Zukunft Denken – Podcast

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August 30, 2021  

046 – Activism, a Conversation with Zion Lights

This is an exceptional episode — not only because of my guest, but also because of the fact that this episode is in English in a generally German speaking podcast. I might make the odd exception also in the future. Check the Tags to select English episodes.

Das ist heute ausnahmsweise eine englischsprachige Episode, es würde mich freuen, wenn Sie dabei bleiben, andernfalls geht es in Zukunft wieder deutschsprachig weiter. 

In todays episode I am exctited to welcome Zion Lights. Zion Lights is a science communicator who is known for her environmental advocacy work. She is Founder of Emergency Reactor and author of The Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting, the first evidence-based book of its kind. Zion is an astronomer and she has given a TED talk on stargazing and she is the former Editor of The Hourglass, Extinction Rebellion's print newspaper, and a former spokesperson for the group. 

The overarching topic of this episode is activism. I talked about activism, let's say in the footnotes of other episodes (see references). Activism clearly plays an important role in our world to change things — hopefully for the better, and exactly »hopefully« is the term I am discussing with Zion.

»Soundbites are appealing to people«

What is the role of activism in our world? How can activism go wrong — activism is (also historically) very strong on the side of reason but increasingly also on the side of nonsense. We see that small numbers of people can change the world — for the good or for the worse, how can we ensure it is for the better?

»Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.«, Eric Hoffer

What role does science play and maybe more importantly: what is the interaction between good science and good activism? We then talk about naturalistic fallacies and the precautionary principle. Finally we touch on the difficult but important subject of risk communication.

»We have to learn to be more rational creatures, really«

What additionally fascinates me about Zion Lights: she openly changed her mind on an important and divisive topic (nuclear energy) as a person with significant exposure. She didn't fall into the »ideology trap«, but constantly revisited her opinions, continued to learn and listened to science — even though it would have been much easier to stick to the more popular opinions in her circle, like most of her peers did.

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