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A conversational series on changemaking for a better future on a beautifully connected planet.

The path to a better future will be filled with stories of people doing inspiring things. But those people are human, like you and me. They have their own origin stories, worries, cares, and visions of a beautiful tomorrow—both ecologically harmonious and socially fair. This podcast will connect the dots between the many facets of those better futures, illuminating how change happens—from the inside and beyond, through many Spheres of influence. As we discover how agents of change are bridging divides, sowing empathy, and grappling with societal change, we will also learn how we can collectively overcome the climate and nature crisis. Hosts Kai Chan (UBC professor and change-agent) and team will bring those stories to life in conversations we hope you’ll join.


Social Signaling, Defending Ants, and Introducing Kai!

In this episode, we’ll be speaking to Kai Chan, our future host and an interdisciplinary professor and Canada Research Chair at UBC. He is a sustainability scientist whose work straddles social and natural systems with a focus on values, rewilding, and transformative change. Kai takes us on a journey through his academic career, what inspired him to create Cosphere, and how it led to launching this podcast.

Listen on Spotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts. 

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Ep. 01

Gender and Sexuality, Yein, and Productive Dialogues with Kai Scott

Our vision of a sustainable future embraces a diversity of people as equals, whether they’re unlike us in their gender, sexuality, or in their understanding of these topics.

On Small Planet Heroes, we seek to understand how people are bringing about the social and system change that enables a benign climate and healthy biosphere. As a parallel, one area that has seen rapid progress is diversity and inclusion about gender and sexuality.

In recent years, gender has also been a battleground, inciting backlash from the conservative right, and a deep polarization across political divides. Much like climate change.

So, today we embrace gender and sexuality diversity and inclusion, as topics of intrinsic interest, and for what we can learn about the path to a planet both better and wilder.

A key theme is overcoming polarization by accepting apparently contradictory truths.

Along the way, understandably, we will hit some dark spots, including discussions of alcoholism, which may be triggering or traumatizing for some listeners.

Listen on Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Ep. 02

Tradition, Co-generational Living, and Unconditional Love with Dr. Tanya Gee

In today’s economy, people are being guided to move back home or take on roommates to make housing affordable. This may seem strange and unwelcome after decades of it being normal to live apart. But some people argue that living with others can be deeply rewarding, if we approach it right.

All this has deep connections to the climate and ecological crisis. As nuclear families and single-occupant homes became normal, consumption was boosted by the proliferation of households. For the same number of people, more households means more stuff and more energy, which means more pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction.

This episode we speak with Dr. Tanya Gee on the importance of love and empathy. These traits are not only important if you’re hoping to live with others; they’re also key to being a small-planet hero. Overcoming the division and polarization that surrounds environmental and social issues will take a hippo’s dose of love and empathy.

Listen on Spotify, or where ever you get your podcasts. 

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Ep. 03

Hero Culture, Overworking, and Materialism with Derek Strokon

 Self-sacrifice: We tend to celebrate it. But when celebrating self-sacrifice becomes a culture of overworking for the sake of one’s employer and one’s own career, as if that’s heroic, the economy seems to grow, but people suffer. Families suffer. And the planet suffers.

When we overwork, we often lose sight of what really matters. We’re too busy for key relationships or being good citizens. We overspend, and that fuels a cycle of resource extraction and production that pollutes the planet, warms the climate, and degrades nature. Join Dr. Chan in talking with Derek Strokon!

Listen on Spotify, or where ever you get your podcasts. 

Ep. 04

The Art of Listening with Johnny Trinh

The path to sustainable futures is one that overcomes polarization, not just about the climate crisis and solutions to it, but all manner of things. We can’t change systems to work for people and the planet if we’re deeply divided and fighting about the most basic issues.

Our guest believes, and shows, that art and effective communication are key to overcoming divides, that they offer a path to empathy, and that if we can laugh together and cry together, we can work together.

But neither art nor communication is intrinsically powerful. They are only powerful in the context of our audience, and the relationship we build with them. So today’s themes are diversity, listening, actually hearing people, and building relationships.

Listen on Spotify, or where ever you get your podcasts. 

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Season one has six exciting episodes; check back here and on our socials for bi-weekly episode drops. 

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