Not so long ago podcasts about climate change were pretty rare. My wife and I used to endlessly debate whether or not we should attempt one ourselves, since nobody else seemed to be doing one. That has certainly changed.
In fact, there are so many good ones that it’s hard to keep track of them, especially since podcasts tend to come and go. Last week a reader sent me a link to Outrage + Optimism, and I was surprised that I hadn’t come across it before. It made me wonder what else was I was missing out on. I thought I’d have a dig around and draw up a list of climate podcasts. Thanks to those who already recommended their own favourites, and feel free to add yours in the comments.
Outrage + Optimism – one of the big ones, since it’s fronted by Christiana Figueres, the powerhouse behind the Paris agreement, and her co-conspirators Tom Rivett-Carnac and Paul Dickinson. World class guests, and I like the way they include artists, writers and musical guests in the mix too. It’s more fun than you might expect from a group of diplomats.
No Place Like Home – presented by Mary Anne Hitt and Anna Jane Joyner, this one “dives into the spiritual, personal, cultural, and emotional dimensions of climate change.” It’s a more personal listen, great on faith, grief and mental health, but without being heavy and overly serious.
Mothers of Invention – their tagline is ‘climate change is a man-made problem with a feminist solution’, and this is a podcast about women driving solutions to climate change. They have a knack for finding inspiring and unexpected stories. It’s something of a double-act, with the grandmotherly former Irish President Mary Robinson playing it straight alongside the comedian Maeve Higgins.
Africa Climate Conversations – reporting out of Nairobi, Kenya, climate journalist Sophie Mbugua talks to entrepreneurs, scientists and health experts. The 20-30 minute episodes often pick up on small stories or local examples of climate or circular economy innovation, and then use them as a springboard to look at the broader context of climate change in Africa.
Hot Take – Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt bring racial and gender justice to the fore in their friendly and irreverent podcast, which is one of my favourites. There’s always laughter and usually some judicious swearing that means I can’t listen to it around the kids. The presenters also have an excellent newsletter.
Sustainababble – plenty of podcasts are entertaining, but this is the only one I know that expressly bills itself as a ‘comedy podcast about the environment’. Presenters Olly and Dave take a topic each week, ramble around it and pretend to know less about it than they actually do. It’s particularly good at blowing the whistle on greenwash and interrogating PR claims.
Warm Regards – a thoughtful podcast from ice-age paleo-ecologist Jacquelyn Gill, and plant biologist Ramesh Laungani. This one feels more written than improvised, with intelligent conversations and guests from the worlds of science, politics, activism and art. Serious but never boring.
The Coolest Show – presented by the Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr, founder of Hip Hop Caucus. In his words, the podcast is all about conversations with “Black, Indigenous, and Brown people, where we discuss the root causes of climate change and how we can right wrongs by solving the dual existential crises of climate and racism together.”
Cleaning Up – Michael Liebreich is a respected investor and adviser on clean energy, and his weekly Youtube show and podcast is a straightforward chat to a leader from business or politics. As a well informed insider, you get a good view of what those in power actually think. He is Conservative in his politics, which makes him a more unusual voice in climate podcasting.
Fully Charged – if you’re interested in the technologies of the green transition, then Fully Charged is a show you may already know about. The Youtube show about EVs is the Top Gear it’s okay to like, and the podcast ventures more broadly into renewable energy and storage, the circular economy and sustainable transport.
Okay, that’s ten, but there are clearly many more. Some others I haven’t got round to yet but that look good include Bloomberg’s Switched On, A Matter of Degrees, and Drawdown Agenda . Ayana Elizabeth Johnson has a new one, How to Save a Planet, which is going to be worth checking out. Inherited is a three part series on youth activism. There’s also Drilled, which I listen to occasionally. It’s by investigative reporter Amy Westervelt, and she calls it a “true-crime podcast about climate change”. Episodes are generally under half an hour and cover court cases, corporate misbehaviour or corruption, often tracking a story over time.
I’m pretty sure I’m missing something from India, especially since it’s the 3rd biggest podcast market in the world. The only Indian climate podcast I can find is Climate Emergency, which seeks out local stories and that I will need to make some time for.
I’ve left them out of my main ten because I kind of see them as radio programmes rather than podcasts per se, but my BBC journalist wife will be having words with me if I don’t highlight the wealth of content available from them. To be honest it’s a post in itself: Costing the Earth is a long running show about the environment, and People Fixing the World is a World Service programme with stories you won’t hear anywhere else. 39 Ways to Save the Planet, The Climate Question and What Planet are we on? are three I haven’t had time to tune into yet.
Well, that’s probably enough to be getting on with, right? I mean there are only so many hours in a day.