CarbonSessions Podcast, Learning through Conversations, Gaining Global Perspectives, & How to Join in on the Conversation
Featuring Carbon Almanac Contributors Jenn Swanson, Inma Lopez, Rod Aparicio, Olabanji Stephen
These four contributors span the world hailing from Canada, Spain, Germany and Nigeria. They come together, not as experts, but as regular people to have real conversations on topics involving climate change and sustainability.
In this episode, we talk about why CarbonSessions has developed and the vision for this podcast. We get a taste of some of the topics we’ll be hearing about in upcoming episodes. Listen as each person brings their unique experience and viewpoint to the conversation to foster learning, grow to understand and engage in action.
And if you'd like to get involved in the conversation, CarbonSessions would love to hear from you. Find them wherever you get your podcasts or send a voice message to Rod, Jenn, Inma, Leekei, and Olabanji at thecarbonalmanac.org/podcasts
This podcast is a part of the Carbon Almanac Podcast Network.
Production Team: Jennifer Myers Chua, Sam Schuffenecker, Leekei Tang, Tania Marien, Barbara Orsi
Cover Art: Ray Ong
Copyright © 2022 The Carbon Almanac Network
About the Carbon Almanac Collective: What happens when regular people work together to create massive, meaningful change on a global scale? Welcome to the carbon Almanac collective. A podcast where the volunteers who created the Carbon Almanac share the insights and aha moments they had while collaborating on this landmark project to help fight the climate crisis.
Hosted by Jennifer Myers Chua, and featuring the voices of Carbon Almanac Contributors. Reminding you that it's not too late to join in on the conversation.
[00:00:49] Olabanji: I'm Olabanji. I live in Nigeria and I'm helping out with the podcast at the Carbon Almanac.[:
[00:01:02] Inma: Hi, I'm Inma I am from the south of Spain and I live in a Scotland. I started with the emails, and then, I'm helping with the podcasts.[:
[00:01:20] Rod: Being selfish because I wanted to work with Seth and along the way, taking a different perspective also on how climate change is taken as a tool for systemic change. Because I've been involved in, in other initiatives towards that, like more disparate than this one, but this one is very focused on, so it was very interesting.[:
[00:02:08] Olabanji: So I got an email from Seth and I can't remember the exact content, but in my head it was like some really great guys created some amazing stuff and you need to see and possibly join and be a part of it. And I was like, okay, if Seth says join, then I'm joining. So I joined and I saw whole board moving pieces, lots of stuff happening at the same time.
And I was like, uh, oh, okay. Find somewhere to fit. And thanks to Jenn for helping me out with that. And I started raising my hand and, and it's been great all the way. I mean, it's the best thing ever caring about what we need to do to save the earth. Um, I'm here all the way.[:
[00:02:57] Jenn: I get Seth's daily blogs. And true confessions, I don't read them every day. Sometimes I batch them and I'll read them all at once. But for some weird reason, I opened this one and read it. And it was probably the same one Olabanji said it was the invitation that there's this cool thing happening. And, and I clicked it and I thought, oh my gosh, look at all this stuff and look at all these people and how exciting and this stuff has been near and dear to my heart for a long time. So it felt like the right moment to take the leap.[:
[00:03:32] Jenn: Yes to a point. we're very much the, uh, the kids call us the, uh, uber recyclers in our house. And we have tried to go as zero waste as we can. And I'm always reading about this stuff and thinking about this stuff and, we switched to a really old electric vehicle. And so it's in the air and it's stuff that I'm passionate about. So I guess I would.[:
[00:04:32] Rod: I didn't consider myself an environmentalist, nor do I currently. What I do see myself though, is a sort of like progressive activism because I feel like it involves more things. It's just not carbon that I see because it's systemic. Right. It has other things that are all interconnected.[:
[00:05:20] Jennifer: Do you feel like anything that you've learned from the Carbon Almanac project has changed you?[:
So that definitely just makes me feel like really hopeful that there's nothing that we can't do. If we have people in twos, in threes and fours, um, having a conversation, making a decision, taking the step, showing up in some capacity or another. So that has definitely changed me. Another thing that definitely changed for me is I'm now really conscious of my environment, what I do, how I do things, how I interact with people.
I just, it becomes an outburst sometime like, Hey, stop that, don't do that. Right. I tell people to not do that. Uh, and I'm conscious of how I do things, where it keeps things, how I use things. What I buy, if I buy at all, so I'm definitely more conscious. I tell people every time don’t search with Google, use Ecosia you be planting trees and you're like, seriously.
Yeah, yeah. You would be planting trees. So I'm so conscious of my environment and yeah, that has definitely changed for me.[:
[00:06:50] Jenn: I think so. I think it's hard not to be when you're working with people from around the globe. I, I still feel a sense of urgency, a sense of fear, a sense of anxiety. But I, and I'm, I'm hearing more and more about carbon on the news and in the media. But there is hope. And, and so we're doing all the research for the episodes we're doing. There's so much info out there. That it's impossible not to be more aware and taking more steps as, as Banji said.[:
I felt sometimes how people can not think like me as, as a, as a boundary. And within this group, I felt that that's not a boundary anymore. It's like, okay, here we are together. Whatever we think about anything else here is is something that we can do together.[:
So, so yeah.[:
[00:09:08] Rod: It's called Carbon Sessions. So it was about like having carbon conversations, and carbon conversations was just like too cluttered. And it was like, Just played it, it came like as good ideas came sometimes in within five minutes. I was like carbon sessions because it's about conversations. There's like a lot of leeway too, because the idea at some point was to have some other guests also. So it gives us more space to have these conversations about carbon. And the idea is like, how do you convert conversations started playing around with the phonetic order. And it's just like, yeah, it's a session about the carbon Carbon Sessions.[:
[00:10:41] Olabanji: Coming from that angle. It's about people that care really and are lending their voices to a cause that they care about, um, which is sustainability and climate change. And we're having all these conversations, like we're not recording it, which is amazing. It it's flowing into naturally. So in, you know, in an interesting way, and we're just regular people having a conversation about how to save the planet and that's exactly what it is.
We're not experts. We're not trying to tell you what to do. We're just trying to normalize the conversation and see, Hey, it's okay. It's totally fine to have this conversation. And if you care to join us, feel free, you know, you can, and that's what we're doing. I remember a conversation I had with Inma and Leekei and we're recording it at first and then we stopped recording and we're like, uh, we're just going to have this conversation and have fun with it and talk about everything and we probably don't want everybody to hear. And we just started talking and pulling ideas and stuff and, you know, making it was so good. It was really good. And that's what we're trying to do. Not experts. Not people would experience just regular people, um, showing up to have conversations that matter because they can help us because they can change what we have right now. And that's it.[:
[00:13:20] Rod: What I'm seeing that the goal is it's not to empower people to have conversations. It's just that, to let them see that if two complete strangers can have a conversation about a certain theme, and it's not about only, it's not coming from a place of expertise over or being like experts.
Right. Because I know I'm not, but what I do is I start learning about that. I start going through. I'm doing some research if I can, but most of it, it has to be backed up with something it's not only about opinions or narratives. It's more about like, okay, these are the facts. What are the perspectives that we can have? And the red thread that connects it all is what's the impact of carbon within it. And from there, it just like expands.[:
[00:14:23] Olabanji: Yeah, the very one that we probably will not publish it. It's memorable. I mean, every episode that we recorded has been great, amazing. Each of them is special in its own way. We'll have a conversation right now and we think it is so good. And then we'll stop recording to take a break and then we'll have the next conversation.
And then it goes from a hundred to a thousand, like, whoa, you know, so they've all been really amazing. And you know, we'll do a bit of research, you know, talk about it, jump out of the research, jump back in just really natural conversations. And they've been so great.[:
[00:15:02] Olabanji: Yeah, space travel[:
[00:15:06 Olabanji: That where we're polluting parts of the atmosphere that we don't know much about. Right. And so we're doing enough here and look where it's gotten us. So now we're going to the stratosphere to the upper layers where we usually don't do stuff like that. And we don't know exactly what the outcome will be.
So it's an emergency, you know, we can't do space travel at that level. What we cannot see or see exactly what the outcome of carbon emission in those spaces will be. And, and, and if you see a rocket ship takeoff, it's a party of carbon an entire party. So we really need to be careful with that.[:
[00:15:55] Jenn: Well, they've all been pretty memorable, but one that, that I think surprised me the most was when I had with Inma about leaf blowers.[:
[00:16:07] Jenn: Because she didn't know what they were and they're so ubiquitous where I am they're everywhere and now I'm even more conscious. And aware of them and, you know, surprised about them. And so I think that was an interesting one.[:
[00:16:41] Jenn: think you said it was, it was an unfortunate convenience or something. There was some, some word that you said that stuck with me. And I thought, I wonder what else in our world is an unfortunate convenience.[:
Yeah, I believe it's. I believe like. All these certifications are nice to have, but are more of a tick boxes to check. And there are just to keep on the status quo because you know that let's say that you have your manufacturing something right. For you to adapt into how to make things more sustainable being absolutely honest, you'd have to cut different things and be absolutely disruptive.
But when it is like, oh no, we're just going to try with the ESG. It's going to be changed. Yes, of course. But it's going to be very slow. How slow maybe 60 years. We're out of this world in 50, so it doesn't make any sense. Right?[:
But there is a certification that has to go in because it's what the market's asking for.[:
[00:18:40] Inma: and greenwashing.[:
[00:18:44] Inma: Yeah.[:
[00:18:45] Jenn: It's how do we move the big corporations that are getting a lot of money for things. I just, I just, I have a seven month old grandson and I've just learned about something called elimination communication.
You know, my daughter has used cloth diapers as well, but now she's not even, he's seven months old and he's actually going on a potty which is. Amazing. Because they've been doing this since about five months and I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't helped him do it myself. And I'm thinking you, you would never know about this. In our part of the world, because the diaper companies don't want you to know about it, because then you're hardly using any diapers when you can get a tiny child to do this, uh, with a little bit of effort. So it's, it's this kind of thing, like how do we get around the capitalism?[:
The point that I'm trying to make is it's not about judging whether you're using or not. But it's about, we understand things and maybe things could go as Jenn saying, if you don't have the information, which has been withheld from this big corps or anything. That hurts you because you're not having a proper informed decision on how to do things. Right. And when you do it, you can be more aware. And that's what I believe we're trying to build like awareness on how to make the different decisions and seek ways to fix it or just do what it's necessary only.[:
[00:20:53] Jennifer: And the fact that everybody who's involved in this podcast is in a different time zone, in countries all over the world. Really. I'm wondering if there's been anything else that's come up in conversation that surprised you because it's something that maybe isn't accessible where you are, or isn't as well known where you are.[:
However, what happens on other parts where they don't actually have access to Latin America I'm from there, or I've tried to eat through India also.
So it has different, they all have different needs. They all have different customs. They have also different access to certain things. So just like having this balance, and I believe with Jennifer, we were talking about. This is great, but we are, we as the people that are on this more privileged positions, we also have this more responsibility towards doing things more consciously.[:
[00:22:21] Rod: Maybe about the conversation Inma and I started having about, seeing on the map of like, what was the carbon footprint that was around like different areas or communities.[:
[00:23:01] Rod: That one too. And also about, you know, where you could see on, on this app on the community that you want it to see, Hey, you know, how many trees are there? How much concrete or any of those. So that was very interesting to to see from Inma and I, she was focusing on Spain. I was like, Hey, you know, there is this community or there, this treatment that can be done, uh, has been done. And then we compared it on the other side to Peru, where they had one, one tree, every 10 kilometers, probably even less, maybe I'm not exaggerated by the way. But a so yeah, just like seeing the treatment, how governments can take, how communities and how like things are decided. Right? Because that brought us to the conversation on, in Lima, for instance, the city is being more designed for the car, which is one of the biggest carbon. uh, like how in going on Spain within this vineyards and how many, how much streets were there.[:
You can have a community farm for six months. And so you go plant whatever you like for six months. The thing though is you will not be able to harvest it in six months because that's, depending on what you plant you, it's probably, it's not going to be ready in six months for harvesting. So what you have to leave the farm and someone else takes over the farm and they harvest what you planted and they also plant, they kind of harvested and then you go in and you harvest what they've planted and it creates a really great community connection.[:
[00:25:48] Inma: And also, the locality of the food, because when we were talking about the food forest Olabanji was talking about bananas and things like that, that we don't have here. We do. but they're not from here. And I was talking about apples, and pears. And he was like, oh my God, you have apples and pears. That's amazing. And you have bananas so amazing. And it also journey to another, another one of the questions. That's also part of the conveniency that we are now living all over the world, that we can have watermelon in UK, in winter. How that sounds.[:
[00:26:43] Jenn: I think it's very hopeful. It feels like we can actually do something if every one of us and all the other people, we share this with then it's hopeful.[:
[00:27:57] Jennifer: And when we're talking about systematic change are any of you having the opportunity to see community groundswell and push towards systemic change, are any of you seeing that in your communities?[:
[00:29:20] Olabanji: I think I was having this conversation on a podcast as well. There really was a time in Nigeria. We have black soot everywhere and it was crazy. You'd step on in the morning. The air is dark. You can visibly see it. And people started organizing, started campaigning, raising awareness. It was trending on Twitter.
And then the government started moving to shut down illegal refineries. They started investigating businesses and doing all the things that they needed to do. And in the space of like two weeks, it completely went out, almost completely went out. And that was a lesson that really together, we have power, together we can make an impact if we stand up raise our voices in twos and threes and start talking about all those things. There's a chance that we can make a change. So, you know, we should take it.[:
[00:30:29] Jenn: Yeah, I just, I heard that it was a drastic reduction. And so they were talking about, oh, Canada has reduced its overall carbon emissions. And someone said, yeah, wait, wait, wait. But part of that was when everyone was in lockdown and you weren't able to go very far and planes weren't flying and so it's good and it's also a bit sobering to realize that was why. And, uh, and so if there were ways that we could do that again, replicate that without a pandemic, we might be on the right track.[:
[00:31:54] Jennifer: And Rod, do you have any final thoughts?[:
[00:32:21] Olabanji: I'd say I'm super proud of the work that we're doing and the people that have had the privilege of connecting with, you know, Rod and Inma, and Jenn and Leekei and Tania, some of the most amazing people ever. And everyone's your cheerleader, everyone supporting everyone to jump in and raise a hand.
And that stands out for me. Totally. So thank you. Thank you all.[:
[00:32:57] Jennifer: And if anyone is listening to this and they want to join your conversation, I'll just give a quick plug that they can email firstname.lastname@example.org and submit some content for the conversation in a future episode.