Ep 22: Part 2 How Covid helps us fight Climate Change

In today’s show we speak once more with Climate Activist and one of the presenters of ‘The Covid Alarm Clock’ podcast, Ellen Hegarty about how we can use what we have learned during the COVID crisis to help us fight against climate change!

And one of the most important things we have learned is to trust science and to listen to the scientists!

Science helped us to understand COVID and the scientists used this to guide us on the actions we needed to take in order to protect each other and keep infections as low as possible. When we listened to the science, infections stayed low and when we didn’t, they rapidly increased.

AND the science has also given us the vaccines which will ultimately end the pandemic, protect us all into the future and make sure we never have to go into the dreaded Lockdowns again!

Science gave meaning to the unpleasant actions we had to take. No one liked having to stay away from people, miss school or not be able to do the things they loved doing, but when the scientists explained the WHY behind these actions, then we could understand why it was so important to follow their advice and the whole world did what we had to do!

So she explains to Buster and Buddy that now we must listen to what the climate scientists are telling us and take the actions that we need to, to slow down climate change.

And now that we’ve seen how the whole world can really work together, there is great hope that we can work together once more to combat climate change!


Michelle and her team have a collective 50years experience working with kids as teachers, entertainers and parents!

Thanks to Zapsplat, Audio Jingle and Alexander Korotkoff for the sound effects and music.

Check out our social media to see more about the team, our guests, the topics we talk about, our competitions AND how to send us in your stories, jokes, comments or ideas for the podcast!

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Ellen Hegarty

Ellen Hegarty is a veterinary surgeon, a mother of three and a climate ambassador with An Taisce. 

Originally from a farm in West Cork, she now lives with her family in Dublin. Ellen’s strong passion for the

natural world and concern with how climate change and biodiversity loss will impact both it and future generations of humanity, has led her to pursue a Masters in Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society in DCU. 

Ellen co-presents the podcast ‘The Covid Alarm Clock’ with Darragh Wynne as they chat about how we can use our experience of COVID as a wake up call to take real action on climate change.

The podcast can be found on 

https://feeds.captivate.fm/the-covid-alarm-clock/ or by searching for the Covid Alarm Clock wherever you get your podcasts 

Follow us on: instagram.com/covidalarmclock


 Facebook.com/covidalarmclock @covidalarmclock


Michelle Connolly 0:09

Hello, and welcome to The Kids Are All Right, a podcast specially for kids. That's all about health, happiness and wellness. I'm Michelle, and this summer we are looking into how we can help look after our planet. So join us this summer as we discover, learn and have loads of fun along the way. And as usual helping me on this summer project is of course you know them well, my co presenters Buster and Buddy!,

Buddy 0:31

Hey everyone, buddy again.!

Michelle Connolly 0:35

So are we ready to get this sort of project on the road?

Buster 0:37

Oh, yeah, let's do it again.

Michelle Connolly 0:43

So guys, last week, we were speaking with Ellen Hegarty, vet, climate activist and one of the presenters on the podcast, the COVID alarm clock, which is all about how we can take what we have learned from the COVID crisis and use this to fight against climate change.

Buster 0:56

Oh yeah, I really enjoyed talking with Ellen last week, I never really thought about how similar the COVID crisis and the climate change crisis are really

Buddy 1:05

Yeah. But the best thing is that COVID has shown us how much we can do when we work together. And that we can make huge changes in our lives when we really have to. So she and the other people who work to protect our world are now much more positive that the world can come together and take the big climate actions, we need to stop climate change.

Michelle Connolly 1:28

Yeah, it was great to hear that. And it was really interesting to hear that there are so many positives for protecting our planet that we can take from our experience of COVID. And last week, we asked you kids to Think About some of the changes you or your family have made during COVID that you can keep doing that will also help fight against climate change.

Vox Pops 1:46

Well what we learned about Coronavirus is that you don't always need to be in your car because we've mostly been at home which could help us stop climate change.

I think people have started respecting what they have and start to like recycle because they have more time to do it. They go out for more walks and respect nature more, because they have more time to do it. And they notice how fun it can be to move out of your house and stop playing video games.

I thought I think that Coronavirus has told us that we should really respect what we have, and not what we don't have and don't take anything for granted, getting out and exercising more because we will all wanted to get out. And the only way to meet people was going outside. Well, I feel like during Coronavirus, everybody has been outside more. And if they have like a garden, then they spend more time there and they plant trees or they plant plants and they water them and it keeps them happy. And it also keeps the planet happy.

Buster 2:58

Oh yeah. Oh yeah, exactly. All those kids notice loads of changes that were made during COVID that we can keep doing and help our environment at the same time!

Michelle Connolly 3:09

Yeah, They have. So last week we chatted about how important science has been learning how to fight climate change. So I think we should chat to Ellen a bit more about the science. So welcome back, Ellen.

Buddy 3:19

Welcome back Ellen!.

Ellen Hegarty 3:20

Hi, Buddy!

Buster 3:22

I love last week's episode.!

Ellen Hegarty 3:25

Hi Buster!

Michelle Connolly 3:27

So we've been talking about science a lot last week.

Buddy 3:29

Yeah, Ellen, I have always liked science. But I love it even more now, as I've seen just how important it is. and how it can I help people all around the world. I think I might even like to be a scientist when I grow up.

Buster 3:42

I didn't even know that Buddy!

Ellen Hegarty 3:43

That's amazing. Because I I'm a scientist. I'm a veterinary scientist. Yeah. It's pretty cool job.

Buddy 3:49

Yeah. Oh, I mean, I just thought it was amazing how the advice of the scientists have been so important in so many ways in learning about the virus, teaching us what we needed to do in order to reduce the spread of the virus. And then of course, developing the vaccines and saving so many lives. It's just an incredible job and you're one too Ellen, that's amazing.

Ellen Hegarty 4:12

I think it's amazing. Yeah.

Michelle Connolly 4:14

Yeah, I mean, science has been so central to our understanding of the virus and how to get out of I suppose the worst of us as well. Isn't this right

Buster 4:23

Yeah, if I was told before COVID that I wouldn't be allowed to do all the things that I love to do. I'd have to say you were crazy. But Well, when the scientists explain why the schools had to close, why I couldn't see my grandparents or why I had to stay away from people. Well, it was hard, but I understood why it was so important to follow their rules. And I just did it.

Ellen Hegarty 4:44

Absolutely. So you know Buddy and Buster. You know when we heard we had to wear masks or not hug our grannies or not have playdates It was pretty sad. It wasn't very nice. But the thing is when we really understood why, suddenly we could understand... it kind of gave reason, it gave meaning to why we had to do these things. We could we could understand why it was important, then, you know, it was kind of like, Okay, well, we know we need to do this, we know why. So let's do this. And we could then see that cases start to drop. And the same, it's the same with with climate science. If we understand why we need to cut fossil fuels, you know, so we need to stop burning coal, gas and oil. Why we need to reduce emissions. So why we need to make changes around, you know, the cars we drive getting on aeroplanes, all of that, why it's important to walk and use bicycles and get the train or the DART or the bus, why it's important to you know, have less stuff. So you know, less plastic, less toys, less clothes, that sounds kind of, Oh, I can't have as many toys as before, or maybe I can't have new clothes every month or every week. But if you understand why, that it's actually going to reduce emissions. And it's going to tackle climate change, that it's going to make our air cleaner, that's going to make you healthier, well, then it's like, oh, actually, you know what, that trade off isn't so bad. I understand why I need to do that. And maybe it would actually be a good thing.

Michelle Connolly 6:14

Yeah. And you talk about how, you know, when you make changes for climate change, that there are extra benefits we get, I suppose in a similar way to the changes that we made for COVID, which were hard. But I think everybody can list a couple of things that have turned out good in their life, like people getting out and started swimming in the sea or mountain walking or spending more time with their family. So the changes were hard, but we knew what we were doing them. But then there were extra benefits that came alongside those changes we made.

Ellen Hegarty 6:45

Absolutely. So my children's school, we have this amazing cycle lane that goes all the way to my children's school. And it wasn't safe enough for a lot of children to cycle to school before COVID. But we were really lucky that the local council, they decided, Okay, people need to be outside, people can't do what they normally do. Let's build cycle lanes. And now we have this amazing cycling and all of these kids, and they'll cycle safely to school. And so number one, it means kids riding their bikes cycling school with their mom and dad, which is cool. But it also means that the noise from cars has gone down. The pollution from cars has gone down. So that's actually good for the planet. And so so yeah, we call it a co-benefit. So it's just it's it's like a win win, which is really cool.

Buster 7:31

That's awesome. Yeah, cuz me and Buddy we started cycling our bikes to school as well, since we've been back, and it's so much better. And I'm fitter as well.

Ellen Hegarty 7:43

I know I love it, I just think it's brilliant. And people are starting to get out of their cars. Brilliant, which is really good for emissions, too,

Buddy 7:51

So we understand how all these actions help to slow down the transmission. And now because of scientists all around the world coming together to develop and make vaccines, we can see an end where we can get rid of COVID altogether

Ellen Hegarty 8:04

I know it's so cool. It's absolutely brilliant. And that's that's like the technology side. So I think the thing is to remember, the technology is kind of coming in at the end to kind of get us that last mile around COVID. And to make sure that we're all immune, make sure we're all defended against the virus. But I think the big thing at the beginning was actually the government's actions and advice and our own actions.

Michelle Connolly 8:31

yeah You're right, the science and the scientists alone can stop it, it's it's really a mix of the actions we've all had to take like the social distancing and mask wearing and the science. That's the vaccine that together will eventually be able to stop Coronavirus. And this is would be the same I suppose with climate change it will have to be a mix of our own actions and science to help slow down climate change. And I heard you explain this on your podcast as like the way we have to make the cake first before we put the icing on top.

Ellen Hegarty 9:01

Yeah, so the thing is that Yeah, so our actions are like the cake. So we have to put all of the ingredients in to make the cake first. So our eggs and our flour and our sugar, everything that we need. And so that is us working as individuals make individual change, our government's telling us, you know, what the best thing to do is, then the vaccine comes along and that's like the lovely pink icing on top of the cake. But we have some technology already like solar panels like windmills. But really and truly what we need to do is we need to make the cake first we need to actually reduce our emissions. That's the big thing we need to do is reduce our emissions.

Buster 9:41

Okay, so these actions are ingredients. So what are the ingredients we need to put in the cake to help climate change?

Ellen Hegarty 9:50

Oh, well, so I suppose the first thing is the politicians need to put in some ingredients so they need to give us really good advice and they all need to work together all over the world. To make a plan, that's the first thing. And other ingredients that we can do straight away is that we reduce the amount of energy we're using to heat our homes, that we reduce the amount of stuff that we're buying, that we change how we travel, that we are really aware of things like wasting foods and our diets. So you know, food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions. So every time that you don't eat your sandwiches for lunch, or that you know that you don't finish your dinner, trying to think about oh, well, what can I do with the leftovers so that the food doesn't go in the bin is actually a really important thing. Or maybe if you don't finish your dinner, reducing the amount of food that you get in your face in the first place, it's actually really important, just use less stuff.

Michelle Connolly:

It's funny you say that because I think over COVID, we've realised how little we actually need, how simply we can live.

Ellen Hegarty:

Absolutely, and the amount of people trying to get rid of stuff from their houses cos we're spending more time in them! And I've been using these amazing Zero Waste websites on Facebook, it's been amazing. I've been getting free stuff, like we got a Po Go stick. And we got we got inline skates that somebody was giving away. And then we were able to give away loads of books and toys and all of the clothes that the children had grown out of. So that was brilliant!

Michelle Connolly:

So that that reduce, reuse recycle message is still you know, something to focus on. Is it?

Ellen Hegarty:

Yes. Okay. So reduce, reuse, recycle. So I think the first thing is refusing stuff is really important. So just always ask the question, do I need it?. So that's a really, really important thing. And then reusing. So passing something on is is brilliant. So I don't know. Does anyone here ever have to wear their brother or sister goes?


Oh, yeah, well, actually, I get Buddy's clothes all the time. I love it cuz e's got deadly stuff. So when it doesn't fit him anymore, I get them!

Ellen Hegarty:

Well, you know what, Buster, you're a climate warrior.!! So every time you use some, you know, you wear somebody else's clothes, and you don't go and buy new stuff. Now of course, you know, you can buy new underpants and socks.


Ugh, I don't want Buddy's smelly underpants.!!

Ellen Hegarty:

But if you can try or you take a book from your friend, or you get a toy from your grown up neighbour, that's actually reducing your carbon footprint. So that's actually really important. And I don't know, do any of you ever leave the food behind in your plate, or sometimes bring food home in your lunchboxes?


Buster does it all the time?!


Hey, I lick my plate clean?!

Ellen Hegarty:

And do you sometimes, like does your monster throw food out of the fridge sometimes into the bin?


Actually, yes, she does that quite a bit.

Ellen Hegarty:

Really?! . Okay, so there's a big win here in that food waste has a huge carbon footprint.

Michelle Connolly:

I heard there was more emissions from food waste than from aeroplane travel.

Ellen Hegarty:

I think they're they're certainly on a par and possibly the food waste is worse. And you know, that's something that we can really easily fix. Now, I'm not saying that everyone has to eat everything on their plates, because sometimes it's hard to finish your plate. But you know what, let's get your Mam to put less food on the plate in the first place. Or if you find everyday, you're bringing home half an apple because you couldn't finish it. Maybe just take a half an apple to school. Or if your mom has some kind of slightly soft carrots in the fridge and the broccoli is looking a little bit tired. You know what you can do with all that stuff, whiz it into soup. Because sometimes, you know, you can make soup of these things. So just sometimes it's just buying less food in the first place in the supermarket. And if you're putting it into your bin, make sure it's going into the compost bin or that you've got a composter at home. Like we have, we have a wormery in our house, which is where we put on our food. And so we have a lot of worms living in the special wormery bin, and they eat all the food and they change it into compost. And then we can grow stuff in it, which is really cool. They make this really smelly juice, which you can make tea out of


Uuuggghhhh!!! Worm Tea!!??

Ellen Hegarty:

No, the tea is for your plants, I don't drink this.!!

Michelle Connolly:

So food waste is something that we really, really can make a big difference by making sure we don't waste so much food. And also cycling more getting out of the car, . I love the way you talk about how you know kids have a voice and that you know the kids can still have an influence on people as well.

Ellen Hegarty:

Yeah, so Buddy and Buster. Are you guys old enough to vote?


Eh no, !


Well, I vote on what we're gonna get on Friday night.

Ellen Hegarty:

Well, yeah, so you do vote in a way, you vote at home, you vote to say, Well, I don't want to eat this dinner or I don't want to watch this TV programme. And so you will sit down and make a plan as a family. Well, you know what you guys also can influence your politicians. So you might be old enough to vote in the ballot box. But you can actually tell the politicians and your school you can tell them what kind of future that you want to see. So sometimes a really nice thing to do is close your eyes and imagine what a lovely future would be. And if that future has birds and insects, and maybe trees and lovely park benches, and cycle lanes and safe places to travel, you know, on foot or on your bike, you can actually tell people who can make those differences, you can tell them that that's what you want. So you can do that by, you know, telling your teacher, or you can do that by emailing your politicians. So buddy, you could probably write a letter, like an email to your politician. But buster, you might feel confident to write a letter so you could draw a picture. And you could get your teacher or your whole class even to draw pictures or write letters to your politicians saying, you know what, we want to tackle climate change. And these are the changes that we would like to see in our world. And politicians listen to these things. And because even though you're not old enough to vote, you influence your parents and politicians will sit up and listen to you because they want to get reelected.

Michelle Connolly:

Listen, there's so much great advice there. And we've learned so much over the last two weeks. I'ts really interesting to understand that lots of the big changes that we've made during COVID are the same big changes we need to continue to make in order to fight against climate change. And we've got some really great ideas, I think going forward as to what we can do in our own lives now to really make a difference.


Yeah, because changes to our normal life that we have no control over will happen anyway, as the effects of the climate change start to worsen. So if we start to make changes now that we can choose and control, then that is so much better than the choices being taken out of our hands, like kind of what happened with the lockdowns!

Michelle Connolly:

Yeah we do have lots of choices and changes we can make right now, I think and, you know, I think from our experience of COVID, we know that when we work together, our actions can have a huge impact really, can't they Ellen.

Ellen Hegarty:

Absolutely and you know what, let's just all wake up to climate action.


Absolutely.! Thanks Ellen,


Thanks Ellen!

Ellen Hegarty:



We can we think it was really interesting talking with Ellen over the past two weeks, I never really thought about how the COVID crisis and the climate change crisis are connected.


Yeah because it's given us a real life experience of how normal life will be disrupted. If we don't do enough to stop or slow down climate change.


Yeah by working together, we can do great things and make incredible changes to our own lives. And after all the changes we have to make during Coronavirus. The climate change activists are now way more positive that we can make the big changes to slow down climate change.


Yeah was great talking to Ellen to know the science and the why behind the climate change crisis.


And I just loved how she explained it that before we talk about climate change, we need to understand global warming. And that's caused by too much greenhouse gases. If we think of the greenhouse gases as a coat, we need to protect ourselves. But the problem is we have way too many layers of clothes on and we can't take them off. So the earth is getting hotter.


Yeah. And that's not a good thing. Because just like when we get too hot from a fever, we get sick and our body doesn't work properly. That planet gets sick from being too hot too and it doesn't work properly. Like when we have extreme weather, like more hurricane storms or floods,


or like those crazy hot summers where we've had no rain. And that's really bad, because that means the farmers can't grow their food or feed the animals.


Yeah, like Ellenn said, it really is Global Weirding.


Yeah, and I'm definitely going to try and do some of those changes, like she talked about, buy less stuff, walk or cycle the school, or I'm definitely going to try to reduce, reuse and recycle more.


And I'm gonna be called Buster the chef and instead of throwing out food, I'm going to try and reuse it and help my mom make stuff using all those leftovers. Like soups, yum! Oh I can't wait to get started and become a climate change warrior. Hi Ya!!

Michelle Connolly:

So guys, that's almost it from us. Thanks to all the kids who sent in their audio clips. And if you have a story, a question or a favourite joke, we'd love to hear from you. All you have to do is recorded on the inbuilt voice recorder on an adult's phone and WhatsApp it to us


you'll find all the details on our website www.thekidsareallright.ie as well as loads of info on everything we talked about in our shows.


Oh and find us on social media for loads of fun stuff and competitions. That's where me and buddy take over Yeah, just look for the kids are all right podcast


Oh and don't forget that all as in ALL. We hope you enjoyed this week's show. And if so, tell all your friends about it.

Michelle Connolly:

And remember guys try to be healthy, be well and be happy. See you next time on The Kids Are All Right. podcast,


kids, it's time

Are you ready? It's time to Air Guitar in the Car....or wherever you are. Lets Rock!

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