Depending on how we harvest our insights in 2021, a sweet dividend awaits.

Photo by Cristina Anne Costello on Unsplash

In this conversation, Stina Heikkila and Denise Young, co-founders of the Climate Narrative Circle and independent sustainability professionals, pool their ideas on making meaningful change out of what they learned in 2020, and what some of the trade-offs are on the road to a more holistic way of connecting life, work, meaning, and money. This article is an invitation to anyone who would like to participate in an upcoming circle to further develop these ideas as a living practice.

The conversation was recorded at the end of 2020, and edited for publication.

Denise: Is it really December 10? So where…


Co-authored & co-hosted with Stina Heikkilä

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Remember back in December 2019 when the international climate negotiations floundered in Madrid, and it seemed like all the progress made since the Paris Agreement was backsliding?

It’s hard to locate any point in time before COVID19, but this is our starting point:

  • Coming from a background of international organisations working on sustainability, climate change and science advice to policymakers, we had one of those light bulb conversations in Paris late 2019 about how climate was now everywhere — thanks to Greta — but that the dominant narratives were not connecting with our felt…


Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Getting back our digital privacy is not going to be easy.

Knowing about the risks is one thing. Behaviour change is a whole other thing.

For many years I was half-asleep and half-awake. I would never argue back if someone said: “But I don’t care. I have nothing to hide.” Even though I didn’t agree. I was just too lazy to resist, or to do anything.

In the last couple of months, I had a few shocks, and an unexpected opportunity to make changes.

The first shock was Cory Doctorow’s essay “Peak Denial” last year, in the excellent McSweeney’s collection…


Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

A transition is a special moment, a journey from the known to the unknown, from the old way to the new way, from the past to the future.

One of the best things about any transition is the potential it holds for growth and change. And the best way to grow during a transition is to pay attention to what’s happening, reflect on it, capture the learning as it happens.

So I’d like to share a few thoughts as I embark on a new journey to set up my own consulting business.

In my last job I was privileged to…


Credit: Arno Mikor. © European Union 2018 — European Central Bank

Central banks.

How the world’s most powerful & under-scrutinized club became climate advocates

Elitist, powerful, mysterious, highly technocratic, central bankers operate mostly under the radar, and until the financial crisis of 2008 they were mostly invisible to the general public.

Since the 1930s, their mandate has been to stabilize financial markets and avoid cascading bankruptcies and depression. They do this via monetary policy, the setting of interest rates, and insist on keeping politicians out of their playing field.

The financial crisis of 2008 changed the game. Central bankers entered the public spotlight by taking on a new, much more interventionist role. As economist Thomas Piketty wrote, “Central banks helped prevent a…


Planning a trip from Europe to Australia or New Zealand always involves a killer decision about whether or not to break up the trip somewhere, and if so where, how much to spend, and what to do with your time.

On a recent trip to Melbourne, I stopped in Hong Kong, staying near the airport in Tung Chung on Lantau Island. It was an all-round great experience that was relaxing, affordable and above all effective in doing the job of restoring health and well-being after the long plane trip.

So here are my 7 reasons why you should choose Tung…


“… It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” — Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

In a popular TED talk about the transformative power of classical music, Benjamin Zander, director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, tells a story of two salesmen who went to Africa in the 1900s to research the market for shoes.

One sent a telegram back to Manchester that said: “Situation hopeless. They don’t wear shoes.”

The other wrote: “Glorious opportunity. They don’t have any shoes yet.”

Media stories on the big climate report on 1.5 C from the IPCC released in early October were mostly of the “situation hopeless” variety. …


2017 was a big year for AI — the year it went fully mainstream as a topic of public debate. We sat down with Anita Schjøll Bred, co-founder of Iris.Ai, the world’s first AI-powered science assistant (and a good friend of the Future Earth Media Lab) that semi-automates the process of finding relevant scientific literature, to recap the year’s highlights and take a peek at what’s next in this exciting field.

Q: What were the big breakthroughs for AI and science in 2017?

Anita: The first thing to mention is DeepMind’s AlphaZero. Most people will be aware of AlphaGo, which…


The main hall at Palais d’Iena was a hive of activity during OGP16 in Paris.. Credit: Evan Abramson

At the end of a dark year, a remarkable community of people from diverse sectors gathered in Paris earlier this month at the Open Government Partnership Summit. More than 4,000 representatives of government, civil society, technology, civic activism came together around a common cause - the belief that openness and transparency can lead to better outcomes.

The need for hope has never been greater. I plugged myself into the energy and can-do spirit of the summit for two days and came out a bit transformed. I was reminded that politics and government are not the same. While political elites have…


Pablo Garcia on context collapse: Facebook says that “Venus cam” is not art. Photo: KIKK festival

We have witnessed a monumental context shift in the past week. The idea of context disruption is highly topical amongst social media theorists and information architects. Their ideas suddenly seem relevant for millions of people around the world today trying to make sense of a Trump presidency.

The basic idea is simple. In today’s digital world content moves freely through a myriad of different contexts due to web browsers, sharing networks, appropriation and digital manipulation. The term context collapse was either coined or popularized by Danah Boyd, you can read her thoughts on it here.

Earlier this month, at a…

Denise Young 楊 玲 玲

Host of upcoming podcast “New Climate Capitalism” and co-host Climate Narrative Circle. Fellow @EHFNewZealand

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