#YEEinterview: Journey Visions – A Path towards Sustainability

The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many environmental initiatives – such as on-site global climate strikes and on-site collective awareness raising campaigns – to stop. However, many young people have shown the resiliency to react to the difficulties the pandemic is imposing. In today’s interview, we’ll get to know the Journey Vision Podcast. The team behind this brilliant project formed during the European Institute of Innovation & Technology Climate-KIC Summer School 2020. When the summer school was forced to move online, some members decided to set up a platform for project developers, innovators and civil society to share their visions for a better future for all.

Leonie Schiedek (Chairperson, General Organisation & Podcast Host) and Soham Wrick Datta (Chairperson, Strategic Head & Podcast Host) happily answered all our questions. Scroll down to read more.

Who is the team behind Journey Visions Podcast? Can you tell us a bit about it?

The team of Journey Visions Podcast was formed organically during the European Institute of Innovation & Technology Climate-KIC Summer School 2020. As the summer school moved to an online capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of members decided to start a podcast that would connect all the different groups (journeys) across Europe.

The current team consists of James, Lea, Leonie, Mostafa, Oliwer, Soham & Wiebke. We are from five different countries and have diverse academic backgrounds ranging from sustainable development to oncology and global health.

How did you come up with the idea of creating the Journey Visions Podcast? And which topics do you focus on?

The Climate-KIC summer school 2020 moved to an online capacity and there were 10 groups/journeys from different hubs across Europe working simultaneously. Leonie, with her previous experience in podcasting, came up with this idea with two fellow students to start a podcast that could interconnect participants from the various journeys. The intention was to provide a platform where individual participants and teams could present their projects. In the initial meeting, once Soham, Wiebke and Lea came on board, it led to the realisation of the potential of a platform like Journey Visions Podcast to not only interconnect participants from multiple Climate-KIC cohorts but also create a community where project developers and innovators could present their idea and the vision for their projects and reach out to a wider network while building something bigger and more substantial towards sustainable development.

This started off as a podcast by journey participants for journey participants to showcase their visions and projects, the path various entrepreneurs took and the motivation and work done by experts and researchers in this field. We’re growing steadily to cover a greater network of project developers working towards sustainability in multiple levels of societal transformation.

Every single episode of your podcast covers very interesting issues: among all the people you talked to, were there any chats you particularly remember? And why?

Leonie: I remember the episode with Osayamen very well. He talked about erosion and land degradation and his personal experience with almost losing his home…when he said ”if we are continuing that path, it will be a problem in the near future: I will not even have a place to stay” I had goosebumps. Myself, I have noticed and learned about sustainability challenges, but I think I never had this moment when my home was in danger. Of course, in the long run, our common home is in danger, but you probably know that it’s easy to push these thoughts away sometimes. But for Osayamen it was a reality that he could not deny, because he faced it everyday.

Soham: Being really close to Nature myself, I really enjoyed Rugile’s episode on how she talked about the importance of preservation, trying to connect with Nature and trying to keep Nature as close to its original self. The cultural connection with Nature in Lithuania and the Baltics in general could be a motivation for the rest of Europe. She was not a part of Climate-KIC but she started her own podcast about sustainability that I found quite inspiring. I also remember the episode with Filippa very well, especially the part where she talks about the importance of decoupling the notion that economic growth is always related to well-being and how there is a need for transitioning from a linear to a circular economy. These are dialogues, I believe, that need to happen in the developed world as soon as possible.

Which is the biggest challenge you’ve faced (or you are facing) since setting up this podcast?

One of our primary challenges has been the COVID-19 pandemic and how we have been forced to work remotely. But, we have used it to motivate ourselves to innovate ways to keep the team true to our core values and ideals. Working remotely with an organic group of unknowns has its set of challenges but it has helped immensely with the sense of diversity and has also contributed to not only our individual development but also towards our team chemistry and forward-thinking ability.

We are also facing a slight financial challenge that is required to make our product even better with the right equipment, tools and expertise. Going forward, we’d like Journey Visions Podcast to be creating greater community impact and for that, it’s imperative to be financially sustainable as well.

Which kind of reactions/feedback has Journey Visions Podcast received?

People appreciated the opportunity to present their projects and ideas and listen to their peers and be able to connect with one another through the podcast. From the Climate KIC network, we got a lot of positive feedback and the organisers and the coaches supported us. Once someone said: “You guys were so professional. It feels like you have been doing podcasts all your life.” But having said that, of course we have also received a fair share of constructive criticism. We know that we are still at the beginning but the initial feedback has encouraged us to keep going and strive to be better and create a product that can have a greater impact.

In your opinion, which role does youth play in spreading awareness about the importance of embarking on a journey towards a sustainable lifestyle?

Youth has an absolutely massive role to play in not just spreading awareness but also providing the tools to the communities to bring about a shift in mindset and embark on a journey towards a sustainable lifestyle. Having identified the prevalent problems, young people are ready to persevere, innovate and communicate the solutions needed to transform towards systemic change and sustainability. We believe that they have the energy and the enthusiasm to be changemakers in their own meaningful ways. Our mission is to support their endeavours and show the path for the future generations. It’s our future, right? So we need to stand up for it..

Looking back at when you started the movement, is there something you would do differently?

At the start, we didn’t know the product we were creating would become bigger than we anticipated. We started with the idea of a trial run of 2 weeks which soon turned into 2 months and then half a year and now it’ll have an initial run of more than a year. Thus, we’d have definitely made room for social sessions among the team members at the start. We’d use some time to strategise and prepare for the growth as we set off at lightning speed and we feel that did reflect on the quality at times. Having said that, it was a massive learning experience and we’re moving towards quality over quantity in our journey ahead.

What’s next for the Journey Visions Podcast?

Journey Visions Podcast has been steadily growing over the last 7 months and we’re striving to reach a wider network of project developers, sustainability experts and activists. Till now, we have covered most of the Climate-KIC network and the European sector but we’re steadily developing towards a global approach where we reach out to changemakers from more sectors and regions across the world. Stay tuned for some new episodes in which we talk to interesting personalities across the spectrum of sustainability.

Which advice would you give to the young people like you who want to try to set up their own initiative and discuss sustainability-related topics?

Leonie: The most difficult step is probably to be brave enough to get started. I am pretty sure that there are a lot of very good ideas out there for tackling sustainability challenges, however, often they just remain in peoples’ heads. So my/our advice would be: believe in yourself as a change-maker and be brave to start your idea. What’s the worst that can happen?

Soham: I have been asked this question a lot lately and I believe each one of us will have our own little journeys but what I can tell from experience is it is quite helpful to find your tribe – people who are invested in the idea and want to take ownership and make a difference. The next bit is time management and creating a timeline – visioning the project and building a sustainable business model is always useful in the long run. The final bit would be to reach out for help – it’s not easy but it’s possible – it’s important that we devise and strategize ways to have the right expertise or sets of skill sets in the team so when we reach out for help, the policy makers/authorities/agencies/investors have a clear idea of the problem that is being tackled and the potential solutions available.

Thanks a lot to Journey Visions Podcast for taking their time for this interview. It’s very inspiring to see how such a talented group of individuals has reacted to the challenges related to the current COVID19 pandemic, creating something so valuable. Good luck with your next projects!

Don´t  forget to follow Journey Visions Podcast on social media






LinkedIn Leonie

LinkedIn Soham

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