When Game of Thrones meets the Doughnut

Emmy-nominated actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau embarked on a journey to Amsterdam to capture a regenerative future.

As the co-founder of the Amsterdam Doughnut Coalition and regenerative economy advocate, I had the chance to work together with Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on a new documentary series called 'An Optimist's Guide to the Planet'. 

The Emmy-nominated actor and United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador speaks with changemakers and innovators around the world exploring solutions and positive stories. He also travelled to Amsterdam for his six-episode series to showcase the efforts of people who are creating a better future for people and the planet. Since Amsterdam is the first city in the world to embrace the doughnut economy on a policy and community level, it plays a big role in shaping a positive story for our collective future. 

In times of daunting IPCC reports, rising inequality and horrific news about climate change and biodiversity loss, it feels refreshing to focus on the positive side of the story. The people and initiatives that are actually working on solutions.  

Working with him and talking all day about why we need to shift from growth thinking to doughnut thinking, how bodily health is intrinsically connected to planetary health and how small acts can create massive change, has made me realise that we need to practice looking at the bright side of things. Focus on what we CAN do, and keep getting inspired by the people and communities, the cities that are already applying the principles of the doughnut economy. 

Our conversation about a regenerative future left a lasting impression, and I'd like to share some key insights that resonated deeply with me:

From Denial to Optimism: we have shifted from denial to a state of doom regarding the challenges we face. It is now crucial for us to shift gears once again, moving from doom to embracing optimism through creative and imaginative storytelling

The evolving role of storytellers: as storytellers, it’s no longer enough to simply raise awareness or sound the alarm. We must now guide people towards solutions. 

Radical collaboration: to truly capture the whole story, we must create bridges and engage in radical collaboration. This means uniting diverse perspectives ranging from academics, policymakers, artists, journalists, filmmakers etc. By working together we can authentically portray the complexity of our world. 

Amplifying every voice: we must create platforms to ensure that every voice is heard. From marginalised communities to the very voice of our environment, such as our rivers. We need to bring those voices to the table and into the spaces of power and privilege. 

Changing the story, changing the system: changing the narrative can lead to systemic change. By reshaping the stories we tell, we have the potential to reshape the very systems that govern us. 

The documentary series will debut in 2024 on Bloomberg Green.





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