S1. E17. Iris Andrews

Iris Andrews is a co-creator of New Constellations, which exist to help people imagine and create better, more beautiful futures (Twitter, LinkedIn). Her background is over 15 years in the climate movement, for instance at Greenpeace and Purpose, plus a decade’s yoga teaching and creating Nature Enquiries at the Quadrangle Trust, which will help people explore their relationship with nature.

Iris expresses her passion about giving people back a sense of agency and, and a feeling that they can build and shape their own futures. She stalks about how, in her 20s, she thought that she had to shut down her creativity to be effective in creating change, but now has believes that, at its best, art is the most powerful tool in the tookbox. She feels privileged to be bringing her different personas (the ‘alpha’ operator and the artist) together in New Constellations.

One use of “f*cked”.



Nature Enquiries at the Quadrangle Trust, which will help people explore their relationship with nature.

Summaries fo the latest IPCC reports on Carbon Brief: WG1: the physical science, WG2: impacts, WG3: mitigation.

Iris mentions wayfinding. A friend of mine (not mentioned by Iris) has an approach of wayfinding that draws from her Samoan heritage.

More on New Constellations work in Barrow and Sheffield.


0:50 – Q1 What are you doing now? And how did you get there?
15:13- Q2. What is the future you are trying to create, and why?
18:00 – Q3. What are your priorities for the next few years, and why?
27:42 Q4. If someone was inspired to follow those priorities, what should they do next?
30:45 – Q5. If your younger self was starting their career now, what advice would you give them?
Q6. Who would you nominate to answer these questions, because you admire their approach?
32:17 – Q7. Is there anything else important you feel you have to say?

Quotes and themes

-Moving from direct policy work to “much more in the territory of kind of narrative and story and cultural strategy. So trying to build the conditions in which ambitious policy could be passed.”

-“I think there’s something really problematic about only telling the stories of of what could you know, what could go horribly wrong. And as I say, I think we can create a lot of kind of urgency and, you know, activate a lot of people in a certain way with those kinds of stories, but I think in terms of giving people agency and a feeling of actually being able to engage and positively.”

-Using the metaphor of wayfinding to leave behind old constellations (and old stories) to discover new constellations and new stories.

-“The old constellations are where all the dystopia comes from. But if we can shift and raise our gaze, then there are many, many, many glimmers of hope and possibility towards which we could instead orient and from there, we can build all kinds of things that new.”

-In both Barrow and Sheffield “a really powerful shift happened in terms of both contexts had quite negative self-talk, and creating these kind of new positive narratives for places along with this new big new set of relationships, has kind of got lots of things moving in a new way.”

-Future: “The kind of big grandiose phrase is a future of human and planetary flourishing and a future where humanity and the planet can flourish together.”

-“I think, as I touched on, I just really feel passionately about giving people back a sense of agency and, and a feeling that they can build and shape their own futures.”

-“The glimmers of really beautiful future are all here.”

-“I’m really passionate about just the power of facilitated space to, as I say, kind of open up possibilities in in individuals and in groups. And to unleash the collective intelligence of groups.”

-We need deep transformations, which reach all the way down through every physical and non-physical manifestation of humankind. That’s going to take decades, and you cannot be in an emergency mode for decades. Everyone will burn out. Then people will start to retreat to what it is they can protect, rather than what it is that they can regenerate.

-“Imagination is a practice. I think genuinely we can all be whether as individuals, or as families or communities, be starting to kind of work that muscle of of starting to imagine and think and feel into what it is we want.”

-“I really shut down my kind of creativity at that stage, because I thought it was like, slightly self indulgent. ‘You can’t be an artist and save the world, you got to go and do policy’. And so I did those things. And I think it took me a really, really long time to rediscover my creativity and learn how to kind of use it as a tool. And it’s the best, most powerful tool in our toolkit, and everyone is creative, well, no matter what they think. So that would be my advice: continue to be an artist.”

-“I’m very grateful. I feel sort of outrageously privileged to be doing this work at this time. I want to really acknowledge that and, and also to acknowledge all the many, many, many ways into building the futures that we want.”

-“I think it was around when I turned 30 ish. I had this real sense of like, wow, I’ve just completely compartmentalised. I’ve got this totally kind of alpha, career oriented, kind of like crazed campaigner person. And then this much more kind of in a directed, contemplative person who was on a spiritual journey that was born of grief, trying to find meaning and all these things. And in fact, I believed I had to kind of shut one of them down to perform. Something around my 30th birthday, I had this sudden awarenesses that just kind of drop into my body: I’ve got to find a way that I can bring these things together. And that’s when I’m gonna do my best work.”


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