deploy digital identity. For urban city dwellers, access to a digital identity owned by the individual is a crucial 21st century human right. With it, as an urban citizen, you’ll be able to access more goods, services and opportunities through the virtual world. You can obtain a digital identity and become a digital citizen through Hub ID, our service, or research other global initiatives for global citizenship programs including the global citizen forum, Estonia’s digital citizen project and even blockchain related initiatives like Colony or Bit Nation. There are many options emerging for virtual digital citizenship. And finally, number three, if you want to be part of building a future city and support restoration of the Amazon rainforest, you can. Hub Culture is busy working on Hub Culture; Emerald city. It’s a new virtual city that is currently being built online, but it’s also funding the protection of real world Amazon rainforest as part of its mission. You can become an Emerald city citizen and learn more about this exciting new mission at hubculture.city. Thanks a lot guys.

Edie Lush (36:47): Thank you very much Stan, for those facts and actions. Before we go, we want to share more on our partner Universal Production Music and their initiative to introduce more diversity into the production music world. They teamed up with She Said So, an international and diverse network of women who work in the music industry along with the support of She is the Music, a nonprofit organisation that endeavours to increase the number of women working in music, to find female identifying composers and artists around the world to feature on the release of 100% her album, which is now live on the universal production music website and Spotify.

Claudia Romo Edelman (37:26): Out of 470 submissions, 10 winners were selected across the globe from France to Turkey, Australia to Sweden. 100% Her is a serene soundscape of smooth synths, vocal loops, and textures, so full strings and with just the right balance of bouncy and brooding baselines.

Edie Lush (37:48): Wow. All 10 tracks were composed, mixed and mastered by women. A huge feat for music as this seldom occurs within the industry. We’re going to hand over now to Áine Tennyson, talking with Kate Lloyd, who’s one of the winners and discover her story and what it means to be part of the 100% Her album.

Áine Tennyson (38:08): Today, I’m here with Kate Lloyd and she’s going to tell us a little bit more about herself and how she got into music.

Kate Lloyd (38:17): I am a composer and producer and I write various electronic music, some cinematic and orchestral as well. And I got into music from a young age really, started learning to play the piano from quite a young age and then just started writing songs on my own. They were off. I went to the Leeds College of Music and I did my Btec on music technology there. And then from then on I went to do my BA in music production, so I started learning the craft of sound engineering and producing and mixing.

Áine Tennyson (38:46): What kind of music style and genre do you prefer to create?

Kate Lloyd (38:51): I think I probably prefer the electronic genre and specifically more downtempo. So I’d always followed artists when I was growing up like Moby and Röyksopp, massive attack and that was the sort of thing that inspired my sound now I suppose so, if I had to choose, that’s probably what I always default to writing.

Áine Tennyson (39:12): How did you find out about the 100% her campaign?

Kate Lloyd (39:16): Not long before Christmas, I think it was around September time, the alumni coordinator at Leeds College of Music, they were in touch with me and they’d asked to write an article about my career and what I’d been up to, and he mentioned this campaign that Universal were doing and he said, okay, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I thought of you immediately because they’re looking for specifically female electronic composers and producers. And I clicked the link and I just thought, Oh my God, it just felt like a bit of a sign. So I clicked through and I read about the brief and what you guys were after. I just thought absolutely. That’s something I really want to go for. So yeah, that’s for Dav at Leeds College of Music. Thank you so much for sending me that link. You’re a legend.

Áine Tennyson (40:00): Tell me, how did it feel when you find out that you were one of the final 10 selected to be on the 100% her album?

Kate Lloyd (40:09): Uh, I was buzzing like so made up. It was just the best news when I first got the email that I’d been shortlisted. I mean my heart was already racing at that point and I was like, Oh my God, this actually might happen. And then when I finally was told that I’d made it onto the album, I just felt so proud. It’s just such an achievement. Everything behind the campaign is something which I really support anyway. Being a female in the music industry, especially being a producer-composer, and to be picked out and recognised as that, it was just a true celebration so, I feel extremely grateful to be part of the album.

Áine Tennyson (40:42): Did you know much about production music before and have you ever worked on any production music previously?

Kate Lloyd (40:49): Yeah, so I started getting into writing production music around a year and a half, two years ago. And it felt like a good idea to diverge what I was doing separate to what I’m doing as an artist. So I started writing for small production libraries. I write various different music for them, mainly electronica stuff, but it’s different to what I do as an artist. But yeah, so I really enjoy writing production music. It’s good. It’s a really good angle to get your music out there even further.

Áine Tennyson (41:20): So what would you say your next moves are going forward?

Kate Lloyd (41:24): I’d like to keep on writing more music for production libraries, absolutely. And get some more contracts with different companies. That would be really good. And then as an artist, I write under the name Klloyd and I’d like to start gigging more and putting more stuff out there under that name as well. Just see what happens. Kind of hoping to write an album by the end of 2020 so watch this space.

Áine Tennyson (41:49): Thanks Kate. And he is a little preview of Kate’s track solitude.

Claudia Romo Edelman (42:37): The 100% Her album is now out on the Universal Production music website and on Spotify. Okay, Edie. Thanks to all our guests and to you, our listeners.

Edie Lush (42:48): Please like and subscribe via Apple podcast or wherever you listen and follow us on social media at Global Goalscast.

Claudia Romo Edelman (42:56): See you next time.

Edie Lush (42:58): Adios!

Claudia Romo Edelman (42:58): Bye.

Michelle Cooprider (43:04): Global Goalscast was hosted by Edie lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike [inaudible]. SKUs. Editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider and our interns, Brittany Segura and Tarryn Renne. Music in this episode was courtesy of Universal Production music, one of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, television, advertising, broadcast, and other media, including podcasts. Original music by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crone, and Andrew Phillips. This episode is brought to you by Brevet Capital Management, providing financial solutions that bring investors and businesses together to address the needs of governments. Thanks also to CBS News Digital.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Featured guests

Michael Shellenberger

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

Adam Matthews

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

Cassie Flynn

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

Izabella Kaminska

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

Special thank you to:


Adam Matthews (00:01):

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


Izabella Kaminska (00:26):

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


Michael Shellenberger (00:33):

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


Claudia  (00:57):

Welcome to the Global Goalscast!


Edie  (00:59):

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


Claudia  (01:05):

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


Edie  (01:17):

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


Claudia  (01:29):

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


Edie  (01:47):

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


Claudia  (01:55):

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


Edie  (02:05):

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


Edie  (02:17):

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


Michelle (02:23):

Thanks to CBS news digital and Universal Production music.


Claudia  (02:37):

Welcome back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.


New Speaker (02:39):

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


Claudia  (02:43):

Edie can you believe it?


Edie  (02:45):

It’s exciting!


Claudia  (02:46):

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


Edie  (02:54):

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


Claudia  (03:06):

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


Edie  (03:29):

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


Claudia  (03:44):

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


Edie  (04:19):

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


Izabella Kaminska (04:32):

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


Claudia  (04:35):

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


Izabella Kaminska (04:50):

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


Claudia  (05:11):

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


Izabella Kaminska (05:16):

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


Claudia  (05:25):

So tell us about the blog that you wrote.


Izabella Kaminska (05:27):

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


Edie  (06:00):

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


Claudia  (06:13):

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


Edie  (06:29):

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


Izabella Kaminska (06:35):

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


Edie  (07:32):

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


Izabella Kaminska (07:44):

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


Claudia  (08:20):

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


Edie  (08:30):

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


Adam Matthews (08:43):

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


Edie  (08:53):

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


Adam Matthews (09:06):

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


Claudia  (10:10):

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


Edie  (10:33):

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


Adam Matthews (10:48):

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


Edie  (12:07):

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


Adam Matthews (12:21):

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


Claudia  (12:55):

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


Adam Matthews (13:07):

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


Edie  (14:06):

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


Adam Matthews (14:26):

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


Claudia  (15:51):

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


Adam Matthews (16:06):

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


Edie  (16:29):

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


Claudia  (16:41):

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


Adam Matthews (16:47):

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


Claudia  (17:42):

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


Adam Matthews (17:52):

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


Edie  (18:52):

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


Izabella Kaminska (19:02):

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


Edie  (20:16):

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


Speaker 4 (20:19):

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


New Speaker (20:34):

You just can’t get away with it!


New Speaker (20:34):

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


Claudia  (20:58):

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


Izabella Kaminska (21:03):

It’s, fine!


Claudia  (21:07):

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


Izabella Kaminska (21:11):

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


Michael Shellenberger (21:27):

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


Izabella Kaminska (22:24):

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


Michael Shellenberger (22:30):

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


Izabella Kaminska (24:18):

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


Michael Shellenberger (24:21):

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


Izabella Kaminska (26:15):

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


Michael Shellenberger (26:25):

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


Izabella Kaminska (27:03):

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


Michael Shellenberger (27:13):

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


Izabella Kaminska (29:55):

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


Michael Shellenberger (30:02):

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


Edie  (30:26):

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


Izabella Kaminska (30:40):

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


Claudia  (31:51):

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


Edie  (32:50):

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


Izabella Kaminska (33:18):

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


Claudia  (33:21):

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


Izabella Kaminska (33:25):

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


Claudia  (34:37):

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


Izabella Kaminska (34:44):

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


Edie  (35:20):

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


Izabella Kaminska (35:43):

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


Edie  (37:03):

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


Izabella Kaminska (37:13):

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


Speaker 2 (37:27):

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


Claudia  (37:39):

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


Edie  (37:45):

I have! Haven’t you?


Claudia  (37:46):

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


Edie  (37:53):

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


Cassie Flynn (38:00):

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


Edie  (41:10):

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


Claudia  (41:17):

And thank you Izabella for joining us.


Izabella Kaminska (41:20):

It was a real pleasure and thank you again.


Edie  (41:23):

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


Claudia  (41:28):

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


Michelle (41:41):

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

The Global Warning of Australia’s Wildfires


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured guests

Matthew England

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

Dr. Catriona Wallace

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

Pollyanna Darling

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

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

Dina Liberg

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

Áine Tennyson

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

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of

Special thank you to:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie (16:46):  Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

   just like fishes in a sardine can. 

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

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

A true hero is what we are…”

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

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

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

Featured guests

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh

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

Mohamed Yahya

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

Ann Cairns

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

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 04:17 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 12:43 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 17:38 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 20:59 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 35:43 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Lush: 40:07 Adios!

Claudia Edelman: 40:07 Bye, bye!

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

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

Maybe the Poor won’t always be with us


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured guests

Tanya Accone

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

Saskia Bryusten

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

Paul Matovu

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

David Yin

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

Ann Cairns

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

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


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

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

Pause: 00:36 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 15:17 [background music]

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

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

Pause: 15:52 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pause: 19:19 [background music]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claudia Edelman: 35:37 Bye!

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

Greta, CEOs join Global GoalsCast to Save the Planet


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

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

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

Featured guests

John Sterman

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

Max Boykoff

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

Bradley Tusk

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

Laura Gitman

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

Gillian Tett

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

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

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gillian Tett: 02:58 Great to be here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Sterman: 12:25 Transport?

Edie Lush: 12:25 Transport? Yeah!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Sterman: 13:55 Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Lush: 14:51 Ok!

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

Edie Lush: 15:50 Nothing happened.

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

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

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

Edie Lush: 16:04 Right.

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

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

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

Edie Lush: 17:24 Ok!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Sterman: 19:19 Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Lush: 25:48 Like, what?

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

Edie Lush: 26:43 Huge breakthrough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Sterman: 30:32 Yeah! congratulations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Lush: 44:06 Adios!

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