11 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
    • 4.8 • 527 Ratings

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.

    Cold Hard Cash for Your Greenhouse Gas

    Cold Hard Cash for Your Greenhouse Gas

    Cold Hard Cash for Your Greenhouse Gas
    When we think about what’s heating up the planet, we may picture CO2 from smokestacks and tailpipes. But there are other greenhouse gases that are even more dangerous. And some of these are hiding in garages and sheds all over the country. We’re talking about refrigerants. They’re the secret sauce behind how refrigerators and air conditioners keep things cool. But they’re heating up the planet. This week, in collaboration with NPR’s Planet Money, we take a ride with a couple of guys who tackle these climate threats with a pair of extremely high-tech tools: a van, and some cold hard cash. Then, we talk about the climate solution you could be interacting with every time you buy ice cream.
    Also, sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already! 
    Calls to action

    Find out what refrigerant your local grocer uses at climatefriendlysupermarkets.org.

    Check out how the big supermarket chains are doing on HFCs using the Supermarket Scorecard.

    As for your own household fridge, if you're in the market or know someone who is, choose an HFC-free model.


    Learn more about how to properly dispose of your fridge, freezer, air conditioners, and other such appliances at the end of their useful lives.

    Of course, you can always call Tim and Gabe to help with disposal too! Check out their work at Tradewater and Refrigerant Finders.

    Sign Green America’s Cool It! Campaign petition. While you’re there, find a climate friendly supermarket near you and thank them!

    If you’re a business owner, submit a letter to the Trump Administration asking them to ratify the Kigali Amendment, the international treaty that sets the phase down schedule for HFCs globally. You would be joining many states, major industry refrigerant suppliers, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle.

    The AIM Act is a bipartisan bill, supported by both the House and the Senate, that effectively would enforce the same HFC phase down schedule as the Kigali Amendment without needing to ratify it – it would cut HFC use by 85% by 2035! However, it’s likely to be vetoed by the current President. So….vote, specifically, #VoteClimate. And when it comes to local candidates those really matter too for things like public transit and composting and bike lines, so please do a little digging of your own on local candidates.


    Finally, if you do end up taking one of these actions — do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear about what you did and what it felt like. So if you do something, record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us at howtosaveaplanet@spotify.com. We might use it in an upcoming episode.

    • 45 min
    Fighting Fire with Fire

    Fighting Fire with Fire

    From California's crimson skies to smoke so thick along Colorado's front range that sent people indoors for days, this year has been an especially bad one for extreme wildfires. On today's episode, we ask, how did the wildfires get so bad – and what can we do to address them? 
    Call(s) to action


    Help build fire adapted communities. If you're interested in learning more about the range of small, wonky, zoning-type solutions to reduce pressures driving people to the WUI (pronounced wooie!)and make managed retreat a more palatable option, check out fireadaptednetwork.org, where you can keep track of all the little policy changes that would actually help make a big difference.


    Prepare Your Home for Fire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as CalFire, has a great resource to teach you how to prepare your home for wildfire. You can find it at readyfowildfire.org.

    • 39 min
    How 2020 Became a Climate Election

    How 2020 Became a Climate Election

    For years, American politicians have failed to take climate change seriously. The 2016 presidential debates didn’t even include a single climate question. Fast-forward four years, and climate change is a major election issue. So how did 2020 become a climate election? This week, how a bunch of outsiders turned the Green New Deal into a national rallying cry — and pushed Joe Biden to adopt the most ambitious climate platform in U.S. history.
    Want to take action? 

    Most important: VOTE! Check out Vote.org to make sure you’re registered to vote and find information on polling stations, early voting or absentee voting in your state

    You can check out the Sunrise Movement and read the THRIVE Agenda 

    You can read Joe Biden’s climate plan and environmental justice plan (they’re short!) or watch his recent big speech on climate change

    You can check out the Blue New Deal 

    Or read the original Green New Deal resolution - again!


    How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production. You can follow us @how2saveaplanet on Twitter and Instagram, and email us at howtosaveaplanet@spotify.com
    How to Save a Planet is hosted by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg. Our reporters and producers are Rachel Waldholz, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Anna Ladd and Felix Poon. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design, mixing and original music by Emma Munger. Additional music by Peter Leonard, Catherine Anderson, and Billy Libby. Full music credits can be found on our website. Our fact checker this episode is Claudia Geib. Special thanks to Rachel Strom.

    • 54 min
    Making Republicans Environmentalists Again

    Making Republicans Environmentalists Again

    The Republican Party has been almost uniformly opposed to climate action for years – nobody more so than President Donald Trump. But it wasn’t always like this. On today’s episode, we look back at how conservatives came to see the denial of climate science as a kind of badge of honor – and we talk to two conservative activists who are trying to change that.
    Want to take action? 

    Check out the American Conservation Coalition and read their American Climate Contract


    You can find more information at republicEN.org and check out their podcast, EcoRight Speaks.

    You can also read the full memo we mentioned in the episode - the Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan (get ready to be mad)

    Or listen to the podcast Drilled for a deep dive on the fossil fuel industry’s long misinformation campaign

    Don’t forget to VOTE! Check out vote.org to make sure you’re registered to vote, find your polling station or get information on absentee ballots in your state. 


    Want to know more? We have a reading list!

    Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich

    Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Eric Conway

    The Republican Reversal by James Turner and Andrew Isenberg

    Dark Money by Jane Mayer


    How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production. You can follow us @how2saveaplanet on Twitter and Instagram, and email us at howtosaveaplanet@spotify.com
    How to Save a Planet is hosted by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg.
    Our reporters and producers are Rachel Waldholz, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Anna Ladd and Felix Poon. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing for this episode by Sam Bair with original music by Emma Munger. Full music credits are available on our website. 
    Our fact checker this episode is Claudia Geib. Special thanks to Rachel Strom.
    Thanks to Anthony Leiserowitz for helping us understand some of this history. This episode also relied on phenomenal reporting from a number of places, including the books Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich, Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, Kochland by Christopher Leonard, Dark Money by Jane Mayer, and the podcast Drilled, hosted by Amy Westervelt.

    • 1 hr
    Black Lives Matter and the Climate

    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.
    Calls to action

    Check out the Movement for Black Lives: m4bl.org 

    Read the BREATHE Act: breatheact.org


    Check out Ayana’s OpEd: Racism derails our attempts to fight the climate crisis


    Pick up a copy of the book Ayana co-edited, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, which includes an essay by Colette Pichon-Battle.

    • 48 min
    Unnatural Disasters

    Unnatural Disasters

    As this summer has made clear: from hurricanes to wildfires, climate change is exposing more of us to extreme weather. This week we hear what it's like to survive a life-changing disaster, get tips on how to prepare — from a disasterologist — and learn why you should never call a disaster “natural.”
    Call(s) to action


    Build a go bag or preparedness kit. You can check out www.ready.gov/kit for some tips on how to build your own bag. Remember it's a guide - not a rulebook - so think through what you will really need in a disaster. Kendra packed a spare pair of glasses, just in case, for example. 


    Create your own disaster plan. The kit is only the first step in disaster preparedness. While building your bag also think through your disaster plan. You can check out ready.gov/plans to think through things like if you had to evacuate what your route would be and where you would go. If you have children, www.ready.gov/kids , helps you incorporate your kids into your disaster planning - which is important because they will be going through this with you.


    Prepare your home for your disaster. We'll link to specific tips on doing this in the additional reading, but prepping your home for the inevitable increases the odds it will survive. If you're a homeowner it's worth checking out what your insurance policy says. If you are a renter, it's worth getting renters insurance, though it's typically less comprehensive than homeowners insurance. 


    Find out what your local government and community organizations are doing to prepare for disaster. This is everything from attending meetings that your emergency managers are holding (and if they aren't holding them, why not?) And if you want to go even further consider getting community emergency response team or CERT training.


    For more info on the climate anthology that Ayana has co-edited, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, and to order a copy, head to allwecansave.earth. It includes poignant essays by Christine Nieves Rodrigues, our own Kendra Pierre-Louis and 40 other women climate leaders. 

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
527 Ratings

527 Ratings

kkozelsky ,

THE WORLD NEEDED THIS!

I love this podcast. I am so grateful for its existence. It is fun, informative, and discusses the hard topics surrounding climate change. I learn solid, scientific information in each episode and actually am able to see how we got here and paths forward. I would like more consistency with homework assignments at the end of each episode so we can take action based on what we just learned, but I am so grateful that they do give us assignments at the end of many. A wonderful, wonderful contribution to the world. Thank you from the deepest reaches of my heart for this podcast. Y’all are champions. ❤️🌍❤️

Green Chile in VA ,

Too cutesy banter between the hosts

I do enjoy the podcast, however the hosts spend too much time being cutesy during their conversations between each other. My suggestion is to have fun while being informative but keep the banter between the hosts limited. Let the science come through!

Bradinbeaverton ,

Important and timely

Great job by the hosts to cover the various issues of climate change while keeping environmental justice front and center

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