The Digital Conversationalist

Andrea T Edwards

#167 Weekend reads – yes Taylor Swift deserved Times Person of the Year

Did the title trigger you? Good and I’m going to tell you why she absolutely deserves this accolade and I’m also going to rebuff some of the criticism going around online. But before I do any of that, I am writing this not as a Swiftie, as far as her music is concerned anyway. Her music just hasn’t entered my world, and besides, I’m not a pop gal.

However, it’s not her music that’s caught my attention, it is her. I have watched her in interviews, her commencement speech, on chat shows and more, and my takeaway is always – wow, what a very intelligent young lady, and she is also an incredibly kind person, free with her praise and compliments to others.

That is a quality I love, but equally, it can also be a quality women develop to be accepted and even submissive, so I understand that criticism, however, unless you’re a woman, you don’t really understand why it happens in the first place. It’s a tricky line to walk being a woman, especially if you work in a man’s world. Women understand this and I believe she has embraced it in a powerful way. I can imagine everyone around her basks in the glow of this energy.

My pal Joe Augustin commented on The Know Show that it comes across as manipulative. This is an interesting thought, which I think about a lot, because one of my son’s is incredibly charming. I know charm has two sides – positive and negative, with the negative having the potential of being manipulative – and I believe Taylor is using this soft skill in a positive way. Naturally, not everyone will agree.

On another point, there has been a lot of criticism of Taylor Swift from the climate community, especially after a fan died of heat stroke at one of her concerts in Brazil. This community is making a strong call that she becomes an ambassador for climate, encouraging her fans to change how they live and consume on this planet. I’m all for this, but there is a much bigger change she is creating, which I believe is even more important.

In her nearly two-decade career (which is amazing, because she’s only 33) her fans have taken her words and messages to heart. She is sharing stories through her songs of the pain and challenges she has faced, as well as how she has overcome. When fans talk about her music, they always say they take her messages deep into their souls, and use it to reflect on their own challenges and pain, which helps them to overcome and move forward.

I believe Taylor Swift is creating a revolution across generations of girls and ladies, and this is such a powerful force, which is so very necessary! With equality slipping back to 300 years before we get there, what Taylor Swift is doing is potentially creating the greatest revolution in human history.

We need women to be empowered and to rise. We need women’s voices on every stage, in every industry, in every leadership role. If we do not have women’s voices in equal partnership with men, we can not ensure the best decisions are being made for humanity. It’s impossible to get our next steps right unless all voices are represented.

So that is what I really admire about Taylor Swift – the incredibly, positive impact she is making on girls and young women all over the world. She is helping them step into their fullest potential and to not allow anything to hold them back. This is a pink revolution, a feminine revolution, and it is not angry and aggressive, it’s joyful and liberating, and I can’t think of another person who’s been able to create such change – Oprah Winfrey maybe?

I am a fan of her as a woman, who grew up in the limelight, dealt with so much chaos and ugliness on that journey, and somehow, she’s working out her path, with her gaze 100% on who matters the most to her – her fans – and honestly, it’s a beautiful and powerful movement to witness.

So, when you next want to criticize Taylor Swift, think of that. Also think of all the young women who feel attacked when you do it. I wrote a chapter in my book Uncommon Courage – never be ashamed of the music you love, and thankfully today, #Swifties have no shame! But more important than all of that, think of the profound change she is making in human society. You don’t have to like her music, but you can admire her work. I certainly do and she is definitely a #WomanIAdmire.

Friends content and mine

Timothy Ndgewa is the African representative of Rethinking Choices, and he’s working relentlessly to contribute to change across the continent.

SirCollins Manyasi is working to support grassroots women’s organisations in Kenya – very inspiring.

Representation matters, and when it comes to the fight for our future, women and minority groups must have a seat at every table where decisions are being made. If we miss the wisdom of more than half of humanity, we will not get our next steps right!

Donation time

If everyone gave #just10percent of their time, talent, money or voice, we’ll change the world. Can you donate? Why not make a regular donation to the World Food Programme. Or donate to the UN Refugee Program, Medicine Sans Frontier, PowerOf,, Red Cross, and so many more, including urgent fundraising and those supporting animals, like the Soi Dog Foundation. A fabulous organisation I support is B1G1 – check it out and set up an account. It’s a time for giving and taking care of each other.

Content to read

And here’s the content I’ve been reading, listening to or watching. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read, listen to or watch them all. It’s time to pay attention to the information that matters.

Cop 28

Opec rails against fossil fuel phase-out at Cop28 in leaked letters | Cop28 | The Guardian

Visualised: how all of G20 is missing climate goals — but some nations are closer than others | Greenhouse gas emissions | The Guardian

The science is clear: we need net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 – Club of Rome

COP28: Controversy hangs over climate talks as countries weigh whether to ditch fossil fuels | CNN

Planet: Critical: Mongabay: Climate loss & damage fund ‘the furthest thing imaginable from a success’ on Apple Podcasts

Jubilation for COP28 loss and damage deal but World Bank’s role as interim funder still a concern | News | Eco-Business | Asia Pacific

Gore rails against COP28 president: Don’t “try to mansplain” climate activist Robinson (

Andrew Forrest calls for fossil fuel bosses’ ‘heads on spikes’ in extraordinary outburst on sidelines of UN COP28 climate conference – ABC News

Record number of fossil fuel lobbyists get access to Cop28 climate talks | Cop28 | The Guardian

How oil firms talk about climate change — and how to decode it : NPR

The Man In Charge uses words as a planet-wrecking weapon – Ketan Joshi

COP28 Climate Summit Begins Against Backdrop of War and Record Heat – The New York Times (

WTF is the ‘Global Stocktake’? We explain the ‘heart’ of COP28 – POLITICO

Cop28 president forced into defence of fossil fuel phase-out claims | Cop28 | The Guardian

Only 15 out of the 140 speakers at COP28 are women (

Draft text at COP28 shows negotiators considering fossil fuel ‘phase out’ | Reuters

Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels | Cop28 | The Guardian

Young people can help solve the climate crisis. Let’s give them a seat at the table | Cop28 | The Guardian

COP28: Vow to phase out fossil fuels could be ‘totally’ doomed to fail, warns David Miliband | Climate News | Sky News

Most sponsors of Cop28 have not signed up to UN-backed net zero targets | Cop28 | The Guardian

Sadaf Khalid is the global coordinator for the virtual Cop 28 on behalf of Rethinking Choices. She is a power woman, who believes in taking action and getting involved.

Planetary emergency

Too much stuff: can we solve our addiction to consumerism? | Waste | The Guardian

The World’s Top Thinkers 2024: ideas for a world on the brink (

2024: First chance of 1.5 °C year – Met Office

Heatwaves and catastrophic fire conditions are happening across the country. Here’s who is on alert – ABC News

Ancient climate analysis suggests CO2 causes more warming than thought | New Scientist

Half-asleep bears are wandering around Siberia because it’s too hot to hibernate | Live Science

2023 likely warmest year in more than 10,000 years (

Climate tipping points are nearer than you think – our new report warns of catastrophic risk (

Two Philippine coal plants selected for early phase-out under Singapore central bank’s test of new ‘transition credits’ | News | Eco-Business | Asia Pacific

India’s growing informal coal workforce complicates energy transition | News | Eco-Business | Asia Pacific

‘I’m not buying new stuff any more’: the young people getting into ‘degrowth’ | Environment | The Guardian

Study: Climate Is a Top Priority for Many Elderly Swing State Voters – Mother Jones

Marree in South Australia recorded as the hottest place on Earth on Wednesday | 7NEWS

WTF is going on with the climate? – by Andrew Dessler (

The Engineer – Tipping Points Report shows humanity on ‘disastrous trajectory’

Transition Plan for a Thrivable Civilization | EARTHwise Stories (

Earth on verge of five catastrophic climate tipping points, scientists warn | Environment | The Guardian

Freecycle: Front Door

A major Atlantic current is at a critical transition point | NOVA | PBS

How long will Earth exist? | Live Science

‘So Much More Efficient’: David Attenborough Promotes Plant-Based Diets (

Weather Australia: NSW issued heatwave warning, cyclone threatening Qld | — Australia’s leading news site

Australia’s weather: Heatwave and possible cyclone kicks off summer | — Australia’s leading news site

The Global Climate 2011-2020: A decade of acceleration (

Q&A: ‘We need to act very fast,’ says sustainability researcher (

Humanity declares war on its children – Pearls and Irritations (

Weather predicted for year 2100 ‘could be here in 2050’ – here’s what that means (

William Nordhaus Owes Us An Apology – by Rachel Donald (

Oil and gas industry needs to let go of carbon capture as solution to climate change, IEA says (

Over 1,000 Academics Sign Our Letter — Scientist Rebellion

Ancient methane escaping from melting glaciers could potentially warm the planet even more – CBS News

NASA SVS | Earth’s Radiation Balance, 2000-2023

Climate TRACE – check this out, very cool!

Half of world’s population suffered under climate crisis-fuelled extreme heat this year, research says | The Independent

US announces rule to slash powerful planet-warming gas by nearly 80% from fossil fuels | CNN

Are you creative? Then you will love this conversation with Sveinung Nygaard – a composer, musician, artist, and a member of the Bards of Climate.

Global politics

Israel says ‘killed two Palestinians for every Hamas fighter’, calls ratio ‘tremendously positive’ | Mint (

UN chief uses rare power to warn of impending humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza (

Israeli army surrounds southern city of Khan Younis | Euronews

More than 15,900 Palestinians killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 -Palestinian health minister (

Israel Gaza: Hamas raped and mutilated women on 7 October, BBC hears – BBC News

Israel expands Gaza ground offensive, vows to hit the south with ‘no less strength’ than the north | Euronews

Bowen: US sets clearer red lines for Israel as ceasefire ends – BBC News

Interest in EU elections on the rise as polls project unprecedented shift to the right | Euronews

The Nuclear Shadows of the Russia-Ukraine War: A Chinese Perspective – The Diplomat

Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 652 | Ukraine | The Guardian

UN: Russia intensifies attacks on Ukraine’s energy facilities, worsening humanitarian conditions (

FT News Briefing: The crackdown on Ukraine’s oligarchs on Apple Podcasts

UK’s ‘most dangerous’ nuclear site ‘hacked by groups tied to Russia and China’ in major security breach | The Sun

🗳️“Not Them” – On Winning The Next Elections (

Boris Johnson hit by protests as he says sorry for UK’s COVID-19 ‘pain’ – POLITICO

France’s Emmanuel Macron buffeted from all sides in row over secularism – BBC News

Elizabeth Magill: UPenn loses $100m donation after House antisemitism testimony – BBC News

The Daily: Nikki Haley’s Moment on Apple Podcasts

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announces retirement from Congress – BBC News

America’s undying empire: why the decline of US power has been greatly exaggerated | US foreign policy | The Guardian

Meet Kaaka Issac, a member of the Masai Tribe in Kenya and he is an unstoppable force, driving change at scale for his community and the entire African continent.

Business and technology

Chanel Metiers d’Art: Models turn Manchester street into a catwalk – BBC News

China’s Economy Is Shifting. The World Isn’t Ready For It. (

India to become third largest economy in the world by 2030, GDP to grow 7%: S&P Global | Mint (

Jeff Bezos Donates $120 Million to Fight Homelessness, Then Invests $500 Million to Make It Worse (

Pakistan is one of the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change risk & it’s time to come together and act, especially to help the developing countries in the Global South, who have done little to contribute

Social issues

Person of the Year 2023: Taylor Swift | TIME

TIME Person of the Year 2023: How We Chose | TIME

Taylor Swift and the era of the girl – The Atlantic

All the Words of the Year 2023, from ‘rizz’ to ‘authentic’ (

A Bizarrely Online Word of the Year – The Atlantic

See Peach Fuzz, Pantone’s color of the year for 2024 (

Watch: Video shows moment of huge explosion in Seychelles – BBC News

Anxiety Rises in China Over Speculated Return of COVID Controls | TIME

No new pathogens in respiratory disease surge, China tells WHO | South China Morning Post (

Chicken soup? Tea? Here’s what to feed your body when it’s sick (

The Daily: The Blurry Line Between Rap Star and Crime Boss on Apple Podcasts

Bribie Island: Australian man dies after being buried in sand – BBC News

Frozen shoulder is a real condition—and it mostly affects women (

Layan high-end restaurant damaged by fire (

What does your skin actually need? (


Why Noah’s Ark will never be found (

Norman Lear, Whose Comedies Changed the Face of TV, Is Dead at 101 – The New York Times (

Powerful ‘Cannibal’ solar burst will hit Earth tonight. Widespread auroras predicted | Space

So, what did you read? What jumped out at you? Or share with me what you’re reading? I love that!



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Environment education

Four environment resources to help you navigate this challenging territory.

  1. Knowledge, constantly updating
  2. Individual action and awareness, so we do our part
  3. Resources for those struggling with eco-anxiety. Please share with your community.
  4. Finally, more than 100 mini-videos on many topics regarding the multiple crisis’ we face. Feel free to download and use as your own. No credit necessary.

Uncommon Courage: an invitation

Uncommon Courage is an invitation to be your courageous best self every day. It’s also an antidote to the overwhelm, fear, and rage rolling around the world. But it’s more than a book; it’s an invitation to join an inclusive community that wants to better understand humanities challenges – both global and personal – in order to take courageous action and create a better world for everyone. If Covid19 has given us the time and space to reflect, Uncommon Courage gives us the nudge we need to create lasting change.

You can buy it on AmazonApple BooksBarnes & Noble, Book DepositoryBooktopia, SmashwordsKobo, Gardners, Odilo, Indie Bound, BookShop by BookTrib and Scribd.

Better yet, order it from your local bookstore, so you can #SupportLocal.

You can read the reviews, including a new five-star review on Book Commentary, another five-star review on ReaderViews, a review on BookTrib, and three more on Booklife, another on Book Commentary and Blue Ink Reviews. I’m also collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.

Come and join the conversation in my Facebook Group Uncommon Courage.

Listen in to the Uncommon Courage, the podcast on Apple, Spotify and everywhere podcasts are published.

The Know Show

Check out The Know Show. It’s a fortnightly wrap up of the news!

Climate Courage

A fortnightly conversation on issues that matter to you and I, focusing on the actions we can all take.

18 Steps to an All-Star LinkedIn Profile 

Listed by Book Authority in the 100 Best LinkedIn Books of All Time and 22 Best New LinkedIn eBooks To Read In 2021 and 2022 categories. Grab it today if you want to take your professional presence to the next level! When it comes to LinkedIn, it really is time to ask — can you really afford not to have this book in the hands of every employee?

Are you a Social CEO? The Social CEO: How Social Media Can Make You A Stronger Leader. 

Want to claim your stage? Unleash Your Voice – Powerful Public Speaking for Every Woman 


Have I done a great job for you? Can you write a reference on my LinkedIn profile or on my Google Business page? If not for me, why not write one for someone else who inspires you or has helped you? Join the #GivingEconomy.

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