World of Barefoot

22 April 2021

A year of podcasting: looking back, moving forwards

A year of podcasting: looking back, moving forwards

From Emma Foster-Geering; Sustain This? Podcast host and Director of Sustainability at Vivobarefoot

Earth Day provides a moment for regenerative action, for Vivobarefoot and for people and organisations around the world. It is a rallying cry to celebrate Earth, unite as a global environmental movement, emphasise the need for urgent action and show how perilous ‘normal’ ways of life can be.

We know the reasons our sedentary, cushioned lifestyles exist and are making us and our planet sick are complicated. This is why, on Earth Day 2020 - Earth Day’s 50th anniversary - we launched a podcast about the systemic challenges undermining human and planetary health: Sustain This? 

Sustain This? is a place to discuss and debate these challenges and their solutions in detail. Since Earth Day 2020 we have journeyed around the sun, sitting down to speak with an array of experts and rulebreakers as the seasons have changed.

This year has been one of pain and hardship. But lockdown has also created space for us to reflect, and for tentative tendrils of natural regeneration. The question how life as normal impacts our ecosystem was in the air.

Against this backdrop, our Sustain This? conversations have felt especially pressing. They have also been intense, eye-opening and often funny - sometimes all at once. We feel grateful to be able to share them in raw and authentic form.

Not that this has been easy! We have been learning out loud how to run a podcast focusing on actually changing the system for good. But the power of the conversations and the resulting love from our community have made it more than worthwhile. Moving forward we have big plans to professionalize production and improve episodes in order to inspire more people to explore these topics and embrace the livebarefoot lifestyle.

For now, as Earth Day approaches, I’ve been reflecting on our first year of podcasting. This blog shares some of my favourite episodes so far - conversations that show the value of the discussion space we’re trying to create through Sustain This?

A good starting place is Unfinished Business (December 7th 2020), for which I spoke with Vivobarefoot CEO Galahad Clark about the challenges of creating a regenerative business. It’s important to be open about our own progress in relation to the topics in the podcast, so our discussion of Vivobarefoot’s radically transparent annual report makes for an honest overview of the actions we are taking for human and planetary health. That Galahad and I share lots of banter, a good friendship and a shared vision for change only adds energy.

But Sustain This? must also be a space for difference and debate, not just idea-affirming interviews. Power Dynamics (July 29th 2020) with Illishio Lovejoy and Danielle Azoulay is a fantastic example. I’d love more episodes like it in the future. Ilishio and Danielle are both amazing leaders bossing it in the world of regenerative business, and I enjoyed the friction stemming from the fact that one of them advises businesses from the outside and the other sits on the inside.

Another incredibly illuminating episode was my chat with John Elkington (September 18th 2020). John is a world authority on regenerative business, not to mention a wonderful educator and a true hero of the sustainability movement. He answers so many questions about why businesses should be regenerative and explains tons of jargon. If you don’t know about John’s work (or if you do) I highly recommend this episode.

Probably my favourite podcast intellectually, though, was my conversation with Ben Goldsmith (June 29th 2020). I was just blown away by this epic rich dude spending big on rewilding our world. He knows the rules of finance, law and politics intimately, and knows exactly how to use them to fulfill his rewilding dreams. His story powerfully shows how the system can be used to change the system.

Not that talking systemic change always needs to be serious! Unpacking the importance of feet with Aussie actor Luke Cook (Jan 28th 2021) was a case in point. Luke is hilarious, and has shown that satire can be an epic way to engage people on serious topics by entertaining them. Among other things, I asked him about the time he raised $10,000 for charity by selling photos of his feet to fans. If you fancy a thought-provoking giggle, check this one out.

This is a selective list of my favourite episodes, but it was tricky to whittle them down. Take a look through the podcast and you’ll no doubt gravitate to others packed with provocative ideas - always best enjoyed while outdoors on a barefoot adventure, of course.