Good People Good Work
Chantal Cooke's Passion for the Planet      
It doesn’t matter what it is you choose to do, it’s about doing something. Oh, yes, take massive action if you can, but if you can’t take massive action, take some minute action, just take some action.

Hallo, respected viewers, and welcome to today’s Good People, Good Works featuring British journalist and environmentalist Chantal Cooke, who in 2002 co-founded Passion for the Planet, a UK-based radio station that is dedicated to helping listeners pursue greener, healthier, and more fulfilling lifestyles. The London Leaders program brings together leading civic figures of diverse backgrounds to advise the Mayor of London, England on various important issues concerning the city.

In 2009 Chantal Cooke was appointed a London Leader in Sustainability due to her experience in promoting green living. As a result of her participation in the program, Ms. Cooke was inspired to launch the “Munch Less Meat” initiative, which encourages Londoners to adopt a sustainable diet by consuming less or no meat.

For her vigorous efforts to preserve and protect the planet, Ms. Cooke has received many awards, including the Triodos Women in Ethical Business Award, the Green Business Award and the British Environment and Media Award. Ms. Cooke now shares how she first became interested in environmental issues.

I think it’s one of those things I feel has always been with me. But of course, if I had to look back I’d say I was very lucky that my grandparents, in particular, were very into nature and plants and things like that. They were one of the first people to bring certain cacti and succulents into this country.

So they had this massive cacti and succulent collection. So I was always out in the garden and fiddling around with the plants. There was always this thing about being out in the garden and looking at the plants and those sorts of things.

As a young child, in addition to her interest in plants and the environment, Ms. Cooke also truly loved animals and even published a magazine about them.

And when I was about eight years old, I wrote to a magazine called “Animal Press,” and I traced lots of picture of animals and did little quizzes and all that kind of stuff you do when you’re eight years old. And one of the teachers at school was fantastic. And she, I think xeroxed it. I sold it around the school for something like ten pence a copy. I think I made the sum total of £1.20, which I have to say, in those days, was a bit more than it is today.

So I sold these copies of the magazine and then I sent the money off to charity. And they wrote back and obviously were very grateful and made me an honorary lifetime member. And of course you can imagine as an eight year old I was “an honorary member.” It was just so exciting.

As a young adult Ms. Cooke began working for several UK radio stations in various capacities.

My background really has been as a journalist but predominantly focused on radio. My actual first job in radio was making radio commercials for movies, which was, as you can imagine straight out of university, actually really quite exciting. So I got to meet some really interesting people. So it was a good grounding.

I think in lots of ways the grounding in commercials was, the most useful bit, because when you have to produce a commercial, you have to make it very short. You need to get that information across like that really quickly and it has to stick. And actually if you can use those same kinds of principles for all sorts of information, even when you’ve got more than 30 seconds, I think that’s a really good discipline to have.

From there I moved to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and then that was really good because it was a lot of grounding and producing speech radio and so on. It’s a 24-hour speech station, so that was hard work, But it was really good fun.

After leaving the BBC, Ms. Cooke broadened her experience by working on other radio related projects. She then made the courageous decision to launch her own station.

And at the time this was the very early days of DAB radio. And what that did was give an opportunity to have more niche-focused stations in a way that the bandwidth available on FM just couldn’t allow to happen.

And DAB is?

Digital Air Broadcasting is what it stands for. And it’s what’s replacing FM in the UK. And the benefits are there’s a lot more bandwidth available, so it actually means there’s an opportunity for stations like “Passion for the Planet” which has a more kind of focused audience.

We’ll continue our lively discussion with Chantal Cooke after these brief messages. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

So I think it's about thinking and remembering that as individuals we do have quite a lot of power. I mean, we are consumers. We consume a massive amount. Just think, if you took even 10% of the money that you use to consume and shifted it, what a phenomenal difference that would make!

Welcome back to Good People, Good Works as we continue our interview with Chantal Cooke, journalist, environmentalist and co-founder of the radio station Passion for the Planet. From her many years of working in the radio industry, Ms. Cooke has realized that radio can be a powerful medium for informing people about environmental issues.

What radio can do is you put it on the background and you’re listening, and then there’ll be a little thing about wildlife and you’ll go, "Oh, that’s interesting.” And then maybe a little bit later you hear something else and go, "Oh, I didn’t know that, really?" Actually you’ve just learned something, and if the radio station is doing its job properly, hopefully you’re inspired to go, “Oh I could do that. That would be kind of interesting,” and so on in whatever area it happens to be. It doesn’t have to be wildlife, obviously.

So that, for me, is the power of radio. Radio is not great at giving you everything you need to know on a subject, but it is really good at opening up new ideas and opening doors, if you like, in the brain. So that’s why I love radio.

Ms. Cooke's experience in radio advertising showed her the importance of getting a message across quickly but effectively. As a result, Passion for the Planet has adopted a unique approach to programming.

So, on Passion, nothing is longer than five minutes, ever. It’s a quick five minutes and a few facts about something, and there’ll be some great music afterwards or there’ll be something else to listen to. So I think it is about making it accessible like that.

Passion for the Planet offers a wide variety of programming to its audience. In addition to hearing music from around the world, the short informational shows offered are diverse in nature.

Basically, we have a number of key areas we focus on, so obviously, anything to do with the environment. So I would class that as whether it’s to do with climate change, waste and recycling and things, wildlife, conservation, nature, farming, and anything that basically affects our environment.

Another area is health. So that’ll be both orthodox and complementary medicine. It could be physical and mental health and spiritual health as well, because that’s all part of human beings. So that’s the health side of it. And then, attached to that, but slightly different, is personal and business development.

And we do both because a lot of our audiences are people who want to take responsibility for the future of their lives. So they perhaps run their own business or they aspire to run their own business, or perhaps they have a small business on the side of what they do, which is where their real passion lies.

So if we can give them information to help them build those businesses and help them, build themselves as a person, or improve what they’re able to achieve in their lives then I think that’s really important. So it’s basically personal business development, health and environmental issues, and those are the key areas. And we mix it in with music as well.

Since Kenny Stevens and yourself founded Passion for the Planet, can you tell us any touching feedback, that you’ve had from your audience?

I think very early on we did get an email from a lady who’d heard one of the interviews, and she was actually quite ill. And she’d heard this interview and it was sort of a treatment that could possibly help her. It was a sort of a form of exercise and so on. And she’d gone off, tried it out and it had actually really, really helped her health.

So I think those stories are really amazing, when you hear something where, you’ve given them that piece of information, they’ve gone off and researched it further, because as I said we’re not the font of all knowledge, and then actually it has made a difference. And she wouldn’t have known about that otherwise.

And then the other one is where people just go, “Oh I didn’t realize I could do so and so, I’ve just started doing it actually; it’s really easy, isn’t it?” And so on. And that sort of thing as well, I really enjoy.

Many thanks to Chantal Cooke for her inspiring passion to conserve and safeguard our planet and providing constructive radio and television programming that is a vehicle for growth and learning. Please join us again next Sunday on Good People, Good Works, for the concluding episode of our interview with this green leader.

For more details on Passion for the Planet, please visit
Information on the Munch Less Meat project is available at

Thank you, precious viewers, for your presence today on our program. Up next is The World Around Us, after Noteworthy News. May we all be blessed with lives forever filled with inner tranquility and grace.

Elisabeth Berger is a vegetarian Austrian telepathic animal communicator who has learned much from her noble canine companion, Wuno. What are some of Wuno’s heartfelt messages for humanity?

It’s essential for us to be a part of the family. We’re animals and will always remain so, but we’re also a part of you.

Meet the vibrant Ms. Berger and Wuno in a two-part series airing Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants.
Hallo, joyful viewers, and welcome to today’s Good People, Good Works where we are once again visiting with British journalist and environmentalist Chantal Cooke, who in 2002 co-founded Passion for the Planet, a UK-based radio station that is dedicated to helping listeners pursue greener, healthier, and more fulfilling lifestyles.

The London Leaders program brings together leading civic figures of diverse backgrounds to advise the Mayor of London, England on various important issues concerning the city. In 2009 Chantal Cooke was appointed a London Leader in Sustainability due to her experience in promoting green living.

For her vigorous efforts to preserve and protect the planet, Ms. Cooke has received many awards, including the Triodos Women in Ethical Business Award, the Green Business Award and the British Environment and Media Award. Ms. Cooke and her business partner Kenny Stevens insisted on “walking their talk,” when setting up their radio station.

Thus they minimized resource consumption by carefully considering all the items they needed and looked for sustainable ways to furnish the office. For example, the tiles chosen for the walls are plant-based and thus are completely biodegradable.

We put lots and lots of things in place right from the beginning. So, as an example, a lot of this office has got recycled furniture in it. We didn’t go out and buy lots of new things. We went round saying to people, “Have you got office chairs and have you got this and so on?”

And then my mother was great. She was working at Chelsea Harbor at the time and we got lots of fabric samples from companies that were throwing out old samples of fabric. And she sat there with a sewing machine, and so on. And we made covers for the chairs and for the sofas and things like that. And I think personally, they've got a bit more personality than if we’d just bought something from somewhere.

All efforts are also made to make the running of the workplace green as well. Paper and envelopes used at the station are made of recycled materials. The staff are asked to turn off their computers at night and the waste created is dealt with in an Earth-friendly manner.

And then it was also about having certain behaviors in the office that we make sure we did. So turning the lights off and those sorts of things is one of them but equally, putting our composting into a little tub and then after a couple of days, I'd just take it home with me, and that could be composted rather than chucking it in the bin. We petitioned the building owner here and got all the other companies down the corridor to get on with us and said, “We’d like to have some paper recycling at the office.”

And we found out how much that would cost to take it and get it all sorted out and then got everybody in the building to come and go, “Yes, we want it too.” And sure enough, the building owner responded and there’s now paper recycling actually on site which gets collected every week.

Participating in London Leaders Program inspired Chantal Cooke to create an initiative to touch the lives of her fellow city residents called “Munch Less Meat.”

So, for my personal project, because obviously I've got a passion for animals, what I wanted to do was encourage Londoners to eat just a little bit less meat. So you could, for example, have a meat-free day a week.

That would have an impact. How about learning one recipe that's vegetarian? Because I think we tend to have, four or five recipes we rotate round the whole time. So if one of those was a vegetarian recipe, how much difference would that make? Could you perhaps host a dinner party? Get a whole lot of meat-eating friends around and try out a whole load of vegetarian stuff.

Ms. Cooke has developed a delightful website that provides many suggestions on ways one can reduce or end their meat consumption. Posted on the site are useful facts such as of all diets, the organic vegan diet is the one with the smallest environmental impact.

So you can go to that website and there's all different challenges there. So you can choose which challenge suits you best. It will tell you about some of the savings that you'll make. So, I think, as an example if you had a meat-free dinner party and there was six of you altogether, you'd save something like 14 pounds of grain. So that grain could actually be used to feed somebody else.

So I know you’re not physically going, “Oh, here's 14 pounds and we'll hand it over.” But it's about showing you that actually it's about saving grain that could feed people in the developing world. Perhaps it's about saving water; it could even be about saving fossil fuels and things like that. So each little thing you do has an impact.

She has also challenged all the restaurants in London to offer at least two vegetarian menu options to encourage diners to try vegetarian food. When we return, we’ll continue our intriguing interview with Ms. Cooke. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

So I think sometimes we get overwhelmed by the problem and then go, “Oh, I’m so tiny, I don’t make any difference.” Everything, absolutely everything makes a difference and the most important thing is to start somewhere.

Welcome back to Good People, Good Works as we continue our talk with journalist, environmentalist and co-founder of the Passion for the Planet radio station Chantal Cooke. For as long as she can remember Ms. Cooke has loved animals, and after a sudden realization during her teen years she decided to stop eating meat.

I sat there and I thought, "Hold on a second, why am I eating this?" And actually if you really push it through to its logical conclusion, "If I can eat a cow, well, why couldn't I eat a pussycat?" Right. And the idea of eating a pussycat is just like, “Whoa, that's just (disgusting)!” You wouldn't do that. And actually, if I can eat a pussycat, why am I not allowed to eat you?" (Yes.) And to me, it just seems so, no difference.

So clearly, for most people, the idea of eating another human being would be pretty repulsive and probably for a lot of people, maybe eating a cat would be also pretty repulsive, maybe not as repulsive as the human being idea.

But actually why is there some kind of graduated response to it? Why is eating a human worse than eating a cow? (Yeah.) I don't get it, really. (Yes.) Because it's still eating somebody else’s flesh and I just don't think that's very nice.

I'm perfectly healthy on a non-meat diet. So I've got a choice. Why am I still going down this route of eating this stuff which actually is bad for the environment, not entirely great for my health? (Yes.) Ethically this is, very questionable and we share the planet. I think sometimes we get into this thing where we think that, “So it's our planet and well, they're (the animals) just there for us.”

And actually, they were here before we were, a lot of them and even if they weren't, this is not about who was here first and who it belongs to. It's actually about we all share it together. And if we go back to this idea of an ecosystem, if I pulled out all of one type of animal because I ate all of it, what impact does it have on the eco-system overall?

And without a doubt, we need animals to survive. And I think probably a lot of animals would survive perfectly well without us. I'm not entirely sure we'd survive perfectly well without them. (Yes.) So I think it's about having just a little bit more respect, and I can do that.

Wherever she goes, Chantal Cooke seeks to inform others about the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle, including when she goes out for dinner with friends.

That’s an opportunity to tell somebody about what I believe and why I believe it. The point is you’re having that conversation and you’re hopefully inspiring people. And even if people might push it off, given time and they hear it more and more often, and more and more people start to do it, they will actually (change). "Yes, that vegetable bake does sound quite nice actually. Maybe I will try that." It just takes time.

So I think my advice would be don’t get disheartened, and don’t sit there and think you’ve got no power. You’ve got massive power, and remember, everything starts somewhere, so be that start.

Part of leading a lifestyle that respects animals, is doing research to ensure that the items we purchase, such as clothes, shoes, and personal care products do not involve cruelty to them in their production. Chantal Cooke believes that improved labelling on products could help consumers make humane and more informed choices.

I think more information would be good. And I think sometimes actually it would be really nice, in fact, if you were allowed to put the negative stuff on there. So as an example, when we look at things like cosmetics and household products, most people assume that they’re not tested on animals. Actually the vast majority of them are tested on animals. And if it doesn’t say it’s not, you can be pretty sure it has been tested on an animal.

So actually, how about having on the back of all the products saying, “Has been tested on animals.” Because, certainly, that would make quite a difference. So I think more labeling would absolutely be a good thing.

What can each of us do to help preserve our precious planet? Ms. Cooke provides her thoughts on an approach all of us can take to help care for our one and only home.

The absolute best thing you can do is, to quote (Mahatma) Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see.” Take those actions, inspire somebody else. If somebody else sees you doing some composting or some recycling, they’ll go, “What are you doing? Why are you doing that?” Well, that’s an opportunity to talk.

Many thanks, Chantal Cooke, for starting the Munch Less Meat initiative and spreading constructive information on green living through Passion for the Planet radio. We wish you continued success with your noble work at the radio station, which is a splendid platform to share how we all can live in greater harmony across the globe.

For more details on Passion for the Planet, please visit
Information on the Munch Less Meat project is available at

Thank you for joining us today on Good People, Good Works. Up next is The World Around Us, after Noteworthy News. May your life always be graced with love and wisdom.

Alanna Devine, a vegetarian Canadian lawyer and Director of Animal Welfare at the Montreal branch of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advocates for improvements in animal welfare and anti-cruelty laws at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

We like to see municipalities put in place anti-tethering legislation or anti-tethering bylaws. So that means that no dog can be left on a chain maybe at all or longer than two hours.

Be sure to watch “Alanna Devine, Guardian of Animal Welfare,” airing Thursday, July 22 on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants.

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