October 25, 2021
Aria McKenna on storytelling and world-changing for the climate and the environment
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Aria McKenna is an actress, writer and producer turned climate advocate. She founded Global Cooling Productions and is in development with several mission-driven projects. She trained with Al Gore as part of his Climate Reality Leadership Corps and has studied, worked, and presented with organizations such as The American Sustainable Business Council, Citizens Climate Lobby, American Renewable Energy DAY, EarthX, and the Cooperative Impact Social Innovation Conference. She is currently working with the Healthy Climate Alliance and the Planetary Restoration Action Group to advocate for an emergency three-pronged approach to restore the climate to safe levels.
Connect with Aria
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[00:00:00] Aria McKenna: I feel like there is an incredible power in storytelling and that the media can be used to help pull people along and to engage them long enough to get them to have a deeper understanding of the situation. And to care deeply about changing it.
[00:00:29] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Hello and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host Izolda Trakhtenberg on the show. I interview peak performing innovators in the creative social impact and earth conservation spaces or working to change the world. This episode is brought to you by brain FM brain FM combines the best of music and neuroscience to help you relax, focus, meditate, and even sleep.
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[00:01:13] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg, I'm your host, and I'm thrilled that you're here. I'm also thrilled and honored and think this is so important. So you need to know that to welcome my guests this week. Aria McKenna is an actress writer and producer turned climate.
[00:01:32] Catnip to me, as you know, she founded global cooling productions and is in development with several mission-driven projects. She trained with Al gore as part of his climate reality leadership core and a studied work and presented with organizations such as the American sustainable business council.
[00:01:49] Citizens' climate lobby, American renewable energy day, earth X, and the cooperative impact social innovation conference. She's currently working with the healthy climate Alliance and the [00:02:00] planetary restoration action group to advocate for an emergency three pronged approach to restore the climate to safe levels, such important work aria.
[00:02:09] I'm so glad that you're here. I'm so glad that you're doing the work that you're doing. Welcome.
[00:02:14] Aria McKenna: Thank you so much. It is great to be here. I have really been enjoying doing my research on you and seeing what amazing work you're doing and the commonalities we have with the voiceover background as well. I really love your, oh,
[00:02:31] Izolda Trakhtenberg: thank you so much.
[00:02:32] And we have another commonality. I worked for years for the globe program, which was a, it's a joint NASA NOAA NSF program. K through 12, designed to teach students all about, uh, the environment, the earth. And it was, the idea was started by Al gore in his book earth in the balance. So we sort of have Al gore in common as well.
[00:02:53] Aria McKenna: wow. I love that. Yeah. I know you've been doing some education. I also did some educational outreach [00:03:00] with the Cleo Institute. Ah, fabulous.
[00:03:04] Izolda Trakhtenberg: It's such important work. It really is. And, and, you know, I want to just, I want to jump right in and I mean, obviously this is important work and we know that the G 20 summit is happening at the end of the week in Rome.
[00:03:19] So I want to talk to you about what, what importance you think the these countries can play in bringing the climate back to safe level.
[00:03:31] Aria McKenna: Yeah, no, thank you. Um, it is absolutely huge and so important that we get countries on the same page together to create a collective action plan that actually has the power to restore the current.
[00:03:53] Um, as part of a healthy climate Alliance and the political, the planetary [00:04:00] restoration action group, we are working to help forward the mission of educating people about the difference between climate restoration and reducing climate change to less than two degrees, which right now is what the United nations has agreed to.
[00:04:21] So we know that there has been some work in, in this direction. It's wonderful to get countries on board, agreeing to a goal, to deal with the climate. First of all, you know, let's just say that first. Um, but right now their goal is to reach net zero by 2050. And we know that carbon dioxide and methane do not just automatically disappear from the atmosphere on their own.
[00:04:55] So we are continuing to put greenhouse gases [00:05:00] in the atmosphere. And so it's going to keep on warming and we know that warming is leading to extreme weather. Uh, what happened with hurricane Ida caused $95 billion. Just that one. So we need investments in turning this around. So what we're advocating for is a three-pronged approach to restoring the climate to safe levels.
[00:05:31] Those are levels that are pre-industrial levels that humans have lived safely within for, for some time. So if we actually brought carbon dioxide down to 300 parts per million, then that is actually known to be safe. Uh, right now we've got, uh, three 50 has been a goal where we know that if you go [00:06:00] beyond three 50, it's not safe.
[00:06:03] So we actually have the power, not only to reduce our carbon footprint and to reduce the amount of methane we put in the atmosphere, but we actually have the power to draw those greenhouse gases down. And as we draw them down, we help reduce warming. So those are two major steps that need to happen to move us toward climate restoration.
[00:06:30] And then the planetary restoration action group has introduced the third step, which is the emergency mitigation that we need to do in response to how quickly the Arctic is melting. So right now we're looking at massive sea level rise, which is a serious environmental injustice situation, especially when it comes to small [00:07:00] nations of Florida is, is, you know, half of Florida is going to be gone.
[00:07:05] So we need to deal with sea level rise as well. So if we just have goals to reduce warming, we are not doing anything to reverse sea level rise or to. Or to deal with the, uh, massive injustice that is thrust upon small countries around the world. So we are advocating for a three pronged approach that deals with the emergency situation of an escalating crisis that has completely disrupted our weather systems and led to flooding, uh, droughts, fires, uh, all around the world.
[00:07:51] So, um, you know, we really need to change that goal, create a positive vision for the future and to really pull, [00:08:00] pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and create a plan to turn the situation around so that we can have a safe planet for our children.
[00:08:12] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Wow. Um, I'm taking all this in. Cause it's it. And here's the thing I've worked in earth science when I worked at NASA for years.
[00:08:24] And so I understand all of this and I, and I get it and yet it's still, it's still overwhelming. And so the thing that I come up against, whenever I'm talking to anybody about climate change and the climate crisis is how do we get people to think long-term about this? Because we can look at today's weather and go, oh, it rained today, but it didn't rain yesterday and it's not going to rain tomorrow.
[00:08:50] Those changes are easy. But when we're looking at the climate, we're looking at long-term trends and patterns and how do, how do we come up with, and, [00:09:00] and what are your thoughts on this? How do we come up with innovative ways? To get people to understand the causality there that the climate changing is what's causing some of these extreme weather events and, and wildfires and all of these other catastrophes that you mentioned just a minute ago, how do we get that causality to connect in people's minds?
[00:09:27] Aria McKenna: I think that's an excellent question. And I have so many different things that pop into my mind in response to that. Uh, one of them is the importance of keeping these things in people's mind, because exactly what you say. We have these disasters and when it's on the news, people go, oh my God. Wow. Oh, I can't believe that.
[00:09:53] And of course, if you're personally affected by it, that that's, that's, uh, affecting you on a whole nother level. Right. [00:10:00] But once it goes away, You go on to other things, you start thinking about other things you think about, you know, what am I going to eat? How am I going to take care of my kids? What am I going to do about these immediate things that are right in front of me?
[00:10:16] So we need that kind of long-term engagement that helps to educate people and emotionally charged them to take the kinds of actions that will actually make a difference in the world. Right? So for me, personally, my personal approach to this is that I feel like there is an incredible power in storytelling and that the media can be used to help pull people along and to engage them.
[00:10:58] Long enough to [00:11:00] get them to have a deeper understanding of the situation and to care deeply about changing it. So, you know, I've got some projects that I'm working on. I'm not going to go into full detail, but I do want to say that I think that when we tell stories, people, people care about people and they care about their children.
[00:11:29] And, and so many people care about the planet that we live on. Right. And that's across political divides. Unfortunately, the issue of climate has absolutely been politicized. There has been a lot of misinformation propagated by the fossil fuel industry and, and other industries that, that gain to profit.
[00:11:55] Right? So we're fighting a lot when it comes [00:12:00] to focusing on climate, some people are gonna hop a board, they're gonna get the connections and they're going to take action in response to those connections. But there are other people who might not get the connection ever, honestly, It might take them a lot longer.
[00:12:23] And the good news is that I think there are multiple ways in because the same things that are affecting the climate are also affecting our drinking water. They're affecting the air that we breathe. They're creating childhood cancer. They are, uh, affecting people's breathing asthma emphysema. There are so many direct causalities and environmental injustices tied to [00:13:00] the fossil fuel industry.
[00:13:02] That I do think that when we educate people about these issues as well, we end up getting double benefits. So I think that the, one of the things that's difficult with us when it comes to the news cycle is you talk about how many people are affected when it's a statistic. And when it's an overwhelming statistic, we shy away from it.
[00:13:26] It feels overwhelming. There's nothing we can do about it. But if you tell a story about one person and how they're affected, and people care about that person and they can make connections to their own lives and how they're being affected that I think has more power when it comes to. Energizing people and inspiring people to make personal changes.
[00:13:55] Does that make sense?
[00:13:57] Izolda Trakhtenberg: It does. It does. Absolutely. It's [00:14:00] just the thing that, the thing that I'm concerned about as I think about what you're saying, and as I take it in is, again, that notion of, if somebody is going through surviving through a hurricane, are they going, oh, well this is due to climate change or are they going, oh, let me get to higher ground or lower ground or whatever it is I need to do to protect myself and my family.
[00:14:24] Right. And then later that connection that you're talking about has to be restated or reinforced because they might not know. And so what do we do? Oh, hold on one sec.
[00:14:44] I had to cough there for a second. Didn't want to cough. What do we do? To, I don't want to say befriend, but to align with these industries that traditionally either don't [00:15:00] care or don't see that, that the work that they're doing is causing. These grave and big changes on a planetary scale, right? The fossil fuel industry, isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
[00:15:15] Is there a way in your mind to get them to change their practices? I mean, I know farmers who are stopping doing dairy production, cow, you know, keeping cows and cows are some of the biggest methane producers. And there've been new farmers in the news recently that have said, you know what, I'm going completely vegan.
[00:15:37] I'm just going to go to plant farming, things like that are happening. Do you think it is possible for the fossil fuel industry to pivot? And if so, what would it take for them to start looking at new ways, more sustainable ways of treating our home planet? Kind of.
[00:15:56] Aria McKenna: Well, I think that's where the [00:16:00] international community comes in for one thing right now.
[00:16:04] So many governments are subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. Right?
[00:16:11] Izolda Trakhtenberg: So,
[00:16:14] Aria McKenna: and they're not giving the same kinds of funds to clean energy in general, you know, at least in this country, it's not par or it hasn't been in the past. So those are things that we need to change.
[00:16:29] And fortunately, the cost for electric, uh, you know, uh, solar energy, wind, energy, electrification, all of these things, the costs have gone down so much that right now, there is so much financial incentive to actually change their ways. So it's actually, I'm trying to remember where I had read this. Oh shoot.
[00:16:58] There was, um, [00:17:00] a recent, there was, there was a meeting and it had to do with the fossil fuel industry and they actually ended up coming to the conclusion. There were some, oh, I don't know if I tell the story properly. I'm sorry. Um, but, but the bottom line, I'll just say that they had come to the conclusion.
[00:17:21] They realized that it was no longer in their financial benefit to continue business as usual. And there were some stakeholders who actually drew a line and said, no, we have to change.
[00:17:35] Izolda Trakhtenberg: I love that I, that gives me some hope. It really does, you know, and you know, it's interesting what you were saying about, I have so many questions.
[00:17:43] Uh, well, you were saying about storytelling is so true that if that, if we talk about, uh, climate change on a, on a global scale, or even on a city scale, when I work with kids and we'll talk about, uh, Cape town and then breaching getting very close to date day zero, where they [00:18:00] have no more water supplies and they, they keep pushing it back because the rain comes just enough.
[00:18:07] The kids themselves, I was working. Remember I was working with a bunch of sixth graders. They got it. And then they went, can we ship water to. And it was a really interesting question, because then we talked about what it would take, the, the resources it would take to ship water from at this point, this was Washington DC to Cape town, South Africa.
[00:18:28] And could we ship enough and all of that. And, and so talking about these stories, got the kids really interested in what they could do. They're tomorrow's decision makers. And I know that you, as you said, love stories and you started as an actor and you've transformed your mission. It sounds like to tell stories about the planet about climate.
[00:18:52] And I'm just wondering, how did that happen? What made you go from I'm a performer [00:19:00] on stage or screen to I'm an advocate and an activist on behalf of the planet and the.
[00:19:07] Aria McKenna: Yeah. No, thank you. Um, I'm I'm glad you asked that. Um, I'll just say to, to start off, I'll say that I grew up in Florida and Florida is absolutely beautiful.
[00:19:24] I'm I'm I'm partial. Okay. We've got these incredible beautiful crystal clear Springs. We've got these incredible lakes. It's, it's a water place. Obviously we're a peninsula. I grew up in the water, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Uh, so these things are really important to me. I've always loved nature. Uh, it it's been a solace to me, so I actually was, you know, play, uh, down in key west.
[00:19:54] I was playing Betty in summers in, in, uh, Betty summer vacation [00:20:00] and I was Snoopy diving. Um, and a, a diving, Snoopy diving. It's amazing. You don't have to get a scuba diving certificate. All you, you can be in your bathing suit and you put a snorkel on and the snorkel goes all the way up and it connects to a boat that's filled with oxygen.
[00:20:25] So you just breathe the air and the boat just, it's like a little raft and it floats above you. So you can go way down. And I was exploring, uh, the world's third largest coral reef there. It was so beautiful. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life to be down there and to feel like a fish.
[00:20:47] It was, it was incredible. And I was down for about a half an hour. And when I came up, I just was like, oh my God, I'm so affected by this. This was so beautiful. [00:21:00] So incredible. And the guy. Told me that the water, her warming, he's the first person who told me about global warming. And he said that those coral reefs were dying because of the warming oceans.
[00:21:20] And it just devastated me. I couldn't believe that something like this was going to be wiped out and I'd always wanted to have a daughter. It was just one of those things that was in me. And I remember that was one of my first thoughts was someday when I do have a daughter, is she going to be able to experience this?
[00:21:46] This is something I would love to share with my kids, but this, this could be gone by that. So that just affected me a lot. And, but I, I went on, I did the [00:22:00] play, I moved to New York city. I started my career and moved there right before September 11th, which was a pretty intense time. Um, but the entire time I was up in New York and I remember there was the Gulf oil spill that happened, and that was absolutely devastating.
[00:22:22] And meanwhile, being up in Brooklyn, I found I was having a lot of difficulty breathing, uh, because of all the traffic and, uh, you know, just the, the air pollution. And there was an oil spill up in the Queens area and I was living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and every time I went over to the water, I struggled to breathe just because of that.
[00:22:47] So I had health repercussions and. I also simultaneously was seeing the Gulf of Mexico be absolutely devastated and destroyed. And that was my childhood [00:23:00] playground, you know, so just seeing so much, you know, my health being robbed by the fossil fuel industry, uh, the devastation and the goal, knowing, you know, seeing sea turtles that I knew were, were being devastated by, uh, the, the horrible oil spill.
[00:23:20] So just the passion kept building in me. And, you know, after I moved to New York, I also had my daughter, my daughter Phoenix was, was born, um, after I moved to New York. So of course, as a mom, your sense of responsibility for the world that they're living in. Just becomes so much greater. So it, you know, it was a struggle back and forth for some time.
[00:23:51] And I just, it just, I was getting work in TV and [00:24:00] I just started feeling like, what is the impact of the work that I'm doing? This is not having the impact that I want to have. I felt like I was being cast in things that just perpetuated fear in people and that didn't really have lasting redeeming value.
[00:24:20] And then what was most important to me was to have a safe planet for my daughter into the future. And I felt like I just needed to stop standing on the sideline and I needed to get involved and I needed to figure out what it was that I could do. And so in that process, that's when I had this epiphany and I was like, you know, what, what if I created a TV series that.
[00:24:48] Uh, dug into these issues that focus on the issues that matter to me and give me that opportunity to create work that I could [00:25:00] really be proud of. And so, but I didn't know nearly as much as I know now then. And so that started a process of, okay, I've got a research, I've got to learn a lot in order to be able to create the series.
[00:25:16] And the series that I was working on is, is very much focused on what could that beautiful future world look like if we could turn this around. And so I had to do research into what would it take in order to. Transform this horrible trajectory that we're on right now and turn it into a much more positive trajectory.
[00:25:47] So that's when I started, uh, trained with Al gore, I did the climate reality leadership Corps and that just led to all kinds of other things. And I think one of the things that has been, [00:26:00] uh, really inspiring and taught me a lot is working with the American renewable energy day. It's like a week long summit.
[00:26:09] Uh, I went there, I had been invited to be on a panel, um, and. There are so many people they're doing incredible work. People who really need to be supported as well. And that's really where I learned what it would actually take technologically scientifically all the fat. Um, and then of course, we've got the cultural and the society, uh, aspects as well in order to support the types of leadership decisions that we need.
[00:26:43] Um, and the industrial decisions that we need. Um, you know, sorry. So I've learned a lot in the process, so that's, that's basically where that started.
[00:26:55] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Wow. I, you know, those kinds of things, [00:27:00] those kinds of epiphany's obviously it changed, it changed the trajectory of your life and it's changed how, how you're working in the world, which I, which I think is incredible and amazing.
[00:27:13] And I love and. I keep coming back to this. How do we do it? You know, you're a storyteller. What, what role do you see? Art storytelling, music playing in change, opening minds, changing minds. I'm not sure exactly what the right way of asking the question is, but I mean, music makes me cry on a regular basis.
[00:27:39] It can also inspire me. How can, how can music do it? How can storytelling do it? How can art do it? How can we use them to inspire people, to look at the earth and the climate in a different way than they otherwise might?
[00:27:59] Aria McKenna: I think the [00:28:00] important part of it is that they help us to reconnect with our humanity and that ultimately caring about the planet, caring about the next generations, caring about other people on the planet.
[00:28:16] You know, we need to be connected to our humanity, to our hearts in order to care enough, to do some lifting, you know, to understand that, you know, honestly, our, our personal choices are connected to this, but also what's really important is who we vote for. Um, You know, we, we need leadership. That's going to take us in the right direction and we need an educated populace in, in that.
[00:28:53] So, you know, my, my part of it, when it comes to storytelling, um, I'll just talk about, without going into too [00:29:00] many details, I'll say that I have a character in, um, one of the main stories that I'm really looking for, that I, that I started working on back then, that I'm in development process with, uh, that character, first of all, is a conservative.
[00:29:19] So that is, you know, a party that, uh, unfortunately there are some people within the conservative party who have been spreading a lot of climate denial. And so she starts the story off this as being really uncertain. She doesn't know what to believe and, and what to think, but she's an intelligent, compassionate, human being.
[00:29:44] And so as that character gets educated, that also educates the public. Um, and I'm, I'm hoping that we've created a character that a lot of people are going to be able to identify with as [00:30:00] well and care about. Um, I think when people can see themselves in somebody else, then that helps open their heart up to another way of thinking and having some compassion, uh, getting over their prejudgments.
[00:30:22] And so. I feel like that's really important to me in the storytelling as well is to create characters that both sides can identify with and not to paint people of the conservative party, for instance, in a bad light to, to understand that we're all human beings and that we all have our strengths. We all have our weaknesses and we all have room to grow.
[00:30:59] You know, [00:31:00] we have opportunities for redemption. And so, so, so that's, that's one way in that I really personally identify with, and that I'm really looking forward to getting out there and being able to move to fruition where I can have some, some deeper, more public conversations about the details of the story that I've, that I've been building.
[00:31:26] But I do think that also on a personal level, the more individuals start having those conversations about their own experiences, the way they're effected by the climate prices, the way they are affected by pollution, et cetera, and the things that they are personally doing in order to turn this around, hopefully that also will help give people that impetus and help bring people together at a time where people are unfortunately incredibly divided.
[00:31:58] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Yeah, absolutely. [00:32:00] They, they, they, there is this incredible division. Among, uh, people who believe one way, people who believe in other way, but, but the sort of looking at it, it's funny coming back to Al gore and inconvenient truth, looking at the objective truth, we can look at the numbers and save things have been happening.
[00:32:18] They've been happening, especially in the last 50 years. Looking at the global mean temperature change since 1870 to today is that it's the numbers tell a very stark story. And yet if you say to me that, uh, the UN or the G 20, whoever it is said, oh, we're going to be okay with a two degree, uh, rise in temperatures where we're looking at it for that.
[00:32:48] Then how, because I, if I'm, if I'm somebody who doesn't know two degrees doesn't seem a lot, but it is right. It changed so much changes even with that two degrees. [00:33:00] So how do we get that? Notion across that, that any change going up is going to make a lot of difference, not only to us, but to the plants and, and the animals and all of the ecosystems on the planet.
[00:33:21] Aria McKenna: That is an excellent question. I really appreciate that. I think that, well, for one thing, you know, let's be clear, it's not two degrees Fahrenheit. It's two degrees Celsius, which is a bigger number, but also unfortunately there have been. So many natural disasters that we've been seeing lately. And fortunately, they are finally starting to talk about it on the news.
[00:33:55] It has taken so long to get them to this point where they're [00:34:00] actually speaking about it in solid terms for so long, we've had, you know, 98% consensus on manmade, global warming, and yet they've been presenting it as if it's a 50 50 concept. And we're really not sure let's talk someone who thinks this and someone who thinks that and give them equal weight in the discussion.
[00:34:22] And, and of course they don't have equal weight. So we know that. Um, so fortunately some of the mainstream news narrative is finally starting to change. I really wish they had done this a long time ago. Sure. But I am hoping that that does make an impact. I think that the awareness and the concern about these issues definitely is on the rise.
[00:34:49] And as more people are affected by it, and mainstream news media is starting to have more conversations about this. Hopefully that's definitely going to help people [00:35:00] understand, okay, we're starting to experience this right now. You know, I have a crop. This crop is dying because it's not getting enough water.
[00:35:08] Or I have a crop it's completely devastated because we experienced this flooding. I mean, the flooding up in New York city that happened recently, I could not believe how quickly that came back came, came down. Hmm. I mean, it was insane to watch a video of someone who started filming outside their window, just as it kind of started.
[00:35:38] And within a matter of minutes, they had cars just starting to float away on the street right next to them and bang into houses next to them. So I think that unfortunately it is taking a real life, wake up call in order to get people to pay attention. [00:36:00] So they're going to need to start connecting the dots with who they vote for the policies that they support and start taking some more responsibility in how people show up to the voting polls in order to make a difference for their children's future for one thing.
[00:36:16] But, you know, let's be clear. It's not just our children's future. Our future, it's our present. It's our, now it's everything. It's our food systems. It's our health. It's,
[00:36:29] Izolda Trakhtenberg: uh,
[00:36:31] Aria McKenna: you know, when you have people, you have, you know, I read some time ago about a bacteria that because of the warming started affecting these cows and they just keeled over.
[00:36:48] I mean, just, I will check it, remember the exact number. It was like hundreds or thousands of cows that just died because of the heat. So these types of things are happening. [00:37:00] And we just need to shine more of a light on it. My friend, Betsy Rosenberg, uh, actually has something that she's working on called green TV.
[00:37:12] Uh, just wanna throw that out there too, because she's been trying for years and years to get the mainstream news media to pay more attention and start covering climate on more of a regular basis. And now she's having the opportunity to have those conversations to start shining a light on the things that are happening and on the.
[00:37:32] Solutions that we have at our fingertips and the people and the companies who are working to forward those solutions. So you may just need to put a lot more support behind those solutions, stop funding and fueling and supporting all of the things that are contributing to the problem. Start voting for politicians who are actually gonna make a difference.
[00:37:53] And then people who are into agriculture. This is one of the things that I love so much [00:38:00] is that regenerative farming and getting rid of industrial agriculture has. Enormous potential for being able to draw down carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. And then it has the by-product of making the soil healthier, making them more resilient to droughts and floods, uh, helping to regulate our weather systems.
[00:38:32] I mean, it's, it's like a miracle, but the other thing that it does is when you're not using the industrial fertilizers, then you don't have this, this runoff with. So what happens is with industrialized agriculture, they're using. These chemicals that actually contribute to global warming just through the creation of produce even is [00:39:00] contributing to global warming because of industrial agriculture.
[00:39:03] But if you have regenerative farming techniques, then when we are growing our produce, not only are we reducing our carbon footprint, but when it rains, we don't have as much runoff. And the runoff that occurs is not putting fertilizers into our waterways. Those, the fertilizers that go into our waterways, then go down into the oceans.
[00:39:25] The Gulf of Mexico right now has fish kills thousands of miles long. Because of industrial fertilizers that have made its way from agricultural systems into the waterways and created massive algae blooms that have absorbed all the oxygen and killed our wildlife, killed our fish. So that affects fishing industry.
[00:39:50] Which affects the economy, which affects people's food supplies. So it's a big circle. And the more we understand that circle [00:40:00] and we understand what the solutions are, the more people will get on board and say, yes, of course, I'm going to switch my farm to being a regenerative farm system. That's more compassionate, more humane creating food that has more vitamins, more nutrients in it.
[00:40:19] And that basically makes me happier because it's, it's a system that's more respectful of nature and its systems, and that can take care of itself better. It's it's wonderful. Really, the more we learn.
[00:40:39] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Yeah. Before we started, before we started recording this episode, I said that to you didn't I was like, yeah, I'm going to be saying yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, absolutely. To pretty much everything you say. It's interesting though, the soil is a carbon sink and we get that. I understand the soil as a carbon sink and certainly global climate [00:41:00] change with the permafrost melting.
[00:41:02] There's a lot more methane and CO2 being released back up into the atmosphere. So there, there, there, I, your point is well taken that it's a cycle we can look at. Uh, animals versus plants breathing, right? Plants breathe in CO2, breathe out oxygen. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out CO2. So there's a lot of, there are a lot of these systems, these cycles that go on and I make no secret of the fact that I'm vegan.
[00:41:25] So thinking about the notion of the fish in the ocean, I want to leave the fish in the ocean there. And I understand that there are that there are industries that, that, um, that slaughter animals and, and have animals as part of the food and eating process. And yet when we're talking about some of these processes, like regenerative, agriculture, and planting for the soil that you have, rather than the soil that you want so that you don't need fertilizer, we're talking about [00:42:00] a real shift.
[00:42:01] Right. We, in order, in order to shift our awareness and our focus to looking at the biome, looking at the bias, fear, the whole planet and seeing what needs to happen, what we need to do to make these changes. It takes, it takes a, it takes a massive shift in the minds of everybody, people who farm and people who eat.
[00:42:24] And if we're not farmers, we're all eaters. So how do we do that? Right? What can, what can an average person do? And you said vote and that's great. But today, right now, if I am Jane Q public, and I want to start doing something, what's your thought, what, what can I do right now today to make a difference?
[00:42:47] Aria McKenna: That's an excellent question. Um, I mean, for me personally, I think the biggest difference you can make is that if you can, uh, switch to solar panels, if you can. [00:43:00] Get off your gas, guzzler and switch to an electric vehicle. Uh, those are the types of things that of course make a really big impact. Uh, you get to dramatically cut your carbon footprint, and I've certainly heard people out there say, oh, but you know, there's problems with, with battery storage.
[00:43:23] And there is, there are, it's not perfect. There, there are costs to mining. There are issues, but on the whole, you are still making a dramatic impact, not only on your carbon footprint, but you're also reducing dependence on something that is constantly polluting. So to create that initial device, there can be some costs to that, but then once you've got it made, it's just constantly generating electricity without continuing.[00:44:00]
[00:44:00] To add to the problem while that electricity is being generated. So it's a, it's a huge shift in the right direction. Um, I do, I'm going to be perfectly transparent here. I was vegan for seven years and I created, I developed, created, I developed some. Issues. And so I had to stop being vegan. So for me personally, I think they're just, people have different bodies and need different things.
[00:44:28] And I hated it so much when I was told I had to start eating meat again, and I, and I fought against it, but I did start feeling better after I made that switch. So that's for me. And so, because of that, I'm so supportive of regenerative agriculture as well, because not only is it much more compassionate to the animals, but it also drastically reduces the carbon [00:45:00] footprint of those animals.
[00:45:02] When you do eat. If, if you are a mediator, so you can reduce your consumption and you can also be really conscious of where that food comes from, whether it's produce or whether it is animal and, uh, how that food is treated. It's not, uh, easy necessarily to find all those sources, but grass fed for instance, is definitely better than something that isn't grass fed.
[00:45:32] Uh, you know, so that those are the personal choices that I, that I've had to make. Um, so yeah, uh, and also of course, recycling makes a difference. It's not being utilized at the scale that it really should be utilized at. But you definitely just want to have that consciousness, you know, the whole reduce, reuse, recycle, uh, that does make a [00:46:00] difference.
[00:46:00] And I'm not sure what else to say there right now.
[00:46:05] Izolda Trakhtenberg: It is interesting. Isn't it? When, when, when someone says, Hey, what do you think puts you on the spot? It can be a little bit challenging, but at the same time, if we were to make some of these things habits, it would change today, but it would also change in the longterm.
[00:46:21] And one of the things that I advocate for is very simple. When you wash your hands, get your hands wet. Turn off the faucet. Don't keep the water running, you know, simple things like that. Every, I think it's every minute the water runs down the sink. It's eight, it's eight gallons of water. That's crazy to me.
[00:46:39] I know it's crazy. We can, we can do the same when we're brushing our teeth. We can water our plants, uh, in the evening or in the early morning before the water will evaporate because of the sunshine. There's a lot of, there's a lot of stuff that you can do today right now. Yeah. That won't make that won't make a, [00:47:00] a huge dent in your time, but will make a huge dent in saving water, for example.
[00:47:07] Aria McKenna: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It's it's that thing or the more, you know, the more you're able to do, and there are so many different areas that are affected by this. So in general, like one of the areas I think is really important is just being a conscious consumer, learning about the companies that. Bye from.
[00:47:27] There are some companies that are, you know, have zero waste facilities that are powered a hundred percent by clean electricity when they are operating. Uh, you know, so things like that make a, make a huge difference. Just reading, reading, reading, uh, and buying glass containers instead of plastic, whenever possible, those types of [00:48:00] choices make it make a big difference.
[00:48:02] Not wasting papers. You know, things
[00:48:06] Izolda Trakhtenberg: like that. Absolutely. There, I mean, there are things, you know, maybe what I'll do is put together a list of certain things and put them in the, in the show notes. So that if you're interested in knowing more about the things you can do right now today to start making a difference, you'll have them in the show notes.
[00:48:22] If you're listening to this, I do want to ask you something aria that I, that you mentioned something that I was like, oh, this is so cool because I don't tend to have a very I'm, I'm an optimist, but I don't tend to have a very positive vision for the future, unless things change drastically. And you said that a positive visit vision of the future is something that you want to promote that it's possible.
[00:48:43] And so I was wondering how. Can that happen? How can a positive vision, because I don't know if you know who Wendy Hapgood is. She is the co-founder and director of the wild tomorrow fund. And she was on the podcast a few weeks ago, and she was talking about the same thing that, that we want to be [00:49:00] looking at a positive vision for the future, as a way of, of bringing more people into awareness about, about where we are with wildlife and the planet and, and the environment and climate.
[00:49:13] What do you think that a positive vision for the future can do to mobilize people and, and to, to sort of bring all of us out of a certain sense of apathy and hopelessness? Excellent
[00:49:27] Aria McKenna: question.
[00:49:28] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Um,
[00:49:31] Aria McKenna: um, well, I mean, I, you, you said it for, at first, I mean, whenever you're feeling hopelessness, that obviously does create a sense of apathy, which disempowered.
[00:49:44] Right. And unfortunately the environmental movement for some time in order to make people aware of what a serious situation we're in, the environmental movement has painted some pretty dire pictures of the [00:50:00] direction we're heading, because unfortunately that has been the direction that we're heading. So they've been perfectly honest and they've been trying to mobilize people through fear.
[00:50:09] And I think that's very understandable, but unfortunately it hasn't been yet. And I think it's done more to turn people away from the movement because people don't want to be bombed out. We're we're living in a very overwhelming world right now. There are a lot of things to be concerned about and to be afraid of.
[00:50:32] I hate to say that, but, but it's true. So when you add one more thing to it, and it's something that seems a little far down the road, it's, it's not going to be as important to you, or you're going to turn away from it because you're trying to protect your health. You know, you're trying to protect your mental health.
[00:50:50] So I it's, it's a shame, but I think that has been the direction we have gone. And that's been the reason why we haven't been as successful as we [00:51:00] absolutely need to be. So. It does take some concerted effort to change that dynamic. And so there were two things I'm involved with that I think are helping to move things in the right direction.
[00:51:14] And one is the work with the healthy climate Alliance and with the planetary restoration action group, because they are focused on changing the goal of the United nations from let's reduce the devastating warming that we're experienced to something that might be survivable. If we're lucky to let's actually restore the planet, let's restore the climate.
[00:51:38] Let's create something that we can be proud of to hand down to our next generation. We have to focus on what we want when we're creating those goals. And fortunately they have enough scientists. They have enough technology to have enough understanding to create a strategy. To actually deal with that.
[00:51:59] [00:52:00] And to be honest with what kind of strategy it is that we need in order to turn this thing around. So, you know, so that's, that's one thing, um, I just wanted to say really quickly, uh, Peter for Koski has been such an inspiration to me. He's the one who brought me into the healthy climate Alliance. And he founded the foundation for climate restoration and he's one of the most optimistic, hopeful guys that I know who happens to be in the environmental movement.
[00:52:31] And so that's been incredibly helpful to me because I think that being an environmentalist can be incredibly difficult. Sometimes there have definitely been times I've felt that kind of apathy and futility and frustration and fear about the direction we're heading. Yeah. So, um, so, so that's one thing I just wanted to say that I think that the work that they're [00:53:00] doing is incredibly important to it adequately understands the danger of the situation that we're in while also creating a vision for the future by changing our goals.
[00:53:12] To let's reduce it from less, let's reduce damage to let's prevent let's restore let's regenerate. Let's get our ecosystems back. Let's focus on the natural systems, the technological systems, everything it is that we can do to help turn this situation around and respect the earth and protect our environment.
[00:53:36] So I think that's incredibly important. And then the other thing is that through storytelling, that's what I'm focused on with, with revolution earth, with my TV series is to, uh, have an equal recognition of the dangerous situation we are currently in while also creating a beautiful, hopeful vision [00:54:00] for the future that we can all work
[00:54:01] Izolda Trakhtenberg: toward.
[00:54:06] I feel like going and seen. Wow. Yes, yes, absolutely. I that's just lovely and I can't wait. I can't wait to, uh, to, to watch revolution earth when it comes out. That's going to be amazing. Uh, thank you, aria. I'm so, so grateful that you took the time to. Beyond the show and to talk about what, obviously to me is a very crucial and critically important subject climate change and, and saving the planet.
[00:54:37] Let's face it let's, you know, and, and actually, you know, it's interesting to me is that it's not saving the planet. The planet will be fine for another four and a half to 5 billion years. It's not the planet we're saving. The planet has gone through lots of changes. It's the plants and the animals that live on the planet, including us, that we are working to save.
[00:54:55] And that's something that we need to keep in mind. Whenever we say, save the earth. Now the [00:55:00] earth will be fine. I'm selfish. I want the planet for, for me, for my cats, for the elephants, for the tigers, for the dolphins, for the birds, for the plants, for all of us. And, and I want it to be healthy for that.
[00:55:14] Cause the planet, the earth will be fine for billions more years. So it's interesting to me that we think about it in those terms and it's important and I'm so glad that you're doing. To tell these stories, aria it's. So it's crucial. And, and I think it's going to be critical to our survival. So I'm, I'm grateful to you.
[00:55:34] And I, I, I wanted to, if you wouldn't mind, uh, people learn differently and I know all of the information about where people can find you is going to be in the show notes, but I'd love it. If you would just list where people can find Arya, McKenna, and the incredible work that she's done.
[00:55:49] Aria McKenna: Uh, thank you so much is older.
[00:55:52] Uh, first of all, really great to be on the show. I'm so happy to meet you so impressed with the work that you are doing. [00:56:00] And, um, so yeah, I would say, please go to global cooling productions.com. You can learn more about the production company that I am launching in order to, uh, produce these projects that I'm working on.
[00:56:18] And I would really appreciate it. If you went and supported my. Patrion page as well, which is going to be in the show notes and, uh, yeah. And, and reach out to me on Facebook, uh, you know, just all those links that will be below. Please do I appreciate the follows, uh, any contributions that that can be made would be greatly appreciated to help continue the work and, uh, yeah, just thank you so much for having me on the show and we will be putting together and open.
[00:56:59] [00:57:00] As well, we don't have the site up point yet. Uh, but by the time this episode airs, there probably should be an open letter online, uh, to support, uh, that would go to members of the and also, uh, various world leaders at cop 26. So we really would love to get some, some public support for changing the international goals from less reduced, dangerous warming.
[00:57:32] To less actually restore the climate and utilize the technology and the organizations that are already out there that are already existing, that are doing amazing work to restore the soil, restore the oceans, uh, through ocean permaculture, to reduce ocean acidification and help draw down downward carbon dioxide there.
[00:57:53] Um, you know, there's so much that can be done that is being done by amazing people and [00:58:00] going there and supporting means so much to, to all of us and to our children.
[00:58:07] Izolda Trakhtenberg: And that is that. Yes, absolutely. And there's, this is something that you and I talked about before. I feel a little bit like I'm about to shill for you, but I'm going to do it anyway.
[00:58:18] You and I talked about this before we started recording the episode and that is that people who do the work that you're doing on behalf of the climate, or about, uh, on behalf of wildlife or on behalf of the plants or whatever it is trying to restore, trying to save, trying to nourish and nurture. A lot of people think, oh yeah, I'm doing it for the love of the game.
[00:58:41] And other people will say, yes, you're doing it for the love of the game. Good for you. But honestly, let's, let's be very real. You still have to pay your rent, even if you're doing it for the love of the game, you still got to buy Catlett or at least I do. So, uh, I feel a little bit like this is a telethon, but it isn't so seriously if [00:59:00] it, you know, when you, if you're listening to this and you're kind of going, oh, should I have that latte?
[00:59:06] That that latte could go to, uh, to some, to some activists, somewhere who was doing the work that will help all of us. That's something to think about. And, uh, I'm gonna, I'm going to shut my mouth on that now, but it's something that I really I've been thinking a lot more about recently that notion of, for the love of the game does not mean you are independently wealthy.
[00:59:27] So anyway,
[00:59:29] Aria McKenna: thank you. I absolutely. Yes, this is
[00:59:31] Izolda Trakhtenberg: true. Absolutely. I mean, it, it just is we're, you know, those of us, uh, who shine the light, like me and, and other people I know who are in the podcasting space, for example, you know, we ha I have an opportunity to talk to people like you who are doing this incredible work, but I always feel like.
[00:59:47] Yay. And you know, you aria and I, and in so many of us, uh, so many other activists in one way or another, still have to buy cat food. Uh, so anyway, uh, but I, I have just [01:00:00] one more question cause, cause you and I could keep talking and talking and talking to you and you'll have to come back after the launch of the whole global cooling productions or maybe when, when revolution earth comes out.
[01:00:10] I'd love to have you back to talk about it some more. I have. Oh good. Yay. I have one more question that I ask everybody who comes on the show and it's a silly question, but I find that it yields some profound answers. And the question is this. If you had an airplane, a, an, uh, an environmentally friendly airplane, uh, that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say.
[01:00:37] Aria McKenna: bye. That is a fantastic question. How to answer that? Oh my goodness. Um, geez and environmentally friendly airplane. First of all, that would be fantastic. I'm looking forward to that. Um, you know, it's, [01:01:00] it's interesting. This is going to sound, I feel like this is going to really sound
[01:01:05] Izolda Trakhtenberg: hokey. I love hope.
[01:01:08] Aria McKenna: I just, I feel like what connects all of this, the work that we're doing is, is just fueled by, by love, you know, love for self love for others.
[01:01:24] Love for the planet, the, you know, the animals, the ecosystems. If there was a way to just kind of spread that and, and connect people more deeply to, uh, uh, a constant sense of love and appreciation. I don't know if there are three words, you know, words that I could put up there that would just make that magically happen.
[01:01:51] Um, but you know, love yourself and, and, and love others, you know, and the more [01:02:00] we can connect with that, I think the more compassionate we are and the more we can hear each other, uh, the more, hopefully we'll be able to come together and start working together again to make the world a better place. I don't know if there are words that magically make that happen, but I do feel like that's what connects all of this.
[01:02:23] And hopefully something that everyone can agree on.
[01:02:27] Izolda Trakhtenberg: Totally. I, I agree with you and the words that came to me when you were talking were two words and it was just, they were just spread love, spread love, man. Oh yeah. I love that though. That's what I, when, when you were talking, I'm like, oh, I think she's talking about spreading love.
[01:02:43] I think that's great. Thank you. Yeah, my pleasure. My pleasure. Normally I don't, I don't come up with these answers, but there are times when they pop me on the head when Edna, the librarian who lives in my head, pops me on the head goes, this is what you were thinking. Okay, great. Thanks Edna.
[01:02:59] Aria McKenna: So anyway, [01:03:00] thank you.
[01:03:00] All right. So
[01:03:02] Izolda Trakhtenberg: REO, once again, thank you so much. I appreciate you being on the show.
[01:03:08] Aria McKenna: Oh, thanks. Thank you so much for having such a pleasure to speak with you and also to explore all your wonderful resources that you have. Yeah. Thank you. I
[01:03:21] Izolda Trakhtenberg: appreciate that. I, yes, I have many resources go to the website is all the t.com.
[01:03:26] You will find them all. This is the innovative mindset podcast. If you've enjoyed the episode and I am sure you have, first of all, remember to turn off your water while you're washing your hands. That's very important. Get involved and. Much more involved and really pay attention to the work that aria is doing.
[01:03:46] She's doing some incredible work. She, and those like her are doing some incredible work. So please get involved with that. If you're enjoying the show, tell a friend, subscribe to it, have them subscribe. Let's all. Talk about how we can be innovative [01:04:00] to move into this new and uncertain future stronger and better together until next time.
[01:04:06] This is Izolda Trakhtenberg for the innovative mindset podcast, reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot.
[01:04:19] thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on patrion.com/innovative mindset.
[01:04:37] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg in his copyright 2021 as always, please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset.[01:05:00]