EPISODE 21: HOW COVID HELPS US FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE!
In today’s show we speak 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!
She chats with us about how while Coronavirus has been a difficult experience in lots of ways, there have also been loads really important lessons we have learned that will now help us in our attempts to combat climate change.
She explains to Buster and Buddy that global warming is like how when we get a temperature, we get sick and we don’t feel or behave like we normally do when we’re feeling well. And that global warming is like the world is sick and has a temperature, which like us, makes its’ climate change and behave differently too!
During the Covid crisis not only did we all realised just how important nature is to our health and well-being but we saw the true power of what working together on a world scale can achieve, proving that leaders and countries can indeed come together to fight against a common problem. Fantastic!
And while many of the changes we had to make during Coronavirus weren’t nice, we’ve seen how we’ve been able to make big changes in our lives when it is needed which gives great hope that we can make the changes needed to combat climate change!
GUEST OF THE DAY
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.
Tá Gaeilge aici.
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
by searching for the Covid Alarm Clock wherever you get your podcasts
Follow us on: instagram.com/covidalarmclock
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.
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Michelle Connolly 0:10
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 today it's really exciting because we're kicking off our summer project! 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.
Hey, Buddy again!
Michelle Connolly 0:42
So are we ready to get this summer project on the road?
Oh, yeah, let's go!
Michelle Connolly 0:50
So guys, do you ever find yourself thinking back on everything that happened during the coronavirus pandemic and thinking like, wow, Did that really happen?
Yeah, it kind of blows my mind sometimes when I think about everything that happened. It was all so crazy that sometimes it feels like it was a dream.
Yeah, me too. And it was so hard missing my friends and family and not being able to do my sports and not being able to go to the places I love. But well, I think I just got used to it.
Yeah. And it was so weird. Because when we were able to start doing things again, it kind of hit me all over again. Like, what on earth just happened?
Michelle Connolly 1:26
Yeah, I know, guys. I felt that way too. It's just been strange. But you know, I think that has shown us how much we can do when we cooperate and work together. Yeah, we're all in this together. And you know, even though our normal lives are turned upside down, we work together to find new and lots of really great ways to live our everyday lives. And we realise just how important their family friends and communities are.
All Yeah, like I've made lots of new friends in my area that I never even knew before.
Yeah, and I realised how much amazing stuff there is to do my area, like other parks that are so close to me. And I started going swimming in the sea. And I just love it now.
Michelle Connolly 2:03
Ah that's brilliant. Guys, I told you before how much I've enjoyed discovering mountain walking. It's funny, the mountains were always there right in front of me. But you know, I don't think I actually really SAW them if you know what I mean. So for me, another big thing that COVID has shown is how important nature is and helping us feel happy, healthy and well.
Definitely. Michelle, I don't know what I would have done without the outdoors and nature during all the lockdowns.
Michelle Connolly 2:25
Me too, buddy. Yeah. COVID has really shown us why it's so important that we look after our natural world. And you know, I've been listening to a podcast that talks about this, and it's brilliant.
Oh, yeah. What did they say?
Michelle Connolly 2:35
Well, they talked about taking what we've learned during the COVID crisis, and using these lessons to look at our environment and fight climate change. You know, we've chatted about climate change before. Do you remember when we spoke with Dr. Cara Augustenburg?
Yeah, she was great. Oh, and you know what, Michelle, I'm still the king of unplugging in my house. I plug everything out before we go to bed.
Yeah. And we've stopped cutting parts of the grass in our garden to leave the flowers and plants grow wild so that the pollinators like bees and butterflies can use these for their food, and to pollinate other plants and crops.
Michelle Connolly 3:06
Oh that's great to hear lads, well done. But you know, it's amazing. There are people who find it hard to believe that climate change is actually real.
Michelle Connolly 3:14
Yeah, I know. But maybe now that we've lived through a pandemic, which the scientists that warned would happen one day, but nobody really believed could happen. It proves that the scientists were right all along, I suppose you know, it was hard to believe in our modern times that a virus that we can't actually see could take away every part of what we call normal life. But it proves that the scientists were right. So on the podcast, they were saying that now we need to listen to what the climate scientists have been warning about climate change and how if we do nothing, or not enough then our normal lives will once again be turned upside down but this time, by climate change.
Well, if that's not a wake up call, I don't know what is Michelle
Michelle Connolly 3:49
And a wake up call is exactly what it is, buddy. And that's actually what they've called their podcast, 'The COVID Alarm Clock.'
That's a really clever name!
Michelle Connolly 3:57
Yes it is. So I for one would definitely like to hear about the lessons and learnings we've got from our experiences of the COVID crisis, which we can use to fight against climate change. So to chat to us more about this is one of the presenters of the podcast, who's also a vet and doing a master's in climate change. It's Ellen Hegarty. Ellen, thanks a million for joining us today.
Ellen Hegarty 4:14
Oh, it's great to be with yourself and Buddy and Buster Hey, hey, guys!
Michelle Connolly 4:30
So in your podcast, you guys, you talk about how in the months before COVID before it arrived, that if someone had told us the whole world basically shut down because of a virus, that people would have laughed at us and thought we were crazy.
Ellen Hegarty 4:43
Absolutely. And I'm not sure if it's because we're just extremely optimistic or are we just like to bury our heads in the sand like ostriches, but yeah, its not really until something actually starts happening and you start to see effects... I think people just don't want to imagine or think about it.
Michelle Connolly 4:59
Yeah. I mean, it's a lot to get our heads around, that a virus could shut our world down. And maybe I suppose in the same way people find it difficult to understand how serious climate change would be if we don't take action to stop it. It's just such a big concept. Such a big problem. Is it almost too hard to believe?
Ellen Hegarty 5:16
Michelle, Yeah, you're absolutely right. It's, it's this huge. It's just this huge, huge problem. And it's going to affect every part of society a bit like COVID did. And you know, the thing about COVID is that we could see how our actions were able to reduce numbers of people becoming infected with COVID. Very quickly. But the thing with climate change is, it's much more slow moving, we can't really see us and even as the changes happen, they're changing so slowly, we are kind of almost getting desensitised to them, or we're kind of forgetting that things weren't like that before.
Oh, yeah. Ellen, we've been taught that climate change is caused by global warming, and global warming. That's our world heating up. But I can't quite remember why global warming and climate change are connected.
Ellen Hegarty 6:10
Okay, so so global warming means that the average temperature of the whole world is starting to rise. And why that is happening is because around the world, we have this thing called the atmosphere. And it has these things called greenhouse gases. And that's a little bit like a warm, cosy coat for the planet. And if we didn't have those greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, our planet would be super, super cold. And basically, it would be really hard to live on it. And the greenhouse gases are good. But the problem is, is that now we have too many greenhouse gases. So has your mother Buster ever put you outside wearing a vest jumper, a coat, hat, ear muffs, gloves, and your really warm pants....And like the weather, it's actually not cold enough. And you're just wandering around sweating, and you need to take your clothes off, or at least take the jacket off!.
Ellen Hegarty 7:11
The problem is, we're starting to do that we're putting a vest and a T shirt and a jumper and a fleece and a jacket and a hat and gloves and mittens and everything on the world. But world can't take it off. And this is where you can actually make a COVID comparison. So when people got COVID, it was a bit like the flu, and they got a temperature. So our world has a temperature. Well, if you've ever had a temperature either, Have you either of you, Buddy or Buster ever had a temperature? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And that affects everything. So you know, you go from running around mad to needing to maybe lie on the sofa, your cheeks get all red, maybe you've a headache, maybe you start shivering, maybe you start sweating. So your body when you've temperature can't control itself the way it used to, before you had the temperature and you get really sick. Well as the world's temperature rises, the world won't be able to control its weather anymore. And things just start to get a little bit weird. And actually, there's a brilliant scientist in the United States called Katharine Hayhoe. She's a climate scientist. And she's very cool. She does this whole video where she doesn't talk about global warming. She talks about global weirding. And so that is where our weather just it changes. So for example, instead of having normal seasons, you get these huge kind of swings in weather patterns. You can get kind of snow storms, when you wouldn't expect them. You can get periods of drought during the summer. And you can also get like the rain, so the atmosphere is getting warmer. And warm air is really good at sucking up water. And what happens is if you've a lot of water in your atmosphere, the rain gets heavier. And you get more of these kind of really, really heavy downpours where you get soaked through to the skin.
But is climate change really going to be that bad, Ellen? I mean, if the weather's getting warmer, I mean to be honest, I love a nice, warm summer.
Ellen Hegarty 9:05
So do I love being able to go out for an ice cream and put my shorts on! We all love a warm summer. But you see the thing is, and that's why I think that global weirding phrase is so good. Global warming doesn't just mean that we're going to get a warm day. Global warming means that the world is going to have a temperature and the world is going to get sick. So thing is global warming is going to cause these weather extremes and I was saying you know about more rain, more droughts. So for example, and we're seeing some of these problems already. So last year, we were camping in my mom and dad's farm in Cork, and guess who came along hell, Hurricane Ellen!! And when Hurricane Ellen came along, we had we were afraid we were going to be swept away in our tent a little like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. So we have to pack up our tent, in case we're going to be blown away. And after Hurricane Ellen came along, another hurricane came along called Hurricane Francis. And so I have an auntie, where I'm from and cork, and she has an art shop and we love to go there to get art supplies. And hurricane Francis caused such extreme rain, the town of Bantry flooded, and she had to throw out an awful lot of her beautiful art. Yeah. And now, the thing is, climate change doesn't actually cause the hurricanes and the extreme weather events in itself. But what it does is, it makes them happen more often. Okay. So for example, when I was a child, there might have been, you know, one hurricane every 5, 10, 15 years. But now we're, you know, seeing them maybe every five years, or there might have been a storm every year or two or three. But now we're seeing them much more frequently. So what climate change does is it changes the weather to kind of make these things happen more often.Michelle Connolly:
And more extreme, like you're saying, as well, and they're more extreme. Yeah, weirding of weather is a really clever way of explaining it.Buddy:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And Ellen, I also learned in school, climate change will mean that the grocery shops will have loads more empty shelves of the foods that you know we love to eat.Ellen Hegarty:
Yeah, that's really interesting Buddy. So the climate change has the potential to affect our food for sure. So if you think during Hurricane Ophelia, if anyone remembers back that far, we had a lot of snow. It was the beast from the east.Buster:
Yeah, where's my bread man, where's my bread!!!!Ellen Hegarty:
yeah. So trucks couldn't get through to the shops, so they couldn't deliver the food. And then actual changes in the weather are going to affect food as well. So I don't know. Do you guys ever eat grapes?Buddy:
Oh, yeah, d love to.Ellen Hegarty:
Yeah. So this year, what happened was, because the weather patterns are changing, we got a really warm spring, and all the little grape pods were coming out. And they were so delighted, they came in much earlier than they would normally. But then what happens? The weather got really, really cold. And we got frost. And you know what happened? All the little grade pods that had come out all delighted in the warm, early spring? They all got frostbite, and the little pods died. Yeah. And that's going to mean then that there's gonna be less grapes as a result next year. Yeah. Yeah. And a couple years ago, in Ireland, we had a really severe drought event. And so the grass stopped growing for the cattle. And that meant then the farmers had to buy food in from other countries to feed their cattle. And you know, if that happens once every 10 or 15 years, we can manage. But if it's happening more often than that, then that becomes a real problem for people who are growing foods. And that will impact on the milk we drink and you know, our dinner. So it absolutely will have impact.Michelle Connolly:
And you know, in your podcast, you guys talk about, like, while it was a horrible experience, and everything that's been gone through with COVID. But what we've gone through does give lots of great hope and positivity for this fight against climate change.Ellen Hegarty:
Oh, Michelle, like it's amazing. So you know, everyone's been really badly affected by COVID. But what COVID has shown us is that all of the leaders in our world, and actually come together and work together to do amazing things, they can come together to tell people what to do to stop the COVID from spreading, they can work together to ensure that there's hospital beds available for people, they can work together to make sure that we all have hand sanitizer for school. And they can work together to make a vaccine in like a year, which normally can take 10 or 15 years. So that is amazing. So that has shown us that if governments and leaders and people actually want to make really big change, and really big changes all over the world to fight climate change we can. And I think that's amazing.Michelle Connolly:
Yeah, it is. I mean, I suppose we've proven to ourselves, that what we thought would never happen would never be possible to make these kind of changes that we've actually done them. So it's not such a big leap in our heads now to think about all the changes that we do need to make for climate change.Ellen Hegarty:
Absolutely. Michelle, and you know, a lot of the changes we had to make for COVID weren't very nice, because it was kind of foisted upon us. And we had to kind of make changes very quickly. So it's not nice, you know, having to wear masks or not being able to have your friends bounce on the trampoline with you, but the thing is, with climate change, we have a little bit of time to say, Okay, what changes can we make that are actually going to be good for us as well. So that's actually really cool.Buddy:
Yeah, that is super to Ellen, and the name of your podcast, The COVID Alarm Clock, you're saying that COVID has been like an alarm clock that has woken us up, and we have to use what we've learned during Coronavirus to fight against climate change. And I think that probably one of the biggest things we've learned is how important science is I think that we need to trust what the scientists are telling us.Ellen Hegarty:
Absolutely. And there's a hero of mine who always says so Greta Thunberg is always saying, Don't listen to me. Listen to the science. And you know what, when we listen to the scientists, when we were listening to them about COVID, when we listened, things worked, when we didn't listen, things didn't go so well. So, you know, I think it's really important to listen to the science. And I think if we listened to the science, we can actually make really amazing changes and make a better world for all of us.Buster:
Okay, so Ellen, what are the main things that the scientists have been saying about climate change?Ellen Hegarty:
So they have been saying that our ice caps will melt, our seas will warm, our weather patterns will become more extreme. So floods or droughts and storms and hurricanes, that people in certain parts of the world that their countries will actually go underwater, because the sea levels will rise? They've been Yeah, I know. It's really serious. They've said it will impact on the health of the animals and the plants that live on the planet with us, and may also exacerbate, so that's a big word for make worse, species extinction as well.Michelle Connolly:
Wow well that's a lot of things are telling us. So do you think that people are actually listening to the climate scientists in the same way we listen to the scientists during Coronavirus?Ellen Hegarty:
Okay, that's a great question. I think that a lot more people are listening, but I think people just don't know what to do. And I think we saw that with COVID. So you know, people all knew okay Covid is here, what do we do? Well, the government came out and said, Okay, here's what you need to do. You need to wear a mask, you need to stand two metres away from people that you meet, and you need to meet people mostly outside, you can't have people to your house, they gave us a really excellent list of what to do. And I think you know, that's probably what we're lacking with the climate crisis. We need to be told what to do, so that we can make the right decisions to fight climate change. Yeah.Buddy:
And Ellen in a way, the scientists became just as important as politicians in our governments, as it was their advice that decided what we could do and what we couldn't do from week to week.Ellen Hegarty:
Yeah, you know, so the politicians and the scientists, they teamed up and they made this amazing team. And so the scientists were able to say, here's what we need to do to fight COVID. And then the politicians were able to go away and and they were able to make a plan. And then all of the people in Ireland, were able to get on board with the plan. And if everyone gets on board, well, then you have really major change really quickly.Michelle Connolly:
Yeah, there really are so many things that are similar about how we've dealt with Coronavirus,and how we need to deal with climate change. And we've learned so much about what we can achieve when we work together. And I have to say, it's great to understand what global warming is that it's like, when we have a temperature and we're sick, it changes how we behave. And it's the same with the world. It's like it's got a temperature and is sick. And this changes how our weather behaves. And that's more extreme weather, or as that scientist calls it global weirding. And we've also learned to Coronavirus how important it is to listen to the scientists. So that's why we need to really listen to what the climate scientists are telling us. And next week, Ellen, you're going to be coming back to us to talk more about what climate scientists are saying we need to do to fight against climate change. So we're really looking forward to that.Ellen Hegarty:
Yay. See you next time. Missing you already.!Buddy:
Thanks so much Ellen!Michelle Connolly:
So kids over this week until we speak with Ellen again next week, we want you to think about all the experiences we had during Coronavirus and what we have learned from them. And think about some of the changes we have made that we can keep doing and they will also have a positive impact on the fight against climate change.Buddy:
Hey, guys, it's that time again. It's time to Tickle Your Funny Bone!!Unknown Speaker:
Hi, my name is Paula I'm nine and a half years old. And this is my joke. WIll, you forget me tomorrow. No. Well, you forget me in a month. No. Knock knock. Who's there? You forgot me already!!Buddy:
I love that joke of the day.Unknown Speaker:
Yeah, that was a great one.Michelle Connolly:
So guys, that's almost it from us. 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 usBuddy:
you'll find all the details on our website www. The Kids Are All Right.ie
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,Buddy:
and be happy. !Michelle Connolly:
See you next time on The Kids Are All Right podcast. Kids. It's timeBuddy:
Are you ready? It's time to rock
Transcribed by https://otter.ai