Review of episode 1 of Climate of Change
Climate of change is a new podcast hosted by Australian actress Cate Blanchett and Danny Kennedy, CEO of New Energy Link (NEX) the world’s leading ecosystem of funds and accelerators supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs and environmental activists. This Audible Original podcast can be found on Audible.ca and was sent to us early for review! As such, we thought it would be a great opportunity to create a weekly review series, covering all 6 episodes in total.
The first episode is titled “The sooner the better”. It starts with Blanchett describing her journey to London to record the podcast, in her electric car of course! She goes on to say that this podcast is about “the thing I thought of”. She then moves on to talk about the anxiety she is currently feeling during this drive as she forgot to charge her car and does not want to listen to the news as it sounds like a constant barrage of bad news, two notions that almost all environmentalists can easily relate to, especially anxious feelings of “what can we do”. By the way, these feelings are known as eco-anxiety and have been covered in our earth day series! Blanchett then introduces Kennedy as the one she calls out to when she feels this climate, or eco-anxiety, saying that her optimism and solution-focused strategy for the future helps with these feelings.
I appreciate the optimism brought by Kennedy, stating that this is an “anti-cynical” podcast that is only about the positives – I can identify with much of the pessimism felt by Blanchett, he so is great to listen to a podcast focused on ‘hope in a hopeless world’. As Kennedy says, there are tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators, all working to solve this same problem of climate change – a thought that I found very reassuring. As Blanchett, the optimist in training, says, all is not good. There are myriads of people who are already suffering from the effects of climate disasters and that can seem like a daunting and sometimes impossible problem to solve. Kennedy’s optimism does not blind him to the realities of climate change, stating that a crime has been committed, how we must confront the injustice of climate change and how setting realistic goals is key to making those tasks more possible.
The first guest is featured as a climate action leader Mary Robinson – the former president of Ireland, and the first woman to hold the post, a UN envoy on climate change, and also host of a podcast on climate change. Immediately, Robinson says a quote that stuck with me, quoting Desmond Tutu “I’m not an optimist, I’m a prisoner of hope.” As she says, if you have hope, you have the energy to make things happen. Within seconds, I already knew I was going to love her time as a guest on the podcast. Robinson then brings up the previously mentioned notion of eco-anxiety, which Blanchett realizes she suffers from, saying it often manifests as discouragement, where an individual doesn’t know what to do, or does the opposite and takes action. as a motivator to create change. I’ll also take his approach of asking environmentalists how they’re doing and how they’re taking care of themselves, because eco-anxiety is something that I think affects all of us in one way or another. of another. I really appreciate Blanchett and Kennedy’s approach, because obviously Blanchett really cares about the environment, but isn’t as steeped in the jargon or language that most environmentalists have heard, so it’s refreshing to hear a unique perspective, and curiosity as Kennedy explains some of these terms.
Robinson goes on to explain a three-step plan that I think most of us should follow. This includes making the climate crisis personal by making individual changes in your own life, like eating less meat, getting angry at those who aren’t doing enough, like government, investors, and cities, and joining organizations to use your voice. . The final way she suggests is to imagine the world we want and through that understand how fast we need to change, understanding that this is a crisis and that we should be in mode crisis. I love Kennedy’s take on this, saying she gave us a cheat sheet for eco-anxiety.
Blanchett and Kennedy’s relationship also makes them a great listen, they’ve known each other for years and it’s really easy to tell through the chemistry they share. Even recounting the marches they went to years ago, and how Blanchett used her fame to bring more attention to those rallies. I was unaware of her climate activism and really appreciate the work she has done throughout her life. Despite all of this, she still feels the same guilt that many feel for not doing enough for climate change, even saying she feels guilty for using the hair dryer or when her family leaves the lights on. The relatability of statements like these really make the podcast a great listen. This, added to Kennedy’s optimism that what is important is that we to know what to do and that we do it, even if it has to be faster, makes the podcast an engaging, but also inspiring listen. As he says, yes the climate is changing, but so is the world of energy, as we move faster every year from fossil fuels to renewables. Optimism. What a breath of fresh air.
Kennedy’s optimism and hope for the future continues as Blanchett describes feeling trapped in society’s use of fossil fuels. Here, Kennedy states that he believes that by 2040 we need to achieve not net zero, but truly zero carbon emissions. He goes on to say that we are currently in the clean energy revolution and believes that major drivers of carbon emissions, such as transport, are on the way to being more sustainable. When Blanchett says she ignored the news, Kennedy seems surprised, going on to say that the ongoing “pessimism” is part of our problem with our communications and language surrounding climate change. As he says, believing in climate action and climate change is the only way to succeed in the world.
The notion that humans are special because of not our intelligence, but our friendliness and willingness to cooperate is very interesting, and I had never heard of it before. The words of the second guest, Rutger Bregman, really resonate with me, especially when he goes on to say that humans are the stories we tell ourselves and that our future story must be one of hope and the possibility of change. Messages like this make the podcast both inspiring, but also powerful listening. It is only through collaboration that solutions can be properly integrated, an idea echoed by Kennedy and one to think about as we move forward with our renewable energy initiatives.
Kennedy then highlights how her company is working with innovators and entrepreneurs to revolutionize energy, with Jeraiza Molina, co-founder of SHIFTECH Marine which aims to give anglers clean energy, as opposed to the conventional batteries they currently use. It is used to attract fish when fishing at night and is powered by clean energy, thanks to solar energy. Not only is this more durable, but it also allows anglers to spend less money on fuel. The guests really make this podcast shine with some of their quotes, here Molina says that one of the best ways to fight climate change on an individual level is to look at the small issues in your community that contribute to climate change. This change can then be catalytic and inspire those around the world to follow suit. “To go global, you have to go small.” I also have to say that Blanchett provides such great insights and asks Kennedy great questions. Here she asks if this initiative will contribute to overfishing and a question that came to mind almost immediately. As Kennedy says, the real problem is with unregulated industrial fishing, not the local fisherman. They can have an impact locally, but not globally as the fishing industry does. Saving money, it also allows these fishermen to be more careful and has resulted in finer sorting of bycatch.
I love how this podcast ends, echoing Mary Robinson, with Kennedy asking Blanchett how she’s feeling. Here I can relate to Blanchett where she says she often focuses on the negative and is grateful for Kennedy’s optimism to balance it out. Overall, I found this podcast to be a refreshing and energizing listen, especially compared to the often (understandably) discouraged talk about climate change. The contrast between Blanchett’s relatable pessimism and Kennedy’s optimism and his focus on solutions for the future make this a podcast worth listening to. I can’t wait to watch the sequel!