Fires in the Amazon and the Arctic, hurricanes in Europe, volcanic eruptions and polar vortexes … Extreme weather events are becoming much more widespread and routine, but we don’t have to be terrified. There is so much we can still do to stop the march of climate change. Many thoughtful activists, educators and leaders are working non-stop to fight the climate crisis. In 2022, it’s our time to learn and advocate, and these podcasts lead the way. Here are the top 10 environmental podcasts you should listen to this year
1. People, Places, Planet Podcast
True to its name, this podcast put out by the Environmental Law Institute is an eclectic mix of stories dealing with all aspects of the changing environment from the lens of the law. It puts an emphasis on listener advocacy and engagement, providing actionable steps people can take to improve our world. In doing so, you can listen, learn and actually help create a sustainable world with every episode. Now in its fourth season, the podcast focuses on the intersection of regular people and the environments in which they find themselves, with policy and legal expert interviews.
2. Sustainable World Radio – Ecology and Permaculture Podcast
Hosted by environmental educator and film director Jill Cloutier, the Ecology and Permaculture Podcast interviews teachers, designers, environmentalists and activists who work within nature. Originating in 2004, the podcast focuses on solutions, not problems, with many episodes using a how-to format: how to create a hydroponic garden, etc. The episodes range in topic from plants and herbal medicine to earth repair, regenerative farming and ethnobotany. There is something for everyone.
3. Hot Take – Critical Frequency
This podcast takes environmental media coverage and puts it through a “feminist and race-forward” lens. It is media literacy, criticism, and environmentalism all in one, hosted and created by climate journalists, Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt. Hot Take is an intersectional show that includes frequent guests and interviewees and concentrates on the larger issues facing the planet today.
4. Broken Ground
Broken Ground is put on by The Southern Environmental Law Center, and, therefore, focuses on environmental stories in the southern U.S. The show uses multiple hosts to look deeply at environmental justice. This season, the show is focusing on women on the front lines of the fight for that justice. The episodes empower listeners to take action across their own communities, creating small changes to shift issues on a large scale.
5. The Big Switch
The Big Switch is a quick listen — a five-part series on how our energy system is being rebuilt to address climate change. Not only how it is being rebuilt, but how it could be rebuilt by transforming our industrial landscape to get to a net-zero energy system in the coming years. Hosted by Dr. Melissa Lott who is the research director at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, this podcast explores our current power grid and the ways we can change it to benefit our society moving forward by interviewing experts in the field.
6. The Energy Gang
From a newbie to an oldie — The Energy Gang was one of the first environmental podcasts on the scene, and it remains one of the most popular. Focused on cleantech, hosts Stephen Lacey and Katherine Hamilton explore various avenues of renewable energy with humor, wit, and intelligence. Former host of the show Jigar Shah now heads the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan programs and Hamilton is a former researcher at the Renewable Energy Laboratory.
7. The Climate Pod
Two brothers just having a conversation that happens to be about climate change. That’s what The Climate Pod sounds like. But Ty and Brock Benefiel are skilled interviewers who bring on a litany of leading climate activists to talk about climate policy, particularly its intersection with big money. Each topic is discussed for about an hour, giving an in-depth look at all angles before letting listeners go.
8. Columbia Energy Exchange
Environmentalism is inextricably tied to politics and money and in the Columbia Energy Exchange, listeners enjoy intelligent discussions about the intersection of these important but diverging interests in the energy field. Hosted by Jason Bordoff, the former special assistant to the president on Energy and Climate during the Obama administration, and Bill Loveless, an energy journalism educator, the show interviews hard-hitting experts and powerful energy leaders in our international political landscape.
9. Climate Changers
In Climate Changers, they focus not just on the climate problems and initiatives themselves, but on the people working to fix those problems through those initiatives. In recent episodes, host Ryan Flahive has been focusing on sustainable food and regenerative farming, but earlier episodes set the scene by giving these issues a broad base in the contextual backdrop of all climate issues.
10. Breaking Green Ceilings
Breaking Green Ceilings gives the important perspective of marginalized and underrepresented populations in the fight against climate change. So often, global issues affect people with less privilege in a more dire way, and their circumstances are individually harmed. Leaders can have trouble seeing these problems, and the most important thing society can do is to listen to the lived experiences of those on the ground and those working to help them. Host Sapna Mulki is a second-generation Kenyan Indian with an M.A. in sustainable international development.
These are just a small sample of the smart, witty, interesting climate and environmental podcasts available. And the more you listen, the more you’ll know. And the more you know, the more you can act, create your own change, and help the planet. Happy listening!
Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer and a professor at the University of Florida, with degrees in communications and ecology.