Popping Podcast Postulations #1

02 May 2022

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A bit of a different edition here, but I listen to lots of podcasts (which you doubtless will have seen on the resources page), so I thought I’d go through them more thoroughly here and hopefully encourage you to give one or two a shot.

Podcasts are a perfect medium at all kinds of times especially when reading (physical or virtual) would be inconvenient. For example, podcasts before bed are great, because you don’t have to strain your eyes looking at a screen. They’re also good for travel. The list of uses goes on; I don’t need to tell you this.

A quick note: I’ve provided links to the websites of all of these podcasts below, but they are also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts etc., so you can search for them there.


Outrage + Optimism


It must have been… 1.5 years since I started listening to O+O. Dr Clayton introduced it to me when he gave our set a toytime to find an episode of O+O that interested us and have a listen to it. I chose episode 85. The Future of Shipping in case you’re curious. Since then, I’ve been hooked, although I’ve probably missed a couple episodes.

Most episodes take the form of an introductory discussion followed by an interview and then a closing discussion and music (+ secret chats with Clay). It is always engaging and manages to cover all the latest news and do other, deeper dives at a speed that, frankly, never ceases to amaze.

One thing that really stuck out to me, was O+O’s response to criticism in the way they handled their interview with then CEO of Shell, Ben van Beurden. Their response was mature, and they made changes to the way they thought about interviews because of it. Despite what I’d like to be able to say here, this is not a common trait in media so this kind of engagement with their mistakes is a point in their favour.

Christiana Figueres (one of the hosts) has been an amazing source of positivity and an inspiration for me. In fact, I have The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac out from Moblib (haven’t read it yet!).

O+O’s The Stubborn Optimist’s Playlist Vol. 3 was what encouraged me to make The Stubborn Optimist’s Spotify playlist, which is simply a compilation of music they’ve featured in episodes.

If you only listen to one podcast from this list, listen to Outrage + Optimism. For O+O, just look through the latest episodes until something catches your attention and have a listen. There is no canonical order or first episode you must listen to.

The Climate Question


BBC World Service’s The Climate Question has a lot of merits. For one, it certainly feels lighter to listen to than O+O. It’s also relatively short - so you don’t need to set aside much time to keep up with the weekly episodes.

Each episode poses a question (it’s in the title!), covering big stories like “What does war in Ukraine mean for Climate?” and less thought-about issues like “Is space travel a problem for Climate?” For me, this is a good mix which often leaves me thinking about things I hadn’t been before. The hosts are regularly joined by experts from a variety of different fields and often manages to get into a considerable depth in its relatively short runtime.

This is, perhaps, not my favourite show from this list, but it is really enjoyable, features excellent guests, and only lasts for 30 mins. If you’re tight on time, this might be a good show to pick up.

Pricing Nature


Pricing Nature is one of those rare podcasts that clearly has little interest in profits or releasing on a rapid schedule and the result of this is wonderful. Season 1 is a well-produced crash course in cap-and-trade and carbon taxes and Season 2 (airing now!) promises to reach beyond that.

I honestly can’t remember how I first found Pricing Nature (I do these.. climate podcast crawls occasionally where I just go searching for them) but in the absence of a proper story here I’ll give you a fantastical one: Fantasy-world me found Pricing Nature through Hank Green’s video (of Crash Course fame) where he explains Carbon Pricing and then recommends the podcast. And why is this the fantasy reason I found Pricing Nature? Well good question, of course, Hank’s video is wonderful as usual, but also Hank Green was just a guest on Pricing Nature! Oh, how the turns have tabled (not really I’m sorry but I had to say it)! The conversation they have in this episode is actually really interesting and I would say it could be listened to out of order…

But Pricing Nature is like a series of lessons, even if they contain current references they still primarily build on the previous episode. Listen to Pricing Nature and listen to it from the beginning.

For What it’s Earth


For What it’s Earth takes a different approach to talking about Climate from the other podcasts on this list. It’s much more casual with conversation wandering around the subject area and a good amount of time spent on the lives of people on the show. For What it’s Earth feels personal and is generally a pleasant listening experience which causes substantially less stress than some of the other shows on this list.

Each episode starts off with a chunk of casual discussion about life and trying to be sustainable in it. It’s a great reminder that we are all real people who can’t be perfect models of Climate Conservation. I really like this part of the show; it’s grounding and celebrates small change as well as picking up on some of the struggles that can be easy to miss when looking at Climate Change on a larger scale. At the end of this intro segment, they talk about one good thing they’ve done for the planet this week and often read some of their community’s efforts. This is a really wonderful approach to taking action; taking action in small steps and celebrating each success is great way to stay hopeful.

For What it’s Earth, which runs for about 50 mins, is a squishy way to engage with Climate Change - and I mean that in the best way possible. Listening to an episode feels like sitting down with friends for a chat, and therefore the mental barrier to entry is much lower. I can relax to For What it’s Earth, or listen when my brain’s not operating at 100% and I simply can’t do that with podcasts like Pricing Nature and O+O.

Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. - António Guterres

P.S. Please come to the Sustainable Fashion, “Resilience 2022” Show kicking off this Thursday (May 5th) in Flint Court at 18:00 with a performance from Arcane! There’s a wonderful array of outfits on display (I would know - I’m managing the rack) and it’s sure to be great. There will also be carbon neutral food which you can get bluebilled through this link (all the clothes - which are 100% sustainable - will be auctioned here as well). Clearly, I am not alone in thinking this is going to be awesome since already over 150 people have signed up. Bring all your friends! If you’re still not sure if you want to come, it might be worth it just to see Seb and Taanvir with megaphones…

See you next edition!
Oscar Mitcham