May 25 • 51M

How To Change A System | Isabel Cavelier

A vision for cleaning up the mess we're in

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Rachel Donald
Planet: Critical is the podcast for a world in crisis. We face severe climate, energy, economic and political breakdown. Journalist Rachel Donald interviews those confronting the crisis, revealing what's really going on—and what needs to be done.
Episode details

“We are able to reinvent ourselves infinitely. That's the capacity of life on earth. Reality is fractal. What we see in a city is a reflection of its inhabitants. What we see in a community is a reflection of people who are part of that community. This means that. It's not that you need to forget the systemic vision; the cultural shift we are looking at is not a cultural shift of becoming more individualistic and autonomous. It’s the opposite. It's understanding that we are interdependent, that we live in systems and not in isolation. Nobody can survive in a bubble by themselves. Not an individual, not a local community, not a municipality, not a city, not a country. Nobody.”


What if the answer is all of us?

We need to change the system. But if the system is made up of individuals, should we start there? On this week’s episode, Colombian changemaker Isabel Cavelier negates the binary of systems vs individuals, explaining that while cultural change starts from within, its impact and progress can be non-linear—much like climate change. Isabel effortlessly weaves political strategy with spiritual knowledge to explain how culture is the solution to the polycrisis, emphasising that we must re-embed individuals within communities to embody a politics of a better world.

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Isabel is a former diplomat who held advisory roles on environmental issues at the Colombian Mission to the United Nations in New York and at the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogotá. After leaving international politics, Isabel co-founded Transforma, a prominent Bogota-based environmental think tank. She is a writer, story-teller and potter, who trained as a lawyer and in socio-cultural studies at the University of Los Andes. She has a Master of Laws from the University of Cambridge. She has worked and published in diverse fields including human rights, racial and gender discrimination, and climate change.

Planet: Critical investigates why the world is in crisis—and what to do about it. Support the project with a paid subscription.

© Rachel Donald