43 episodes

Does climate change freak you out? Want to know what we, collectively, can do about it? Us, too. How to Save a Planet is a podcast that asks the big questions: What do we need to do to solve the climate crisis, and how do we get it done? Join us, journalist Alex Blumberg and scientist and policy nerd Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, as we scour the earth for solutions, talk to people who are making a difference, ask hard questions, crack dumb jokes and — episode by episode — figure out how to build the future we want.

How to Save a Planet Gimlet Media

    • Society & Culture

Does climate change freak you out? Want to know what we, collectively, can do about it? Us, too. How to Save a Planet is a podcast that asks the big questions: What do we need to do to solve the climate crisis, and how do we get it done? Join us, journalist Alex Blumberg and scientist and policy nerd Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, as we scour the earth for solutions, talk to people who are making a difference, ask hard questions, crack dumb jokes and — episode by episode — figure out how to build the future we want.

    Presenting: Gastropod

    Presenting: Gastropod

    Over the past century, we've transformed the arid lands of the American west into year-round, well-irrigated agricultural powerhouses. Today, fruits, nuts, and nearly all of our leafy greens are grown in the desert, using water diverted, stored, and supplied at taxpayer expense. This intense irrigation is having an impact: Reservoir levels are dropping, rivers are drying up, and the state of Arizona is literally sinking. All of which raises some big questions, like should we be farming in the desert? And what would a water-saving system even look like? Today’s episode comes from our friends at the show Gastropod, which is hosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley. They explain how the United States became so dependent on food grown in the driest part of the country and then share stories of people who have found alternative ways of growing delicious food with less water. 
    If you like what you hear, follow Gastropod on Spotify and check out their other episodes. You can also see photos from this episode and find more details here.
    Guests: Brad Lancaster, Ramona Button, Terry Button, Gary Nabhan, Sterling Johnson, Nina Sajovec, Eric Meza, Abe Sanchez and Sonja Swanson
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    • 58 min
    How Amazon Workers Got Serious About Climate (and How You Can, too)

    How Amazon Workers Got Serious About Climate (and How You Can, too)

    A common piece of career advice is to bring your whole self to work. But what if your whole self includes a deep concern for the climate? Can you bring that part of yourself to work, even if it makes your workplace uncomfortable? This week we talked to a couple of people, Emily Cunningham and Eliza Pan, who had that same question. They were deeply concerned about the climate crisis and they felt that their workplace, Amazon - yes that one - was part of the problem. So they, along with some of their coworkers, decided to bring their concerns about climate change into the office. This week we learn how Amazon workers pushed the company to act on climate change, how effective it was, and what lessons the rest of us can learn from them. 
    Guests: Emily Cunningham and Eliza Pan
    Take Action

    Find out what your company is already doing to address climate change. How does what they are doing compare to other organizations in their space? Could they be doing more?

    Start talking to your coworkers about climate change. Find the people in your organization who are interested in finding ways to help your company lower its carbon footprint. 

    Connect with groups in your area that are organizing about climate change. Some places to start looking might be your local chapter of 350.org, and check out this list for more suggestions.

    Learn More

    Read the open that Amazon Employees for Climate Justice wrote to Jeff Bezos

    Eliza recommends the book The Long Haul by Myles Horton (who we also mentioned in our episode, Where's our Climate Anthem)

    Check out Amazon Employee's for Climate Justice's efforts on their website. You can get in touch with Amazon Employees for Climate Justice at info@amazonclimatejustice.org


    Read the full letter that former Amazon VP Tim Bray wrote about why he resigned in the wake of Amazon terminating some of its employees

    Read Amazon's climate pledge



    If you take an action we recommend in one of our episodes, do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear how it went and what it felt like. Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us via our Listener Mail Form.  We might use it in an upcoming episode.
    Check out our Calls to Action archive for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Sign up for our newsletter here. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

    Credits:
    This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Kendra Pierre-Louis. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Rachel Waldholz and Anna Ladd. Our intern is Ayo Oti. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger.
    Super special thanks to Rachel Strom for helping with this episode. 
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    • 50 min
    Encore: Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Climate?

    Encore: Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Climate?

    We love listener mail! You've sent us some amazing notes. Some made us laugh, some made us cry, and some made us say – hey, that’s a great question! We should answer it. So this week, we dig into one of your questions, and in the process, resolve an argument for a couple who can’t decide what kind of car is better for the climate. (This episode first aired on November 12, 2020.)
    Take Action


    If you’re in the market for a new car...test drive an EV! And then let us know how it went!


    Send us a voice memo! We love hearing from listeners! Have you taken one of the actions we’ve recommended? Have some burning climate questions that just need to be answered? An episode idea you can’t wait to hear? Just have some climate feelings?! Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it through our Listener Mail Form. We might use it in a future episode!


    Learn More


    Interested in how electric vehicles stack up? This calculator from the Union of Concerned Scientists lets you compare emissions from EVs with internal combustion engine vehicles in different regions across the U.S. 

    Transport & Environment has a similar calculator for folks in the European Union

    If you want to check out the report discussed in this episode, comparing the environmental impacts of EVs and other vehicles, you can find it here!


    Check out our Calls to Action archive for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Send us your ideas or feedback with our Listener Mail Form. Sign up for our newsletter here. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Rachel Waldholz. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Kendra Pierre-Louis and Anna Ladd. Our intern is Ayo Oti. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing by Emma Munger and Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 47 min
    Is Biden’s Jobs Plan a ‘Skinny Green New Deal’?

    Is Biden’s Jobs Plan a ‘Skinny Green New Deal’?

    The Biden Administration's American Jobs Plan is billed as an "infrastructure" package. But it's also something else: the most ambitious climate plan a U.S. president has ever proposed. So what's in it? And how can we make sure this plan avoids the fate of the last big climate bill (hint: it didn’t go well)? We talk to an architect of the Green New Deal and one of our favorite energy policy experts — and then Alex and Ayana make a terrifying phone call.
    Guests: Leah Stokes, Julian Brave NoiseCat
    Take Action: Call your members of Congress!
    As Ayana says, this is "a once in a lifetime opportunity to pass comprehensive, ambitious federal climate policy.” And as Dr. Leah Stokes said in our episode, now is the time! So call your members of Congress! If Alex and Ayana can do it, so can you!
    Don’t know who your member of Congress is? No problem!
    You can find out who your representative is here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative 
    This site has information on your senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm 
    You’ll find phone numbers for members’ D.C. offices on their websites — or just call the Capitol switchboard! They can connect you directly with the office of your representative or senator: (202) 224-3121
    Tips for calling:

    Make a plan! Jot down some notes to remember what you want to say.

    Introduce yourself and tell them you’re a constituent! Let them know that you’re a voter in their district — and your opinion matters.

    Tell them why you’re calling: It’s crucial that Congress take serious action on climate change this year to meet the U.S. target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

    Ask for something specific! Maybe: I’m really excited about the American Jobs Plan, and I think it’s really important to pass a strong clean electricity standard to get us on the path to 100% clean power / I love the idea of a Civilian Climate Corps and Congress should fully fund it / It’s really important to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles / Choose your own climate priority! Maybe it’s kelp farming...

    Leave your contact information. That’s it! You did it!


    Learn More

    Want to learn more about the American Jobs Plan? You can find the White House fact sheet here.

    Want to learn more about clean electricity standards? Our guest this week, Dr. Leah Stokes, laid out her vision along with Sam Ricketts of Evergreen Action in a Vox article: This popular and proven climate policy should be at the top of Congress’s to-do list: The case for a national clean electricity standard.

    You can find their full report advocating for a national clean electricity standard here: A Roadmap to 100% Clean Electricity by 2035 .

    And you can hear more from Leah on her podcast, A Matter of Degrees.

    We also talked about the clean electricity standard in Party Like It’s 2035.

    Want to learn more about the Green New Deal? We told the story of the Green New Deal in our episodes How 2020 Became a Climate Election and The Green Wave.


    If you take an action we recommend in one of our episodes, do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear how it went and what it felt like. Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us via our Listener Mail Form.  We might use it in an upcoming episode.
    Check out our Calls to Action archive for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Sign up for our newsletter here. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Rachel Waldholz. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Kendra Pierre-Louis and Anna Ladd. Our intern is Ayo Oti. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/a

    • 43 min
    Presenting: No Place Like Home

    Presenting: No Place Like Home

    This week, we’re sharing some wisdom from Sherri Mitchell. Sherri is an Indigenous rights attorney, author, activist, and contributor to the book Ayana co-edited, All We Can Save. In this conversation, which originally aired on the podcast No Place Like Home, Sherri speaks about indigenous knowledge, prophecy and Mother Earth. We’re excited to share it with you. 
    No Place Like Home is hosted by Mary Anne Hitt and Anna Jane Joyner. You can listen to other episodes of their podcast on Spotify, or wherever you listen.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 39 min
    Listener Mail: Is Renewable Natural Gas a Scam?

    Listener Mail: Is Renewable Natural Gas a Scam?

    It’s listener mail time! This week, we’re digging into a mysterious email one listener received from their utility about renewable natural gas. Can natural gas actually be renewable, or is this just a marketing scheme? We also take a look at Venn diagrams sent by listeners after our episode, "Is Your Carbon Footprint BS?" to see what kind of climate actions you’ve got planned!

    Calls to Action

    Check to see if your city has a building electrification effort you can support – the Building Electrification Institute has a list of some here.

    Check out Environment America’s resources for electrifying your college campus.


    Learn More

    Read the World Resources Institute’s report and blog post on renewable natural gas.

    Read Earthjustice and the Sierra Club’s report on renewable natural gas.

    Read the LA Times’ editorial on SoCalGas and Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions.

    Read this article about gas industry trade groups paying Instagram influencers to post about how much they looooove gas stoves.

    If you want to see what kinds of policies and marketing campaigns your utility may be supporting, you can see if they’re a member of the American Gas Association or American Public Gas Association.


    Check out our Calls to Action archive for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Send us your ideas or feedback with our Listener Mail Form. Sign up for our newsletter here. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Anna Ladd The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Kendra Pierre-Louis and Rachel Waldholz. Our intern is Ayo Oti. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger. Special thanks to our guests this week, Tom Cyrs and Matt Vespa.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 42 min

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