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Ten Great Podcasts Dealing with Climate Change

Gripping, hilarious and fascinating shows on everything from poetry to politics to peregrine falcons

4:22 PM GMT+1 on September 30, 2023

    Ah OK. I’ll confess. I don’t always RUSH to listen to podcasts about the climate. 

    I’m a big fan of having a planet we can live on (call me radical) but even so there are times when my thumb swerves those buttons. Perhaps you recognise that little voice that says a climate show might be a bit…dull? Difficult? Depressing? 

    Ignore the voice! It’s behind the times. Under that vast umbrella of “climate”, you’ll find gripping, hilarious and fascinating shows on everything from poetry to politics to peregrine falcons. The company I founded, Feast Collective, even offers free consultancy to shows in this sector. That’s how much we believe in the power of podcasting to squirm right inside the hearts and minds of listeners and save the world.

    But the thing is, listeners are getting short changed, because it can be INFURIATINGLY hard to find these gems.

    That’s why Feast Collective lobbied the British Podcast Awards, arguing that listeners and podcasters deserve a Climate Award. We wanted to boost the profile of the brilliant work that’s out there. They agreed! And 2022 saw the launch of the very first BPA Climate award, with the inspiring Get Birding scooping Gold. The 2023 winner was announced at this week’s BPAs, all the nominations were fabulous but well done to the BBC's Buried for getting the top spot.

    And hooray for the Audio Production Awards, who followed the BPAs’ lead with their Sustainability Award. But what about the podcast platforms? Nah. Neither Apple, Spotify nor Google have climate categories. Apple just announced nine new categories to add to the 19 it already has. You’d have thought there might be room for climate? Or environment? Sustainability? Having a planet we can live on? Nope. It’s a shame because it makes it so much easier to find great stuff if you know where to look (and have a handy top chart to guide you).

    Luckily, there are some excellent newsletters on hand to do the job instead and point you towards some top climate podcast recommendations. Some of these will make you think, some of them will make you laugh - but what I love is how they all make you feel connected to a vast, varied community of people who are literally changing the world, one listener at a time.

    Homing In - Glenn Adamson

    One argument against a climate category is that this issue is bigger than any category. The climate affects everything, and so it affects every podcast. And yes, some of the most striking conversations about the planet occur in shows which are actually about all sorts of other stuff - like the meaning of home. This is a particularly fascinating chat with the curator Glenn Adamson about the power of having fewer, better things. (We still need a climate category for specialist shows tho. Obvs.)

    How to Own the Room - Anne Taylor

    An indispensable series about power, presence and persuasion, where inspiring women reveal the secrets of brilliant speaking. So not necessarily a climate pod either, but I have to recommend this episode because it’s such an authentic, unvarnished and (ahem) arresting story of how a retired French teacher became a frontline climate activist. And yes, since you ask, that is my mum and I am very proud.

    Burn Wild 

    How far is too far to go to save the planet? This gripping, thoughtful and beautifully produced series explores how two environmental activists, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker ended up on the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Domestic Terrorists. 

    Drilled - The Real Free Speech Threat

    The true crime podcast about climate change! Get stuck into Amy Westervelt’s acidly narrated series on how PR convinced us to love fossil fuels - even once we knew what they were doing. Green logo? Good to go!

    Blossom Trees and Burnt Out Cars

    Who is locked out of nature - and why? Talia Randall is so direct and engaging as she chats to the Muslim gardeners and Black ramblers challenging assumptions about who gets to enjoy the natural world.

    Cleaning Up - Jon Burke

    A brilliant balance of expertise and opinion means these conversations with leaders in areas like clean energy and sustainable development are info-rich without being dry. In this episode Jon talks pugnaciously about creating a low traffic neighbourhood, and the death threats he got as a result.

    Life Sentence

    A dazzlingly creative, immersive, witty and moving exploration of our role in the future of the planet. It’s lushly sound designed, brilliantly written and performed, and easy for anyone to get into. Just listen.

    The Stubborn Light of Things

    A smash hit that’s worth revisiting every year, on the dates of the original episodes. Follow Melissa Harrison on her walk, as she shares her expertise and joy about nature in the most down to earth manner. Plus gorgeous scraps of poetry and writing. Balm for the soul.

    The Rest is Politics: Leading - Kate Raworth 

    Renegade economist Kate Raworth explains the idea of doughnut economics - which aims to balance what we need and what the planet can give. What I loved about this conversation was listening to Alastair and Rory struggle to imagine a world where what is true, accurate and essential for our survival - might also be electorally possible. Somewhere in that space is where the race is run…

    Get Birding

    Going from strength to strength, this show for birdwatchers and “the bird-curious” is still just as charming and inclusive. It makes you see (and hear) the world differently, and encourages listeners of all backgrounds to feel included in (and responsible for) nature.

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