Action-Related Podcasts

Here are some various useful podcasts – from climate science to climate anxiety to climate solutions, plus some cool general environmental ones here and there. For each, we point out some episodes that feature climate solutions by individuals. At the end are more that have been recommended by members of the CSteps FB commmunity, but we just haven’t had a chance to listen to yet – some good recommendations in there!

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Let’s Start with the Climate Facts and Issues…

1. The MIT “Today I Learned” (TIL) has a series of ten podcasts that breakdown the facts on climate change and the science, impacts, and more behind this new human force. https://climate.mit.edu/users/tilclimate-podcast.

One episode is specifically about climate solutions, interviewing three people who have become civically active: https://climate.mit.edu/podcasts/bonus-episode-til-what-i-can-do. But it doesn’t (yet) dive deeper into solutions we can start to take.

2. The Yale Climate Connections gang is an amazing group of people who do research, write articles, and Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies hosts very short podcasts (90 sec) about climate change – its science, impacts, but also featuring solutions. Many of the solutions are large-scale collective, but some are stories about individuals taking action to join groups/form groups that make an impact. I give a few examples here.

I recommend signing up for their weekly newsletter to get a list of articles and podcasts about different issues.

3. Looking for a different perspective other than a Western viewpoint? I recommend the Mint Climate Change Tracker by the Indian media news source liveMint, hosted by Bibek Bhattacharya. https://www.livemint.com/podcasts/nature/mint-climate-change-tracker-5005017. It is a sobering reflection of climate change and its impacts from the Indian point of view, with lots of specific data. About every three episodes there is coverage of some actions we as individuals can take. And wonderfully, each podcast is very short (< 10 mins). There are 13 of them in Season 1. Season 2 is here, but I haven’t yet listened.

4. The Climate Pod (www.climatepod.com) is a long-format podcast, hosted by two brothers, Brock Benefiel and Ty Benefiel, who founded/are sponsored by the clean energy purchaser Hero Power (https://myheropower.com; Ty is the CEO; while Brock is usually the main host on the podcast). They’ve pulled together 60 episodes now, around 50-75 minutes long, interviewing usually two experts on two different subjects, from environmental justice to climate science to biodiversity to general solutions. Top experts are on board, such as Michael Mann, Thomas Lovejoy, Mary Annaïse Heglar, senators, and more. Impressive information; not quite the pointed analysis of NORI, but a nice steering of the critical points to be covered. The description says that it is informative and humorous – the first yes, but though I’ve listened to four now, I haven’t quite caught the humor portions yet. Hoping for it. Fyi, their website has great tips for saving electricity.

5. The Climate Scientists, by Dan Jones, an oceanographer, is a set of interviews of different climate scientists – who talk about the many different aspects of climate science in relation to climate change. This one is of Michael Mann, well know climate scientist (co-inventor of the hockey stick graph) and climate advocate, who I admire greatly. Here he provides a good discussion of individual and (not versus) systemic action. Both are needed, though systemic action will be the most critical – but it can’t be done without the other.

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How Climate Change Affects Us

1. No Place Like Home, funded by the Sierra Club, consists of two U.S. women who are climate activists exploring the emotional and spiritual side of climate change. Having listened to three full episodes and the start of about three others, I’ve decided this one is not my cup-of-tea, although they “interview” some great people, partly because for most of the old podcasts, the interviews are really just recorded snippets of conversation from a person, and they spend most of their time analyzing what the guest just said in light of their own experience (often noting that they also have had the same thought) – instead of having a conversation with the guest and focusing on the guest’s work. However, their last podcast was a great live interview of Mary Annaïse Heglar, a leading climate activist. But, many may find this just what they need, some way of connecting what scientists, artists, and faith leaders are saying to themselves. Maybe I’m just a little bit too dry of a scientist. https://www.noplacelikehomepodcast.com/.

Sam Ward and son, photo by Emily Ward. (Permission given by Sam Ward, for Climate Change Unfolding)

2. Climate Change Unfolding. I was addicted for a while to this podcast series. Sam Ward is a world-competitive kayaker/tourism businessman who has lived in Uganda for 15 years, and he discusses his journey as he starts really diving into climate action after the birth of his son. He illustrates how he’s taking steps as a business owner and personally, but he also reflects on the issue as a whole and how it has impacted Uganda (with a very sad story). Although he can repeatedly get off tangent – as he admits himself, he does it in a humorous, endearing way. A couple episodes where he illustrates about how to talk others into changing tend to get into the ‘sales’ talks he has given his employees, but the majority of his ‘casts are inspiring. So far there are 21 episodes, stopping shortly after the start of COVID. I’m looking forward to some more facts-based story-telling, because he’s very good at it.

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Climate Solutions

1. Nori , https://nori.com, is a carbon-removal marketplace company named after seaweed – I love it. It was named that due to seaweed’s sustainability as a food source, according to Ross Kenyon, Co-Founder via a great email exchange we had, and just because it was a cool name. Anyway, this team has a great set of podcasts called Reversing Climate Change regarding innovations that may help address climate change, led by some fun, sharp people, and averaging 40-60 minutes long. They also have a short-form Carbon Removal Newsroom podcast, which I haven’t yet listened to.

Nori, in general, is building a climate change marketplace model that helps organizations/people, via fees/tokens, invest in climate offsets via sequestering carbon in the soil; Nori then works directly with agriculturalists to help use this money to offset carbon. They have been doing podcasts examining the clean tech/marketing offset sphere around climate change for a couple years now, and have had some great people on. Although I was a little frustrated when I first listened to it – as I started just by happenstance with some early episodes from middle 2018, and in the first eight podcasts I listened to, 2-3 white male co-hosts interviewed 9 men, 8 of whom were white – the people they knew within the tech sphere, I guess. (A woman guest did bracket on both sides; and the hosts in one of their podcasts did mention the lack of diversity of one podcast and the need for diversity.) Now Nori podcasts are more diverse – featuring women co-hosts and speakers as well, and I believe more people of color, for which I am very glad.

Anyway, here is an excellent example of the work they do in outlining issues, coming up with ideas, in their podcasts.

(Also available on Google Play, Stitcher, and iTunes)

The above is one of their latest, and I really like it, because first, you gain an understanding of how bad concrete is to climate change (Climate Step: don’t buy concrete planters, argue against more parking garages, etc!), how bad it will get (double production expected), and second, you learn some about the lifecycle of where carbon dioxide gets emitted in the process. The person they interview is leading an organization that, although the carbon gets emitted during the original cement-making process (of which they are not a part) – they help sequester carbon dioxide into concrete when it actually gets laid down. The moderators ask great questions. So check it out!

2. Aha! Guess for what podcast I was just interviewed? How to Stop ClimateChange, with cohosts David Butler and Matt Russell, with David’s daughter Keaton Butler producing. The interviews focus a lot on people who have changed their lives in order to fight climate change, which I have done. David and Matt are great co-hosts, who walk interviewees through some basic, but then pointed questions about the actions they have taken. They can be up to an hour long, especially when people like me are asked to describe what led them to where they are today – my answer is very convoluted, but then we have an excellhttps://howtostopclimatechange.com/climate-steps-annette-olson/ent discussion on individual actions – and what can be impactful, and what isn’t. Found on Spotify, ApplePodcasts, and Stitcher, as well as the link below.

3. Science Update. Some very short (1 minute) and sweet (and terrifying) podcasts on climate change have been done by my friend and colleague, Bob Hirshon, when we were both at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, publisher of Science magazine.) You can find his entire climate-related list (based on a search for “climate”) at: https://www.scienceupdate.com/?s=climate&go.x=0&go.y=0. Unfortunately, he is no longer with AAAS and the podcasts are not continuing there. But I have put many of the ones he has done about climate solutions below.

  • Mountain Legacy Project – Scientists are using the science of computer vision to document climate change in the Rocky Mountains. May 18, 2018.
  • Low-Impact Eating – A new report details the impacts of foods and how they’re produced, June 5, 2018.
  • Worldwide Renewables – How practical is a worldwide switch to 100% renewable energy? September 17, 2017
  • Saving Salt Marshes – Saving endangered salt marshes, May 24, 2017.
  • Cooling Beaver Dams – Beaver dams could protect trout populations from the effects of climate change, May 18, 2017
  • Wildlife Corridors – Wildlife corridors are needed to help organisms cope with climate change, July 1, 2016.
  • Iconic Ecosystems – Local efforts may help protect iconic ecosystems from collapse, March 31, 2015.
  • Resilient Reefs – Researchers apply principles of agricultural science to conserve coral reefs, February 3, 2015.
  • Safer Cookstoves – Cleaner cookstoves could save millions of lives and slow global warming, December 17, 2013.
  • Listening to Environmental Change – Automated nature recordings track the effects of climate change and habitat disturbance, July 16, 2013. (Fyi, if you go to SciStarter, there are a number of citizen science projects where you can collect sounds for research. http://www.scistarter.org.)
  • Birds Fight Global Warming – The highly efficient lungs of birds are inspiring climate-friendly carbon-capturing filters, September 10, 2013.
  • Unusual Species Roundup – Rare species can have a surprising impact on ecosystems, June 7, 2013.

4. On Science Soapbox, a great podcast is one by Katharine Hayhoe, who I have had the pleasure of listening to her speak several times. Her work is vital and in a discussion of how to discuss climate communication, she often is humorous. http://www.sciencesoapbox.org/katharine-hayhoe-climate-climate-communication/.

The Environment in General

  1. Sierra Club’s the Overstory – about views from forest canopies – “changemakers, storytellers, and people…help us see the world in a different light and from a new angle.” http://sc.org/overstory. Usually about 30 mins long, and a mix of subjects.
    1. Season 1 – nine episodes that usually start with a natural location experience, but then interview an individual(s) making a difference, and end with Mr. Green (then Ms. Green) giving sustainable-living advice. Episodes 6 and 9 I like especially.
    2. Season 2, Episode 1, mentions some actions you can take to stand for Earth Day, April 22nd.
  2. Gastropod. Well, this was unexpected. I heard from a friend about this podcast about food, and how they occasionally mentioned climate change in it. What I didn’t expect was a great team of two women, Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley, remarking not only about food, but its history, science, place in society, and environmental impact, and for the three and a half I listened to, I always heard the food put into the context of future climate change. Really enjoyed these, and I look forward to reading the others – from everything about puddings, potatoes in space, curry, to diets and diseases, bushmeat, and fake cheese. I think I’ve pulled out the three very climate-relevant ones, as of June, 2020, below:
    1. To Fight Climate Change, Bank on Soil: https://gastropod.com/to-fight-climate-change-bank-on-soil/. All about perennials v. annuals, no-till agriculture, and which is best for keeping and sequestering carbon in the soils. February, 2020
    2. Dig for Victory – the latest trend of planting gardens during Coronavirus times, and the history of ‘victory gardens.’ https://gastropod.com/dig-for-victory/. June, 2020.
    3. Seaweed. The latest in perennial, species-diverse aquaculture, based around kelp – to replace carbon-intense farming. https://gastropod.com/seaweed-special/. Sept. 2016.

Moo-Dunnit: How Beef Replaced Bison on the American Plains—and Plate Gastropod

Saddle up, folks: Today’s episode involves the cowboys’ lullabies and meat riots that helped make beef an American birthright. With the help of Joshua Specht, author of Red Meat Republic, we tell the story of how and why the 30 million bison that roamed the Plains were replaced with 30 million cows. You’ll never look at a Porterhouse steak—the first cut of beef invented in America—the same way again. See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information.
  1. Moo-Dunnit: How Beef Replaced Bison on the American Plains—and Plate
  2. What the Shell? Cracking the Lobster’s Mysteries
  3. Guest Episode: Rocky Road with Science Diction
  4. Shatter-Proof: How Glass Took Over the Kitchen—and Ended Child Labor
  5. The Most Dangerous Fruit in America
  1. Bite, by Mother Jones. “For people who think about their food.” The podcasts here are tied to a story – not a transcript, but a related story, which is nice. Most have an environmental focus, of course, including where one’s food comes from to food waste, but also contains politics, handy tips, civil rights issues, and more. There are many that are specifically tied to climate change. I recommend checking them out. They are about 30 minutes each. Among my favorites (though i still have many to explore), are:
    1. https://www.motherjones.com/food/2019/08/gorgeous-portraits-of-americas-wild-and-surprisingly-delicious-edible-plants/, has the tied podcast of “gangster gardening” and edible plants/herbs for cocktails.
    2. On how to stretch your pantry in these times: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2020/03/quarantine-coooking-coronavirus-handpies-pasta-beans-tamar-adler-everlasting-meal/.
    3. Regenerative agriculture – its benefits in sequestering carbon, but keeping in mind that we still need to stop the carbon in the first place. Both the podcast and the story is about optional climate surcharges on food in San Francisco: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2020/01/carbon-farming-san-francisco-restaurant-surcharge-restore-california-zero-foodprint-anthony-myint-karen-leibowitz-mission-chinese-food/.
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Others recommended by the CS group, and/or still to review (in order):

Remember, Climate Steps focus is on solutions. In most cases, we’re trying for currently running podcasts, versus past podcast series.

  1. How to Stop Climate Change, by David Butler. I just found this one, and it’s tagline matches exactly what Climate Steps is about: a “podcast for people who are tired of just worrying and want to do something.” And I have just been invited to speak on it too! So I guess I better listen to some of the episodes. https://howtostopclimatechange.com/.
  2. Tiny Climate Challenge Podcast – http://tinyclimate.com, by one of CS’s Facebook members – and focused on solutions! – thanks Mayela Padilla Manasjan for sharing!)
  3. Abundant Edge – also by another CS Facebook member, Oliver Goshey. All about permaculture: https://abundantedge.com/loren-luyendyk. As a past and future farmer, looks great. Thanks Oliver.
  4. A third CS FB member is Richard Cox, conducting interviews, including this one on anti-anxiety: https://deepstateconsciousness.podbean.com/e/climate-anxiety-alarmism-and-denial-with-kristy-johnsson. Thanks for the heads up, Richard.
  5. NPR’s Climate Cast covers a variety of topics.
  6. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has four different podcasts, including Building Local Power, Local Energy Rules, and Composting for the Community. https://ilsr.org/podcasts/.
  7. Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt: Hot Take. “An intersectional, critical, but constructive look at climate coverage,” with goal to make it more inclusive. https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/range/hot-take-4.
  8. The Saugeen Shores Climate Podcast, in Canada. https://www.smallstar.ca/podcasts.
  9. These are recommended as very useful by FB Climate Step members:
    • Breakthrough Dialogues. “The podcast for pragmatists and problem-solvers. We sit down with some of the world’s leading thinkers to talk about modern and technological solutions to environmental problems.” ://www.podbean.com/…/wp7…/Breakthrough-Dialogues-Podcast. This is one, I (Annette, admin here) am especially looking forward to – problem solving.
    • Climate 2020 – A New podcast hosted by Years Of Living Dangerously producer David Gelber and ClimateNexus Founding Director Jeff Nesbit. ://www.podbean.com/podca…/4wq4v-a7ecc/Climate-2020-Podcast
    • Political Climate – “A bipartisan podcast on energy and environmental politics in America. Presented by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, this is generally co-hosted by both liberals & conservatives.” ://www.podbean.com/…/we88z-6a451/Political-Climate-Podcast. Also favored by Lee in the CS FB group.
    • Energy Policy Now. “Clear talk on the policy issues that define our relationship to energy and its impact on society and the environment. The series is produced by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.” ://www.podbean.com/…/eajvb-50baa/Energy-Policy-Now-Podcast.
    • Third Pod from the Sun. Says Christopher, “American Geophysical Union’s podcast about the scientists and methods behind the science. Only some of these are directly climate related – but all are highly interesting. ://www.podbean.com/…/gs5…/Third-Pod-from-the-Sun-Podcast.
    • Energy Transition Show. [This is the free partial release of podcast episodes.] If burning fossil fuels is the major cause of climate change, then switching to other energy sources are a large part of the solution. “Straight talk about the world’s transition with energy expert Chris Nelder” whose day job is with the Rocky Mountain Institute. [Chris notes: “While I often disagree with some of what’s discussed, the guests and subject matter are great.” ://www.podbean.com/…/The-Energy-Transition-Show-with…
    • Ecomodernist Podcast. Chris says, “These are also online friends of mine whom I have met in person as well. Though episodes are a bit infrequent the guests are great — including a Pulitzer winner, a few environmental journalists, and several scientists.” https://ecomodernistpodcast.org/
  10. America Adapts is about communities and their concerns for adaptation. “Produced and hosted by climate change adaptation expert Doug Parsons”
  11. Climate Change with Scott Amyx – latest innovations. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/climate-change-with-scott-amyx/id1474685428.
  12. Climate One – Variety of subjects discussed. https://www.climateone.org/watch-and-listen/podcasts.
  13. My Climate Journey, by a recovering entrepreneur. https://my-climate-journey.simplecast.com/.

Other potentials are listed:

https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/5-podcasts-inspire-you-climate?

https://kinder.world/articles/you/7-podcasts-to-learn-more-about-climate-change-and-how-to-fight-it-19813