Podcast Recs – How to Save a Planet

Podcast Genre: Science

Episode Duration: ~1 hour

How to Save a Planet is a podcast that discusses climate change – both from the perspective of how it is impacting people and the natural world, but also how people can have an impact on climate change.

The podcast does provide things that you on an individual level can do to help fight climate change, but it doesn’t put the solution squarely on the individual’s shoulders. A lot of the recommendations involve getting involved politically – because systemic change is necessary to make the change required to actually slow climate change.

I do appreciate that they’re not coming on and harping on the evils of using plastic straws. Which, if you didn’t know, represent a tiny portion of the plastic waste in the ocean – how about we stop leaving massive plastic fishing nets in the ocean on top of making non-plastic straws more common-use, huh?!

The hosts are Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Journalist Alex Blumberg, and they have a good rapport with each other, and, more importantly, genuine enthusiasm about their topics. They are both clearly passionate about doing something about climate change, and about educating people on the issues.

The podcast is pretty US-centric when it comes to the political solutions it recommends, but all of that can be easily commuted to your political system.

If you’re a wee bit obsessed like me, you can listen to the podcast in order, but each episode is a stand-alone. I’ve enjoyed all the episodes, but if you’re not looking to invest in catching up, here are a few I particularly enjoyed:

Soil – the Dirty Climate Solution – this episode talks about how you can farm in a way that works best with the natural world, and allows the earth to act as a carbon-sink. They interview two people with drastically different perspectives – a first generation black farmer with a small farm in upstate New York and a third generation farmer with a large industrial farm in Minnesota. The first generation farmer produces fruit and vegetables for the local community, and purchased poor-quality farming land, which she was able to transform with her farming practices. She brings in youth from nearby communities to introduce them to regenerative farming techniques. The third generation farmer produces commodity crops, and made gradual changes to their farming practices that ended up reducing their workload, reducing the expenses on their farm, and increasing the yield of their crops. I just found it fascinating that they both arrived at a similar type of farming from two different directions, and that this type of farming actually has really huge cost-benefits for industrial farming, even if you ignore the health benefits for the farmers themselves, and the climate benefit.

Black Lives Matter and the Climate – Black Lives Matter is the largest movement in U.S. history, and it’s had environmental justice as part of its policy platform from the start. In today’s show, Alex and Ayana talk about why the fight for racial justice is critical to saving the planet, and what the broader climate movement can learn from the Black Lives Matter movement. **OK, so I just copied all of the above directly from their post. It’s a great listen, but I couldn’t rephrase it in a way that sounded good. Dr. Johnson is a black woman, which gives this podcast a good background to be able to do an episode tying BLM into the climate so well. This episode really blew my mind in terms of making connections I’d never even considered, but that were blatantly obvious once they were discussed.

There’s an episode about how an economy crushed by the closure of a coal power plant was revived with wind energy, one about the wildfires in California, and even one about real-estate in Florida. There’s an episode that goes in-depth about the pros and cons of electric vehicles, and one about that youtuber who convinced his enormous following to plant a ridiculous number of trees.

Every episode has links to ways you can make a difference and further reading about the topics.

What are your thoughts on climate change? Are you trying to make an impact on an individual level?

I have been trying to reduce the number of things I bring into my house in plastic. This makes grocery shopping more stressful, because I really want grapes and strawberries and such, and DO NOT understand why they are not available in cardboard? I’m also slowly expanding my gardens, and planting local flowers that will encourage bees. This is much less stressful, especially since all it takes is commenting on someone’s flowers for them to offer to give you some seed-heads. This is how I have echinacea.