Bridging the Gaps 2022: Podcasts on ecology, health, energy, well-being…..

Seán Ó Conláin

In our Bridging the Gaps podcast series, the hosts, Seán O’Conláin and Caroline Whyte, explore a range of topics with guests from a wide variety of backgrounds. As with our previous series in 2021 and 2020, and our 2019 podcast series Beyond the Obvious, it is co-organised by Feasta and the European Health Futures Forum (EHFF). Please feel free to comment below.

Special thanks to Laoise Kelly who gave us permission to use her harp music. The piece is ‘Waltzing Daisy’ from her album ‘Just Harp’. You can find our more about Laoise’s music here.

Thanks also to Leontien Friel Darrell (@LFDDesigns) for designing our new podcast logo.

Podcasts are listed below from the newest to the oldest.

Podcast 10: Transforming chaos into coherence

December 31 2022

David Somekh of the EHFF and Caroline Whyte spoke with Jim Garrison. Jim is the founder of Ubiquity University, whose founding purpose is to develop learning experiences grounded in the world’s wisdom traditions blended with practical interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills. 

Jim has a doctorate in philosophical theology from Cambridge University and has been active throughout his life in the anti-war, anti-nuclear, citizen diplomacy and environmental movements. He worked closely with Mikhail Gorbachev in the State of the World Forum. Since the pandemic began, he has been co-hosting a series of webinars called Humanity Rising. Topics covered in our podcast include climate disruption, the Russia-Ukraine war, the Cuban missile crisis and the power of the youth movement.

Photo on the homepage link:

Podcast 9: Housing access and mass retrofitting in Ireland and Europe: challenges and solutions

November 30 2022

Seán Ó Conláin and Caroline Whyte interviewed Anne Barrington, who is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance in Ireland, and Uuriintuya Batsaikhan, an economist based in Brussels who oversees the research projects at Positive Money Europe. Topics covered in our discussion included the challenges faced by those trying to provide affordable and social housing in Ireland, the impact on the housing supply of the ECB’s monetary policy and other EU policies such as the Stability and Growth Pact, the effects of the current energy crisis, the need to mitigate climate disruption, and the role played by ideology in current Irish housing policy. We also explored some ways forward, including the Unlock Campaign for providing mass retrofitting of housing in Europe that is being spearheaded by Positive Money Europe, and potential changes to the treatment of housing under Irish law.

Photo on the homepage link by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Podcast 8: Lessons for community health from the COVID pandemic

October 31 2022

David Somekh and Caroline Whyte spoke with Lars Münter. Lars works on international relations for the Danish committee for health education, and he also manages the communication for Nordic Health 2030 and is a member of the EHFF’s Advisory Group and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance’s Danish hub. Topics covered in our discussion included the impact and implications for community health from the COVID pandemic, the need to shift emphasis in the healthcare system away from ‘illness care’ and towards empowering patients and helping to build community capacity, synergies between the changes needed in the healthcare system and those needed in the broader economy, the energy system, and the education system, and possible ways forward.

Photo on the homepage link by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

Podcast 7: Empowerment through the arts

October 3 2022

Cristina Ciampaglione, originally from Italy, is an artist and arts manager who has worked on a range of arts projects in Ireland and is a Project Manager at the Walls project, which uses street art as a tool of engagement between communities and artists. She recently coordinated – and spoke at – an event on Art and Climate Change at the Italian Institute of Culture in Dublin. In this podcast, she spoke with Seán and Caroline about how she came to be working as an arts manager, and about the enormous role which she believes the arts can play in improving life by empowering people and helping to create a vision for the future.

Featured image on the homepage link:

Podcast 6: Breaking down silos in healthcare and the economy

July 31 2022

In this month’s podcast, David Somekh, the network director of the European Health Futures Forum (EHFF) who often co-hosts our podcasts, spoke with Caroline Whyte about the challenge of breaking down silos, employing systems thinking and scenario thinking, the importance of health literacy, the need to move away from 19th-century models of healthcare, and persuading people to change their minds. David explains how the EHFF came to be created and why it focusses on the overall ‘health ecosystem’, and its interconnectedness with the ‘wellbeing economy’ model which seeks to achieve the overall outcomes we want in society, rather than trying to constantly expand GDP growth. David also talks about the roots of the Wellbeing Economy Hub for Ireland, which both Feasta and the EHFF are involved in.

Featured image on the homepage link: ‘One of the wards in the hospital at Scutari’ by William Simpson (artist, 1823–1899):’One_of_the_wards_in_the_hospital_at_Scutari’._Wellcome_M0007724_-_restoration,_cropped.jpg

Podcast 5: Supporting Nature’s connections

June 30 2022

Seán Ó Conláin spoke with ecologist Julien Carlier, who is a postdoctoral researcher at the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Atlantic Technological University Galway. Julien’s research can be found here. He did a doctoral thesis on the ecological benefits of greenways and is currently working on the HNV_FarmForBio project, mapping High Nature Value farmland and forestry. Julien discussed his work and also gave his impressions of the new Common Agricultural Policy programmes which aim to pay farmers for restoring biodiversity on farmland.

Podcast 4: The theory and practice of Communities of Practice

May 31 2022

Caroline Whyte and David Somekh of the European Health Futures Forum spoke with Davie Philip about Communities of Practice. Davie is a community catalyst, climate coach and facilitator at Cultivate, the Sustainable Ireland Cooperative. Since 1997 Davie has been active in Ireland promoting sustainability, community resilience and cooperative approaches to meeting our needs. He was a founding member of Feasta and also of Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd. the company behind the ecovillage project in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary where he is now based.

From 2016 to 2021 Davie sat on the Council of ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, and from April 2019 to 2021 he was a co-president.

Davie, Caroline and David are all core members of the Wellbeing Economy Hub for the island of Ireland. Davie explains what Communities of Practice are and why they’re useful, and he and David exchange insights on their experience with them.

Featured image on the homepage link: Author: Timon Wanner.

Podcast 3: Problems of U.S. climate politics (and maybe some solutions?)

March 31 2022

Our guest this month was Professor Theda Skocpol, who is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, and the founder and director of the Scholars Strategy Network. Professor Skocpol has extensively researched the social and political dynamics that can bring about major changes in social policy in the US. Her most recent book, co-authored with Caroline Tervo, is Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance.  

We discussed her 2013 report “Naming the Problem: What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight against Global Warming”, which came out in the aftermath of a failed attempt at climate legislation in the US that took place in 2010. The report also supports Cap and Dividend, or Cap and Share, a climate policy that’s advocated by members of Feasta’s climate group. Mike Sandler, who is a member of Feasta’s climate group and the current Chair of the Feasta Board of Trustees, and who also manages the Commons-Share and Dividends for America websites, joined Caroline Whyte for the interview. Mike has also written a blog article about ‘Naming the Problem’.

Featured image on the homepage link: ‘sunrise 1’ Author: angiea. Source:

Podcast 2: A small farm future

February 28 2022

UK-based smallholder Chris Smaje spoke with Seán and Caroline. Topics covered include agroecology, the need to balance different forms of property ownership, and the globalism/localism debate. Chris is based in Somerset in the UK and worked as an academic sociologist and anthropologist for some time, but then changed focus to the practice and politics of agroecology. He has written several books, including, most recently, A Small Farm Future: Making the Case for a Society Built Around Local Economies, Self-Provisioning, Agricultural Diversity,and a Shared Earth. He writes the blog Small Farm Future and has also written for various publications, such as The Land, Dark Mountain, Permaculture magazine and Statistics Views, as well as academic journals such as Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and the Journal of Consumer Culture.

Featured image on the homepage link: ‘Farm garden 4’ Author: Maarten26. Source:

Podcast 1: Bioregionalism, the Commons and the Doughnut

January 31 2022

To kick off our 2022 series, Caroline and David Somekh of the EHFF spoke with Isabel Carlisle, the director of the Bioregional Learning Centre in Devon in the UK. Isabel spoke about her earlier career as an archaeologist and in the art world, and how she became involved in the climate movement and bioregionalism. She described a collaborative community project which the Centre is working on to figure out effective ways to keep the river Dart clean and to save water, and how the Centre is also helping to put the ideas of the Economic Doughnut to work at a regional level. We also talked about coordinating local action in different places through global networks such as the Regenerative Communities Network and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, and about ways in which bioregional thinking could be useful to the new Wellbeing Economy Hub for the island of Ireland.

Featured image on the homepage link: ‘River Dart, Devon.’ Author: Edwardsian. Source:

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