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Podcast Break: Climate Change Activists

October 19-25, 2020 is Global Climate Change Week.  This annual awareness effort aims to encourage academic communities in all disciplines and countries to engage with each other, their communities, and policy makers on climate change action and solutions.  Adults aren't the only ones who voice their concerns.  Recent years have seen global youth-led demonstrations, including school walkouts and street protests, demanding that leaders take action on climate change. This playlist is a starting point for kids and families to learn more about climate change.

Tai Asks Why: Freckles, Video Games, and Climate-Changing Farts
ages 5-10, 7 minutes
Curious kid podcaster Tai tackles listeners’ questions by bringing in experts or doing his own research. This episode includes three questions: “Why do I have freckles?” “Why are video games so violent?” and “Are farts changing the climate?” Meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe shares her knowledge on the last one. The climate change fart question may seem awfully silly at first glance, but it gets at some critical ideas about how we can reduce our carbon footprints and work towards restoring the health of our planet.

Fun Kids Science Weekly: Cooling the Climate and the Blue Angel Sea Slug
ages 5-12, 27 minutes
Segment three of this episode is an interview with science writer and children’s book author Isabel Thomas. Her new book, This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet!, includes easy-to-implement ideas on how families can work together to fight climate change. The podcast highlights some of her favorites. 

Wow in the World: Operation Earth: How to Be Cool to a Planet That's Hot
ages 5-12, 32 minutes
Are you still grappling with the science behind climate change? This fast-paced, zany exploration and explanation include big sounds effects and epic time travel. NPR’s Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, both passionate about creating quality shows for kids, tackle difficult scientific topics with their own spin in this podcast.

The Big Melt: Episode 1: The Tipping Points
ages 8-12, 25 minutes
The Big Melt takes an immersive look into climate change over a series of episodes. Youthful host Sarah interviews climate scientists, activists, and others to learn how they engage with climate change in their own lives. Start with the first episode to hear why Sarah began this podcast: to address her own fears and anxieties about how to save our dying planet. Get the fundamentals on the subject from Simon Donner, professor of climatology at the University of British Columbia. The Stranger Things-esque music and suspenseful narration will keep you listening.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Greta Thunberg read by Jameela Jamil
ages 8-12, 18 minutes
This episode reveals how Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg sparked a massive global movement to address the climate crisis.  It follows Greta from when she first learned about the climate crisis in school to her public address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, which propelled her to international recognition.

StarTalk Radio: Coronavirus and Climate Change, with Neil deGrasse Tyson
ages 13-17, 49 minutes
Neil deGrasse Tyson cohosts an ultra-relevant episode with guest Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. They talk about the recent carbon crash due to people restricting their driving and flying under shelter-in-place orders, and how that is improving air quality. In some areas, the stars are much more visible. Neil and cohost Chuck Nice get real about what that means for understanding climate change in the short and long-term and what activities we’d have to change to see an impact on our planet. Neil and Chuck also talk to Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Texas Tech Climate Center, about how climate change is a political issue, not just a scientific one. Discussing sheltering and climate change, they point to the reality that viruses will keep coming if we continue displacing different ecosystems.

The Mothers of Invention: You Probably Have Everything You Need
ages 13-17, 45 minutes
Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Irish comedian Maeve Higgins team up to interview women leading the climate change movement. Here, they talk to people reinventing the fashion industry, including Thao Vu, sustainable designer and founder of Kilomet109, and Céline Semaan, designer and founder of The Slow Factory. While the world has become aware of sweatshops and bad working conditions in the past decades, it hasn’t learned a lot about sustainability and the energy required to make clothes. This episode includes alarming statistics about the environmental damage clothes production can do and discusses how consumers can change behavior to develop new ways of shopping—or avoid shopping altogether.

This Is Working with Dan Roth: Bill Gates to High School Students: Solve Climate Change
ages 13-17, 19 minutes
LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief, Dan Roth, interviews Microsoft founder Bill Gates about his philanthropic efforts and why he is focused on finding a path forward for clean energy. Innovation will determine whether we can find cheap energy that doesn’t accelerate climate change to power transportation, electricity, and infrastructures, Gates says. In his 2016 annual letter with wife Melinda Gates, the couple charges high school students to propel that change via new career paths in STEM fields. Time is of the essence: if we don’t reverse climate change, Gates says, it will impact the poorest countries first.

The Flossy Podcast: Climate Change & Environmental Racism
ages 14+, 12 minutes
This is one of the two winners of NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge, which drew more than 2,200 entries. High schoolers from Carnarsie, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, discuss environmental racism in depth. They take their mic to a Manhattan climate march and interview youth activists, and afterward, talk openly about the small turnout from Black activists. The students talk about how this issue disproportionally impacts Black lives and how many of the students have felt the effects of climate change directly from natural disasters, especially from hurricanes. Ultimately, they call new activists to come to the forefront to create change.  Listen to the episode via this article and learn more about the latest NPR Student Podcast Challenge.

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