106. Bertrand Piccard: Combining science and adventure to tackle climate challenges

In today’s world, the term “ecology” often evokes images of sacrifice, expense, and inconvenience. In this final episode of our Climate Solutions series, renowned explorer and environmentalist, Bertrand Piccard explains why focusing on ecology is not only profitable but also exciting. Piccard is best known for his groundbreaking achievements in exploration: flying around the world in a solar-powered airplane and circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon. These adventures allowed him to witness the beauty and fragility of our planet firsthand, instilling in him a deep sense of responsibility to protect and preserve it. 

Talking to host, Sue Stockdale, who is also an explorer, Bertrand discusses the importance of giving ourselves permission to invent our future, highlighting how we are often trained to remain in our zone of comfort, which ultimately limits our potential for adventure and growth. He emphasises the need to step outside of our certainties and embrace the unknown in order to create the life and society we want and shape the future we desire.

About Bertrand Piccard : Clean Tech Pioneer- Founder and President of the Solar Impulse Foundation

Bertrand Piccard is a pioneering spirit and an influential voice to encourage the implementation of efficient solutions. As one of the first, as early as the 2000s, to consider ecology from a profitability perspective, Bertrand Piccard is considered an opinion leader on the themes of innovation and sustainability. As President of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he promotes qualitative growth by demonstrating the economic potential of clean technologies. Denouncing the absurdity of the polluting and inefficient systems still too often used today, he pleads for the modernization of the legal framework in order to facilitate market access for efficient solutions. His voice is heard within the most important institutions, such as the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Economic Forum and his commitment has earned him several nominations, such as Champion of the Earth, and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations.

Connect with Bertrand Piccard via Twitter @bertrandpiccard and @solarimpulse and the Solar Impulse website

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Action to take after listening to the podcast

Key Quotes

  • I was born and raised into that vision of running scientific expeditions to protect the environment.
  • It’s wrong to say the sky is the limit. The real limit is the fuel.
  • I wanted to identify in the world all the efficient solutions that are economically profitable to be able to protect the environment.
  • We explore with my foundation, the best solutions, we explore new ways to make them known, we explore new ways to implement them, to create an enthusiasm around these solutions.
  • Ecology is not anymore something expensive, boring and sacrificial. It is something exciting. It is something economically profitable. It’s something that can bring people together.
  • You have to give an incentive to people to change.
  • If you see somebody who is afraid of changing, you have to show him that he has inside of himself all the tools, all the resources, all the potentials that can help him to do something differently. We have to show him that it’s better to do it in another way.
  • Never believe when you are told it’s impossible. The people who say that something is impossible are people who believe that the future is an extrapolation of the past and the present, which is completely wrong. The future is unpredictable and requires from us to be disruptive.
  • There was a time in exploration when it was new continents, then it was new planets. Now it’s really how to live better on this planet, how to protect our planet, how to improve the quality of life, how to find new solutions.
  • When we speak of solutions, it’s important to understand that most of the time it’s not high-tech solutions, it’s common sense.

Time Stamps

[00:01:34] The unknown of the world.
[00:04:05] Overcoming fears through hang gliding.
[00:09:05] Limitations of fuel in aviation.
[00:12:12] Solar Impulse Efficient Solution.
[00:16:05] Embracing vulnerability in exploration.
[00:20:15] Family involvement in adventures.
[00:24:09] Solar-powered transportation innovations.
[00:29:30] Making climate change fashionable.
[00:31:30] Challenging our certitudes.

Transcription Bertrand Piccard

00:00 Sue Hi, I’m Sue Stockdale and welcome to the final episode of this Climate Solutions Series 14, where we’ve partnered with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, a dynamic educational charity working across Scotland and beyond to promote geographical understanding and joined up thinking. Founded in 1884, the RSGS has developed several exciting projects to enhance your understanding about climate science, which I’ll tell you more about later. To become a member of the RSGS, you can go to rsgs.org. This week’s guest is Bertrand Piccard, the legendary aviation pioneer who has achieved two great aeronautical firsts. His non-stop around the world balloon trip was the longest ever in aviation history for both duration and distance. And then more recently, he completed a circumnavigation around the world in a solar airplane without using any fuel, demonstrating the immense potential of renewable energies and technologies. Bertrand now combines science and adventure to tackle some of the great challenges of our times. And I really enjoyed our conversation. Welcome to the podcast, Bertrand. It’s fantastic to speak to you today.

Bertrand  I’m very happy also, all my friends from Scotland.

Sue Now, curiosity is something I know as an explorer is close to your heart. What’s getting you curious this morning, Bertrand?

01:34 Bertrand The unknown of the world. You know, I think life itself is the biggest adventure. Sometimes we imagine that we have to go to the other side of the world with very special vehicles and things like that. But actually, life is full of unknown, full of unpredictability. And we have to make our way through life like we do it on the ice or in the jungle.

01:59 Sue Now, you have been exploring the unknown from an aeronautical perspective with your two great successes, flying around the world in a balloon and a solar powered airplane. I’m wondering from that view of the world, Bertrand, what did it cause you to reflect upon and to be inspired by?

02:18 Bertrand Of course, you are inspired by nature. You’re inspired by the greatness of the world. You’re inspired by the magic of life that you overfly. But much more than that, I think when you go for an adventure like that, you have to prepare yourself. And it’s years and years of preparation, which means that the adventure doesn’t start when you take off and stops when you land. It starts when you are born and it goes through your entire life. And then you try to make things happen. You do the fundraising because you have to fund all the adventure. You need the technology, you need the team. And you know what? You need also all the overflight permissions, the bureaucracy, the certification of your airplane or your balloon. And all this is fully part of the adventure. And when people ask me, were you afraid when you were flying across the oceans at night? No, I was afraid in different moments. I was afraid when I was talking to the bureaucracy and thought I would never get the certification of the plane. I was afraid when I was asking overflight permissions that didn’t come. So finally, I was afraid not to fly. I was not at all afraid to fly.

03:40 Sue  So given that the whole journey is not just the flight itself, and if we took that as an analogy for almost life here on Earth, I’m wondering then from your perspective, you’ve experienced risk taking, you’ve experienced failing and things going wrong and the unexpected. How could the persons who’ve not done adventurous things, how can they bring more adventure to their life, do you think, and to take more risks?

04:03 Bertrand When I was a teenager, I was not an explorer. I was not an adventurer. I was afraid to climb in the tree. I was a bit shy with the people and I just tried to heal myself. So how did I do that? With hang gliding. The first time I saw a hang glider flying in the sky in Switzerland, it was in 1974. I was 16 years old and I thought that’s my therapy. This is what I need to gain self confidence. And I started to fly. And immediately, I was impressed by the fact that when you are facing a certain risk, you have to connect to yourself. You have to connect to the present moment. You cannot project yourself anymore in all your fears, anxiety, whatever thoughts that you have outside of yourself. No, you connect to yourself. You feel that you are living inside your body in the present moment. And this gives a fantastic performance. There is no space for fear anymore. You are just doing what you need to do at the right moment with the consciousness of what you are going to do. And this was a huge change for me. And of course, I wanted to be an explorer because of my father, because of my grandfather. But I think this is the moment where I gave myself the tools to be able to do it.

Sue So you had to be present for yourself and experience that in the moment to be able to find those tools?

Bertrand Yes, because in normal life, it’s exactly the opposite from an adventure. In normal life, we are hooked to our certitudes, habits, beliefs, convictions, dogmas, paradigms, exclamation marks, common assumptions. And we’re prisoners of that. And it’s very difficult to go outside of our zone of comfort because we are trained to remain in our zone of comfort. So we live exactly the opposite of an adventure. So what we need to understand is the importance of getting outside of our certitudes, to give ourselves the permission to invent something else, not just an invention as an airplane or whatever, but invent the life we want, invent the future we want, and be aware that the decisions that we are taking as human beings have a consequence in our life. And the direction of our life will depend on the decisions we take. It’s a little bit like in a balloon, when you change your altitude, you find other layers of wind, we have another direction. So depending on how you change your altitude, you will change your direction. And this makes you understand life not as a straight line in one dimension, but the 3D vision of the future, where you will navigate at different altitudes. In the balloon, it’s by dropping ballast that drops weight. And in life, it’s by dropping the certitudes, the habits and the convictions.

07:08 Sue That’s such a lovely analogy for us to think about Bertrand. And having done those adventurous things, how did you then move into focusing on helping us all to manage the planet in a different way?

07:25 Bertrand That was a concern that my grandfather and my father had already. You know, when my grandfather made the first flight ever in the stratosphere, when he invented the pressurized cabin and was the first man to see with his own eyes the curvature of the earth, it was not to break a record. It was to demonstrate that we could fly higher than the bad weather, in thinner air, where the resistance to speed is much lower, and therefore you will reduce fuel consumption. So his vision was already energy efficiency. When my father made the deepest dive into the Mariana Trench in 1960, that was to see if there was life down there in a period of time where the governments wanted to drop their radioactive waste. And when he saw a fish, it was to prove that if you would send radioactive waste down there in the deepest trenches, it would pollute the entire ocean and maybe the world. So I was born and raised into that vision of running scientific expeditions to protect the environment.

So the balloon flight around the world with Breitling Orbiter 3, that was a bit the dream for myself. But it turned out to be the first point of entry for Solar Impulse. When I landed in the desert of Egypt after 45,000 kilometers, 20 days in the air with my friend Brian Jones, there was 40 kilos left of liquid propane out of the 3.7 tons from the start. And that was the moment where I thought, wow, it’s wrong to say the sky is the limit. The real limit is the fuel. The fuel is the limit. And then it was the moment I thought, okay, I have everything in my hands now to run a big adventure with no fuel, flying around the world on a solar powered airplane and demonstrate how clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve something completely new, something that people would consider impossible. So it was really the moment where all my education, all my poles of interest, all my concerns could express themselves into one big project. And that was Solar Impulse.

09:37 Sue And then did you have that same epiphany then as to what was to come next?

09:41 Bertrand Solar Impulse was really a symbolic project. It was not to show what we can do with solar airplanes, because it was an airplane that was 72 meter wingspan. It was bigger than a jumbo jet, lighter than a car, a single seater. It needed 30 people to be able to fly it only in good weather. So of course, it’s not a really good way to promote clean aviation. But I noticed that it was a really good way to promote the solutions that can make our world much cleaner and much more efficient. Because actually, Solar Impulse for me was really the symbol of the gap existing between all the current technologies available and the world of the past in which we’re still living. Just imagine I was flying with no fuel, with no noise, with no pollution, and I could fly as long as I wanted. And I was above the world that still uses thermal engines who are wasting 80% of the fuel you put in the tank. A world with badly insulated houses, inefficient heating, cooling and lighting systems, old industrial processes, dirty ways to use fossil energies. Well, that was such a gap. It was unbelievable. And we don’t understand that we live in the world of the past, because it’s like the fish who is in the water and doesn’t know he’s wet. We don’t notice how outdated and inefficient our world is.

11: 15 So this is when I thought, okay, now after Solar Impulse, and thanks to the fame of Solar Impulse, I wanted to identify in the world all the efficient solutions that are economically profitable to be able to protect the environment. And this is really important because sometimes people look for magical solutions for the future. Well, that’s useless today. It’s almost an alibi to do nothing today. So what we need is solutions that exist, that are scalable, that you can use right now. And of course, they have to protect the environment, but they also need to be economically profitable. Otherwise, nobody will use them. And my goal after flying with Solar Impulse around the world, and even with Breitling Orbiter 3, that was not to say the world is beautiful, nature is magical, life is a miracle. We have to protect that. No, because that’s not the word, not the language of the key decision makers. Their language is about job creation and profitability. So we have to give them that with the ecological solutions. They need to have profitability and job creation. And this is why we created this label, Solar Impulse Efficient Solution. And we found now, we identify in the world 1,515 of these solutions. And it’s an enormous number. It really gives hope. And now I’m spending my life bringing these solutions to heads of states, to economical leaders, key decision makers, and so on.

12:39 Sue So it sounds to me Bertrand, as you tell that story, is that you’re more now a communicator than merely, I say merely an explorer, which is an accolade in itself. It sounds, what’s most important is about how you communicate what the solutions are for the future.

12:50 Bertrand  Well, we explore with my foundation, the best solutions, we explore new ways to make them known, we explore new ways to implement them, to create an enthusiasm around these solutions. We explore ways to transform the general inertia and paralyse us into action. So I think it remains the world of exploration, but it’s implemented in another way, that going in the jungle or in the North Pole or flying around the world in a solar airplane. Now it’s going around the world, meeting key decision makers and trying to change the narrative. Ecology is not anymore something expensive, boring and sacrificial. It is something exciting. It is something economically profitable. It’s something that can bring people together. And I think exploration is also inside of ourselves, inside of the way people are thinking and doing, and not only in new territories.

13:49 Sue  So given that you’re using your exploration skills in all of these different ways to inspire and engage people, and you also know yourself as a youngster, you weren’t an explorer. So you had to go in that hang glider to experience what the reality of it was. What’s your sense of how do you engage people to trust in the unknown, to step out of their comfort zone and to be uncomfortable enough to engage in some of those technologies that are part of those solutions that you described?

14:20 Bertrand You have to give an incentive to people to change. If you see somebody who is afraid of changing, you have to show him that he has inside of himself all the tools, all the resources, all the potentials that can help him to do something differently. We have to show him that it’s better to do it in another way. You know, as much as an explorer, I’m a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and I was treating people for 20 years with hypnosis. And basically, it’s exactly the same thing. You bring people into the confidence, into trusting their own resources. And this is something that they are sometimes discovering for the first time, to trust ourselves, to be aware that we have all the tools to do it, and that if we do it, life will be more interesting. Our relation with ourselves and with other people will also be more interesting. We will be able to imagine more, to dream more, to do things differently, and maybe to invent a future in three dimensions rather than just the little prison in which we are with our certitudes.

15:32 Sue Well, I certainly agree with what you’re saying, Bertrand. I’m an executive coach, and there are many conversations that I have with leaders on very similar subjects about how difficult and yet how rewarding it is to step out one’s comfort zone.

15:41 Bertrand But you know, there’s something important also to say, is that we are not big heroes doing exploration and putting ourselves above other people. We have to show to everyone that each one can do the same that what we have done. If we have a bit of curiosity, if we have a bit of perseverance, if we agree also to take the risk of failing, this is very important. And sometimes, I meet explorers who say, oh, we should not speak about our emotions, we should not speak about our fears, we have to show that we are much more courageous than everybody else. And I think it’s wrong. I think it’s absolutely wrong. We have to show our doubts, we have to show our problems, we have to show also our failures and tell to people, we’re just like you. But we take that risk. We take the risk to step out of what we know, because we think it makes life much more interesting.

16:40 Sue I also concur with what you’re saying, Bertrand, and recognize that we live in a world of social media, and what may seem as the perfect scenario where people are photographing things for Facebook or Instagram or anything else, and there is a drive for perfection and not showing vulnerability and not showing the imperfections. So sometimes it’s not quite as easy as we would like it to be in showing the vulnerability, particularly for decision makers, industry leaders, heads of government to be the ones to say, I don’t know what to do next. And I’m wondering if you’ve experienced any of that with the influencers and key people that you engage with? Do they ever show you a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty?

17:18 Bertrand Only if you show yours, they will show theirs. And it’s funny, because in the beginning, I was giving my speeches to big corporations or even public speeches, showing the success. And then there were people asking me, yes, but did you also have some failures? And I thought, wow, I’m not speaking enough about my failures. And now I have a complete speech that I do sometimes only about the failures. And it’s really interesting because it shows that each failure allowed me to understand something much better and to do better afterward. And there would not have been all this success without the previous failures. This shows the vulnerability. It’s a huge mistake. If we want to promote exploration and the spirit of exploration, it’s a huge mistake to make believe that we are unvulnerable. We need to show our vulnerability. We have to show our difficulties. We have to show that basically we are like everybody else, but just with a wish to go a bit further. And we should go there with everybody else, not alone.

18:29 Sue Well, of course, that’s what makes it much more enjoyable as well when one’s doing adventurous things with other people and seeing the effect that it has on them too.

18:37 Bertrand Exactly. And now what I always say when I speak to you, the Royal Scottish Geographic Society, or to the Explorers Club in New York, or other groups like this, it’s that we should give the wish to the new members to explore the world, but to explore life, to explore the human being, to explore the psychology, to explore the spirituality, to explore new ways to have a better quality of life. And this can be done by absolutely everybody. And also to never believe when you are told it’s impossible. The people who say that something is impossible are people who believe that the future is an extrapolation of the past and the present, which is completely wrong. The future is unpredictable and requires from us to be disruptive. That means to invent new ways of doing and thinking that actually have absolutely nothing to do with what we have learned.

19:30 Sue If this episode is inspiring you to find out more about climate change, then the RSGS Climate Solutions course can give you a greater understanding in a quick and simple way. It’s been developed by leaders and experts in climate change from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the University of Strathclyde Business School and the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, and it’s endorsed by the Institute of Directors. In just two hours, you can learn about practical solutions that you can implement immediately to help tackle climate change, direct from world-leading experts. Head on over to climatesolutionsnetwork.com to find out more. Now back to the podcast. So given that you have this enthusiasm for exploration and helping people to be disruptive and challenge their stated ways of thinking, I understand you also have a family yourself, Bertrand. I’m wondering if they get inspired by your messages. Are your daughters not as enthused as you’d like them to be?

20:30 Bertrand No, no, everybody’s enthusiastic. And you know, I did all my adventures thanks to my family and not despite my family. I remember that in order for my daughters to identify themselves to what I was doing, I always took them on the place where I was constructing the airplane, the balloon. I took them to see the test flights, to come with me when I was giving speeches. So they were really completely involved in what I was doing, and they understood very well why I was doing it. And I remember when I was ready to take off in Hawaii to cross the second part of the Pacific and fly to San Francisco, I sent them a message to say, flight is confirmed for tomorrow. And I thought, what are they going to answer? And the answer is pioneering spirit for life. And this has become the motto of the family, but it was invented by them, not by me.

21:27 Sue And what do you hope your legacy might be for your family, given you are retaining the family history that’s gone before you? Do you have any hopes or ambitions about what you would hope to leave for them with your experience that you’ve been inspiring them with?

21:38 Bertrand Well, there is once a journalist who asked to my three daughters, what is the scientific heritage you got from your father? And they looked at him and said, it’s not a scientific heritage, it’s a philosophical heritage. And I think this is really important because it allows them to understand life in another way. And today it’s what we need. There was a time in exploration when it was new continents, then it was new planets. Now it’s really how to live better on this planet, how to protect our planet, how to improve the quality of life, how to find new solutions. So you don’t require really a lot of physical strength. You need to find a mental endurance to go through the obstacles, through the people who tell you it’s impossible and keep faith that life is something that is worth living well.

22:35 Sue So yeah, that’s an important subtlety, the philosophical perspective and not just the scientific perspective of life. Just turning our attention to the everyday activities of Bertrand and what you spend your time doing. What would be an example of your everyday activities that you do Bertrand?

22:55 Bertrand I earn my life by giving speeches. This is about 25% of my time and three quarter of my time I give for free to my Solar Impulse Foundation to promote the solutions that can protect the environment. So basically it’s a lot of political meetings, a lot of speeches to political assemblies, a lot of press conferences, speaking to clean tech associations, environmentalists. And each time it must be another speech. Each time it’s another way to present the things. And each time I try to do better in the connection with the audience. So it’s never boring. It’s always something new and it’s really the spirit of exploration. How can you change the world basically? Or to be a little bit more humble, how can you contribute to change the world?

23:43 Sue And do you ever wake up and think, I don’t want to do that today, I’ll have a day off?

23:54 Bertrand Yes, absolutely. No, absolutely. There are moments I just like to stay, to meditate, to rest, to think. I love to write. I’m writing a new book now. It will be the seventh book. And nevertheless, I have two more adventures that I’m preparing because I’m too young with 65 to be retired as an explorer. So I’m working now on a solar zeppelin and a hydrogen airplane. The hydrogen airplane is a two-seater that should fly around the world nonstop. And it will be absolutely with no CO2 because it will be a green hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water thanks to solar energy. So yeah, it’s still interesting and still challenging.

24:47 Sue Well, I’m glad that not every morning you wake up with enthusiasm and some days you want to just have a rest. And I know one of the things that is a more recent initiative you have been involved in is Prêt à Voter. Is that correct?

24:57 Bertrand  Yes, Prêt à Voter, ready to vote. This is an action that we have run in France. We’re running it now in Switzerland and ready to do it a bit everywhere. And it’s legislative recommendations in order to push some solutions that are blocked by old legal framework. There are so many things you can do much better, much cleaner, much more efficient. But the law is not ready for that because the legal framework is as outdated as the old energies that we are still using. So we produce these recommendations that we bring to the parliamentarians, to the senators, to the heads of states and so on. And we also made a solutions guide for cities. This is something that is really important because there are cities who have tried one solution, another city has tried another one, and it works. But they don’t have the general vision of it. So we have gathered all the solutions that work well. And we put this in the guide, solution guide for cities, and we bring them to the mayors, we bring them to governments, and show them all the success stories that could be globalized and that could be used also in their city. And you know how all this started. It started thanks to Scotland, because that was in the Conference of Climate in Katowice, Poland, I think, COP24. And Nicola Sturgeon wanted to support us. And we work together with Scotland and with the support of Scotland, we could get the first hundreds of solutions. So it really started in connection with the support that Scotland gave us. And at the COP26 in Glasgow, we could bring to Nicola Sturgeon, we could bring to the Scottish government a special guide for Scotland that we edited specially with all the solutions that make sense for your country.

26:47 Sue Well, I’m glad Scotland can be helping and supporting in the pioneering activities that are happening there. For our listeners, we have listeners in over 25 countries Bertrand, what would be your message to them if they were thinking, wow, this is inspiring what I’m hearing here, what can I do in my country? What would you recommend that they take away as an action from our conversation today?

27:08 Bertrand  They can go on our website, solarimpulse.com, and they can first take a look at the Solutions Explorer, which is the search engine for solutions. They put the keywords according to what they are looking for, and they will find the solutions for that. Now, of course, what we want to do is to go further and to do the Solar Impulse Academy. So all the people who are running a city, community, country can identify one person that we would train in order to identify the solutions that are specifically relevant for them. And we work, either they come at the foundation in Switzerland or we do it online, and we just train them to look at all the solutions that are relevant to the specific situation. And I think it’s a huge step that they will be able to do with the new solutions. You know, when we speak of solutions, it’s important to understand that most of the time it’s not high-tech solutions, it’s common sense. It’s a way to recover the heat lost in the chimney of the factories to give it back to the factory. It’s a way to reduce the energy that you need to run a data center. It’s a way to reduce the pollution made by a thermal engine. It’s a way to connect a car to your house to discharge the battery of your electric car to the house in the moment there is a peak of demand. All these things, you know, it’s just clever. It’s a way to use steel staples instead of big iron armatures to make concrete. It’s a way to run all the heating and the lighting systems of a building in an electronic way in order to save 20 or 30 percent of energy. All these type of things are available and according to which country we’re speaking about, it will be one solution more relevant or another one and so on. And each time it allows to be more efficient, that means that it allows to do better with less need of energy, less need of resources, less waste and therefore it is profitable. It’s profitable for the company who is producing the solution as well as for the client who is using the solution.

29:30 Sue So it’s a win-win all around by the sounds of it and making it appealing for those who might be looking up those solutions for their relevant country.

Bertrand Absolutely. It has to be a win-win because if it is an economical handicap to protect the environment, nobody will do it.

29:42 Sue What I was thinking about is in the past when new inventions were taken on board at scale, it was often about making something fashionable and my sense is what you’re trying to do here is to make caring for the climate something fashionable, something appealing to people?

29:57 Bertrand Absolutely. You’re absolutely right because far too often we still hear that ecology, protection of the environment is something sacrificial, something expensive, something boring requiring from us less mobility, less comfort, less economic development and almost nobody wants that. And this is why after 50 years of ecology we have more CO2 in the atmosphere, more plastic in the ocean, more pollution in the air. What’s the progress? We have not gone in the right direction because the narrative created a lot of resistance, created a lot of oppositions and now we have to stop that and change it completely. Drop the ballast of the old narrative, change altitude like in the balloon, take another layer of wind which has another direction and a much better speed. And this is the language of profitable solutions that allow to develop the economy, create jobs and at the same time protect the environment.

30:55 Sue That’s so important in terms of the message that is being conveyed. Finally Bertrand it also strikes me from what you’ve said today there’s something about going high to get perspective. You’ve done it in your aviation activities to get perspective on the world from a new place. I’m just wondering whether that’s also an important part for the listener of this podcast to think about how they get to a different place of perspective to get some new insight. Do you think that’s important?

31:24 Bertrand  It’s vital, it’s crucial we absolutely have to do it and there is a really interesting exercise that everybody can do. Each time we are absolutely certain of something, each time we’re absolutely sure it cannot be something else. Then we have to stop and say wow here I’m stuck into my certitudes. What else could it be? What would other people think about it and try just to destroy a bit of our certitudes and our beliefs. And if we are clever enough to do that we will learn a lot of new things.

32:00 Sue Well that’s a powerful message to leave our listener with today Bertrand on this podcast. It’s been a real privilege to speak with you today and if our listener wants to find out more about the work that you and the Solar Impulse Foundation are doing. You’ve mentioned the website already, are there any other ways that they can find out more?

32:21 Bertrand  Well they can write directly to Solar Impulse if they need specific help for their cities, for their governments, for their factory. We’re more than welcome to try to help the people.

Sue Wonderful. Well thank you again for your time today and for the important messages that you shared with us.

Bertrand  It was a pleasure to speak with you and because you’re also an explorer as the first British woman who went to the North Pole you know about exploration and you’re asking the right questions and I really enjoyed it. Thank you very much to you.

32:54 Sue Well thank you Bertrand. Thanks to Bertrand Picard for his wisdom and insight and what a magnificent end to this Climate Solutions series. We’ll be back again soon with another series and have some more inspiring guests lined up for you including Gary Fildes, an astronomer who is passionate about dark skies, Monica Parker, author of a best-selling book on the power of Wonder, and Kevin Chapman who describes how we can harness our body’s intelligence to become more resilient and confident. I hope you can join us again soon.


Sound Editor: Matias de Ezcurra
Producer: Sue Stockdale