Sustainability

What to listen to - the podcasts

Photo: Louise Gripenberg

Photo: Louise Gripenberg

I am continuing with my series on how to learn more about sustainability and how to educate yourself on the topic. In recent posts I mentioned some of my favourite programs from the Swedish public radio and other ways to keep yourself updated.

This post is all about the podcasts. The podcast jungle has grown huge the last few years (while the real ones we are more dependent on have not). It can be hard to navigate and honestly, I am not big fan of podcast if I am not convinced I will learn something new (which I cannot know if I do not listen of course).

Here is a list of the ones related to sustainability I believe you should follow. Some I am listening to frequently and some have been recommended by others:

English:

Faces of Food - by Eat Foundation on how to transform food systems for people and the planet, available on Spotify.

Take Action Talks - some episodes in English but most in Swedish. Interviews with specialists and people engaged in different sustainability topics.

Podship Earth - Jared Blumenfeld are one of the leading environmentalists in the U.S.A and have worked for Barack Obama.. worth listening to, available on Spotify.

Green Dreamer - the podcast and multimedia journal illuminating our paths to ecological regeneration, intersectional sustainability, and true abundance and wellness for all. Available on Spotify.


Swedish (all available on Spotify):

Tillväxtparadigmet - by Hannes Anagrius about economic growth and systems and how it relates to sustainability.

Miljöpodden - by Ahmed Al-Qassam & Fanny Jönsson on topics related to environmental science such as climate change and renewable energy.

Hållklarhetspodden - by Food Pharmacy on how to live a more sustainable life.

Slow Fashion - by Johanna Nilsson about sustainable fashion.

Hållbarhetsprofil podcast - by Amanda Borneke. She’s having conversations with inspiring people in the field of sustainability.

Solcellskollens podcast - by Solcellskollen on renewable energy.

#Vi är maträddarna - en hållbarhetspodcast - by Dumpsterdivan on food waste, dumpster diving, environment and sustainability.

Vägen Mot Paradiset - by Johannes Cullberg, the entrepreneur and founder of the food chain Paradiset. He is having conversation with scientists, leaders and athletes on sustainability and food.

Steg för Steg - Inspiration för en hållbar livsstil - By Sustainability Influencers (founded by Tess Waltenburg). A podcast with interviews of inspiring people and influencer about sustainable living.

Fanny och Ila- Hållbar livsstil och holistisk hälsa - By Fanny and Ila (Morotsliv) about sustainable lifestyle and holistic health. No pointers, close to laughter!

I would love to get your tips on podcasts related to sustainable development, especially from other countries and in english! Please, send me an e-mail.

Listen and learn - the 4 most important radio programs

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I believe people tend to be more concern about their personal opinions being challenged instead of being concern about their personal opinions being wrong. When I say wrong, I mean not based on facts, logic or reason. For example, I might believe that veganism is good for the world and the most sustainable diet. I have chosen to become vegan and I promote it on my networks. I’m so convinced that I’m not willing to listen to research showing that on landscapes in Sweden where there are grassing animals there is a high biodiversity. I claim those research to be wrong and say that animals in Sweden do not grass, they mostly live their lives in cages. The problem here is that instead of acknowledging the scientific fact and say that it might be true that grassing animals are good for biodiveristy, currently not all animals grass. Even if they did the question is if there is enough land for all animals to grass? And if that is the case, who says they need to be eaten or used to supply food. Do we not have grassing horses that keep the landscapes open without being slaughter? That would be a more rational way to challenge the conclusion based on a research of biodiversity without changing your position about veganism. Science says grassing animals are good for biodiversity, human social and economic system makes the conclusion that some meat in the diet is good for the planet.

But that’s not really what I wanted to write about. This post is based on the previous one about knowing the facts and educate yourself. So here comes a little story:

When I started my bachelor studies in Peace and development at Linnaeus University I had a professor who has been working his whole life with humanitarian aid and development. He was in expert in all kinds of development issues and well educated in topics such as philosophy, politics and economics. He knew a little thing about everything. He knew the theories and he knew how to work on the field with humans, especially in Mozambique. Sometimes he spoke loudly about his concerns for our global world, “are we really developing or is everything just going in cycles?”

He was very passionated about his work to educate new students about what he learned so far. I will never forget that day when he the week before had recommended all the students in the classroom (probably 80 sitting in the aula) to listen to four radio programs at the Swedish public radio. The week before people had nod their heads, written the four programs down and now he asked who among us had been listen to them. The room when silent and he looked around seriously. He wondered again who had listen to them and short after I raised my hand. I was the only one. He went angry and asked his student why they do not take his advice and why they have not listen to the programs? Are you not serious about your studies? This is not the only place you have to learn about the world you also have to keep yourself updated about important topics! I can still hear the sound of his voice and after that day I promised to take any advice from any professor regarding where too find information. I took his advice and I have the last eight years probably listen to 80% of all the episodes these four programs has produced since then.

What programs? For swedish listeners:

Godmorgon, Världen!

Filosofiska rummer

Konflikt

Ekonomiekot

Of course these are not the only good programs the Swedish public radio have, I also listen to Klotet i Vetenskapsradion, Kropp & Själv, Människor och tro, P3 Dokumentär, Sommar & Vinter i P1, Teologiska rummet, Vetandets värld, and Vetenskapsradion Historia among others. Not all episodes of course, the four ones mentioned above are still my priority.

I normally listen when I am transporting myself or when I am exercising. I like the idea of educating myself while becoming stronger, faster and healthier. A better holistic version of me.

Will you take my advice and listen?

Ways to change the world

Photo: Last year (2018) climate march in Stockholm, by  Cacaosana

Photo: Last year (2018) climate march in Stockholm, by Cacaosana

The theme of this blog - Take Action - comes from my passion to inspire more people to get involved in sustainable development. I believe all of us can contribute to a better world and by doing so we’ll also feel better. By sharing our passion and inspire each other that doing good also results in being good, the burden, often felt when reading about sustainable development, is being shared.

There are many ways to work with sustainable development. I still believe development is necessary, since humanity is far away, in my opinion, from reaching it’s true potential as a species. The reason why I write “sustainable..” is that the current global society is not existing within the planetary boundaries or easily said, not according to earth systems capacity to sustain us. I’ll write more about what sustainable development is in another post and I’ll get back to how you can make an impact.

If you look at yourself and the way you interact with your surroundings you’ll realise this is done in several ways. I’ll write down the ones I personally experience in my life and if you have any suggestions of other ways, please make a comment and share your insights.

  • Personal relationships - this can be a partner, family, friends or your network

  • Professional relationships - this can be colleagues at work, your doctor, your hairdresser or other people you interact with

  • Voter - if you live in a democracy you participate in elections maybe on local, regional or national scale

  • Worker - this relates to your profession and what you do for living

  • Consumer - what products or services you buy

  • Volunteer - this is similar as the worker except the fact that you don’t make a living of it

  • Freedom of speech - how you use your ability to speak up on platforms available to you

  • Investor - related to your pension, your capital and the funds you have

  • Donator - this is the money you give away

These are the areas, the roles, where you can make an impact and I’ll now write down how you can view sustainability and make changes in different sustainability aspects. Sustainability rests on three pillars; enviromental, social and economic (while some would argue there’s a fourth mostly labelled as cultural). What one must understand is that these are not three equal, replaceable or exchangeable areas. They are dependent and interacting but sustainability is where the environmental pillar sets the framework, the social is embedded within it while the economy is embedded within the social. Today, most scholars would argue that current systems has it the other way around. First comes economy, then social and last the environmental. Here are just a few common sustainability aspects and if you have other suggestions please comment and give your tips.

Environment:

  • Climate change

  • Biodiversity loss

  • Plastic pollution

  • Chemical pollutions

Social:

  • Gender equality

  • Human diversity

  • Education

  • Health

  • Peace and justice

  • Security and safety

Economic:

  • Innovation

  • Trade

  • Equal share of resources

  • Secured income

  • Circularity

  • Long-term resilience

For someone who really wants to live sustainable and make an impact in all areas, you would have to analyse each and every one of the above mentioned roles. Focus on the areas where you get the fastest and largest reduction in your environmental footprint. Then you would view your life and the choices you make from the social and at last the economical. In reality, is not that easy and from a human society perspective to put all the social and economic on the side for maximising the environmental would probably not be so successful. Our society is so far away from being within the planetary boundaries and the environmental ceiling that you would probably have to leave a comfortable life in western style and be self sustainable on a piece of land. But then you might lose the opportunity to make changes in other areas of your life.

What I would suggest you to do is to start to learn about sustainability and find which topic that interest you the most. Then you’ll seek ways to make changes in your different roles. For example when it comes to climate change, start by talking about it with your close ones, how do they feel about it? Are they aware? Start to read about different political parties stand on climate change and what policies they want to create to deal with the crisis. Then you can ask at work what your company, organisation etc. are doing to reduce their impact on the climate and how your work can create higher awareness of the crisis. You can ask whenever you’re in the store or going by transport how that particular company are transiting towards clean energy. You can also change your job (or start your own climate-solution-business?), or search for a volunteer opportunity or participate in climate demonstrations. With freedom of speech you can share documentaries (or make one yourself) on social media, write an article for your local newspaper or start following people that inspires you. As a consumer you can change the way you travel, eat and consume clothes. Divest in fossils by asking your bank about fossil free funds. And don’t underestimate the importance of donating money to organisations working in different ways with climate change. Further, if you have the capital, why not invest in clean energy or more sustainable food options?

Remember that regardless if you are passionate about social issues or environmental, they are mostly integrated and seldom they stand against each other. But sometimes they do. Should I buy fair trade certified honey from a women’s cooperative in Kenya or the local honey in Sweden? Should I vote for the party that call themselves feminists or the ones saying that they want to regulate use of chemicals in clothes? Should I go vegan or eat a diverse diet on local food? Should I change my job, or stay and use my spare time for volunteering?

What you do and how you do it is not so important. You don’t have to change everything, everywhere, at the same time. You can start in areas you’re mostly interested in, is it food, travels or clothes? What inspires you and what would you like to learn more about?

If you choose to be engaged in the rights of animals and people criticising you for not caring about children or organic farming. Well, one thing doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the other. Tell them, at least you have chosen something. At least you care. At least you try to do something, somewhere and that’s far better then doing nothing at all.

We have to start valuing people higher that takes a stand and choose to engage instead of blaming each other for not doing enough. When we do that we encouraging the people who haven’t decide to change to remain in their comfort zone.

More about different areas of change making in the upcoming days. For now, evaluate the areas in your life in relation to the sustainability aspects and ask yourself what will be your next area of change making?

You want to save the world? Have a second thought before taking action

I grew up with the idea that I'm going to save the world. That will be my job as an audult. No one told me, from what I can remember, that it’s my destiny to do so, I clearly chose it to be my path. There’s several issues with that statement. The first thing is that the world doesn’t need to be saved. And this doesn’t come from someone who doesn’t believe in climate change, rather the opposite, this comes from someone who separates scientific facts with morality and actions. What I mean is that “the world” includes a lot of things and all of it doesn't need to be saved. Rather we could wish that some of it would be better off. By taking climate change as an example, it’s clear that it would be beneficial for humankind to do everything we can to stop the realise of greenhouse gases and invest in carbon offset innovations, technologies and environmental practices such as planting trees. So who needs to be saved? Humans of course. Some might argue the thousands of species being extinct due to climate change also needs to be saved, but why would humans care? The obvious answer is that we like the idea of tigers in the djungel, elephants on the savannah and bees in our garden but the most rational answer would be; for our own survival. It’s cheaper and less risky to let ecosystem serve humanity as it has during the last 10 000 of years then inventing technologies that will replace them (even though I doubt humanity has enough knowledge to create such advanced systems). If climate change needs to be dealt with, and thousands of species, and not to mentioned all the social and economic issues, why can’t we say that the world needs to be saved? For something to be saved it needs to be saved from something. If you look at it, this means humans. We are the creators of all these issues so what what really needs to be saved from what? My conclusion is that humans should then save themselves from themselves. And you still believe you want to be that person that saves humanity from themselves? So how to do that? The obvious answer is saving yourself. What you really say is that you want to save yourself - and from what? From yourself of course. If you have reached that conclusion but still wondering - what about climate change? Well, you’re being a part of it every single day and you participate in the system creating this huge error in beneficial development for humankind. Some of you might say that you don’t care about humans, all you care are about is animals, then have a second look at the hierarchy among species and see who’s in charge. You might acknowledge this and still want to save the animals from humans, then you probably have a better chance of helping animals by helping humans.

So before you go on your mission to save the world. Acknowledge that the world doesn’t need to be saved, it needs to be changed (if you have ideas of what to be good otherwise I would say that even the word “need” is not really valid) and change is happening rather if we consciously participate or not. So you can chose to do your best to contribute to a change that you might find beneficial for animals, humans, both or nature (regardless if you view humans as a part of nature or not). How to create a better world then?

Well that’s for another post.