Dr Gunhild A. Stordalen, founder of the international nonprofit, EAT Forum, which exists to transform global food systems, is one of the original trailblazers when it comes to highlighting the connections between food, health and climate.

And looking back on our stories of the year, we return to Egypt and COP27, where me and Paula Maultasch, the creative executive producer of the Inside Ideas podcast, where out and about asking people what was giving them #ACopHalfFull sense of optimism about the future.

Dr Stordalen was one of those we spoke with and she said that despite some negative trends, she was confident that people power would ultimately win through and prove unstoppable in bringing about transformative change.

“If you look at the graph that is showing the number of COP events beside the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, you would say: why are you even leaving a big carbon footprint to come here because it is just going one way,” she said.

“But it is not what happens inside the negotiating rooms that is the most important thing, it is the power of people. In Glasgow, we saw thousands and thousands of young people marching in the streets, in and outside of the negotiating rooms.”

That level of public activism didn’t happen on the ground in Sharm-el-Sheikh but Dr Stordalen said she sees real hope in the new faces that attended COP this year.

“This is the first time I have seen a massive showing from the nutrition community, people that have never cared about climate,” she said. “That’s because this is becoming the global issue: climate and nature, period, there is no human health without planetary health.”

This across the board increase in engagement is the reason the Norwegian scientist feels the three-word campaign slogan immortalised by Barack Obama can once again become a rallying call, and this time for the entire world. 

“If we keep believing that ‘Yes We Can’ – it is possible, and get more and more actors to push for change, governments will follow,” she added.

‘Yes We Can’ have #ACopHalfFull sense of optimism about the future @EATforum founder @G_stordalen tells @marcearth at #COP27 because the “power of the people” + the relentless “push for change” will force governments to take more effective climate action #fistpump to the #future pic.twitter.com/tqvksGTWOn

— Innovators Magazine (@innovatorsmag) November 13, 2022

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