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With daily headlines carrying stories of record heatwaves, out-of-control bushfires, plastic-choked oceans and drowned baby penguins, it’s easy to feel despondent about the state of the global environment.
So, it’s always refreshing to find voices that focus on solutions. After listening to Bill Gates speak at the Lowy Institute earlier this year, I picked up his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. You don’t need to be a climate scientist to enjoy it: Gates has a knack for explaining the complex science of climate change in simple terms, before setting out a range of solutions – including decarbonising our energy, food and transportation systems. Gates admits that he doesn’t have an answer to the politics that have so often hindered global action, but as a technologist’s look at the solutions we need, his book is just the antidote to the apocalyptic news cycle.
What else can we do? Plenty, according to the ABC’s War on Waste. Host Craig Reucassel delves into global environmental problems at a local and individual level, offering practical solutions to how each of us can reduce our ecological footprint. He covers issues such as plastic over-consumption, recycling systems, and reducing food and fashion waste. If you, like me, have ever wondered what happens to your recycling after collection, it’s worth a watch. And it’s an eye opener on how seemingly small individual choices can have implications on a societal scale.
On foreign policy, I thoroughly enjoyed this recent interview on the life diplomatic with my friend and former colleague Jeremy Dicker. Jeremy left the Australian foreign service earlier this year and is now the managing editor of International Intrigue, a quick, sharp and cheeky daily digest of geopolitical developments targeted to the time poor.
I’ll come clean, though. With a toddler at home, my “most viewed” items have nothing to do with foreign policy, geopolitics or climate – it’s The Wiggles, followed closely by the delightful Bluey. I’m still relatively early into my dadding journey and have found Hamish Blake’s podcast How Other Dads Dad a constant source of gems. It’s a funny and insightful look into the life-changing, joyful and often chaotic experience of parenthood. After a week thinking about the big issues in foreign affairs, it’s a good reminder of why it all matters.