French born West Ender Roxane Valier-Brasier has recently launched Go Simone, a podcast in which she interviews female thought leaders and movers and shakers, addressing what are arguably the biggest issues facing us today: climate change and sustainability.
Having studied political science and marketing in France, and currently working in the University of Queensland Business School, Valier-Brasier’s interest in sustainable alternatives to current economic models seems at odds with her professional life. Climate change had always been on her radar, she says, but the turning point was becoming a mother. Thinking about her children’s future and the planet that we are leaving behind was literally stopping her from sleeping at night.
“I needed a way to cope with the anxiety, and I feel like looking at people who tackle it, who are just trying to find solutions to respond to the matter, are a way for me to cope.” These feelings of anxiety around climate change, or ‘climate despair’ as she calls it, are a common topic that pops up throughout her podcasts also. “On a very personal level … the podcast is my anti-depressant pill against climate despair. So, on a very personal level, that’s what the podcast does for me,” she said.
Whilst Valier-Brasier and her family have taken steps to minimise their carbon footprint, such as minimising their car use, shopping local and trying to reduce waste to a minimum, she readily acknowledges that this can be a challenge for some families. However, she also says there are solutions already on offer, that few people know about, such as services that put together locally sourced, seasonal grocery boxes at fair prices. Misconceptions around climate change, and the voices of the less powerful not being heard, are two of the big problems Valier-Brasier is also hoping to address with Go Simone. Although it is well recognised that around the world, women — as the primary caregivers — are significantly more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men, their voices are often neglected when it comes to finding solutions.
“All the voices that appear in the media … across the board, 24 per cent of the voices … are women, and that’s it … I wanted to highlight the work of women on this specific topic, which is probably the most important topic out there… it’s about — not life and death of the planet — but obviously about our survival as a human species.” As her very own antidote to climate despair, the tone of Valier-Brasier’s solutions-focused podcast is hopeful, providing plenty of food for thought, but also a welcome alternative to the many doom and gloom messages around climate change, so common in the media. Since Go Simone pays homage to two inspiring French women, Simone de Beauvoir and Simone Veil, who in their roles as writers, philosophers and feminists, role modelled how to speak up and be heard, it seems fitting to end with this quote by Simone de Beauvoir herself. In the context of climate change, it takes on a whole new meaning: “Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.”
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