Giving climate change a worthy amount of attention can seem a daunting task. The scope of the problem is colossal; the obstacles to equitable solutions myriad. Yet we know the time for ignoring global warming has long passed. This Earth Day (Thursday), make a resolution to learn more about our collective planetary problems, along with possible solutions. in the form of audio. There’s a sea of informative climate podcasts out there — in fact, a grass-roots movement has issued an open letter challenging Apple Podcasts to add a climate category to its many classifications — but these five audio journeys of climate storytelling are all fabulous places to start.
If you love the true-crime genre, this new investigative series from Vice News is a must. You become immersed into the story right from the start, riding along on a bus full of Colombian coal miners on their way home after a weeklong shift, when suddenly two trucks full of armed men hold them up and execute their union leader. This epic storyof environmental crime — packed with violence, political scandal and corporate malfeasance — ultimately unspools into an unexpected tale of the impact of fossil fuels. As “The Crisis” makes clear with its gripping narrative structure, this energy source isn’t just destructive after it’s burned but long before, in the exploited places where fossil fuels are extracted.
All across the American South, people are living their day-to-day near or at the center of environmental crises, be it the aftermath of a coal-ash spill in Tennessee, the rising water levels surrounding islands in the Chesapeake Bay, or numerous instances of unsafe drinking water. Consider this podcast an environmental “This American Life” for the South, with each episode telling the stories of everyday people and the shifting ecologies they rely on for their health, livelihoods and well-being. The show’s host, Claudine Ebeid McElwain, introduces you to the diverse ecology of the region and the lived experiences behind our increasingly apocalyptic headlines.
This bimonthly podcast from PRX and the Louisiana public-radio stations WWNO and WRKF does the improbable: It makes surviving the climate crisis fun. The hosts Lauren Malara, a New Orleans comedian, and Travis Lux, WWNO’s coastal reporter, make a charming pair as they combine great reporting and storytelling to answer listener questions regarding life on a changing planet. Their first season (which just wrapped) tackled local queries with universal relevance, and the show features boisterous sound design and riveting interviews that make it feel thoroughly a product of New Orleans, a place that out of necessity knows how to survive through natural disaster all too well.
Brought to life by its young hosts, Georgia Wright and Julianna Bradley, this show takes you inside the stories of an empowered and infuriated youth climate movement. Find out how this generation of global protesters has learned to wield its political power in order to demand immediate action from the powers that be around the planet. Wright and Bradley introduce you to young people who have already seen cataclysmic effects of climate change. With all the compassion and sensibilities of Generation Z, these well-told narrative episodes reveal the personal and mental-health sacrifices of some young activists, and will undoubtedly inspire you toward finding your own spheres of climate activism.
The title of this podcast is a portmanteau of sorts, combining “salt-of-the-earth people” with “grass-roots change.” And that mix is exactly what the Australian radio journalist Allie Hanly showcases in each episode of this series broadcast in Central Victoria. While the accents and specific terrain of these local stories makes the show a fun travelogue for international listeners, the themes explored — creating community-based food systems, protesting ecological destruction, finding daily waste-free alternatives — are universally applicable to the planet. The interviews are artfully done in a way that takes you on a journey through civilian-led solutions to the corporation-made problems of global warming.
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