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Spanner in the System: ETC Group Podcast

Spanner in the System: ETC Group Podcast

By ETC Group
This podcast is part of ETC Group’s new three-part mini-series about Disruptive Technologies, produced by ETC Group in the Asia-Pacific region in collaboration with Puma Podcasts. Supported by Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
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Why not listen to our new podcast during your lunch break today? As we mark World Food Day (16 October), it’s a good time to pause and reflect on our food and where it comes from. Our first podcast, in our new mini-series on disruptive tech, produced in the Asia-Pacific region, does just that! Together with Neth Daño, we learn about issues surrounding new technologies and their impacts on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and what we can do about them. We look at the global food system, how we care for – and sometimes don’t care for – our land, and what needs to be done to make a better world. This might all sound complicated, but we can start with bananas: believe it or not bananas can tell us a lot about how the world we live in works! This podcast is part of ETC Group’s new three-part mini-series about Disruptive Technologies, produced by ETC Group in the Asia-Pacific region in collaboration with Puma Podcasts. Supported by Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
October 18, 2021
Jack y el Gigante de la Nube
En esta historia, seguimos a un joven campesino llamado Jack mientras  trepa una enredadera de datos que conduce al castillo de un gigante,  donde descubre lo que sucede cuando conecta su granja a las brillantes  aplicaciones y las deslumbrantes promesas de la agricultura de  precisión.
July 2, 2021
Special episode: The story of Jack and the Cloud Giant
In this special episode of the ETC Group podcast, we're sidestepping into the world of fairy stories to celebrate World Storytelling Day 2021, which focuses on 'New Beginnings'. 'Jack and the Cloud Giant' is a twist on an old European fairy tale. We follow a young peasant called Jack up a data-vine that leads into the Cloud Giant’s techno-castle, where he finds out what happens when he plugs his farm into the glittering apps and the dazzling promises of precision agriculture. We hope you enjoy it and will share it with friends and family! 'Jack and the Cloud Giant' was written by ETC Group's Jim Thomas and narrated by Zahra Moloo. To download a copy of this podcast and to see the 'book' itself, a pdf beautifully illustrated by children's book illustrator Garth Laidlaw, visit:
March 20, 2021
#7: Geoengineering and Decolonization
What kind of system of knowledge considers it a good idea to try to manipulate the whole climate of an entire planet? For our second of two episodes on geoengineering, ETC Group's Dru Jay spoke to Tom Goldtooth, who is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network about the meaning of colonization, what is called decolonization and Indigenous perspectives on geoengineering,
November 11, 2020
#6: Geoengineering and the Global South (with Silvia Ribeiro)
Who is behind schemes to block the sun and suck carbon out of the air – instead of rapidly reducing emissions? ETC Latin America Director Silvia Ribeiro talks about who is driving the geoengineering agenda and how geoengineering will affect people and ecosystems in the Global South. For more about Geoengineering, visit or read the Big Bad Fix (
October 2, 2020
#5: Algorithmic Colonisation with Abeba Birhane
In this podcast episode, ETC Group speaks to Abeba Birhane, a PhD candidate in cognitive science at University College Dublin in the School of Computer Science. Birhane talks about her work on the algorithmic colonisation of Africa, why we need to normalise critical thinking on new technologies and if there is such a thing as “ethical" AI.
September 18, 2020
#4: What is Technology? With Jim Thomas
Zahra Moloo asks Jim Thomas a seemingly simple question: what is technology? The answer takes us into the core of ETC's work, and the basic ideas behind our multi-decade push for Technology Assessment, and explains how "Mooney's Law" works.
August 1, 2020
#3: Which New Normal? ETC on COVID, food systems and big tech
This episode is also available with video. Those backing risky new technologies are seeing growing profits and power during the COVID-19 crisis. From fast-tracking genomic testing and novel vaccines to automation of ‘people-free’ supply chains, the pandemic is benefitting Big Tech. From the rise of Zoom and Netflix to enhanced data-surveillance of populations, Silicon Valley and its financial backers  are not only shaping how the crisis is lived, but are positioning themselves to shape behaviours and write the rules in a post-crisis new order. At the same time, the COVID crisis has revealed the fragilities in our food systems and the ways in which we still depend on the peasant food web to sustain us. Although the pandemic has brought numerous risks, community alternatives have flourished, suggesting new ways of living and forging the future ahead. Participants: Verónica Villa (Mexico City, Mexico) Zahra Moloo (Montreal, Canada) Neth Daño (Davao, Philippines) Jim Thomas (Val David, Canada)
May 27, 2020
#2: The Next Agribusiness Takeover
In this episode (recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest), ETC Founder Pat Mooney discusses ETC's communiqué, The Next Agribusiness Takeover: Multilateral Food Agencies and the moves powerful corporate actors are making to take over global food policy institutions.
May 4, 2020
#1: Gene drive organisms in Africa
ETC's Tom Wakeford speaks with Ugandan lawyer and advocate Barbara Ntambirweki about gene drives, a powerful new genetic technology that can change species in the wild and make species go extinct.
November 12, 2019