How to Save a Planet (a Podcast)

Yesterday I mentioned that Megan and I recently spent 15 hours driving to Virginia in one day…and then 15 hours driving back to St. Louis. What do you do in the car for that long?

I’ve used music, books on tape, phone calls, podcasts, and simple silence to occupy my time when making this trip in the past. This is the first time I’ve made it with a person in a long time, though, so I yielded to Megan’s preference of music and podcasts. I hunted down a few about animals and ecology, and among them we found a real gem.

How to Save a Planet is a podcast by journalist Alex Blumberg and scientist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (and their staff). In each episode they dive deep into a specific topic about climate change and the environment.

If you’re like me–someone who thinks and cares about the environment, but only among other topics–that description might not sell you on the podcast. In reality, How to Save a Planet is anything but dry, preachy, or uninteresting; rather, each episode is a lively, well-edited conversation between several people about the most interesting aspects of a specific topic regarding the environment.

Still not sold? That’s totally fine. But if you’re open to giving it a try, start with this colorful episode about kelp farming (there’s also a sequel). If you want to dive deeper after that, here are the episodes we listened to (and perhaps a fun fact I learned while listening to them):

  • Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Environment?: Because of their dependence on coal-generated electricity, Estonia is the rare exception of places where electric cars are not better for the environment.
  • The Beef with Beef: Methane gas actually comes much more from cow burps, not cow farts. Adding a little kelp to a cow’s diet significantly decreases the amount of methane they emit.
  • Is Recycling BS?: Very few recycling centers can process bubble wrap; it’s much more common for bubble wrap to clog the machines that process cardboard and glass.
  • Is Renewable Natural Gas a Scam?: As is the case with beef (and the impact of corn subsidies), it seems like companies are willing to spend a huge amount of resources to protect what they already do instead of considering more climate-friendly (and profitable) alternatives.
  • The Fight to Stop Oil Pipelines: This episode includes an interview with a Native American activist, and at one point she said one of my favorite lines on the show in reference to her going to protest an oil pipeline: “I loaded my teepee into my Blazer and headed out to the protest.”
  • Is Your Carbon Footprint BS?: As it turns out, the little things you do every day have a miniscule impact on the environment. However, if you do those little things anyway and share them with others in engaging, non-shaming ways, you can actually make a difference (this isn’t my opinion–there’s data behind this in the episode).
  • Should We Go Nuclear: Based on where we are with technology and production speeds, it’s far better to pursue solar, wind, and hydro than nuclear energy at this point.
  • 20 Million Trees

Let me know what you think if you check out How to Save a Planet! And if you have a favorite podcast (non-gaming related), feel free to share in the comments.

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