Featuring Carbon Almanac Contributors Leekei Tang, Tania Marien & Manon Doran.
Coming together from Paris, France, Southern California and Ontario, Canada, these three collaborators combined their backgrounds in art, biology, environmental education and sustainable development with their passion for education to work on the Educator’s Guide.
While the Educator’s Guide brought them together, their contributions also include writing and editing articles, supporting the travelling exhibition and daily emails as well as developing podcasts within the Carbon Almanac podcast network.
In this episode, we talk about how the Carbon Almanac community creates a space to share ideas and foster your personal creative energy to create something magical. We discuss aha moments and the role of optimism in starting conversations to take one step towards changing the narrative.
For more information on the project and to pre-order your copy, visit thecarbonalmanac.org
[00:00:54] Tania: Hi, I'm Tania Marien from Southern California. I've had the opportunity to help out with some of the pages in the Almanac, the educator's guide, the traveling exhibition a little bit with the daily emails when that first started. And I'm now very involved with the podcasts.[:
[00:01:35] Jennifer: Why did you join the Carbon Almanac?[:
And you know, when you were a kid and you watch this kind of film it's quite depressing. And then all when in the early days, the early two thousands. I started my career as an investment banker and I decided to make a career change because I think I was not doing anything helpful. So I decided to study something that would be really helpful for future.
So I decided to work to study a Masters in Environment and Sustainable development. And it was fascinating. I mean, especially coming from where I was coming from because you know, it has nothing to do with the, uh, investment banking. And it was really shocking.
I remember something that I, one day I wrote an essay on the consequences of climate change. And uh, my conclusion were twofold. One is that a couple of years, all in dozens of years, we will experience what is happening now, increase of temperature, icebergs melting and a lot problems. And that drives to lots of biodiversity and food crisis and all that.
And the other conclusion was that, you know, those who have money, countries and people that have money can cope with it. And it was really unfair because it's not, uh, not the other ones, no, those that have less. And it's very unfair to them because those people and those countries are not the countries that have created this problem.did a few gigs. It was early:
But, it wasn't, I know that it wasn't really helpful because it's, it wasn't the word wasn't invented was greenwashing. But it was really greenwashing and I did also work with architects, you know, helping them to say, yeah, I met an architect and say, okay, you'll have to help me because they want to, to write something about, you know, sustainable development and environment.
And so you, you know, you say that so you can, you can help him. So I did some gig. But then I thought, no, I'm losing my time really, because it's not really helpful. So it was like, it was that state of the world at that time. And then but then I realized that, okay, I this requires to do something really impactful we have to look at really from the, in the corporate world, we have to look at every step of the, of production chain of the company. And this require to be at the very top level of the company. And at that time I was young, but then I thought, okay, well, I can do is to create my company. And I've been creating companies since then.
So why did I join is, it's was because of that. I was there and I was really concerned by, you know, the environmental crisis and climate change. And I was trying to do things on my own because I started this way and I joined because I wanted to find a community of people that are all the, share the same vision values, because I'm optimistic.[:
[00:05:30] Tania: I saw the initial post that Seth had posted on his blog. I thought, oh, well, that's interesting. And, I've always wanted to have a conversation with him about the environment, but he didn't, he doesn't talk about things like that.
It's other stuff that he talks about. And really the only thing that I've heard him really talk about in term that kind of aligned with my world-environmental education and natural resource world-was the time that he spends at the summer camp where he has helped out for many decades.
Right. So I said, oh, that's interesting. So I filled out the form and then was able to join in October. And it was really an opportunity. I saw it as an opportunity to finally have a conversation. Um, and I knew because of my Akimbo experiences, that it would be a real conversation, you know, that things would happen.
It would be an opportunity to dive into the subject in a way that, that I haven't before. And my background is biology and education. And that's the world where I roam. And so I just thought this is a really good opportunity to take a different perspective and to approach it in a, in a new way. And, and it's been all that and more.[:
[00:07:37] Jennifer: I feel like a lot of people who got to join this project joined because we were stuck at home or stuck looking at our immediate environment and really thinking about the world at large. It's interesting. So Manon would you have considered yourself an environmentalist before you joined this project?[:
[00:08:19] Jennifer: And everyone here has had the opportunity to work with each other on different things. And I love to explore those relationships a little bit. Leekei, can you describe one of your Carbon Almanac contributions and how you and another one of the contributors here work together to create something magical?[:
And I started working on it. And, um, so I came up with an idea actually a few ideas of formal activities for children. And I draft my ideas and there were other people that added the ideas and helped me develop and build something that is, I think I can, I mean, we can be proud of, because it's not something I have built myself that we have built together.
And it's really this, this, um, spirit of in the Carbon Almanac is that as long as you want to do something and you want to do something and you want to serve, you have an idea, you start. And there are other people that was see you and come and help you. I love working on the, the, uh, the podcast, but the thing I'm really, really really, the contribution I'm really, really proud of is as this education this, these activities I have that, uh, Manon and other people in the educators group gave me the privilege to be part of.[:
And so one of the right now we're field testing, the educator's guide and people love the fast fashion lessons. And they’re highlights of the guide because people really want to know and want to try, and it interests the youth in the schools. And so it was perfect.[:
[00:12:52] Jennifer: So what's missing from that conversation with educators now, or the way that educators are teaching? within organized systems of education or whatnot? What are we missing? What are we trying to accomplish with using an educator's guide?[:
[00:13:42] Manon: For me, the importance of creating that guide was helping teachers to see a new way of teaching important facts and creative ways that are experiential, where kids are not just sitting down and listening and taking it all in actually, doing things physically getting involved in the activities and I pushed a lot for that because I really believe in it. I believe that you learn so much more when you're involved in the learning and also trying to trigger the aha moments for the kids.[:
[00:14:31] Leekei: I think the biggest aha moment. So it's not big as a aha moment because it’s a given. It came up. Um, I it's a realization and the realization that I'm not alone, there are other people.
That is the, that is a realization. So, and especially I mean, some people that are doers, they take action, that people are optimistic. And, and like challenge challenge of you're trying to solve a problem and they're not complacent. They challenge ourselves, which challenge each other, and we're building something. And there's a very big shift from me. And this is very important for me because I live in France where the climate the way the climates question and a common question is addressed by the, by the media is that you have on one side, I mean, you have the climate deniers, you have the people that for the growth and they'll they care about growth and, uh, they care about the climate.
So they don't want the growth. They want to stop there. They want us to go backwards in the way out the way we'll live. And there's not very, there's there's nothing much in between. Not very much, no initiatives in between. And I was really happy to find this community of people that, and see people that are sharing the same view that, because we don't, the choice is not it's not doom doom future, or the growth, but there's hope there's alternative there and we need to explore it and let's do it.[:
And when I saw this, it became clear. So clear at one point, the crystal clear of, yes, we do individual actions to get to the collective change and the systemic change, but that the key lies there. It makes me feel better about toning down the level of energy I put in some of my individual actions and putting them towards the policy change or changing banks and all those things that really make a difference.[:
[00:18:14] Jennifer: And Tania you've you've mentioned connections. And the name of the podcast that you are producing is called the Carbon Connection. Could you give us a little bit of insight into what that project is and how it's going to help further the conversation about the climate crisis?[:
[00:19:11] Jennifer: But it's kind of also in its own way, enlightening finding these podcasts about sustainability all across, like the global podcast network. Has there been one podcast that you've stumbled upon, uh, as part of this project that you've started listening to, or that has changed your mind about sustainability initiatives?[:
[00:20:13] Jennifer: And Leekei the podcast that you're producing is all about those kinds of conversations. Do you want to give us a little bit of insight into what that project is?[:
And if we don't have this basis and we don't have these conversations, there will be a lot of um, a lot of divide in society. I think it's very important to first have conversations have a very solid basis for this conversation.
And, um I was listening to, you know, as I told you today, I spending a lot of time trying to reorganize the different conversations that we had. And there was conversation about space travel. And one thing that someone said is I'm not a rocket scientist, but we know that space travel is not good for the environment.
And I think this is what we need to do is to build this kind of knowledge and knowing that we're not climate scientists, we're not climate researcher or an environmental environmentalist, but it concerns us and it deals with our lives. And so we need, we have to be involved and we need to feel to have the confidence, to feel empowered, to have to be involved in these kinds of conversations.
So this is, I mean, at least it has worked for me and because in the past, I thought, who am I to have this kind of ideas or stance? Because I'm always very cautious about what I'll say or share in terms of ideas, but we don't need to be a rocket scientist. And we didn't, don't need to be, uh, to know that, you know, space travel is not good for the environment and we don't need to be scientists, climate scientists to know that some things are good or bad for the environment. So that's the whole idea. The whole concept of this podcast is really to encourage people to have these conversations.[:
I was wondering what kind of conversations you're having in your home with your children after working on this project? Has anything changed the way you talk to them about the world around them?[:
Like how can those ideas become reality? So the conversations with my kids have become more hopeful and we have fun with them. We try not to stick to the doom and gloom and really play with the possibilities of it can be better. And it will.[:
[00:25:09] Tania: I'm very optimistic. I'm optimistic because this book, the Carbon Almanac has made topics so accessible and approachable. And for me and the people who I am around environmental educators, interpreters, heritage interpreters and those types of people and, and, um, informal science educators. I see this book as finally as a way to strengthen talking points, you know, where topics might've been too big to make into digestible talking points and digestible bites to make a point, or to tell a story, to help tell a story, the Almanac makes all that possible. And I just can't wait to start showing it to people and to really be on the ground then with it in hand.[:
[00:27:22] Jennifer: And Manon, do you want to add to the idea of optimism?[:
I don't want to talk about it. I have little kids. Oh my God. Kind of moment. And I feel like the Carbon Almanac helped me pull out of that state. It, it helped me understand where things are at now in terms of facts and see the potential of people coming together, of ideas being talked about all that energy is creating momentum and I feel it building. So I guess maybe your optimism is contagious.[:
I was just wondering if you could talk more about any of those initiatives that you managed to push forward, maybe within the educator's guide or maybe without, could you speak a little bit more about pushing out of your comfort zone a little bit during the creation of um, the educators guide?[:
And this community has been so fantastic and receiving that and giving feedback and moving forward. And for the educators guide, it was really about bringing people together in order to share the, their ideas on how we can teach this. They didn't really have to know how to teach. They had ideas and everybody has an idea.
And when somebody believes in it, then magic happens.[:
[00:30:02] Tania: I've had the opportunity to be involved in a lot of different corners here. Definitely the educator's guide. It was one of the first big things that I got involved with and I am so glad to, to have been able to do that. My kind of invisible intention I guess, is to create a space for people who work in informal learning environments, community-based educators, because there's so much going on out there that we just don't see. That's why I'm really excited about this book coming out because all the things, their initiatives, the things that they talk about, the things that they believe in and, you know, it just arms them with so many more talking points and also helps them tell different stories and, you know, it could be used as a tool to help them create even better stories.
For me, I'm, I'm glad to be able to do that just as a tiny, tiny bit. And then I think professionally being a, working with the podcast and the network and producing and working with so many wonderful producers and so many contributors and you and Leekei and just everybody.
Everybody who's involved with podcasts, the reviewers, it's an experience definitely of a lifetime. You couldn't, I couldn't have invented this.[:
And so having the opportunity to throw an idea. And see if it sticks, see if it gets that effervescence.
It's super fun and not all ideas make it and that's okay.[:
I think it was something like maybe four. And but I think that's I'm involved in this project, maybe four hours, not a week, but four hours a day and every single day of the week. And so I have to be very careful about, hmm, because it's really tempting. So I wanted, there's so many things we want to do the TikTok thing, huh. You know, be more involved in social media because I'm not a big fan of social media, but this is a very noble cause to be to use social media for, and they want to do that, but I have to refrain myself and say, okay, Cool down and don't get too much involved and don't read that.
Don't even read the threads now.[:
We're fitting it into weekends, late nights after work. And some people have used opportunities where they're taking a break from work or they've had COVID related job loss or whatnot. So people are really fitting this in where they can. And I know that all of us here at this moment have dramatically gone beyond our four hours a week to contribute pretty much everything that we can to this project. And that just shows the testament of how much, all of us, all of us, not just here, but within this community really care. And what do you think you're going to take from this project, from this learning, from this environment, from these relationships that we've formed into mobilizing to create change in the outside world?[:
And I feel like if humanity with this climate change, that climate crisis has fallen many times. Like we've tried and it doesn't work. And we try again, but let's continue trying, let's learn how to walk together. So walking the talk and walking together.[:
[00:35:24] Tania: Yes. This experience makes me want to focus on informal learning environments even more than I do because this whole experience has happened informally. It is just look at the rich learning environment. How many people are involved, how many different industries are involved different fields, disciplines.
I mean, you can just titles. And it's just, it works beautifully. It, this type of change is type of, um, collaboration is possible. And so it, it really makes me want to double down on informal learning.[:
But now I think that first I know how to do it openly because of you, because of this community. And then have a more hopeful. And, um, I know how to do it. Yeah. I know how to do it and how to take action, organized action and the build small project, not like something that will transform an industry, but something, you know, one idea that I have and because Manon is here so I'm taking this opportunity to share that idea with her. And I know that we're not supposed to develop any non-English speaking project inside within the community, but one of my dream is to replicate what we're doing right now on the Carbon Sessions or the conversations and do it in French and have people from Canada, maybe from French speaking people from Africa and some French between yes, from all around the world and start having this conversation.[:
[00:38:00] Leekei: It's not measurable for us. It's something that we could witness around us. It's really having people having more conversations and more and more conversations and build more connections around the topic of carbon and also building the future together because we are, because the whole point is, think of our future and what kind of world we want to live in.
And so yeah, people take action and feel and take well maybe I shouldn't say responsibility, but take ownership of their destiny.[:
[00:39:11] Tania: Again, this, this book makes action possible. It before. That would be, oh, we're stuck. This is too big. Really? It doesn't involve me. I could, I can dismiss it easily, but really the conversations that we need to have, or just have, I mean, even the private moments to think about climate change you know, it makes this, the Almanac makes all this possible.
The podcasts make it possible. The educator's guide, the kids book, I, everything makes that possible to have thoughts during private moments and then, uh, to articulate words in more public moments in conversations with other people.