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April 20, 2023 57 mins

There’s no shortage of volunteer opportunities or organizations offering them. But how often are the communities meant to benefit from all of this volunteer work determining what help is truly needed, and which issues are most pressing? Christian Vanizette has spent the last decade building MakeSense, a global network of over 100,000 citizens and entrepreneurs committed to solving social and environmental issues where they live — bringing neighbors together to share solutions to address local challenges together. Baratunde met up with Christian in Paris to find out what it takes to move people from local volunteers to global activists, and to learn more about the creative, strategic, and fun tactics he’s bringing to the fight against climate change. 

 

SHOW ACTIONS

Internally Reflect - Notice emotionally charged language & stories

Reflect on how you FEEL when you hear the words climate change. What feelings come to mind? Why do you think that is? Have you heard or seen any alternative perspectives that convey the opposite of what you are feeling? Take a week to immerse yourself in the alternative perspective while withholding judgment - just observe and notice how it makes you feel. Be curious and open to the feelings. 

Be Informed - Learn from diverse voices

Watch some informative videos on Climate Town’s Youtube channel, and check out All We Can Save—a book centering women and Indigenous voices—which uplifts and shows us how we can make a better future together. 

Publicly Participate - We ALL need to act

Join a local chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby and engage with a national, bipartisan group working on many important policy-change campaigns. And as Christian mentioned in the episode, check out and follow @STOPEACOP on instagram and join the regroop app for coordinated climate actions we can take to stop carbon bombs and increase our chances of keeping Earth beautifully habitable for us all.

And while we need to pressure the industry to stop drilling, we also need to change our consumer demand for fossil fuel! Use the Future Card to get cash back when you buy from climate-forward brands (disclosure: Baratunde is an advisor to and investor in this company). 

 

SHOW NOTES

Find How To Citizen on Instagram or visit howtocitizen.com to join our mailing list and find ways to citizen besides listening to this podcast! 

Please show your support for the show by reviewing and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords and helps others like you find the show!

How To Citizen is hosted by Baratunde Thurston. He’s also host and executive producer of the PBS series, America Outdoors as well as a founding partner and writer at Puck. You can find him all over the internet

 

CREDITS

How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts and Rowhome Productions. Our Executive Producers are Baratunde Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart. Allie Graham is our Lead Producer and Danya AbdelHameid is our Associate Producer. Alex Lewis is our Managing Producer. John Myers is our Executive Editor and Mix Engineer. Original Music by Andrew Eapen and Blue Dot Sessions. Our Audience Engagement Fellows are Jasmine Lewis and Gabby Rodriguez. Special thanks to Joelle Smith from iHeartRadio and Layla Bina.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
The thing it creates.

Speaker 2 (00:02):
My hopeful democracy is just It makes people realize that
they can do more than just vote, and that they
can solve the problems. The more you make friends and
the more you have fun doing this thing, the more
you want to continue, explore, learn, and then you learn
more about the problem and you say.

Speaker 1 (00:16):
What can I do more? And then it becomes kind
of a natural path.

Speaker 3 (00:25):
Welcome to How the Citizen with Baratunde, a podcast that
reimagined citizen as a verb, not a legal status. This
season is all about how we practice democracy, what can
we get rid of, what can we invent, and how
do we change the culture of democracy itself. We're lieving
the theoretical clouds and hitting the ground with inspiring examples

(00:45):
of people and institutions that are showing us new ways
to govern ourselves. At the start of COVID, I remember
being terrified. The streets requiet, The coyotes and the deer
had started taking over our driveways and our sidewalks. For
those of us who could stay at home, Depending on

(01:06):
who you were, it was shocking but kind of easy.
For others, it was life denying, especially if you were
someone who lived in an elder care facility. I remember
phoning up my friend a lot during this time, and
I'd always make sure to ask him about his grandparents.

Speaker 4 (01:24):
I'd never actually met them.

Speaker 3 (01:25):
But I felt like I did because he talked about
them so much, so they'd always come up in conversation.
He shared this story that they were both living in
the same care facility, but they were each being isolated
in different rooms in different wings.

Speaker 4 (01:39):
Of the building.

Speaker 3 (01:39):
In fact, they were together but completely alone, and that
was so sad to me. At the same time that
this deep loneliness was being experienced by so many people
around the world, there were also people with nothing to
do at home, feeling helpless but wanting to feel helpful,

(02:00):
and finding out that Christian vani Zett, the person you're
going to hear from, helped spark a phone calling program
that matched young people with elders to keep them company.

Speaker 4 (02:11):
That was just really moving to me.

Speaker 3 (02:13):
On the surface, this idea of young people calling old
folks homes sounds real basic, But then the majority of
our human needs are real basic. It doesn't mean that
they're easily or regularly met. Though this program it became
so popular that the French government added it to its
official volunteering website, so not that basic, and that's just

(02:37):
one of thousands of projects that Christian has helped bring
to life. Christian was born in French Polynesia, in Tahiti actually,
and now he lives in Paris. My wife and I
met him through our friend Diana and American who's basically
living a better version of that Netflix series Emily in Paris. Anyway,
we were recently in Paris between work gigs and decided

(02:58):
to interview Christian in person. We walked over to his
offices in the Bastille neighborhood where the French behead their
leaders okay, one of the places the French behead their leaders.
I was so excited to be there that I didn't
make sure we had the best audio setup, so you
may be able to hear that we're in an office
and not in fact a sound padded studio. And I

(03:19):
may have clipped Christians mic to his hoodie drawstring because
I'm not a professional sound engineer.

Speaker 1 (03:23):
Okay.

Speaker 3 (03:24):
What I am instead is someone who's very excited to
add Christian's voice to the how the citizen world. He's
built something that is moving and so perfectly aligns with
the way we see citizen as a verb. I also
want to make sure that how the citizen isn't just
an American thing.

Speaker 4 (03:41):
Even though I am a very American thing.

Speaker 3 (03:44):
I love America and I love not America as well,
and we got a lot to learn from people outside
of this country. Christian has inspired this global movement of
citizens who are passionate about crowdsourcing solutions where they lives
to our most pressing social and environmental problems.

Speaker 4 (04:03):
And he's done it by essentially.

Speaker 3 (04:05):
Becoming a recruiter and I'd even say a matchmaker. The
organization he co founded, makes Sense, draws in citizens who
want to take action but don't know where to start.
Does that sound like somebody you know? The group places
them in small teams of strangers who want to make
a difference on the same issue, and then it empowers

(04:25):
them by giving them opportunities to shape the projects they'll
be working on, opportunities to learn from each other, to
become team leaders, and then to recruit their own friends
and start the cycle all over again. Since starting a

(04:46):
decade ago, makes Sense has seen nearly three hundred thousand
people attend workshops, has opened offices in seven countries, and
has started volunteer chapters in over one hundred cities around
the world.

Speaker 4 (04:59):
It's been so success.

Speaker 3 (05:00):
Christian's gotten the attention of many government leaders and was
recently selected as an Obama Scholar Fellow. Remember Obama. Yeah,
we still like that, dude, And yeah, yeah, I know.
Volunteerism has been around for a very long time, and
we've definitely seen a lot of organizations that help place
volunteers inside of other organizations. But the method that makes

(05:22):
sense uses it's bottom up, it's citizen led, locally based,
and the work and the projects that they foster and
support they're culturally appropriate to each place.

Speaker 4 (05:32):
Because makes sense.

Speaker 3 (05:34):
HQ is taking all its directions from the people on
the ground, not imposing some top down template from on high.
And now a decade in Christian and the organization's many
volunteers have increasingly turned their retention to the fight to
stop and even reverse climate change.

Speaker 4 (05:56):
We know the basics here.

Speaker 3 (05:58):
Humanity's got limited time to a climate disaster, and we
need to reduce our carbon emissions dramatically to achieve that.
That means more electric cars, renewable energy, regenerative agriculture. It
also means we need to stop fossil fuel extraction, and
that's going to be hard. Researchers have identified hundreds of
carbon bombs, like coal mines and oil and gas projects

(06:20):
that would release at least one metric gigaton of carbon
dioxide emissions if they move forward. You don't have to
know what a metric gigaton of carbon means. Basically, the
people who do know what this means, the experts. They're
terrified of these carbon bombs because they understand that if
they get built, it likely means the planet will warm
past one point five degree celsius, the threshold set by

(06:42):
the Paris Agreement, and warming past that number could intensify hunger, conflict,
and drought worldwide. Now, one of these projects is the
East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline aka e COOP, and it's
run by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the
French oil giant Total Energies or TOTAL for short. There's

(07:04):
a campaign to stop it and it's called wait for it,
stop ECOP.

Speaker 4 (07:08):
I Love the creativity Now.

Speaker 3 (07:10):
Christian helped launch this campaign in France based on what
he's learned from a decade and makes sense and the
ways stop ECOP is trying to diffuse this particular carbon bomb.
It's creative, strategic, it's even fun, which isn't something I
generally associate with the climate movement.

Speaker 4 (07:27):
Like in se Ufa, who we.

Speaker 3 (07:28):
Heard from earlier this season, Christian is finding ways to
bring joy and communal connection to the ways we participate.
But instead of focusing on elections, he's bringing that energy
to the ways we volunteer and even the ways we protest.
You'll hear how Christian helped create a global movement and
just how organized it is right after the break.

Speaker 5 (07:54):
Hello Christian. Hell, So what is makes sense?

Speaker 2 (08:00):
That makes sense is a nonprofit that started in Paris
and basically we trained community organizers all across the world
so they mobilize volunteers and the community for social environmental issues.

Speaker 1 (08:11):
And it's a yeah, ten years ago.

Speaker 2 (08:13):
Now it's about three hundred employees across the world and
more than three hundred thousand volunteers.

Speaker 3 (08:20):
Three hundred thousands, So you've basically built an army that's undeclared.

Speaker 1 (08:24):
Does the UN know about your army? It's a yeah.
We just built a way for people.

Speaker 2 (08:29):
When they see a problem, we train them and they
know how to mobilize other volunteers and we lin them
up with experts social entrepreneurs and then the cities the
self organized fifteen to do the thing they want to do,
like collect things, help the elderly, but beeping themselves and
not needing like a big angeo like the Red Cross
to tell them what to do.

Speaker 3 (08:51):
So take me back to the beginning of makes sense.
Who were you before then? What were you doing with
your time? How old were you and how did this idem?

Speaker 2 (09:00):
So I come from Tahiri, French Polynesia, and I arrived
in France for my business school and during the time
in the business school, I studied social entrepreneurship, so it
was really interested in how business can do good.

Speaker 1 (09:16):
My dad from in the book of Again Them.

Speaker 2 (09:17):
Muhammad Junus at the Nobel Lar Rate of Peace in
two thousand and six.

Speaker 3 (09:23):
I'm interrupting my own interview with Christian to add a
little context. I like to call these explainer ton days.
Professor Mohammad Yunis you just heard mentioned, is a giant
in the world of social entrepreneurship. He started this project
called the Gramin Bank in Bangladesh in the late nineteen
seventies and it became internationally renowned for its revolutionary system

(09:47):
of micro credit, which gives loans to entrepreneurs too poor
to qualify for traditional bank loans, and it's helped millions
escape poverty.

Speaker 4 (09:54):
As a result.

Speaker 3 (09:55):
The unique feature of Gramen is that no collateral is
required to get the credit. Doctor Eunis was one of
the first leaders to talk about the possibility for business
to do good and set limits on infinite profits. His
concept of a social business defines financially self sufficient businesses
as those whose primary aim is to address a social
problem and not pay dividends to its owners. This idea

(10:18):
often referred to as social entrepreneurship. It's inspired many people
in the world of business and economics. It actually sparked Elizabeth,
my wife and executive producer of this show, on her
journey around all this too. In fact, you could say,
Professor Unis is one of the reasons we even know
each other.

Speaker 4 (10:37):
And now back to my conversation with Christian.

Speaker 2 (10:41):
And Muhammad Junus at the Nobelar Rate of Peace in
two thousand and six, and so I was reinspired by
how you use business to do good, and so in
the business school with my friend Omar, he said, okay,
what about we create a platform where people can support
social businesses, so people who start business to do good.

(11:02):
And this is how the idea of make Sense was bormnbed.
And to start, we decided to go at the root
of where social entrepreneurship for us was invented, which was
in India and Bangladesh. And so we negotiated with the
school that instead of going to university abroad was supposed
to go to Germany, that we do a backpack trip

(11:24):
for six bombs.

Speaker 3 (11:25):
So you convinced the schools starting about in Germany, you've
got to backpack around.

Speaker 1 (11:28):
Around India Bangladesh.

Speaker 2 (11:30):
And so we went with backpacks to meet social entrepreneurs
and do videos about them and start to build this
platform where volunteers could come and help them with years.
This was twenty ten and so makes Sense were just
a Facebook page at that time, and every time we
were arriving in a city like in Mumbai, we would
start a Facebook group to say, hey, we organized the

(11:52):
workshop to help this project that's helping people with disabilities
have access to the information in a.

Speaker 1 (11:58):
Subway back, do you guys want to come help?

Speaker 2 (12:01):
And so every part of the trip we started a
Facebook group and then we organize the first workshop, which
is a tree a wall workshop. People would come together
give ideas and skills to the entrepreneur.

Speaker 1 (12:11):
We called it the hold up of ideas, a hold up.

Speaker 2 (12:15):
So then we gave the pdf in the Facebook group
how people could continue to do it, and every time
we go and now there's like two hundred and fifty
Facebook groups and people using the method.

Speaker 1 (12:25):
And this is what makes sense.

Speaker 2 (12:26):
Was bombed was really organic and kind of just people
using simple tool kits of workshops by themselves.

Speaker 3 (12:33):
And how do you because so much of what many
of us understand social improvement change like you need expertise,
you need deep training, and you're a kid with a
backpack and a dream. You're not from India or Bangladesh
in this particular case, I presume you don't have a
deeps you of understanding accessibility in public transit in India.

(12:56):
So what role are you playing in bringing strains in
the form of these entrepreneurs and strangers in the form
of these volunteers together to try to solve their local problem.

Speaker 2 (13:06):
So the main point was to say, we want volunteers
from the city itself. And so what we acted like
was just facilitate all with a toolkit and methods and
also connection between these local communities, because when you're in
Mumbai or when you're in Marseilles, France and you're a
student in a business school you want to do good.
You feel kind of alone in your school, but then

(13:29):
thanks to the internet, if you there's someone else who
also feels alone on the other side of the world
and who has the same ideas as me. And so
by the role was really to facilitate with methods, but
also connect all these communities that want to make change
on a global scale. We use all the tools of
community organizing, so all the local staff, local office are

(13:50):
run by locals and they decide by themselves what they
want to do, so it's not like the headquarters giving orders.
And this is what's a bit different from other engels.

Speaker 3 (14:01):
You've described playbooks, workshops or process and community organizing as
the kind of DNA. Where did you learn these things
yourself or where did the organization in each journey decide
this is what belongs in the playbook, This is how
we're going to organize ourselves.

Speaker 2 (14:18):
Yes, the playbook was really about how to run a brainstorming,
so it wasn't even as like how to community organize.
At first, it's just how to get people together and
one can participate and give ideas. Basically creativity workshops and
ways to create edits together with post its and in
a country like friends might seem obvious in the US,

(14:40):
but in France, since you're a kid at school, we
never ask you what is your idea or we always
think there's a right answer or a wrong answer, and
we can only talk, I shot the right and sell.
And so for students in France to just say I
don't need to be an expert, I just come to
this workshop and I can express myself, give my point
of view, my ideas, and so this is would make
it go like super fast. And then from the trial

(15:03):
and error process we've filled into the longer thing of
organizing your local chapter and other methods to keep bringing
people together.

Speaker 3 (15:10):
And how have you been able to make sure that
the solutions and the ideas and the creativity people are
putting forth are actually relevant and have a positive outcome
for the core problem that they're trying to address.

Speaker 2 (15:23):
So for us, the expertise and the local knowledge is
the entrepreneur or the angel who work on the field
for many years and they define what is the challenge,
what is the ideas they need? And then the volunteers
come and help. So the two legs of makes sense
or supporting the entrepreneurs and getting the seasons to join

(15:44):
and support them.

Speaker 1 (15:46):
And over the years it.

Speaker 2 (15:47):
Grew into funds and more programs to help the entrepreneurs grow.

Speaker 5 (15:52):
I need some examples.

Speaker 3 (15:53):
Yeah, in this vast history of three hundred thousand people,
three hundred steff, I don't know how many entrepreneurs can
you what's a few examples?

Speaker 5 (16:00):
A projects that you've.

Speaker 1 (16:01):
One example we in front.

Speaker 2 (16:03):
You have a project that is really big now, it
was really small at that time called back market back
market to make you buy your old phones instead of
the new ones.

Speaker 5 (16:12):
So instead of black market, it's back market helps me.

Speaker 2 (16:15):
Use, we use it and so it's really interesting and
circular communions. So the challenge they give when they launches,
which kind of event could be organized to make back
market known?

Speaker 1 (16:25):
Okay, So the.

Speaker 2 (16:26):
Volunteers came together and the idea was to organize the
other keynote. So the same day Apple said the keynote
about the new iPhone, back market was organizing the other.

Speaker 1 (16:36):
Automatic old iPhones.

Speaker 2 (16:38):
Yeah, volenteers came up with the ideas and helped set
this up and now it's one of the biggest startups
in France.

Speaker 1 (16:45):
So it's one example.

Speaker 3 (16:46):
Yeah, and I can just testify taking the metro around
all week as the pairs have seen. I heard a
back market just a few months ago due to a
company we have a relationship with that's based in the US.
But seeing the billboards, oh my god, back market is
huge now, it's huge, and you will literally helped launch.

Speaker 1 (17:04):
It at the beginning. So there's many stories like that.

Speaker 2 (17:07):
A story I love is during the COVID time, there
was like this startup that we helped support, which is
to connect the elderly together so they don't fill alone
with their family. So what we set up was through
this program of self volunteering. We had like four thousand
people in three weeks who went on a platform to

(17:30):
call a Rondom elder and then have weekly conversations with
them during the top of the COVID time. And the
way the volunteers built the trust with the retirement house
to get the numbers was by the first thing we
told them it is first to bring.

Speaker 1 (17:45):
Them a cake to the director. And so you had
volunteers showing up bringing cake.

Speaker 2 (17:49):
And then once the directors said okay, I'm okay to
give the numbers so you can call. Then it went
into a listing and people were picking up the phone
and calling. This example of program taken by the French
government on its public volunteering platform and so then it
becomes officially something you could do.

Speaker 3 (18:07):
During COVID, did the government acknowledge the origin of this idea?

Speaker 2 (18:11):
Yeah, like I mean, they bring us into groups and
right now this program that's called Reactions two weeks program
so you can take action to have the elderly and
is working with the state to become a public policy. Wow,
to make it that the way the youth engagement program
of the state around three hundred thousand young French people
per year, works the same way that our program. And

(18:35):
so it's very interesting after two years of just an
id during COVID and then it helps become a public policy.

Speaker 3 (18:40):
And how much did you spend on lobbying dollars with
your government to get them?

Speaker 1 (18:45):
We didn't. Basically that's how we were doing in the US.

Speaker 5 (18:49):
Had to give a lot of campaign.

Speaker 2 (18:50):
The thing they need is that they had too much
demand on their platform and not enough offers and in.

Speaker 3 (18:57):
This case, because it's such a clear case with COVID
isolated older people, young people who want to help. Can
you lay out a bit of the pieces of how
that came together. Was there an initial volunteer organization that
had relationships with elderly holmes? Was there a young person
who missed their grandparents? Like, what's the seed of that solution?

Speaker 2 (19:18):
At the beginning of COVID, no one knew what was
going to happen. I remember that, and at that time
I was studying in a program in New York at
Columbia University with Yobama Foundation. And so we had a
briefing from the team that was working with President Obama
on preparing pandemics. Oh wow, so the organized the day
the whole thing started, Yeah, we do this briefing. Destroyed

(19:42):
the briefing and I told them makes sense. Team, Hey guys,
this thing is like real and it's going to be
a lot of mess for the most vulnerable people. And
so then we saw that it was the elders, the
young people because they couldn't go to studies, the people
that already don't have house or how do they access
to hygiene product? And so we had six programs at

(20:03):
the front lines, and we just said, okay, let's do
a digital program where people self organized and groups are fifteen.
And for each program, we ask our experts, the social
entrepreneurs who've been working ten years with the organized, ten
years with the elderly, what is the.

Speaker 1 (20:17):
Actions people should do. We build those two kits.

Speaker 2 (20:20):
And we launched it with like I think the first
week was one hundred and fifty people and each group
of fifteen you had one organizer whose goal is to
get people excited. And the magic of the thing is
that each group then created three people to become the
team leader. So you have one group and the next
week would lead to three groups. And this is how

(20:41):
we grew the system and it was really exciting. But
it's also amazing to see the power of digital tools
because it was all running on WhatsApp and emails.

Speaker 1 (20:51):
When you plug it with community organizing.

Speaker 2 (20:54):
But this method you can use the same for activism,
for elections, even something to get a virus.

Speaker 3 (21:01):
To spread, a different type of virus as opposed to
the COVID virus that's spreading. Because what you have co
created with the community isn't a top down playbook. You
kind of set the stage, and it's emerged groups of
fifteen people scaling, self replicating, self teaching like a positive virus.

(21:21):
I'm curious what you've been learning about where people go
from here. If you've unleashed these tools of collaboration and
problem solving and growth, what have they seeded That it's
kind of a derivative of some of this type of organizing.

Speaker 2 (21:36):
So what's happening now is we see the first model
that we had, which was based on people meeting in
real life and doing workshops together, and this model which
was really like digital since COVID is starting to go away,
it's kind of a merge of both. So we see
the people who did the programming that it is getting
together and say hey, let's meet in real life and

(21:59):
then they to think together what they could do next.
So it's really interesting because then it spins kind of
out of makes sense. But the good part of it
is from the statistic we had is like two thirds
of the people who did this program never volunteered before.
So the thing it creates my hope for democracy is
just it makes people realize that they can do more

(22:22):
than just vote, and that they can solve the problems.
The tension we're seeing right now is that the news
you get on climate for example, or the social and
romantic issues are becoming really urgent, and sometimes they feel
the connection on the small action they can do to
help someone. And then the big problem that comes, especially

(22:42):
from the youth participant of the program, we see that
there's a will to become more, even more than just volunteering,
like really become an activist to push for more radical
change faster. And what we're trying to build that makes
sense is to say, okay, we help start social entrepreneurship,
especially in France, why don't we create accelerator an incubator

(23:03):
for activists because this is a trend. We see that
people realize they need change of the systems faster, and
so the volunteer impact is kind of you start as
a two years after actively Yeah.

Speaker 3 (23:18):
Yeah, but that wasn't the explicit explicitly, but that's some
of what emerges when you give people these kind of tools.

Speaker 2 (23:24):
Yes, the more you get you make friends, and the
more you have funding this thing, the more you want
to continue explore, learn and then you learn more about
the problem and you see what can I do more? Yeah,
and it becomes kind of a natural path.

Speaker 3 (23:35):
One of the things that I've experienced, and I think
a lot of people who will hear this have, is
a sense of isolation in the face of great challenges.

Speaker 5 (23:43):
We feel alone.

Speaker 3 (23:44):
We have our phones, which are supposed to connect us,
but they kind of make us feel smaller. And in
the US, especially, our connections to each other are weak.
You know, we don't have churches as much anymore, we
don't live with extended family anymore, we don't have the
clubs we used to have in terms of just the
power of being with other people, maybe who were even
different from us. What have you learned about the power

(24:07):
of gathering or associating through volunteers and through these small
groups of fifteen in terms of a culture of civic
engagement that goes beyond.

Speaker 2 (24:15):
So the thing is when it was the workshops, so
basically people coming to help a social entrepreneur on his
project and ID the people we were having were mostly
like people who did the higher degree studies. So there
were students so young, professional and they came because they
were applying what they were learning at school or universities.
When we did the COVID programs, and then the first

(24:37):
call to action wasn't to come to a workshop for
three hours, but it was to call and elderly and
have a discussion, which is something everyone can do. This
was really great because the demographics of people participating were
really looking like the French society in all age, all background.
And this was really amazing because you could see different

(24:58):
and once now how they get together in real life.
I think it's going to make something powerful because they're
going to define actions of things that look more like
the French society than what it was before COVID and
this is bringing different people who didn't know each other before.

Speaker 3 (25:15):
What you've described so far and built sounds great. It's
like hundreds of thousands of people reconnecting with their society,
with each other, solving problems, not just waiting for our
government or some big business to come and fix it
for them. What is the hardest part of pulling this off?
What are the things that we're not hearing yet in

(25:35):
terms of the challenges, so.

Speaker 2 (25:37):
Like building the organization, finding the financing the business, all
the things people don't see. Yeah, it was really tricky,
especially that it started as an organic movement makes sense.
We have those volunteers running these workshops, everywhere, and then
we build the organization to run after them. Oh there's
a lot of people speaking Spanish. Oh, we need the
support team to do the training. Oh let's okay, well

(25:57):
in Mexico. Okay, okay, firstvolunteer, O kid drink in the team.
Now build these whole thing. And so the building the
organization was a bit tricky, but it's like any entrepreneurial journey.
The thing that's really frustrating now is that Mike Sen
has all these volunteers, these employees for the social entrepreneurs.

Speaker 1 (26:15):
We even have a fun like we have one hundred.

Speaker 2 (26:17):
Million investments and investment that we can invest, and it
just feels like, Okay, this is great and we're happy
in the team, but like the problems seems so much
urgent and huge that when I started that, I'm like,
what can we do now to accelerate because it's not
just by continuing what we did during ten years then

(26:38):
we would make a bigger dent in the issues we're
trying to solve as an organization. And so this whole
questioning is what's happening in the team now, and we're
trying to see what's next should be done so that
we can make a bigger dent in the problems that
are becoming more urgent.

Speaker 3 (26:54):
So what type of person ends up doing what you're doing?
Why does this move you so much? And the idea
of makes sense, the idea of empowering people to collectively
work to solve their problems, where.

Speaker 1 (27:08):
Do you think that comes from.

Speaker 2 (27:10):
I grew up in Tahili, is really a small island
in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and my grandfather
was from the French Navy and he arrived there with
a boat and he met my grandmother, who's Taritian from Tehili.
He started a soccer club and had a lot of friends,
and so then he went into politics and he was

(27:31):
the first president of the local assembly because they even
if part of the French Republic, we have our own government.
And the first law that he passed was the social
security so people to have free health.

Speaker 1 (27:44):
Care and they were so fresh. Free health care.

Speaker 2 (27:49):
And free with not free, but retirement, yeah, for everyone.
And this is what was kind of the biggest thing
you could do for advancement in Tahili. And so I
grew up in this family people super motivated and engaged,
and when I needed to study I was like, Okay,
where do I feel is going to have the biggest impact,
And my guess was the economy is running the world,

(28:12):
and so finding ways to trick the economy and making
run to solve problem and not just make more money
is why I.

Speaker 1 (28:19):
Choose business school.

Speaker 2 (28:20):
And also the thing when you talk about global challenge,
for example, like climate change, super scary when you come
from a small island and the main narrative you hear
is like, this are the first places that are going
to disappear, And so I really engage on this topic
because you can see the.

Speaker 1 (28:34):
Effect right now on the corals.

Speaker 2 (28:36):
But the problem is that you come from tails so
small hasn't if you can't do much about the problem
of climate change from Tahili is not because one hundred
thousand people take their bikes that things will be sold.
And so then you realize, okay, like seventy percent carbon
emissions come from big cities, so people acting in New York,
in Paris, in Manila, it has more impact to save

(28:56):
my island. And so this is kind of why I
was selling like connecting the DUTs and local communities. I
think it's what needed for this kind of challenge and
in a really selfish way.

Speaker 1 (29:05):
I'm kind of trying to save your home.

Speaker 3 (29:09):
It all comes back to self preservation, but through collective
action after the break the wild and clever tactics, Christian
and thousands of others are using to diffuse a carbon bomb.

(29:34):
So you've made this connection many times to climate change
as the accelerating type of global crisis and the idea
that you can't solve.

Speaker 1 (29:42):
It just from where you are.

Speaker 3 (29:44):
You have to look to other places to kind of
affect where you are, which brings us to this pipeline
and this East African crude oil pipeline ecop that you
are very much against. Can you give some context, more
content for the pipeline and the connection of this kind
of self organizing volunteer effort to try.

Speaker 2 (30:02):
To start if we do the same as what we
did during COVID, you know, we look at what science
says we need to do and we need to help.

Speaker 1 (30:08):
It's the same with the climate.

Speaker 2 (30:10):
And one of the first recommendation of the scientists of
the International INADI Agency is really clear.

Speaker 1 (30:15):
They say, if we want to keep.

Speaker 2 (30:17):
The Paris Agreement alive, so not more than one point
five degree global warming, the first thing to do is
no new oil and gas infrastructure. It doesn't mean no
oil from tomorrow. It means we don't need to build
new ones because it will make global warming worth So
I just was thinking, what can I do to participate

(30:40):
with my capacities to this priority that the scientists said.
And so in the climate activist movement, what happens that
if you're in the UK, you focus on.

Speaker 1 (30:50):
The UK Oil Company, so it's BP.

Speaker 2 (30:53):
If you're in France, this company is called Total And
so I looked at what is the thing we could
do from friends to make sure there's no new il
And so this company is building one new island gas project.
It's going to be the longest heated crude oil pipeline.
It has to be heated at fifty degrees.

Speaker 3 (31:08):
The longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world in
the world.

Speaker 2 (31:12):
And let's go from Uganda to Tanzan Yak And so
the first thing we did was to ask the local
activists there, like what do they think about the project?

Speaker 3 (31:22):
And so I love, I'm just going to pause you
right there because a lot of us don't do that
step right. So you have had a initially kind of
analytical approach right. I read the IPCC report, the International
Energy Agency that they said this is important. I looked
at the energy companies that were kind of within my reach.

(31:42):
I'm friends, it's in Hotel Boom Boom. Then I checked
with the.

Speaker 5 (31:47):
Local activists to see what they want.

Speaker 3 (31:49):
I just I need to really affirm that pause, because
a lot of people skip that step and just.

Speaker 1 (31:55):
Say we got to stop this, We've got to do that,
and don't check in. So what happened when you checked it?

Speaker 2 (32:00):
So because the thing is we don't know the local
realities and so maybe they will say, oh, we really
need that energy or we really need these things. And
then what you realize is that there was two court
case from local NGOs and people affected by the pipeline
who are taking total to court in France to say
that this project don't happen. And the biggest thing that

(32:22):
happened is that there's one hundred thousand people being displaced.
And so there was a lot of mobilization in Uganda,
not from what we taught was the angle of climate,
but from the younger of human rights, like for the
last seven years, they can't use their land because it's
going to be on the way of the pipeline and
it's mostly farmers. So basically there's a huge amount of

(32:44):
farmers were like, we will, can't use our land. You're
not compensating us. And so what we did when we
started the campaign in France was the say, okay, we
need to bring voices from Uganda to come and tell
to the French people that we're so proud of saying
we invented the human rights and all these things, to
just say what the French company is doing there, and

(33:07):
so that it's known and people realize that this is
a mess not just for the climate, but also for
the lives of the people.

Speaker 3 (33:13):
So listening to the activists on the ground, listen to
their story, find the connection to the story the people
you're trying to influence.

Speaker 5 (33:19):
So French people take credit.

Speaker 1 (33:21):
For inventing human rights.

Speaker 3 (33:22):
You know, the Declaration of the Rights of Men is
very proud part of French history. So if you really
believe that, then you're going to be really sensitive to
these stories of these people.

Speaker 1 (33:31):
Yeah, and so they came to tell the story.

Speaker 2 (33:34):
And once you spend two weeks with them and you know,
like hearing their stories and everything, you're like, it's kind
of the motivation to do the fight and what we
need to do. And it's very human because climate is
something really like help for people to.

Speaker 3 (33:48):
Be very abstract, very analytical, numbers based.

Speaker 2 (33:52):
And also it was really important for us that the
start of the campaign was the activist fighting for years
on the field there, promoting their voice first so that
they're more known and more protected because we don't know
what could happen in Uganda. And the second thing is
to tell this oil company that the TOTAL keeps saying
but everyone in Uganda wants it to should know there's

(34:14):
some people who.

Speaker 1 (34:14):
Don't want it's just that they're being repressed.

Speaker 2 (34:17):
And so this was the start, and when you look back,
I think it was the best angle because it's really
the thing where Total is pushing to say, like, but
it's like people from the North who don't want Africa
to give love.

Speaker 3 (34:29):
So they're basically saying you're racist, yeah, for stopping Africans
from having progress economically and moving forward. Okay, we're gonna
hit pause here. You don't have to hit pause. I'm
hitting pause on my own conversation for a quick tactum day.
Check what Christians saying here about Total needs a little
bit more context. We couldn't track down any instances of

(34:53):
total Energy saying these exact statements. However, they did recently
post something to their website responding to to a quote
unquote set of misconceptions about ECOP and another project. They
said the following, which I will deliver in a cartoonishly
French accent, because I find their behavior to be cartoonish.

(35:15):
We could ask ourselves whether the desire to prevent countries
like Uganda from exploiting their natural resources is not itself
inspired by a vision that is neo colonialist or selfish.

Speaker 4 (35:30):
To say the.

Speaker 3 (35:30):
Least, what local Ugandans want to see is a developed
constraint with infrastructure kitling to people's most basic needs. Critics,
you're the colonialist.

Speaker 4 (35:42):
That's good.

Speaker 3 (35:43):
I hope they're paying these people. Well, no, they don't
say Northerners don't want to see Africa developed, but we
can agree it's implied given their response seems to be
responding to non Ugandan detractors of the project. And yes,
in that statement, Hotel does an outright say that everyone
in Uganda wants e COP to be built.

Speaker 4 (36:04):
But by saying that quote.

Speaker 3 (36:05):
What local Ugandans want to see is a developed country
with infrastructure catering to people's most basic needs. In a
company posts that's specifically responding to misconceptions about this project.
I think we can infer that their meaning that locals
want e coop, whereas non locals may not. But next
to total, the Udan government has been much more direct.

(36:28):
After the EU called for e cop to be halted
due to human rights abuses and climate concerns, President Yuwaerri
Musevani responded saying they are insufferable, so shallows, so egocentric,
so wrong. I don't know if that's his accent, but
that was certain his energy. Now this may seem extra
to fact check, given how much is implied here, but

(36:51):
when you're fighting multi billion dollar companies with padded marketing
and legal teams, getting specific with our critiques is a necessity,
just part of the job.

Speaker 4 (37:06):
And now back to my conversation with Christian.

Speaker 2 (37:09):
It's really like a big fight and to win the
narratives where most activists from Uganda, what they tell you
is that of course they want development, but it doesn't
need to be a dirty development because if there's a leak,
it's going to be the fisherman from the Lake Victoria
who won't be able to fish anymore. So of course
yes to investment and things like that, but needs to

(37:30):
be renewable different kinds of projects and not old oil pipeline,
especially in a moment we're not sure oil is going
to continue in the long term being a good as
set to have. So if a country develop itself on
an asset that's going to be not good in twenty years,
then you're screwed. And when you look in Africa, they
didn't lead the landfall, you know, they directly went to mobilis,

(37:52):
so while not doing the same and the energy I.

Speaker 5 (37:54):
Got an idea for the campaign then totally screwed.

Speaker 1 (37:59):
So that was a free one.

Speaker 3 (38:01):
You got workshop alat in the brainstorms the team less
to considered.

Speaker 1 (38:07):
Yeah, it's been really an interesting fight.

Speaker 3 (38:09):
And so as you have engaged further in this fight
to stop this pipeline, the size of the problem feels
very large. How have you gone about further breaking it
down into pieces that groups of volunteers can feel like
it's approachable For.

Speaker 2 (38:26):
The first thing to know is that there's what we
call carbon bombs carbon box So it's new oil and
gas projects that is creating a lot of carbon emission
this pipeline. For example, in Uganda alone, it's seven times
the emissions of Uganda. So these projects create a lot
of you can be millions taking your bike. If these
things happen, it doesn't change anything. And so it's really

(38:47):
the urgency in the climate movements. And so the goal
is to make sure that everything we do on this
pipeline can be replicable, because there needs to be activists
and campaigns like that happening all around the world against all
these oil companies. And so the key thing, the key
pressure point on all these carbon bombs is always the
same is the finance. And so where there's a lot

(39:11):
of citizen power that can be used is to put
pressure on the banks so that they don't fund. But
even better than the banks is the insurance, because they
should put pressure on the insurance. Then the bank don't
want to lend to a project that's not insures and
so then you break it down, Okay, what can citizen
do to put pressure on an insurance and so then

(39:32):
you need to track which insurance might ensure the pipeline.
And so for example, there was one in Germany that
was called Munikroe and then we contacted the local the
most well known activists in Germany, and we.

Speaker 1 (39:45):
Say, hey, again checking the people on the ground, what
can we do to get them out of this project?

Speaker 2 (39:50):
And then she said, and in Germany we're really lucky
because she's really powerful. When she tweets, there's like thousands
of people going in the street. So she just did
tweet to the CEO. The next day the guy are
okay out. And so this is how many insurance that
like all the German ones, really easy, you just need
Louisan a power to tweet. In other places more complicated.
And so right now a total is going to try

(40:11):
to find an insuran in the marketplace for insurance, which
is in Lloyds everyone and so right now and so
all the dirtiest projects on the planet, they all come
to Loyds at some point.

Speaker 1 (40:22):
So the Layds is meant to delude the risk.

Speaker 2 (40:24):
So instead of saying I ensure the whole project, is
I ensure two percent of it and someone else and.

Speaker 5 (40:29):
Show the other those single person the whole risk.

Speaker 1 (40:31):
And so then it's becomes really tricky.

Speaker 2 (40:33):
And so what we created is the WhatsApp group with
sixty volunteers and every day at lunch. You have two
people going with posters stop ping up and the flyers,
and their job is to recruit within the insurance marketplace
who knows which actor are my finance, et cetera, and
also which one is against. So they give their emails

(40:54):
and then we basically recruit employees within the insurance marketplace
to give us information. And then went these guys, they
start on the Wetstele group and then we have hundreds
of people sending emails directing mass this field, don't do that.
And then every three weeks we have a big happening
happening in front of the Lloyd's marketplace. So the last

(41:15):
one was organized by Models Razers. They had one hundred
and fifty Dan Cells who came and did the show
of I forgot her name, chim Chimney Mary Hippop Pin's okay,
and so they did because the story of bankers being sad.
Because so we had one hundred and fifty bankers with
a fake Mary pop to the CEO of Floyd's Insure
insure future and insure those projects.

Speaker 1 (41:37):
So you have these multi campaigns like that.

Speaker 2 (41:40):
It's digital WhatsApp groups and these techniques will hold Lloyd's
dropped from Adny coal mine a big coal mine project,
so we know it works. You just have to find
the right pressure point and had this parties to get
the information. So actually the best job to do is
to go every day, make friends, have lunch with them,
and get them infation.

Speaker 1 (42:00):
And then it's easy to organize.

Speaker 5 (42:02):
Like an intelligence operation.

Speaker 2 (42:04):
And it's all run by people who are nineteen to
twenty one. And there's an Instagram account where they post
every day, Hey, well every day in front of Lloyd.

Speaker 1 (42:11):
Yeah, and this is really pissing them up.

Speaker 2 (42:14):
Like the project be cous one point five billion, it's
around like ten billion because of all these tactiques to
not find insurance and things like that.

Speaker 5 (42:21):
So I'm hearing at least two things.

Speaker 3 (42:23):
One is consistency and just like every day at lunch,
two people go and do this thing, so there's a
rhythm to it. I'm also hearing play fun joy, you're
hiring dancers. Young people are getting excited. A lot of
the image that we are taught about what it means
to engage civically is it's boring, it's sad, it's cold,

(42:48):
and maybe you call your member of Parliament or your
member of congress and hope they listen to you until
the next day. This sounds much more active and much
more fun. Is that by design?

Speaker 2 (42:58):
It's it's because from the story of makes sense. We
know that if people volunteer they're not paid, they need.

Speaker 1 (43:04):
To have fun.

Speaker 2 (43:04):
Otherwise they don't have fun, they'll not keep going and
keep doing. For example, at every end of the week
they will meet all together in a pub it's in.

Speaker 1 (43:11):
London, and then they make friends.

Speaker 2 (43:13):
And at the same time it's really fun to be
like twenty years old and to scare all these CEUs
and to cause them billions, and when you're just with
one person it seems like they are giants from outside. Yeah,
but then they have there can be so weak. So
it's also you play on fun and also this rebellios.
This really sad part is even if people have fun

(43:34):
and there's all these campaign there are still some real
things happening, like activists in Uganda. When you're not in
England or in Friends it's a bit different the political
regimes there and there they're being put in jail and
things like that. So I think it's this mix of
being real bad the issue, but at the same time
knowing which tactics to engage more people than can work,

(43:55):
just so that it doesn't become just a fun thing
that you then detach from the reality that's really not fun.

Speaker 3 (44:01):
And I think that's essential because things can get too
performative and feel, like you said, disconnected. I also there's
something you were describing, even in terms of the digital
activism which is often rightly criticized as clicktivism, and there's
a disconnect from real outcomes and real impact because it's
so easy to like and share and retweet, especially if

(44:24):
that's not part of a larger strategy, it doesn't matter.
How are you ensuring that the digital actions are meaningful
and really connect on the ground.

Speaker 2 (44:33):
So on this specific campaign for the pipeline, it's first
there's a coalition of angels all around the world of
putting it and they build and.

Speaker 1 (44:42):
Decide the pressure points.

Speaker 2 (44:44):
So there's an engine that specialized in analyzing the financial
actor of the banks and the insurance and they say
what is the thing that can help the most and
actually sending an email to these people in the insurance.
They're not used to receive emails from everyday citizen. Also,
the novelty of the action, so this activism is not
just like you're expressing something like you write to your

(45:05):
congressman or big petition, they just change that. Or yeah,
you need just five people sending an email to that
guy who never received emails from any citizen and stuff
and say hey, i'm watching you.

Speaker 1 (45:16):
What you're looking at me?

Speaker 2 (45:17):
You're looking at me, and they're.

Speaker 1 (45:20):
Like wow, for them, it's new. They're not politicians.

Speaker 2 (45:22):
So this is how you can design the right strategy
of digital activism, and it's finding where it can be
the most useful. And often it's just a tool to
help the engel's campaigning. For example, right now there's like
people being arrested in Uganda because they protested against ecop
and so the main things to do is we put
pressure on the French ambassador in Uganda, so he condemned

(45:45):
and as that there is.

Speaker 1 (45:46):
All of this because of a French company.

Speaker 2 (45:49):
Of course, there's angels who know really well the ambassadors
and they know really well the foreign affairs of friends,
and so they lobby, they go talk to them. But
if at the same time there's one hundred of citizens
sending them email, it gives more power to this nonprofit
when they nego shape. So it's just about launching this
at the right time.

Speaker 5 (46:08):
It reminds me of a puffer fish.

Speaker 3 (46:11):
You know, you're appearing bigger than you really are, and
you show up with allies and you're like, we have
a massive army and it's like five kids email.

Speaker 2 (46:19):
But the cool figure is that then you have at
the same time the John elliet is to talk about
it and then you can make it a think. But
it's also because at the end of the day, it's
not okay that in the country that say, the country
of human rights that because of a French company, human
rights are not respected. So it's still tied to something
really deep in the people which are mobilizing.

Speaker 1 (46:38):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (46:39):
Yeah, it's not just a charitable do good it's holding
people to their own standard and reminding them who they
say they are and giving them a chance to be
who they say they are, which I think is also
a pretty deeply empathetic approach to persuasion, activism and even
pressure points.

Speaker 5 (46:55):
There's some love in that pain. Yeah, you've recently launched
an app. Can you describe this app and how people
might get involved in it?

Speaker 1 (47:03):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (47:03):
The complicated part about this oil and gas pipeline is.

Speaker 3 (47:07):
That there's a huge number all these carbon bombs, and.

Speaker 2 (47:10):
So every time what we realize is that, for example,
you need five thousand people to send a message to
a bank that their clients off. fIF five thousand people
send them an email saying, hey, guys, I really don't
want you to use my money to finance this kind
of project.

Speaker 1 (47:25):
This string an alert in the bank. It's a reputational risk.

Speaker 2 (47:28):
So Regroup is just a platform where people can join
the campaign and send those emails when it's the right
time to do. But then we know these people and
if there's another campaign and they can directly help on
the other campaign. So do you fast track how people
act together ising digital tools? My hope is that people
will start by sending an email to the censure and

(47:49):
then they will end up being the people in front
of Lloyd's in London every day at lunch being more active.

Speaker 5 (47:55):
Right, So it's like going to the gym.

Speaker 3 (47:57):
You start with a little exercise, at you're running the
whole circuit because you've gotten stronger.

Speaker 5 (48:03):
We like to leave our.

Speaker 3 (48:04):
Listeners and our audience, our community with things they can
do in your experience through this campaign. Through the decade
of makes sense, how have you grown to interpret what
it would mean to citizen as a set of actions
or as a verb.

Speaker 5 (48:18):
What does that look like to you?

Speaker 1 (48:20):
To me?

Speaker 2 (48:21):
One thing I learned I was during this one year
in New York at this fancy university at Columbia and
this Obama program. We were eight and there was one
girl who was with me the also in the co op.
Her name was way Way new when she's an activist
from me and Mack, and she spent her whole teenage

(48:41):
year of seven years in jail because her dad was
in the party from Ansuki, and so the drink put
her dad in jail somewhere, put the whole family in
the jail somewhere else. And I really realized that before
I was massage people who were volunteering and stuff like that.
But one of the exercise what to do during the
program was to tell the other person's story to the others,

(49:04):
but talking at the first like and so you hold
that story like a baby. And I had to tell
the story of way Away, which was all about the pain,
the suffering in the jail and being far from her
dad and at the same time going out after and
you think the junta is out, but then her community
is the rowing gas so there was still persecuted after

(49:25):
and it's just hearing her story and having to say
it to completely transform me. And this developed bigger side
of empathy. And for me, this is the thing of
to citizens to when you hear someone's story, to really
feel it and then you can't take it away from you.
The story of the activists in Uganda, the story of Wayway.

Speaker 1 (49:49):
Now like I would do whatever.

Speaker 2 (49:50):
I can whenever, just to do something because their story
is in me now and so I think this is
the thing that really changed me. And how to citizen,
I would say, just to let all those stories of
injustice that happen, of things that need to change to
the world, not just mentally, but let them leave in you.

Speaker 3 (50:10):
At the risk of sounding very much like someone who
enjoys puns, that makes sense. So thank you Mesoku for
giving us a window into how we can make more sense,
have more fun, and have more power when we do
it together.

Speaker 1 (50:25):
Thank you.

Speaker 4 (50:32):
Four Seasons.

Speaker 3 (50:32):
In As we are with this show, I hope you
are familiar with our refrain about how civic engagement and
citizen ing has got to be more than just voting.
Voting is necessary, but it is not sufficient, especially because
many folks can't vote by law. But we can all
participate in shaping our communities and in solving our own problems.

(50:54):
Our first pillar of how the citizen is literally show
up and participate. But many of us we're out of practice.
We need a way in, and it helps if that
way in is also fun. What excites me most about
Christian is that he's helped create a gateway drug to
Citizening makes sense, helps people build and practice that collective

(51:16):
problem solving through volunteerism, which sometimes slides into activism. It's
these practices that help reinforce a culture of small d democracy.

Speaker 4 (51:27):
A culture is so.

Speaker 3 (51:28):
Crucial to upholding a democratic system of self governance. Christian
is a recruiter for helping us all practice democracy, helping
us all citizen by showing up, and he successfully recruited
me for real, Like I get excited about all of
our guests, but I don't necessarily.

Speaker 4 (51:46):
Always go all in on the thing they just built.
I tried the beta version of the regroup.

Speaker 3 (51:51):
App he mentioned, and I did the stop e cop
daily actions for a while.

Speaker 4 (51:57):
And it's all.

Speaker 3 (51:57):
In French, because yes, your boy also speaks French. But
It also speaks to how addictive and cool and fun
the platform was that the French I didn't speak.

Speaker 4 (52:06):
I was looking up to make sure I knew what
I was doing.

Speaker 3 (52:10):
Now, look, you can learn more about makes Sense over
at makessense dot org. It doesn't really operate fully in
the US, but there's still a lot to be learned
from it and maybe you'll be someone who starts a
US chapter if you're here, check out the actions to
stop e cop on Instagram stop eacop where there's actions
you can take in the US, because unfortunately Black Rock,

(52:31):
which is based right here in our own New York State,
is an investor in Total Energies, which is a major
shareholder in ECOP, which we're trying to stop. And if
you want to get in on these daily actions and
notifications like me which got me so excited, you can
help stop this pipeline with the regroup app it's r
e g roop and find it in your nearest app store.

(52:55):
And speaking of daily actions, in the show notes, we
always have actions you can take after listening to each episode.
We give you options to go inwards and feel into
the material, to become more knowledgeable or to get involved
with others to make an impact. So here's a juicy
prompt for some internal reflection. How do you feel when

(53:16):
you hear the words climate change, like you encounter a
story on the topic, what's the dominant emotion? I want
you to write this down, and then I want you
to think about a different climate story that provokes the
opposite or at least a very different emotional reaction, and
spend more time in that one. So when I think

(53:36):
of climate change, the emotions that come up are anger, despair, frustration.
Now when I think about a story that shifts me
out of that, I think about Christian I think about
a lot of the stuff that we talked about in
this episode, and I feel a sense of awe, even
a little happy, because I'm like, yo, these kids are
getting so creative. And so for me, this exercise is

(53:57):
going to be looking for more stories that prove that reaction.
Are there other climate change stories that lead to a
sense of awe or joy or excitement or hopefulness as
opposed to the despair and the overwhelmedness that I felt before.
The goal here is to be curious and open to
your feelings, to be conscious of the emotional impact of
the climate narratives you're ingesting and to consciously try to

(54:20):
rebalance that. Now for more active actions, there's what we
already mentioned with the stop ecop campaign, and on the
other side of this coin, there's a chance to take
some personal responsibility for our consumer culture. This culture is

(54:41):
fueling more demand for oil, and we can counter that
with a different kind of spending. There's this product called
future Card. It's a payment card that rewards you for
climate friendly purchases. Full disclosure. I'm an early investor and
advisor because I think it's a powerful way to align
incentives in our economy. Find them online at future dot green. Also,

(55:04):
you may hear people say that it's not on us
as individuals to stop climate change, and it isn't on us,
at least not alone. But we do have power, and
I don't want us to feel like because our governments
aren't doing enough, there's nothing we can do. So it's
a both proposition. We can lower our demand for fossil

(55:24):
fuels while we also pressure policymakers in the oil industry
at large to change. No matter what you hear from
any side, we truly need to do both to curb
climate change. As always, we'd love to hear from you
about your experience taking any of the actions. We may
even ask you to share your story.

Speaker 4 (55:43):
With future listeners.

Speaker 3 (55:45):
The show notes got full details, so check them on
your podcast app or visit howdocitizen dot com where we
have transcripts, actions and more. How to Citizen with Baritunday
is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts.

Speaker 4 (55:56):
And row Home Productions.

Speaker 3 (55:58):
Our executive producers are me Baritunde Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart.
Our lead producer is Ali Graham, Our associate producer is
Donya abdel Hamid. Alex Lewis is our managing producer, and
John Myers is our executive editor and mixed engineer. Original
music by Andrew Eapen with additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.

(56:19):
Special thanks to Joelle Smith from iHeartRadio and Leila Bina.
Next time on How to Citizen, we're turning inward.

Speaker 6 (56:35):
It's a radical act of citizen ing to change our story,
to change the narrative that we're living within and our
relationship to ourselves and others in the world of like.
I won't participate in that old way of being the
authorizing me to you, humanizing the fighting the oppression. I
won't I'm not going to do that to me. I'm

(56:56):
not going to do that to you. I am going
to stand for love. I will stand for love and
in that being this change my world.

Speaker 3 (57:05):
In our final episode of the season, we talk with
doctor Sam Raider, who helps us invest in a relationship
with ourselves so we can build better relationships in our communities.

Speaker 4 (57:23):
Row Home Productions
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