If there was ever a time for fresh thinking, for being bold, for being visionary and imaginative – for reimagining everything – this is it. Each episode, writer and Transition Movement founder, Rob Hopkins, invites cutting edge thinkers to visualise a new future. Join us as we ask What If...
83 - What if we gave Nature rights?
43:37This is a rather special episode, our first recorded in front of an actual audience! Recorded live at the wonderful Timber Festival, this episode takes on a big question and dives deep. Our first guest, Lucy Neal had, the previous day, presented a performance which explored how the near future would be transformed by the introduction of a Rights of Nature Act, and our second guest Paul Powlesland, a lawyer specialising in the subject, had appeared in the play and has done a lot of work on what legislation designed to protect the rights of nature might look like in practice. How would such legislation transform our relationship to the natural world, and how would it accelerate and support efforts to protect it? This is one of those episodes that opens up a beautiful What If space, helped by some great questions from the audience. I hope you love it, and I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks to the great team at Timber for making this possible.
82 - What if we loved politicians?
49:45Never let it be said on this podcast that we shy away from the big questions! I loved this conversation so much, it was one of those conversations that really opens up some expansive thinking and some new ways of looking at what might be possible. My guests are Lisa Witter, co-founder and board member of Apolitical, and CEO and co-founder of the Apolitical Foundation, and Graça Fonseca, former Portugese Minister for Culture and much more besides. My hope is that after listening to this conversation, you will be able to look at the deeply unloveable situation with many of our political leaders in 2023 and be able to say, with great confidence, "it doesn't have to be like this". I'd love to know what this conversation brings up for you, and thanks as always for listening, and for your support of this podcast.
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81 - What if we lived in a healthy human culture?
44:50This week we are exploring how we do things, rather than what we do. We are diving into the concept of 'healthy human cultures' and how to build them. What would it mean if, in the organisations and movements we're part of, we set out to create the best conditions for a shared culture in which we thrive? Luckily we have two great people to help us unpick this one. Leila Hoballah is an organisation designer, a community builder, a facilitator and a coach, co-founder of makesense.org, one of the leaders of Boundless Roots, a collective action-inquiry investigating the enabling condition for radical changes in ways of living. She is also part of The Week. Sophy Banks was one of the architects of the Transition movement, founder of Transition training, who does a lot of work around grief tending, and exploring Healthy Human Culture, the culmination of her life’s journey so far, which you can read more about here. Impossible to think of two better people to have this conversation with. Enjoy, and as always, do let me know what you think.
80 - In conversation with Otto Scharmer
48:19Today’s podcast was recorded live in Paris, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. As part of the wonderful ChangeNOW festival in the Grand Palais Ephémère I had the pleasure of sitting down with Otto Sharmer in the ChangeNOW podcast booth for an in depth conversation and journey into the future. Otto is the creator of the Theory U model of change, and spends much of his time teaching the model to groups around the world. The previous day he and I had both been speakers at the festival (you can see him here and me here). We also had a question from the audience from among those sitting outside the booth. My thanks to the organisers and to Otto for making this possible. I hope you enjoy it.
79 - What if sports could accelerate the shift to a low carbon future?
48:43You’re in for a treat this week. I so enjoyed this conversation. In this episode I was joined by Laura Baldwin, British Olympic sailor, Transition and XR activist, and co-founder of Sport LOCAL for Life, and David Garrido, who is a sports broadcaster, initially on the BBC, and now on Sky, with a particular area of expertise in the crossover between sport and sustainability. How would it be if the world of sport became one of the key drivers for the great Transition that we so need to see? Stand by for the kind of passion, the never-say-die, fight-until-the-final-whistle, we’re-all-in-this-together kind of spirit that you find at its very best with sports people. One of my favourite episodes so far.
78 - What If biodiversity bounced back?
53:49The diversity of the natural world is declining at a rapid rate, and has been for many decades. Many people present that as being an inevitability, a trade-off to economic progress. But what if we could create a future in which we enabled the natural world to regenerate? What would that look like, and what would it do to our ability to imagine a different future? This week I am joined by Rebecca Wrigley, Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain, and by Eduard Muller, an educator who was involved in the transformation of Costa Rica, the only country in the world to almost double its forest cover. What can we learn from that experience, and what would the bounceback of nature look like in practice? A beautiful episode. I hope you enjoy it.
77 - In conversation with Mariame Kaba
44:41We're back, and boy oh boy are you in for a treat. Since Episode One there were two guests I most wanted to have on this podcast. The first, adrienne maree brown, I was fortunate enough to speak to in Episode Fifty. The second I am sharing with you today. This time there's just one guest, and it is the brilliant prison abolition activist Mariame Kaba. I've admired her work, and her writing, for years now, and it was such a delight to spend 45 minutes in conversation with her. I'm not going to say anything more, other than that I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
76 - What If cutting our individual carbon use went viral?
1:11:33Recent research, entitled The Future of Consumption in an 1.5°C World, carried out by the University of Leeds, C40 Cities and Arup, powerfully shows that the world’s comfortably off need to do the most to reduce the world's carbon emissions and need to reduce the impacts of their consumption by two thirds by 2030. But this will only happen if it feels like a move towards something rather than being dragged away from something irreplaceable, if it feels thrilling, like something that spreads and becomes contagious. And, perhaps most importantly, if everyone can see that it is improving, rather than impoverishing, peoples’ lives and experience. So what might a real push to support people in reducing their individual and household carbon emissions look like? My two guests this week are Dr. Vanessa Timmer, Executive Director of OneEarth Living, a Vancouver-based nonprofit ‘think and do tank’ advancing sustainable everyday living around the world, and Tom Bailey, one of the co-creators of Take the Jump, a new and fast growing grassroots climate movement. As you'll hear, they have both been giving this a lot of thought.
75 - What if we distributed power differently in our organisations?
1:00:21This was such a beautiful conversation to be part of, with two old friends, and a story that I play at least a small role in. In 2015, Transition Network, an organisation I had co-founded, undertook a transition of its own, from a pretty conventional management model to a non-hierarchical structure that distributed power, using Holocracy. We had to learn how to do it, and were brilliantly supported by Université du Nous, who support and advise organisations on how to do this. For this episode of FWIWN I am joined by Sarah McAdam, one of the key people in Transition Network who made this happen and who now supports other organisations in making such shifts, and Guillaume Dorvaux, one of UDN's trainers who trained the team.
74 - What if we decolonised economics?
58:02We're never one to shy away from the big questions, and to dive deep into the remarkable and far more delightful world that could yet be created if we do so. This week we are joined by two truly great guests who help us explore the question of what our economics system and thinking could look if we were to consciously and ambitiously decolonise it. You're going to love this one. My guests are Prof. Sunny Singh, writer, novelist, public intellectual, and a champion for decolonisation and inclusion across all aspects of society, and also Nonhlanhla Makuyana (they/them) a multidisciplinary artist, community organiser and educator, as well as co-director of the brilliant Decolonising Economics. Such an expansive and rich conversation. I'd love to hear what you think of this one.