Podcasts for navigating climate crises

Ruby Harbour brings you ten cherry-picked podcasts that inspire climate action, curiosity and debate.

You can hear the respect the two hosts have for each other loudly and clearly, as well as their specific curiosity and passion for this conversation about climate. 

Podcasts that address climate change and surrounding socio-economic and political problems are a useful tool in helping to ease the feeling of helplessness when thinking about our heating planet.

Much of the population, especially the young, experience climate anxiety. It's estimated that 70 per cent of 16 - 29 year olds are worried that rising temperatures will directly affect them by 2030, according to The Office of National Statistics. 

This list is formulated from discussions, environmental charities and experts including ambassadors at Greenpeace, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and Global Justice Now. 

  1. Outrage + Optimism

There are two outstanding podcasts of soaring popularity. The first is a podcast Co-hosted by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac who oversaw the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) founder, Paul Dickinson.

This podcast comprises five seasons of climate-related topics combined with others such as economy and justice. It talks about the stories behind the headlines, fights against greenwashing and helps listeners to understand difficult issues relating to climate change. 

It deals with the outrage that has resulted from the lack of action and finds ways to feel informed and energised. The episodes explore the juxtapositions and paradoxes of the climate crisis and all the nuances that arise from a movement that navigates optimism and outrage, action and denial, fear and courage.

  1. Drilled

The next podcast is presented by a team of environmental journalists and is one that exposes the breaking of climate laws. Their latest episode explores the ongoing battle against oil colonialism 30 years after the Ogoni 9 Tragedy, where a group of nine activists from the Ogoni region of Nigeria who opposed the operating practices of the Royal Dutch Shell oil corporation were executed. 

This unique podcast is a climate accountability project and is presented to its listeners in the form of True Crime. Greenpeace, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Global Witness and the Bristol Cable have recommended it.

It began in 2017 and is hosted by Amy Vestervelt, an investigative journalist who, while looking for a story came across the climate liability cases that were filed against Exxon. Since sitting in a room of scientists, lawyers and activists she was inspired to continue reporting and creating podcasts based on investigative reporting. 

  1. Mothers of Invention

This podcast sees climate change as a man made problem with a feminist solution. It’s run by Former Irish president, Mary Robinson, comedian-writer, Maeve Higgins, and series producer, Thimali Kodikara. 

You can hear the respect the two hosts have for each other loudly and clearly, as well as their specific curiosity and passion for this conversation about climate. 

Mothers of Invention discusses climate change and the feminist solutions to our crisis. It welcomes mostly women to talk on each episode to educate how to cope, get empowered, and force climate justice for all. 

“Robinson posits that climate and gender intersect, and the episode explores this…You can hear the respect the two hosts have for each other loudly and clearly, as well as their specific curiosity and passion for this conversation about climate”, writes the Irish Times. 

  1. How to Save a Planet

This next podcast, although cancelled in 2022, is an inspiring series that suggests ways to take climate action. Produced by Friends of the Earth, it aims to provide ways to deal with the all too common overwhelming feelings associated with climate change.

For those suffering from climate anxiety, this podcast provides an enlightened outlook and proposes a feeling of possibility about the future. 

The podcast is reported and produced by Kendra Pierre-Louis, Rachel Waldholz, Anna Ladd, Daniel Ackerman, and Hannah Chinn with Nicole Welch as their intern. They have two supervising producers, Katelyn Bogucki and Lauren Silverman, with Caitlin Kenney as editor. There is original music from Peter Leonard and Emma Munger with sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard again.

  1. Green Dreamer

Green Dreamer is an independent and community-led podcast that produces weekly episodes generation, paths to collective healing and wellness for all.

Hosted and produced by Kamea Chayne, researcher and editor Anisa Sima Hawley and co-editor Yasmin Dahnoun, it aims to challenge, provoke and expand our thinking about our environmental path. 

The podcasts was started by Kamea Chayne as part of her journey to get to know "what creative and bold initiatives people have already started, how different communities have been nurturing collective transformation, and how thinkers with different backgrounds and perspectives have been philosophizing and making sense of these troubled times."

Green Dreamer’s recent production includes Alchemize, a 10-week audio-based program of daily creative prompts and imagination practices — an experimental invitation to sit with the mess, stretch comforts and alternatives, and disrupt status quo ways of thinking, sensing, being, and relating. 

  1. Hot Take

This podcast is also co-hosted by Drilled’s Amy Vestervelt, alongisde writer Mary Annaïse Heglar. It has been recommended to The Ecologist by The Bristol Cable as a podcast that addresses key environmental issues.

The podcast takes a holistic and honest approach; it has a sense of humour while talking about the climate crisis as well as speaking seriously and with passion. 

The ability to swiftly move from cackling about the bad week an oil company had, to speaking seriously and passionately about the unequal distribution of climate impacts makes Hot Take a unique and intriguing podcast to listen to. 

  1. Getting Curious

There are some podcasts that I believe are worth mentioning even if they didn’t make the top six podcasts and all relate to the ocean and the extraordinary life below sea level. The first one is “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness”. The host, Jonathan is perhaps best known for their role as hair stylist on Queer Eye. 

The podcast keeps up with elections, climate change, LGBTQIA+ rights and other news stories. There are several fascinating environmental episodes including ‘How Queer is the Animal Kingdom?’; a podcast especially worth listening to if you have seen the first ever photographs of humpback whale sex, both being male, and wanted to learn more about sexuality in the animal kingdom.

  1. Tides

Greenpeace has a relatively new podcast series dubbed the “blue planet of podcasts”. The podcast “Oceans: Life Under Water” explores the beauty of the deep blue, whilst also examining its threats - such as deep sea mining and overfishing.

Listeners can expect a journey meeting humpback whales and their calves, experiencing the depths with a single breath, or encountering an octopus up close. "Oceans: Life Under Water" promises to immerse audiences in the marvels of our planet's oceans, critical to supporting life on Earth.

In the debut episode, renowned British marine biologist Dr. Helen Scales discusses the future of our oceans. Additionally, explorer and freediving record holder Daan Verhoeven vividly describes his deep-sea experiences, offering listeners a firsthand glimpse into the ocean's mysteries.

  1. Wading Between Two Titans

Finally, my last suggestion that is worth a mention is Frankie Goodway and the team at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s recommendation of ‘Wading Between Two Titans’, which “really gets at the intersection between social justice and the consequences of the climate crisis”. 

It’s a limited series produced by The Repair Lab, the podcast is about place, race and power in the time of rising tides. It explores topics such as climate gentrification, sea-level rise and the historical processes of racism.

 10. If I ruled the World

This is a bi-weekly podcast that defies the status quo and embarks on a journey to unravel the world's most pressing questions. Hosted by natural history television programme presenter Gillian Burke engages in captivating dialogues with esteemed scientists and experts, unravelling the enigma of profound systemic transformations and paving the way for their realization.

In a landscape saturated with oversimplified and divisive narratives, we're on a mission to deconstruct misconceptions and challenge the sensationalism perpetuated by mainstream media. Together with our esteemed guests, we strive to transcend the chaos of rapid news cycles and social media chatter, offering you an enlightening, empowering, and emotionally resonant experience.

If you crave depth, thirst for knowledge, and yearn for meaningful change, tune in, explore, and join us in forging a positive impact on the world.

This Author 

Ruby Harbour is editorial assistant at Money Saving Expert working as part of the Energy & Utilities team and was previously editorial assistant at The Ecologist.

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