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Reframing Human Relationships with Nature with Elliot Connor of the Human Nature Podcast

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I am joined today by Elliot Connor, host of the Human Nature Podcast and Founder and CEO of Human Nature Projects in Sydney Australia. Elliot’s life goal is to reframe our human relationship with nature, promoting compassion, respect, and appreciation for other lifeforms. His charity, Human Nature Projects promotes environmental volunteering and provides an entry point for anyone who has a desire to make an impact in the field.

Elliot also discusses why he started his podcast, how it relates to his charity, and shares some advice for those looking to start their passion project podcast.

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[00:00:02.300]
Hi and welcome to Causepods, I’m your host, Mathew Passy, here on the podcast, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcast as a way to raise awareness for good causes. Whether it’s a non-profit, they work with a charity, they support a social justice campaign.

[00:00:17.690]
They’re championing a medical condition they’re battling or somebody who is just looking to make a positive impact on their local community, their state, the country or the world. These are podcasters with a positive mission, along with raising awareness for our guests favorite cause. We’re also going to see if we can raise some money to support their efforts. So make sure you check out the show notes for each episode and calls Pogs Dog to learn more about what they’re doing, how to help them achieve their goals.

[00:00:46.630]
Going all around the world this morning, we are chatting with Elliot Connor. He is the founder and CEO of Human Nature Projects in Sydney, Australia, and they have a podcast, Human Nature, to reframe the conversation around human relationships with nature and with the environment. Elliot, thank you so much for joining us here on Cosmos today.

[00:01:07.780]
Thank you, Matthew. Great show you one. So really looking forward to a little conversation.

[00:01:12.490]
Oh, thank you very much. So the podcast is not your first focus, right? You have been doing this kind of work in the environment and in nature space for a while. So take us back a little bit like what is your background? How did you get involved in the space? Yeah, sure.

[00:01:27.730]
So I’m British by birth. You can probably tell from the accent. So I’ve always had a bit of that bird watching long walks in the countryside in my culture and my upbringing. So I’ve always had that passion for nature and maybe three years ago, maybe a little more, I started volunteering quite extensively in the field. So I’ve been keeping that up ever since I worked out. I think at one point I have done about a thousand hours of volunteering in the past three years, so a sizeable chunk of time set aside for these courses alongside my schooling career.

[00:02:07.090]
So I’m 17, so there’s plenty going on. But yeah, I started human nature projects 12 months ago and I’ve never been the same for me quite since, says Stephanie. Transformed my life and hopefully many others too.

[00:02:22.720]
So what is the goal? What’s the mission of human nature? How do you try and bridge this gap between how we are currently living our lives and the world that’s around us?

[00:02:33.700]
So human nature essentially is a worldview, a philosophy in terms of how we can interact with other animals, what it means to myself and to all the volunteers we have in your organisation, to all of their causes we support is essentially treating animals with respect, with appreciation, with compassion. There’s a great example. I like to use that in Switzerland. They’ve got a clause in the Constitution which is you must respect animals and plants. You must treat them the right to dignity.

[00:03:09.580]
So that’s a wonderful, wonderful concept. If we can afford some rights to nature, some inherent recognition of their rights to exist, of their rights, to survive to life on this planet, then I think that’s the end goal. But I think on a more basic level, with human nature projects, with the podcast, with all of these ventures, I’m trying to reconnect the family tree of life, bring us closer to these experiences, to the natural world, and hopefully motivate people to care for it.

[00:03:43.210]
Yeah, it would be nice if we started caring about a lot of stuff, including nature. So I’m curious, being 17, do you find that a lot of your peers actually listen to podcasts? I mean, the numbers out there would suggest that it’s a growing segment of the listening audience, but not a huge one. So I’m just curious what you see among your own peers.

[00:04:06.970]
Yeah, I do think they listen to podcasts. I probably don’t have your average peer group, but there you go. That’s fair. Yeah, I get a very wide ranging audience, say folks, from all sorts of demographics and with very international Skype. So I really enjoy the listenership I get. And I think that reflects human nature, protects itself some of the community behind these actions, because the two are very closely interlinked.

[00:04:30.910]
So. Right. You’ve got a website, you wrote a book, you doing some filmmaking. So why did you also want to include a podcast in your media mix share?

[00:04:41.920]
So I guess what links it all is this attraction to storytelling itself. I believe if we can frame all of our messaging and attractive, engaging, inclusive manner, then that’s how we going to create sustainable impact in this field. I was drawn to podcasting because it’s this new growing medium and because it’s very much got this sense of being the people’s medium is much easier to create, certainly than film making. It’s about the production time. So that’s an advantage for myself with my busy schedule.

[00:05:19.420]
But more importantly, I think it’s more of an informal format, which means I get to really hone in on my guests interests I love of animals and make that much, much more accessible to the general audience who might not have too much knowledge about the natural world and the wonderful, wonderful animals we share this planet with.

[00:05:41.800]
Rightfully pointed out, it’s a lower barrier to entry, a lot cheaper to produce. But I’m sure you faced some challenges getting this off the ground, any in particular that stand out and lessons that you might be able to share with somebody else coming up behind you thinking about a podcast with their calls?

[00:05:56.360]
Yeah, well, actually, what did surprise me when I started out was the simplicity of it all, contrary perhaps to some expectations that I’d expected many, many more challenges. And I experienced there were a few say, finding the right platform to host on. There’s so many wonderful options out there, getting all the right set up terms of equipment, interview protocols, etc.. I guess I had an advantage coming from of videography, so possessing already some of those processing skills.

[00:06:29.920]
But yeah, you definitely have to be committed to what you do. So the guest wrangling takes up a lot of time. Ditto with contestants. So the second part of the show is stuck at trivia, and it’s a game show which requires triple the amount of people involved. So, yeah, that adds an extra dimension to it all. And then setting up those trivia questions is some pre work to be done. But I really enjoy working on this show.

[00:06:56.650]
It’s very much in its early stages as well. And it’s been a wonderful evolution thus far, seeing how fights come, seeing some of the wonderful guests we’ve had on and seeing the audience grow very rapidly.

[00:07:08.710]
How many hours are you putting into the podcast each episode? Oh, good question. Maybe six hours a week there abouts as a rough estimate. So we do a weekly release every Wednesday, so maybe an hour, an hour and a half for the recording itself. And then a few hours prior to that, doing rough draft scripts, finding those questions of our own guests wrangling and some General Ackmann distribution work. So if you add that all up, I reckon five, six hours a week.

[00:07:40.990]
OK, all right. That that’s not bad. I mean, I imagine with everything else you’re doing, it’s a considerable chunk of time, but that doesn’t seem to be too bad. So tell us a little bit about your charity, the Human Nature Project, which you folks can learn more about the link directly to it. Human Nature Projects Dog also like directly if you want to donate and support Elliot’s goals and mission and what he’s trying to do here.

[00:08:04.360]
But tell us exactly what the human nature project does and what we would be supporting.

[00:08:09.310]
Yes. So human nature projects is this extension of the philosophy and trying to democratize, if you will, at the environmental field. So I’ve certainly found and heard from many, many other people that it can be very challenging to make a difference in the sector, not knowing where to start. Typically, there is very large knowledge gap. Many of the organizations simply aren’t set up to accept volunteers. So Human Nature Projects is an attempt to bring community into conservation actions and policy measures, acting as the entry point, if you will, to your everyday citizen to get involved in the space and increasingly with covid-19 with some of the contemporary shifts in our psyche, we’re seeing people really engaged in these issues, really wanting to make a difference, but not knowing how that’s the answer to human nature projects is essentially being that how being that entry point for people to make a tangible impact and be supported be empowered in doing so.

[00:09:15.220]
Do you think that the charity does more to feed the podcast or the podcast? There’s more to feed the charity?

[00:09:22.030]
Well, I guess I treat them as almost one and the same. They follow very similar principles, very similar philosophies. Certainly we’ve got a great following to the podcasts, thanks to the charity. But then all of the revenues from the podcast go back to the charity itself. So they help each other out in different ways. And I don’t think I could say that one offers more than the other.

[00:09:45.910]
I guess it’s just a question of timing, right? Like you’re trying to build up both, but has the podcast, which I assume came along after the formation of the charity, has that been harder to grow than the charity or is the charity been harder to grow than the podcast? Right.

[00:10:01.350]
It’s I guess it’s a question of audience building and community building, or is it really happening together?

[00:10:07.810]
Yeah, well, I mean, there’s definitely a synergy between the two to clarify. Human Nature Projects has been around for just over a year now, just over 12 months, and podcast itself is three, four months old. So there was that lag, if you will, between the two and the podcast Faberge splatted from the charity. I definitely found it harder to start at the charity. I think it’s always your first project. That’s the hardest. Learning the skill set, learning some of this community, building a skill set.

[00:10:37.720]
Some of those techniques to use and much that carries over, I think, to the podcasting, distribution, outreach, etc.. I think. It’s just whichever one you try first will always be the hardest, but they certainly help each other out in many ways.

[00:10:52.140]
So given that you have formed your own charity, done some filmmaking, written a book, it looks like you’ve even given a TED talk on this.

[00:11:00.300]
What advice would you give to young, aspiring and social justice entrepreneurs in a sense, on how to start this keep going and what to say how to succeed?

[00:11:15.150]
Right. We can’t guarantee success, but what would you say to put somebody on the right path to getting out there for their cause?

[00:11:23.010]
Well, I guess what I found most of all is you do have to get out there and start something that’s a key step. I’m born into facts, so I never would have perceived myself doing this. I never would have imagined where human nature projects could be as an organization. At five months since its founding, we’ve now got volunteers in five countries. So wonderful growth, wonderful scaling, and we’ve seen take place. All I say is be very clear in your vision.

[00:11:52.470]
Be very clear the change you want to make. I took back my life’s purpose of reframing this human relationship with nature, having a concise statement of where you were headed to what your overarching vision is, and aligning everything you do along that line, along that path, making sure you’re following that passion of yours in everything you do. And I think that said, make sure fast where you can make the starting line in your favor, how you can achieve success in whichever field you choose to work.

[00:12:24.630]
And I think that’s some pretty solid advice we’ve been chatting with. Elliot Connor is the founder and CEO of the Human Nature Projects and also the host of the Human Nature podcast. You can find all that stuff at Economy.com or Human Nature Projects dot org. And of course, we will have a link to both of those in the show notes for this episode. Eliot, from all around the world, thank you so much for joining us here on Causepods.

[00:12:50.910]
I thank you, Matthew and the listeners. Have a great day.

[00:12:54.990]
Thanks for listening to this episode of Causepods. Again, if you’ve been inspired by the work of our guests, please check out the show notes in your podcast app or at causepods.org. There you will find links to their work and a special donation link to support their favorite efforts. From there. You can also follow subscribe to the show on Apple podcast, Google podcast or wherever you enjoy your podcast. And remember, if you have a cause pot and want to join me for an interview, please check out call spots dog and fill up the interview request form.

[00:13:21.960]
If approved, we’ll schedule you for a chat and share the amazing work you’re doing with the calls. Pot audience. Thanks again and see you next time on Causepods.

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