Episode #10: Megan Herbert (Transcript)
Quinn: Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmett.
Brian: And I'm Brian Colbert Kennedy.
Quinn: But we're not sure, are we?
Brian: Yes, we are sure. We're not sure if you're you, 'cause you sound like a little girl.
Quinn: You know, I wouldn't say little.
Brian: Not little girl.
Brian: Yeah, like a girl turning into a woman.
Quinn: There's a lot happening in my life.
Brian: I know.
Quinn: You know? No, I meant if I was that ...
Quinn: This is episode 10 and our guest today is Megan Herbert. She's an Aussie world changer, screenwriter, author and illustrator. She partnered with one of the world's leading climate scientists and science communicators on a truly awesome, wonderful, illustrated book for kids.
Brian: So awesome.
Quinn: Called The Tantrum That Saved The World. Anybody will love this book, but especially kids.
Brian: And even if they don't, just hold them down and read it to them.
Brian: Because we need them to know the things that are in there. And that is that things aren't great, okay?
Quinn: Yeah. No.
Brian: And we need them to change and be our little change makers. To use all that daydreaming and Lego building to grow up and save the whole planet.
Quinn: Save what? Oh, everything. Got it. Right. Yeah, so today we talk to her and we talk about how to best model change for kids, which I think is, I don't know. Feels like one of the most proactive ways to parent.
Quinn: Well, we'll see what my kids' therapy bills say about that in 20 years. Anyway, she's great and sounds like there's more where this book came from.
Brian: Yeah, thank God.
Brian: She's gonna do another book.
Quinn: I know. When? I don't know. With how many books you guys are gonna order from her ...
Brian: It really is, it's so awesome. And like you said, it's especially good for kids, but I just read it, and I loved it.
Quinn: Right. And you could read it, which is something else.
Brian: Well, it's just a normal thing that happens.
Quinn: Big time.
Brian: Of course I could read. And if there's photos.
Quinn: Not photos, they're hand drawn illustrations.
Brian: Sorry, there's pictures for me to look at.
Quinn: That's true.
Brian: For when the words are hard.
Quinn: Speaking of pictures you can look at, Brian is in a new relationship and we're really-
Brian: Yes, that's true.
Quinn: ... we're really proud of him. We won't say names here.
Brian: Thank you.
Quinn: She's great.
Brian: She is great.
Quinn: I haven't met her. He won't let me meet her.
Brian: That's not true. You will meet her.
Quinn: But I might not meet her if Rey from Star Wars, Brian, came to you and said "Brian, I want to be with you"-
Brian: She is so fucking busy.
Quinn: Who Rey?
Brian: Rey from Star Wars.
Quinn: Well, yeah. I mean, they're on the run.
Brian: Not that she doesn't need love, everyone needs love.
Quinn: No, they're on the run. Clearly. But if she came to you and said, "Leave with me now. Be with me." Like what's his face said to her, right?
Brian: Right. Right.
Quinn: And he says, spoiler alert, Last Jedi out on Apple TV now. You should see it. Anyways, but he says-
Brian: Great soundtrack.
Quinn: ... he says, something along the lines of come with me.
Brian: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brian: I can't remember what it was.
Quinn: She thinks about it. Brian, go. What would you do?
Brian: Yeah. I probably would think about it. But I would ... But, no. Sorry, Rey. Even though, God, I love you so much. But I'm pretty happy over here, which says a lot about my lady.
Quinn: Yeah. Considering.
Brian: Competing with Rey.
Quinn: Competing with Rey. Question: Has your lady seen the action ... like life size action figure I got you of Rey? And where do you keep it?
Brian: I actually think she did see it. I remember when I was prepping my-
Quinn: Is it 'cause it on the nightstand when she woke up?
Brian: It wasn't there when she went to sleep but then she woke up and I had placed it there. I think she saw it before I was able to move it somewhere that was less embarrassing. But she took it well. I laughed it off a little bit, of course. And it went over fine.
Quinn: It's just a joke, but don't touch it. Leave it where it is.
Brian: Don't touch it. Don't say anything bad about it. She took it well, which was a good sign for our future.
Quinn: Good test. She's passed them all. More to come here, folks. More news on that. And, you know.
Brian: Yeah, thanks for bringing it up. Rey, that's a good one. I could think of some others that would be tough to say not to, but-
Quinn: Right now, with the way things are going, obviously, two movies in, she's the competition.
Brian: She's so wonderful. But so is my girlfriend.
Quinn: It's very special. She is. Anyways. So listen, we're gonna get to it. Quick note on merchandise. Those of you who ordered stuff from the amazing folks at Cotton Bureau, by the time this posts, it should be shipped.
Quinn: Maybe even arrived.
Quinn: The world's most comfortable shirts. Hope you love 'em.
Brian: Thank you for ordering.
Quinn: Yeah. Thank you guys so much. If you missed out or if you want more of our gear, there's more exciting stuff to come and a fancy new online store, it's on the way.
Quinn: Just hold tight. We should be moving right along by the time this comes out, and there will be on that soon. So just follow us on our social feeds or check our website, our shitty website for updates.
Brian: It's not that shitty.
Quinn: Well. And we'll be posting glamour shots of Brian modeling everything.
Brian: I don't know about that.
Quinn: Yep. So check it out on Instagram, if you haven't already.
Brian: Are you ready for this or what?
Quinn: Yeah. Let's go talk to Megan.
Brian: Let's go.
Quinn: Our guest today is Australian national hero Megan Herbert. She partnered with one of the world's most renowned climate scientists to write and illustrate an exceptionally wonderful children's book about climate change. And today we're gonna explore how to grow the next generation, but literally, like toddlers, from little spitfire troublemakers into adult activists, doctors, scientists, elected officials and more. A bunch of world changers. So, Megan, welcome.
Megan Herbert: Thanks, Quinn. It's really nice to be here.
Brian: We're very happy to have you. Megan can you give us a quick breakdown of who you are and what you do.
Megan Herbert: Sure. I'm a writer and an illustrator and I've been both of those things for the last 20 years, and I guess I've always been trying to combine those two skills into projects like this, and this is probably my most enjoyable and successful attempt at doing that, where I really been able to bring together all my storytelling skills, illustration skills, and interest in the environment to do something that really matters to me.
Quinn: And is this actually your first children's illustrated book?
Megan Herbert: Yeah. I've illustrated many different things for other people in the past. And of course, I've been writing kids' books and putting together illustrations and trying to get them published. This is the first one where all the stars have aligned with it. And it's a fully finished project, so that's been exciting for me.
Brian: Yes, it's here. I'm looking at it right now. I've just read it.
Megan Herbert: Oh, great.
Quinn: So, Megan, we're gonna set up our conversation today, something we kind of do at the beginning every time. We're big believers in questions, but questions that don't provoke action are just basically just philosophy, which is great. But these times call for action and that's where we're trying to go and what we're trying to provoke here on every level.
Brian: Which you seem to understand as you've just gone ahead and wrote a climate bible for toddlers, so thank you.
Megan Herbert: Absolutely. It's never too young to start, really, is it?
Quinn: That's right. Definitely not. So what we're gonna do is get some context from you, of why you exist, why there's such an immense change facing our listeners, and then we'll progress to some specific actionable steps that our listeners can take. Something that'll inspire them to get to work at whatever level, whatever party they subscribe to. Deal?
Megan Herbert: Sure. Sounds good to me.
Quinn: All right, Megan. So, we start with one important question. To really get to the heart of why you're here today, and that kinda has multiple meanings. So instead of saying "Tell us your life story", we like to ask "Why are you vital to the survival of the species?"
Megan Herbert: Okay. That's an interesting question. I like to think of myself as a communicator. And somebody who believes compassion is pretty much the key to solving all of the world's problems. I'm trying to use my skills as an illustrator and a writer to communicate in a compassionate way to get people to give a shit about things that matter. That's why I like to think I'm here and what gets me out of bed in the morning and drives me to do the things it do.
Quinn: I love it.
Brian: Pretty great answer.
Quinn: That's awesome. Yeah. No, that's amazing.
Brian: Get people to give a shit, I'm into that.
Megan Herbert: Yeah.
Quinn: Yeah, get people to give a shit. You know, they should, but at the same time, if we're being honest with ourselves and each other, it's like a lot of people don't. Sometimes you gotta get out there and write a kids' book for all these kindergartner's who just don't give a shit.
Megan Herbert: Exactly. So I mean, there's just so many distractions in this world today and I think people are exhausted, and there's just too much information all the time, and I think people can sometimes lose sight of their compassion nerve, and we just need to reactivate it really and get people to work out how they can use that in their own lives.
Quinn: I love it. I think it's great, the compression nerve. All right, Megan. Well, listen, we're gonna get into this, and first thing we want to do is establish some context for our topic of the day. So, as you noted, you're a longtime screenwriter, you're an illustrator, and you're a mom, correct?
Megan Herbert: Correct. A mother of one.
Quinn: Which is important because I imagine, like you, it's an extra incentive to go "Well, how do I turn this little human into a change maker?"
Megan Herbert: Exactly right. And I'm sure you experience the same thing with your kids, that every moment that you're with your child can be a teachable moment, and it doesn't have to be boring or stressful. Kids just want to know about the world, and it's a nice position to be in as a parent, that you can decide what kind of information you want to input into those little people.
Quinn: Right. Whether they like it or not.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, so they're very wide open, and if you find fun ways to talk to them about issues, then they love it and lap it up.
Quinn: They do. It's funny. My oldest walked into my little office here one day and looked around, and the place is just unabashedly filled with Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Back to the Future and Ghost Busters, and he just kind of thought for a second and goes "We like a lot of the same stuff." You know? It's like, "Well, yeah. I made you like all of it. You didn't have a choice."
Megan Herbert: That's how I programmed you.
Quinn: Exactly. You're welcome. But yeah, it matters. And like you said, and I think that's kind of what we want to talk about today, is ... I hate to say "Programming", but it's true. It's those inputs and then let them do what they want with 'em.
Megan Herbert: Exactly.
Quinn: But least we can do is provide for them. And it seems like what you did, at least with this book specifically, is something we've really tried to advocate, which is looking at your own tools and saying "How can I help?" And that seems to be the key. Everyone can do something specific to help, whether it's climate change or something else. You know, Brian rides a motorcycle.
Brian: Yeah. So?
Quinn: I'm just saying, everybody's ...
Megan Herbert: Invaluable actions there from Brian.
Brian: You don't know this, Megan, but Quinn loves to razz me about my motorcycle riding, endlessly.
Quinn: All right, so your book is called The Tantrum That Saved the World. It's amazing and it's beautiful and it's inspiring, and you raised 27,374 Euros for it on Kickstarter. Which, if I'm doing this right, is ... Brian, that's ...
Brian: 11 million dollars US.
Quinn: Right, 11, 12 million dollars, I think. Right?
Megan Herbert: 64,000 Rupee, yes.
Quinn: Yeah, perfect. Perfect. Keep going up. So, Megan, please give us a background on how the book came to be.
Megan Herbert: Okay, well it took a few years. It was a few years in the making. And it started in Iceland in 2013 at a conference called Earth 101. And the aim of that conference was to bring together climate scientists and communicators, specifically screenwriters, but also storytellers of other formats, to communicate on the issue of Climate Change. I was one of the filmmaker/storytellers there, and my command was one of the climate scientists. There was some really wonderful people there, and when I heard him speak and was really moved by the stuff he said, I approached him in one of the breaks and said "Look, there's something that's been on my mind, and I'm wondering if there might be a way to communicate these issues to children, so that they are the ones starting the conversations in their family and driving the change." And his eyes lit up, and he said that he'd been thinking the same thing, but hadn't known who to work with, or how to go about it.
Megan Herbert: And, I mean, he didn't know me at that stage at all, but we got to talking and we stayed in touch, and the project just grew from there. And it took some time because of international moves on my part. Moving back to Australia, then back over to Europe again. And he also has, as you can imagine, an incredibly hectic schedule, so there were a few breaks in the whole proceedings, but we got there in the end, because we both really felt it was an important project to see through to completion, and see if that idea actually had any merit to it.
Brian: Turns out it did.
Megan Herbert: I hope so.
Quinn: And now, your partner, Michael Mann, he directed Last of the Mohicans and Heat.
Brian: No, no, no, no, no.
Megan Herbert: Exactly. I know, he's a wonderful film director, and yes, you should all go out and watch his entire back catalog maybe at least once. It's funny you should make that joke, my parents actually made the same mistake-
Quinn: That's amazing.
Brian: But for real.
Megan Herbert: They Googled him and said "Wow, he's a really famous film director." It was a cute moment.
Brian: So the correct Michael Mann, the one we're speaking of, Michael E. Mann, he is actually also involved with Heat like his twins director, Michael Mann. Anyway, he's an award-winning American climatologist, which I think you mentioned, and geophysicist, who pioneered techniques to find patterns in past climate change. Heavily contributed to the science that won Al Gore the Nobel peace prize, and I genuinely do not understand how he has so many degrees.
Quinn: I mean, it's ... Yeah. So quite the record for folks who are not aware of your partner's resume, which, I mean, when I saw the book on Kickstarter, I just couldn't have been more impressed by the combination of you two. It just seems ... And the way you guys came together, I love that. It just seems so perfect.
Megan Herbert: Yeah. I mean, it was a aligning of stars that worked really well, and it was nice that compared to that resume ... I mean, I'm a relative newcomer, and just have a huge amount of passion about this issue and wanted to do something. But it does show you that any person, if they have the will to do something about this issue, or any issue, for that matter, you just have to do it, really, and try. There are so many things that all of us can do. There was every reason for why not to approach him, but I thought there's nothing to be lost by doing it.
Quinn: Yeah, the world's ending. Might as well give it a shot. But you're so right. It's like he's got this crazy resume, but if you'd walked up to him and said "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we gave this to kids. Michael, can you also write and illustrate a children's book?" He'd have been like "What the hell are you talking about? I can't draw."
Megan Herbert: That's right.
Quinn: And you are such a superb artist ... Again, it's like a perfect pairing, and that's where these wonderful things come to be.
Brian: That theme keeps coming up these past few podcast interviews we've done, is how do you specifically, with your specific set of talents and abilities, help change the world. It makes so much sense to think about it like that.
Megan Herbert: Yeah. And I think we all have to remember, that each one of these people who might have a large public profile, didn't always have a large public profile, and they got that way because they persisted in the thing they did, and that's relevant no matter what field you're talking about. And it's not about gaining a profile, but if you persist, you can get your message across in whatever it is, in whatever way it is. And whatever your skills are, you can use those.
Quinn: Absolutely, and brainwashing four year olds in a positive way, is the way to do it. Again, we've talked about ... And it's funny, I very seldom actually talk about my children in public, 'cause I think they deserve their own life, and shouldn't be dealt with stuff, and I don't put them online. But I do talk about them in this and the respect that ... And a lot of the reason I do this is because the world's gonna be really different in 15, 20 years, which is kinda the scope that Brian and I try to aim for. We don't talk about just crazy sci-fi that's way out there, it's what's actually affecting people now and in the next 20 years. And that's when they're gonna be adults, and they're gonna look at, certainly, our parents and then us, and say "What the hell, man?"
Quinn: And so, I wanna to try to both cover our asses, but also educate them a little bit from the beginning. I read them an endless number of these exact sort of version of books, 'cause they're right at that age, and we really try to fill our house with books. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this one, both in its nature, but also how beautiful it is. There's some great stuff out there. I don't know if you've seen Brad Meltzer's Ordinary People Change the World series?
Megan Herbert: I have not, but it sounds like a good one. I'll have to make a note of that for my son, I'm sure he'd be-
Quinn: There's about ... It's dangerous. There's about maybe 10 or 12 of these things now, and I just can't stop buying them for books people. Each one's about a specific person. It's like I am Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, and they pull zero punches. And it's their life story, but it's a way to really ... You know, my kids' reading the Martin Luther King one, and they're like "Wow, that was not good." And it's like "Yeah, you're very lucky. And also, hopefully inspires you to do something about the world."
Quinn: But yours is so specific, but at the same time it's big, you know? Climate Change is existential.
Megan Herbert: It was a very difficult topic to approach because of that fact. And there are plenty of great books out there which address some of the individual issues of Climate Change. For example, a single animal and how it's endangered and why. And the more I looked into this, the more I thought "I don't want to take that approach. I would like to take the approach that all things in the universe, including plants, animals, everything else, are connected. And the things that we do have an impact on them, the things that are happening in the environment, have an impact on everything else." And so I thought, "There's only one way to approach this, it's in a allegorical tale, where in effect all of the effects of Climate Change are landing on the doorstep of one little protagonist. And what do we do?" Because, really, that's exactly, precisely what is gonna happen with our kids, and is happening already. So, and in terms of-
Quinn: Sure it is, it's just not their problem yet, but it's going to be so soon. And on so many fronts, again, I loved it. As a big sci-fi nerd, the allegorical nature of it is how we've told so many of our important stories for the last 2,000 years up to now, for big movies. But at the same time, there's someone in that story. It's not just the animals, there's a person in there that they can identify with, and say "Oh, shit. I get that. I get when there's too much dumped on me." My kids talk about that all the time, but at the same time, it's like "Yeah. Sorry. This is the deal."
Brian: Yeah. Time to carry the load.
Megan Herbert: Yeah. And I very specifically, as well, wanted to bring in the idea of tantrums. I don't know how your kids are, but my kid has never been a tantruming kid. He's actually a little talker, and we can usually talk everything through. But the idea of tantrums in general, they have a bad rap, but I actually think the situation we're putting our children in, is a situation where they are going to turn to us and previous generations one day, and say "What the hell?" And they're not going to be able to process how we let this happen. And I think tantrum is the right response to that situation.
Quinn: Deservedly so.
Megan Herbert: Yeah. The definition of a tantrum is little children who don't have the emotions to process the thing that's happening, so they have a throw down on the floor. And that's the point we're at now. And I think they need to be encouraged to express that and to do something about it, because they have every right to be angry and want to affect the change that has not happened and should have happened.
Quinn: Great. Especially once they discover little facts like the fact that we're constantly batting 30 years behind the emissions that are going out. So, it's not like "Okay. If you kids grow up and fix it, it'll just stop." It's like "No, we fucked you guys for a long time." So the more we can give 'em tools early, and try to change them into actionable little people, it feels like ... I don't know. Maybe they'll forgive us.
Megan Herbert: Maybe.
Megan Herbert: Well, if not, find a nice, quiet corner of the world to escape to and go off grid, and maybe they'll be okay.
Brian: That seems all right. Hey, Megan, why did you use Kickstarter? We're curious.
Megan Herbert: Okay. Several reasons. As we got further along with the format of the book, which, as you know, is broken into three parts, so the first part is a storybook, like a picture book format. The second part moves into more of a non-fiction, science type text, where we explain the different characters. And the third part is a foldout poster, which actually gives kids practical things they can do. Now, if you know anything about kids books, this book does not fit into the established genres of kids books, which makes it not really a book for mainstream publishing. They-
Quinn: Did you ever attempt to take it mainstream?
Megan Herbert: Yeah, we were talking with a few different publishers. Of course, Mike has been published before. But as I realized that we really wanted this format, I started to see the conversations change, and I thought "Look, we've got a choice here. We either compromise the format and move towards mainstream publishing, or we stick with this format, break a few rules, but put out the book that we want to put out." And so, we chose the latter. And, look, it's not the easy route. It's definitely a hard route, and I completely ... There's a very good reason why publishing houses give authors and illustrators a smallish slice of the pie, because there's a hell of a lot of work to do to get a book out into the public, as I'm experiencing right now.
Quinn: What are some of the changes you would've had to make?
Megan Herbert: It would have to have been two separate books, for one. There's no such thing as combining a fiction and a non-fiction book, that's just not done. Also, most picture books these days, unfortunately, the way the industry is going, the kids' book industry, almost without exception. A kids' book these days needs to be 32 pages and 500 words or less. That is across the board, big name authors all the way down. People in the industry advise new writers not to even think of submitting anything else other than that format to publishers. And look, I'm afraid you just can't communicate very much in 500 words. Not on this topic, at least.
Megan Herbert: So I thought, I'm gonna go more for the Dr. Seuss length, which really lets you get into a story and takes a bit longer for an adult to read to their kid at bedtime, but hopefully people think it's worth it.
Brian: What was your favorite illustrated book when you were growing up?
Megan Herbert: I didn't have one, but we just had a lot of books. As well, with my son, I'm very guilty of overbuying, probably.
Brian: At least it's book you're overbuying.
Quinn: Yeah, there's worse things to overbuy on.
Megan Herbert: I know, I know. It's not a crime, I guess. We love all different types of books. Some of the ones I've been really enjoying since my son was born, we've been buying the Osborne books. It's a great publishing house, I think they're based in the UK. And they retell a lot of classic stories in beautiful way, and use fantastic illustrators from around the world, and they've got a great way of condensing down the classics in a digestible way for a five year old.
Brian: Oh, that's cool.
Megan Herbert: Yeah. Stuff like that is cool.
Brian: What about you, Quinn?
Quinn: That's a tough one, man. Dr. Seuss was obviously a big part of my life. Illustrated stuff, yeah. I mean, I think Dr. Seuss was so helpful, it's such a wide breadth of them. It's interesting. I'm gonna have to go back and dig into some of those. I remember distinctly, Watch Out The Elephant's Gonna Sneeze [inaudible 00:25:55]. I don't know. That's a good question. I'm gonna have to dig back in.
Megan Herbert: Oh, I advise ... Have a look at All The Places You'll Go. That is an inspirational classic. And sometimes it's good to just read it to yourself.
Quinn: Yeah. Sure, sure.
Brian: I liked Goodnight Moon.
Quinn: I mean, yes. That's like the default. A good friend of mine, and maybe one of the best birthday presents ever, gave me a ... It's a shirt, and it looks like ... It's green, and it looks like Goodnight Moon, but instead of Goodnight Moon, in the same script, it says That's No Moon, and it's a little storm trooper looking out the window towards the Death Star.
Brian: Oh, my god. Incredible.
Quinn: It's kind of the perfect conflux of-
Megan Herbert: Yeah.
Quinn: One last bead of context. The world is gonna look very different in 15 years when these kids are old enough to vote, let's use that as the number, basically. Option one is we're just a fucking smoldering rock in the dead of space, right?
Quinn: Option two is we haven't fixed a lot, but we're not a smoldering rock in the dead of space. Megan, talk to me about what you think the world is gonna look like ... You said your son is about the same age as mine. In 15 years, when these guys are actually ... Sure, there's a lot they can do from 10 to 18, and we actually interviewed a couple amazing 16 year olds the other day, who are just already done more than we have.
Brian: Episode's coming out today, right?
Quinn: Yeah. Came out today, when this'll publish in a couple weeks. But what do you think the world's gonna look like, both objectively and also things that your little person will need to contribute to?
Megan Herbert: Well, there's two answers to this question. It's the world that I fear we will have, and the world that I hope we will have.
Quinn: Let's probably meet somewhere in the middle, then.
Megan Herbert: That's right. So, I mean, the answer depends on what we do. So, I fear that if we don't do enough or we don't do anything, if we're on the current trajectory, then I really am very worried for the world that our kids will live in. I think one the biggest issues will be climate refugees, obviously that's a major thing in the book. I think, as various parts of the world become uninhabitable or increasingly dangerous or run out of water, as we've recently seen in Cape Town, and other things like that. Yeah, it's not theoretical, it's happening. So I do worry when these things happen in increasing numbers, you've got massive chunks of population who have to go somewhere. And when they go somewhere else, then resources become under pressure, and then there's the possibility of war and all sorts of things. That's the world I fear. I mean, not even to get into the Climate Change stuff, that's more social issues. But I think that's a possibility. It's all linked, of course.
Quinn: The social isn't necessarily impacted. Yeah, of course. It's all linked. Again, we're seeing it everywhere. Like, you said, the Cape Town thing. For everyone in the West, it felt like that came out of nowhere, but Cape Town's known that was coming. It's citizens have known. There's plenty of ... God, the rest of Africa that's nowhere near Cape Town, as far as being developed, is incredibly parched, and already dealing with massive migration issues, upon whoever's just dying. We've mentioned before, in Northern India there are thousands of farmers that are just committing suicide because they can't grow food anymore.
Megan Herbert: I've been reading about that issue, too. It's just horrific.
Quinn: But everywhere, between the migration issues that Europe has already started seeing, which are not even close to the tip of the iceberg about what's gonna happen. You know, New Orleans is ... We're gonna have to give up that city in the next 10 years. There's no doubt about ... New York Times just did an amazing three piece feature on that last week. You know, Miami and New York and these places. Couple of years ago, some scientists started saying, essentially, "We have to start talking about adaptation, because A, we are running behind these emissions by so far. It's not 5 years, it's not 10 years, it's about 30 years, and yet these things are starting to happen." You see three hurricanes at once in the Gulf of Mexico. There's already rising sea levels. These islands in the Pacific that are just gone, everyone's leaving because they're not habitable anymore.
Quinn: Everywhere is starting to be touched by this, which, again, is just the beginning. You hope that. And again, like you. And how we try to frame everything we do is yeah, we try to have some fun with it, but we don't want to be doomsdayers, but we also don't want to be overtly optimistic, 'cause that's not real. And we want to meet somewhere in the middle, which is "Okay, if these things are already starting to happen, what can we do to help?" And at the same time, again, this is kinda coming back to you, is "So, okay. Let's jump forward 15 years and assume some things are gonna be exponentially changed. What are they gonna have to deal with? What are they gonna look like?" Hopefully, when you look at stuff like SpaceX, we've already started to find a way to get off this rock, or at least get off this rock a lot cheaper.
Megan Herbert: Yeah. See, I'm a huge Elon Musk fan, but I don't think the first solution should be to walk away from this mess and jump off this rock. No, I know that's not what you're saying either, but I know that there are a lot of resources being spent on that, and I think what ... This is the hopeful side of the coin, that I try to focus on the most, especially when I'm trying to make a difference. Is that you look around and all the technology that we need is there, it's not like a mythical thing. Also, there are so many people trying to work on this issue. So I think that if enough things come together, we've got the technology. What we need is lawmakers and big business and consumers to change their ways, and that is really the biggest roadblock. Because you can have a million and one people having a compost in their backyard, if the big business and government are not doing what they need to be doing, I'm afraid it's gonna count for naught. So, that's where it's frustrating.
Megan Herbert: And that's where in our action plan, it very clearly says one thing is the things you can do, but also you have to reach out to the people who are making the laws, because it's got to be an effort on behalf of everybody, but particularly them.
Quinn: Right. And that's a big thing and kinda how we try to close these, is what can you do personally and what can you do reaching out to these people. And like you said, and in the companies you buy from. And what's interesting is the lawmakers, especially here, are the ones running so far behind now, 'cause in the past three, four years because of how cheap clean energy has become in so many places, business have started to embrace it so much. Because the one thing that drives them, no matter what they say, is their bottom line. And when it becomes more reliable and cheaper to run your business on clean energy, they're just gonna do it. And a lot of them have started to do that.
Quinn: And so, you hope that they can start leading the way. And hopefully, it just seems at some point, especially once we get really anybody else as president here, like a rock or other inanimate object, that they'll go "Oh, we're behind the eight ball here for the first time." We need incentives and things like that, but with how things have turned over in LEDs and how things are turning over so quickly in cars. Even Volkswagen, which what a nightmare the last five years has been for them, but have said, and we'll see how much they hold to it, starting next year, they're gonna put out a new electrical vehicle every month, essentially. And again, because it's becoming cheaper and because you've got gasoline standards and things like that that, again, are just bad for business.
Quinn: That means you've got to convert in some way. So, hopefully, those things start to really lead the way and do make a difference in the next 10, 15 years, so government has to get on board.
Megan Herbert: Well, I think another thing it's worth noting is that we are actually at a point where choices and changes becoming more profitable or cheaper for people to choose should not be our driving choice anymore. For example, printing this book in the way I did was not the cheapest option.
Quinn: Tell everybody about that.
Brian: Yeah, we were reading about that on the site.
Megan Herbert: It's a carbon neutral production, in that the printing house I'm using is not based in China and it's not doing all the cost-cutting methods that most major publishing houses do. It's printed in the UK, in a fantastic facility that is run on renewables. They dispose of their waste responsibly, the book is 100% recyclable, including the non-plastic coating on the book. I wanted this book to be a physical representation of-
Quinn: Yeah, it's kind of [inaudible 00:34:45] the messaging.
Brian: Everything you're talking about.
Megan Herbert: And let me tell you, I hope that it actually inspires people to do this, so that the prices do come down, but there are things we have to do now that they're not gonna be cheaper right now. But it's like, for example, supporting the organic industry. It's not cheaper right now, and it probably won't be cheaper for a while, but if we don't support it, it'll disappear. We are at a stage where we've left it so late, we've gotta just follow the cost a little bit, at least in this early stage, until that ball gets rolling. So, I think it's great for people to remember that, that it doesn't always have to be ... You don't have to wait for the prices to come down.
Quinn: No, no. Not at all. It's just nice that there are some pieces of the momentum that are finally going our way. That are going like "That's not gonna turn around again."
Megan Herbert: It's because they make sense, this is the crazy thing. You look at all these solutions, they make people healthier, happier, it's free or cheap to do a lot of these things. It makes sense in that it works with systems thinking, so everything about it makes sense. And I'm staggered that people can't see that.
Quinn: It's funny, I was talking to my wife the other day about ... There's three things that really stick out to me that have sort of ... In their own power the 20th century. And we're all so necessary and so lucky to have. Inevitably we'll look back and go "Wow. That was our best option?" And the first is before penicillin, the best way to stop infection was to cut someone's leg off. And to their credit, that really was the best way. You literally cut it out and you make sure it can't spread. They had no other option. And that is the fundamental difference between World War I and World War II.
Megan Herbert: Where were the leeches? I forget. There was a lot of leech use.
Quinn: I mean, some people still use them.
Megan Herbert: I believe, maybe a few maggots, that was also a thing for a while.
Brian: Guys, gross.
Quinn: But you can't fault them for it. And the second one is chemotherapy, which is so incredibly brutal on the body, sometimes even worse than the cancer itself, whatever form. It destroys you. I mean, it is literally destroying cells. But it, in many cases, still and has been for the past 30 years, the best option we have, which is the bluntest instrument. Now with the rise of targeted immunotherapies and DNA sequencing and things like that, which is still extremely early days. Again, in 15 years, with how much has changed in the past four, you feel like our children are gonna look back, and I'm not sure cancer is ever gonna be cured because it's actually thousands and millions of different strains, and the way it develops. But in 15 years, we'll look back and go "Wow, thank god for chemotherapy, but holy shit, remember that that's what we used to do to people?"
Quinn: And I feel like gasoline is the third one of those and oil, I guess, gasoline being the derivative there. We wouldn't have any of this without that, but at some point, you'd think we're gonna look back and go "Wait, we got this fucking sun in the sky the whole time-"
Brian: Whole time. Never gonna go anywhere.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, and the wind.
Quinn: And the wind. Wind's always blowin', ocean's always churnin', and we used this finite resource that was priced out of control and controlled by about 12 countries.
Megan Herbert: And was making everything in the whole planet sick.
Quinn: And also gave everybody cancer and the planet's ... And ruined a bunch of animals. So, I'm glad we found it, but at the same time ... You know what, until 10 years ago, solar panels didn't work, they were horribly inefficient, they still are. You harvest about 20% of the energy out of 'em, so look, we couldn't use 'em. But at the same time, they were these building blocks that, oh, boy, I'm looking forward to being done with them. And again, I hope in 15 years our kids can look back and say "A, I'm a robot. B, so glad we have targeted immunotherapy and free energy," and stuff like that. Anyway, that's all the context of how we all feel like the world might and hopefully and probably will look like.
Quinn: So, let's focus on our topic, which is how do we prepare this next generation? Actually, with how old we all are, probably the generation after that. Again, babies. For change and action? Megan, what sort of unfair expectations are we putting on them? What do you feel like, and again, let's be specific here. In a world where there's a million things, what do they realistically gonna need to change, cure, solve, that we won't have fixed yet?
Megan Herbert: I'm not sure. I don't know, because all of my ideas about the next 15 years are based on what we can do now, and how we can bring them along with us. Because we are currently in the position of being in charge of these little people, and we're not gonna be entering into a void for the next 15 years. So really, I think if we work with them, by explaining what we've done and showing how we're taking ownership of it and trying to fix it, that they will then carry that baton on, and I think that will be a very natural thing. And in fact, it has to be working all together in that way for us to-
Quinn: Well, and I think that's such a big part of parenting, too, right? Which is your kids should see you go to work.
Megan Herbert: Also, just living by the things you tell them to do, not the do what I say, not what I do attitude. You've gotta lead by example. You wouldn't know any leader who can actually lead people effectively who isn't leading by his or her example.
Quinn: Let's not get fucking started on that right now, okay? It's a [inaudible 00:40:25]
Megan Herbert: That's true, but there's no effective leadership going on there at the moment, is there? So we know that doesn't work.
Quinn: Entirely different conversation, Megan. Lots of drinks involved.
Megan Herbert: It's drink o'clock where I am. It's too early for you.
Brian: It's only two here, okay? In the afternoon.
Quinn: Megan, for 15 months it's been drink o'clock here all day, every day.
Megan Herbert: That's a very good point.
Quinn: But you're right. We might now be working on the same projects and hopefully [inaudible 00:40:50] Yet at the same time, there's things that we will be still working on. Like you said, to model that the best way we can. And I've talked about this a little bit, which is ... And this is coming back to using the tools that you have, right? My kids ask so many questions, which is wonderful and at the same time exhausting. But, at some point, before 15 years from now, because of their access to information and all their questions, and how the world's gonna change. They're gonna look at me and say "What did you do?" My answer is a newsletter and a podcast right now, but this is the tools I have to use right now. And to me it feels, more than most folks, but I'm hoping it to use it to implore more folks to do things like you're doing, or to start their own news organization, or to plant trees, or whatever the things is.
Quinn: And to me, again, I want to model that as much as possible, so I can say "I did something and now you do something, even if it's something different, and also, I'm very sorry."
Megan Herbert: Well, just to go back to Mike's impressive CV. I think one of the reasons why he is so well known, is not just for being a scientists, but he is a science communicator, and I don't think you should underestimate the power we have in today's age, where we can reach as many people as we like, if we do it in a really clever, effective way. To change attitudes and change the conversation, and make people to things. I mean, you only have to look at the Parkland kids and what they've achieved in a short period of time with nothing more than the internet as their tool, and some very, very strong voices. And it's passion driven by their beliefs, and their experiences, so you can't beat that, actually. And I think anyone who has got the power to sit behind a keyboard or get together a group of people in their community or whatever it is, is actually a massive, massive power. Because it's the way we can make change happen now.
Quinn: Yeah, and I brought this up before, and I think maybe in the podcast that came out today. There was this picture that went around online last week of the first day the kids returned to school, and at the front of the picture it's basically 15 emotional support Golden Retrievers waiting to make these kids feel better, and it's amazing. But if you look closely in the background, plastered on the front of that school is the Gandhi quote "Be the change you want to see in the world." It just makes you feel like "Boy, these guys fucked with the wrong school." Like, this is written every day ... These kids, they're high schoolers, whatever. I get it. But they see this every day and they've seen it their whole life, and now it's like of course they're turning their shit around and doing something about it, you know?
Megan Herbert: And another thing to take from watching what they're going through is ... I read a piece that Emma Gonzales wrote for Harpers or something, in which she reminded the world that they're just kids, and they would also like to go back to being kids after this is over. And this is something that really speaks to me, because we are putting this enormous responsibility and these horrific situations on her children because of our dumb choices. Through the last ten ... however many generations. We have to also help them, and also let them go back to being kids. I mean, they can't shoulder this whole thing by themselves. They can't fix, as five year olds or six year olds, they're not gonna be able to fix this stuff. But at least we can show them by making it a family-wide conversation all the time, and it's something you do all the time, because it's the new reality, that that's what you are living. That's your reality and that's what you believe, and how you want to help them through it is by acting on it with them all the time.
Brian: You mentioned, Megan, the ... what it the Osborne publishing?
Megan Herbert: Yeah.
Brian: Are there any other books like those or like yours or on any other tools that you think we can provide for our little guys?
Quinn: Yeah, so your website's World Saving Books and that's plural. What else we got goin' on here, Megan?
Megan Herbert: Well, the other ones aren't published yet, but they're ticking away in my mind palace.
Quinn: I was gonna say, you got nothin' else going on?
Megan Herbert: No. There's a lot going on. I'm actually working on the early stages of a book about systems thinking for kids. For those who don't know much about systems thinking, everything within nature conforms to the ideas of system thinking. There's no unnecessary byproduct at all. So a monkey eats a berry, and he runs across the forest and shits it into the woods and that grows into a tree. The whole thing is connected. What I'm hoping is that the next generations of designers that it becomes an utterly essential part of their toolbox, that they wouldn't even conceive of designing a thing-
Quinn: Right, a one-use thing.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, without making it conform to systems thinking. Disposability and convenience in the scourge of this planet. There are many topics that I want to talk about that sort of cover the things that we're dealing with in this incredibly complex world, and I think kids are so smart, and they're seeing it all, they're living it all, so we've got to give them tools to do it. So, yes, there is only one world saving book right now, but there will be more.
Quinn: That's what I'm talking about.
Brian: And you know that you can raise millions and millions of dollars on Kickstarter, so.
Quinn: Right. Just let Brian do the conversions for you.
Megan Herbert: Just wait 'til I'm out of therapy from the first one, if you don't mind.
Brian: Of course.
Quinn: You know, one of the things I read about years ago, and one day I'm gonna find this link, 'cause it explain it in such a more eloquent fashion than I will be able to, is this discussion about modifying college/university concentrations or majors in the United States. From something non-tangential like mine was religious studies, which was wonderful, to something proactive and practical that still requires clearly a technical know-how, but that isn't everything. Huge goals and projects that require thinkers and the humanities to ask what if or should we do this? Because a lot of technical folks, rightfully, aren't trained in that. Their mind's in other places. And that can be goals like drinking water, because it affects everything from local government to marine biology, osmosis, all of these things coming together, to anthropology. Again, second world building, which I agree with you, that shouldn't be our focus, but I love that it is happening simultaneously. So should we actually not die in a ball of hellish fire, we've got something goin' on already that isn't ditching this place, but is building ourselves out, 'cause we are growing and changing.
Quinn: It could be something, again, literally as basic as reducing emissions, which comes with ... In so many places, again, it's so much sociology and anthropology when you're acting on a personal level, to corporate infrastructure. You know, you need business people, you need the technology, you need people who are working on carbon capture, you need people who are working on geothermal stuff. So that's something that's really interesting to me. Whatever happens to the university system in 20 years, which might not fucking exist anymore. That's again, there's the things we can do with them now, which is writing and for us, our job helping to promote a book like yours, to what are the things we can build for them ahead of time, and change things so that it's a better system, a more useful system for them to learn and apply themselves?
Megan Herbert: Well, I mean, I'm a big believer in some of the things that kids should really become very, very good at. First of all, resilience and determination and sticking to a thing, because the way communication is these days, it's designed to disrupt your attention, so getting them to focus on things. But also, getting them to do teamwork, build ideas together, collaborate, and you've mentioned Star Wars a couple of times, but now I'm using Star Trek in the conversation.
Brian: Easy, easy. More than a couple.
Megan Herbert: I know, sorry. I hope we can still [inaudible 00:49:01]
Quinn: I'm equal opportunity, so bring it.
Megan Herbert: That's good. So the concept behind that wonderful film First Contact is something that I think of all the time, because it discusses the idea that's central to Star Trek, where there is a certain day when all of humanity switches its focus from personal gain and capitalism over to getting to the stars. And the whole infrastructure collapses in terms of people earning money just to better themselves. All people's efforts go into this one central idea, and I love that idea. And I actually think something of that nature is going to be essential. We're going to have to start to collaborate in ways that aren't necessarily going to a day job from nine to five, and getting a neat little paycheck. People are going to have to just do this stuff, and they are already. I mean, you see people doing their own initiative all the time, and it's not on the paid structure at all. But I think this has to be a much broader approach, that will be probably the reality of our kids.
Megan Herbert: And you talk about universities perhaps not existing or existing in a very different format. I think that's absolutely realistic, and I think increasingly learning will be online and distant, and you'll be collaborating with people all around the world, and it will be problem solving, and that idea really excites me.
Brian: I hope that happens before some huge, catastrophic event, you know? I'm always so fearful that it will take something big-
Megan Herbert: Well, that's what we all hope. It's hard to go on when you think of those potentials, but at the same time, it's a bit of a race, isn't it?
Quinn: It is. We talk about that a lot, it's a race against time. If we make it through this thing, and we will in some way. I mean, there's a version we don't. We will in some way, it could really suck for our kids' kids. We can, there's so much incredible shit happening simultaneously. Again, the medical versions of SpaceX with immunotherapy and nanobots and stuff like that. Not even all technology, just the connectedness and what people are able to do, and what we're doing with disease and clean energy, and how cities will completely change once cars become electric and autonomous. And what we're about to do now with vertical farming, and shit, you're in the Netherlands. What you guys are doing with greenhouses is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen in my life.
Brian: Oh, yeah. That is wild.
Megan Herbert: Look, the Dutch are very good at building environments that are livable for humans. And it is one of the greatest joys to be able to do everything in your life on a bike and not own a car. And I'm from Australia and you cannot do that in Australia for several reasons. The distances are too great, the roads are not set up that way, and motorists are quite keen to knock as many cyclists off the road as they can.
Brian: You're talking about Los Angeles.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, but to be here and to see some of those things, it reminds you that it's so possible, you just actually need the governments to set the infrastructure up, and yes it costs money for the first little while, but then it's there and people can live it.
Quinn: That's a great segue.
Brian: What should we do as parents and current vote holding citizens be saying or demanding of our elected officials in the meantime?
Megan Herbert: You guys and me, we're coming from two different places in that voting is compulsory in Australia, so we are always very engaged with politics from a young age, and I would hope that what's happening in your country right now is making a lot of young people angry, and makes them enroll to vote and actually continue to be engaged, not just for the term of this particular presidency, but beyond that. In fact, I'm always staggered that voting isn't compulsory in every democracy, because-
Quinn: It's the whole point of democracy.
Megan Herbert: It's madness. So, just number one is voting, is being engaged, is paying attention. And number two, I think there's a huge amount of strength and effects you can have if you operate on a community level. We see all these fantastic small grassroots organizations, Mothers for Clean Air and all these sorts of things, I think they make a massive difference, because they can turn up to town halls and whatever else, and speak on a personal level and we've got to remember, storytelling is our biggest strength, and our biggest secret weapon. If you take the personal into those spaces, people listen, or they can relate to you and then they picture their own grandkids, and all the other things. We're a race that wants to hear stories and wants to have our hearts won over, and why else do we go to movies and all the rest. That's the way we communicate with each other and it always has been, since the campfire days.
Megan Herbert: I think those two things, voting and staying engaged, and then just going into your community and speaking to the specific issues in your community. I think that is the easiest thing people can do, and it has a huge effect.
Quinn: Well, it's the easiest efficiency-wise, use of your time. It's easiest practically, the place you're most likely to make change, because it's on a much smaller scope. Unless you live in New York or London or somewhere where it's so much harder. And it's easiest because theoretically either you know the issues or you can become more aware of them and familiarize yourself with them more easily, because when someone talks about a specific area or thing, you've probably interacted with it in some way or you could very easily. And I think ... Actually, we've seen a lot of that, which is great here. How it turns out? We'll see. But in some ways, this administration has been one of the best things to happen to the progressive side of America in a while because if this election had gone the other way, none of these groups would've sprung up. There wouldn't be marches, there wouldn't be all these get out the vote groups or registration groups or things like that. And it was just necessary, and it gets people excited, and they feel involved and people are doing more than they've ever done.
Quinn: So we always talk about this, what are the things people can do? And to me, I just want to think about okay, both things to work on right now, but also on those local levels, talking with school boards and such like that, what are the ways, again, we can set our kids up for success. And again, it's different all over the world, obviously, and it's different for every school system, or private school versus public. But again, how do we set those things up so kids don't get to 10 and 12 and be like "Well, the schools are shit and don't support me, so I've still got all these obstacles ahead of me." What else can we do to make up for what we've done, essentially.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, and I mean, you're right. It is different in every country and every town in the world, and that's why you just gotta go to the things happening around you, they're the things that you know about, you understand, and perhaps things you have solutions for. So that actually is a big change, when you make small changes in your immediate environment, it does add up. And starting from the home and then spreading out to maybe the local school, and maybe something in your workplace, and then a bit broader, and I think also there's a momentum with that, and people realize that they're empowered. They realize they can affect change, and you see people going further and further with these efforts.
Quinn: And you know, thinking about what you're saying, too, is by modeling that on a local level, that is actually ... And my kids love watching Blue Planet and Planet Earth and that stuff, it's incredible. And in some ways is the best way for them to get exposed to this stuff, we didn't have this kind of stuff, we had a Encyclopedia Britannica.
Brian: Slightly less entertaining.
Quinn: It was awesome. I've still got mine. But those are great, right? On a bigger, broader level. But if you can effect something on the local level, save some small species or habitat, or improve the water quality, or the air quality, or get rid of a polluter that you guys drive by every day from some campaign or petition. That is actually something your children can see a change happen. And you feel like shit, that might be the one thing that sticks with them. Is a memory they have of actual change happening.
Megan Herbert: I think people can go even smaller than that, though. I'll give you an example of something that happened just this week in my life with my son. So we went to the supermarket, and the two of us were chatting away as we're getting the couple of things we needed, and a lovely lady popped out from the behind the deli counter, and proffered a plastic cup with straw in the top, covered in Disney marketing, whatever it was. And said "Here you go, this is for you. It's just a little gift." And my son's eyes lit up, and I thought "Okay, here's one of those moments where I have to make a decision how to handle this."
Megan Herbert: And he knows that we've been trying to reduce and get rid of all the plastic in our household, but I thought "Okay, I can't actually break his little heart, but I've gotta just handle it." So we talked about it and I said "Oh, that's so kind of you, however, we've got quite a few cups at home, and somebody else who doesn't have a cup might need this more." And he looked as me as though "What's going on here?" And thankfully, the deli lady could totally get what I was doing, and she said "Oh, I've had a great idea, and she disappeared behind the counter, and came back with a slice of cheese and said "How about I'll give that cup to somebody who needs it, and I'll give you this bit of cheese." And he was thrilled with that. He didn't care about the cup. And that-
Quinn: Cheese is amazing.
Megan Herbert: Cheese is great. So it was one of those moments where you can actually ... Every single moment with your kids is an opportunity to show that you're making this little change. Whether it's trying to reduce the amount of disposables in your life, or whether it's trying to get rid of all landfill garbage, and you can build towards that together. Any little thing. Or riding your bike together to school, and I think that you can start as small as that. And whenever I'm doing anything good or bad, I always say to myself "Imagine seven billion people just did that."
Quinn: That's a good one.
Megan Herbert: Say, for example, I was at the airport the other day, and I wanted a coffee before the flight. I thought "Okay, I'll go over to that Starbucks," thinking I could sit in and have a coffee. However, I discovered, to my horror, that even people sitting in were given coffee in a disposable cup, and I thought "Okay, this is a moment where I either say 'Oh, but I really want a coffee, and I'm gonna sit down anyway.' Or I keep walking and say 'I don't need that coffee that badly.'" It actually matters if seven billion cups, if seven billion people said I'm gonna sit down and have that coffee. That makes a big difference.
Quinn: Right. And right now the Pacific ocean is like "P.S. that's what's been fucking happening, by the way."
Megan Herbert: That's it. So you actually have choice in every moment whether you're gonna live by those ideas or not, and imagine the seven billion people equation and it's very clear what you need to do each time, it really is.
Brian: Oh, man. I'm not gonna be able to do anything.
Quinn: No, it's true. Again, my son calls ever car besides electric cars pollution cars.
Brian: God, I love that.
Quinn: And when I told him what paper was made out of, he was like "Oh, okay. Just not using paper anymore."
Megan Herbert: Guess that's it for paper and me.
Quinn: He has become so black and white about it all. We have an electric car and he and I got bumped and it's in the shop, and we had to get a rental car, and he walked up and you heard him audible sigh, and he goes "You rented a pollution car." And I was like "All right. Listen, do you want to get to school? 'Cause we can't fucking bike there, it's Los Angeles. I get it. I'm working on it. Give me a minute."
Brian: That speaks volumes to you as a parent, Quinn.
Megan Herbert: But that's great. That is so great that he has got those very strong moral compasses in him already, and that-
Quinn: Disappointment in me.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, of course. Well, there's got to be some casualties to the situation. But it's good that he understands that you've gotta stick by the thing you believe it, so that's great. You're doing something right, Quinn. Try not to be too hard on yourself.
Quinn: I'll tell you what, I can't stop thinking about the imagine seven billion people just did that. You might be illustrating a T-shirt for us to cross-sell here real soon.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, okay. All right. Well, I'll have my people call your people.
Quinn: It's such a front-footed, aggressive way of marketing to people, but at the same time, Brian and I have come embrace ethos of like "Yeah, well, the world's burning. Time to do it." So, that's the way it goes.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, it is. It's time to get serious.
Quinn: No more soft messaging. Maybe for toddlers, but for everybody else, "Oh, really. Imagine if seven billion other people did that. Go fuck yourself."
Megan Herbert: Exactly.
Brian: Oh, that's good.
Quinn: All right. We're getting close to time here, this has been incredible. We can't thank you so much.
Brian: Amazing, thank you. We have-
Megan Herbert: It's a pleasure.
Brian: Yeah, yeah. Who else should we talk to, Megan?
Quinn: Who else has inspired you over the past year or so, or you feel is doing this right, and they can be anyone from elected official to business, to whatever.
Brian: People have said their parents. It can be anyone.
Megan Herbert: I can't name specific names right now because it is getting on to 10 past 10 over here, and I'm a fairly tired mother of one, but I can tell you that the people who inspire me most are the people who are perhaps just a lecturer at a university, or mothers acting in small groups in their community. I keep seeing evidence of people doing small, very impactful things all the time, and it's not the big ticket people necessarily. I get so much fuel from that. When you see, you think "Oh, thank god. It's not just me, and yes there are people, and gosh, they're putting aside their own conveniences to actually make a difference." So it's not about the big famous ones for me, it's definitely about the small community change makers. And I'm inspired every day I jump onto Twitter or Facebook, something pops up, and you think "Okay, we're on the right track."
Quinn: You are on a different Twitter or Facebook than we are.
Brian: Which one are you using?
Megan Herbert: You've got to adjust your feedback loop, man.
Quinn: I know, I know, I know. All right, so listen, let's ... You're crashing on us and Brian has to go to sleep soon, too. Let's summarize what our listeners and progressive folks can do to take action. One is teaching, and again, this is specific today about children, about this younger group. We get to, for the most part, start from scratch. And we don't want to dump the world's problems on them yet, but we want to ease them into it, while letting them be kids. And use the dreaming that they do every day to hopefully also apply to something that'll help humanity. And that's teaching them how to learn how to be resilient, which I couldn't agree with more. To stick with one thing at a time, to stick through something, and to become communicators in a way.
Quinn: Number two is to model behavior, both on a very personal level, but also, like you said, fucking vote, man. Take your kids when you go vote, even for the local stuff, especially for the local stuff, because this could be somebody who lives down the street from you, not somebody they see once a year. To be engaged, to make change, and like you said at the very beginning, to be compassionate. Model that as much as possible for the earth for, for other humans who also have to breathe this air. I think those were the main most specific points. Am I missing anything?
Megan Herbert: It's easy for people to break it down to two things. It's the things that we have the power to do ourselves, and the things we have to prod big business and leaders to do. And the things we can do for ourselves can start so, so small, but if you actually stick to them, and show your kids you're serious with each little action, and then multiply by seven billion, we're getting somewhere.
Quinn: And I just thought about your last thing, which, of course, makes sense. We're both writers here, but like you said, we have been storytelling since the wheel, since fire. We didn't have written anything forever, nobody did. And going back to that, and in some ways it feels seems cheating, but using personal stories to advance change, it just fucking works. And anybody can do it.
Megan Herbert: It's not cheating at all. It's absolutely not cheating. We need to hear the personal, and you hear people's "Oh, I couldn't relate to that until my sister, brother, daughter, son, whatever went through it, now I get it." And that's just the way we are. We don't care if it doesn't touch us, and that was why in the book I wanted Sophia to be compassionate, so she had to understand how her friends felt, and that's how we have to think-
Quinn: She had to go on a journey to get there.
Megan Herbert: Yeah, that's it.
Quinn: And I think kids can empathize with it, 'cause she doesn't at the beginning, and kids don't. And that's the way it goes. All right, so we're getting towards the end here.
Brian: We got just a few more questions, very quickly-
Quinn: It's a lightning round, so stay awake.
Megan Herbert: Okay, I'll do my best.
Quinn: Okay. When was the first time in your life when you realized that you had the power of change, or the power to do something meaningful?
Megan Herbert: Gosh. Probably, I made the biggest changes when I was soap writer, soap opera storyteller, because you would get feedback from viewers, and realize that you had actually touched their emotions, and you'd never met them. That was the very big moment.
Quinn: That's really cool.
Brian: Wow. It's gotta feel great. All right, question number two, how do you consume the news, Megan?
Megan Herbert: How do I consume the news? As little as possible. No, that's not true.
Brian: Very good.
Quinn: And number three, this will be a good different perspective on it, if you could ... Do you know what Amazon is? Amazon? Do you guys have Amazon?
Megan Herbert: I'm quite aware of Amazon, yes.
Quinn: Well, you know, they're not some places, easy. Okay.
Megan Herbert: Yeah.
Brian: Sorry about Quinn.
Quinn: I don't know if you guys have Amazon Prime. America's become addicted to this problem, which is you get this two day free delivery anything. You can get a toothbrush or a fucking bathtub, or anything in between. So if you could Amazon Prime on book to Donald Trump, what would it be?
Megan Herbert: My book. What, are you kidding?
Brian: I literally just looked down at your book. I was just like "She's gonna say Tantrum to Save the World."
Megan Herbert: It's perfectly aimed to his age group. No. I think the pictures would help him understand a few things, and there's a fun foldout poster, that would distract him for at least five minutes.
Quinn: He does love posters, it's true.
Megan Herbert: He does.
Quinn: That's amazing.
Brian: What do you do for fun, Megan? Any hobbies, non-work?
Megan Herbert: Yeah, okay. I often take myself off to the gallery and draw the masters, and I love doing that. And living in Amsterdam the amazing galleries are everywhere, so I do it as often as I can.
Brian: That is such a great city. I love it very much.
Megan Herbert: It's good.
Brian: It really is.
Quinn: Last one-
Brian: Where can we find you online? Where can all of our listeners follow you?
Megan Herbert: Okay, well I'm on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, both as myself, @MeganHerbert, and various World Saving Books handles. So if you do a basic search, I'll pop up somewhere along the way, and yeah. Trying to be as regular as I can out there [inaudible 01:09:09].
Quinn: It's a hard one.
Megan Herbert: It's a struggle.
Quinn: And everyone, just to reiterate, if you're a parent, a teacher, a librarian, a grandparent, people who might have kids some day, Brian, people who accidentally already made kids, Brian.
Quinn: People who are like 16 and desperately trying not to have kids, you can all buy the book right now at worldsavingbooks.com. Is that right, Megan?
Megan Herbert: That's correct. We'll ship it directly to you.
Quinn: And every time she gets an order, she winces a little bit, but it's good. Everybody's doing a good thing here, it's just more masking tape.
Megan Herbert: That's right.
Brian: It really is wonderful, too. I really loved your book.
Quinn: It's awesome. When I gave it to my kids pre-school teachers, they were like "Cool, we're gonna have a protest." And I was like "Fuck yeah, let's do this thing, man."
Megan Herbert: That's what I want to hear.
Quinn: Such hippies, dude, I love it.
Megan Herbert: Three foot tall protesters are my favorites.
Quinn: Yeah, right. You're just kinda like "What are they doing?" Megan, thank you so much-
Brian: Thank you so much.
Quinn: ... for your time today. For this book, for the books to come, for all that you do and have done, and the way you're raising that little human of yours. Please keep kicking ass out there. We are very much depending on you. These little creatures are depending on you.
Megan Herbert: I'll do my best, and I know you guys are doing your best, too, which is also very heartening, so thank you for what you do.
Quinn: It's all relative, but thank you.
Brian: We're working on it.
Quinn: We're working on it. Megan, thank you. Go to bed and hopefully we'll have some orders in your inbox not when you wake up, 'cause it will be a couple weeks before it publishes. You get the point.
Megan Herbert: I get it. Thanks, and great to talk to you guys. Thanks for the chance to have a chat. I enjoyed myself.
Quinn: All right, take care.
Brian: Thank you. Goodnight to you.
Megan Herbert: Okay. See you. Bye.
Quinn: Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute or awesome workout or dish washing or fucking dog walking late at night that much more pleasant. As a reminder, please subscribe to our free email newsletter at importantnotimportant.com, it is all the news most vital to our survival as a species.
Brian: And you can follow us all over the internet. You can find us on Twitter @Importantnotimp. So weird. Also, on Facebook and Instagram at Important, Not Important. Pinterest and Tumblr, the same thing. So check us out, follow us, share us, like us, you know the deal. And please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this, and if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple Podcast. Keep the lights on. Thanks.
Brian: And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website, importantnotimportant.com.
Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our jammin' music, to all of you for listening, and finally, most importantly, to our moms for making us. Have a great day.
Brian: Thanks, guys.