The climate crisis is a marathon, and every good marathon needs people on the sidelines cheering, handing out water, and getting a little day drunk. The goal of Sweatpants: A Low-Key Climate Podcast is to be the loudest, day-drunkest, people in the climate game. Every episode, comedian and climate science & policy expert Rollie Williams (Climate Town, Columbia University) talks to climate scientists, journalists, and activists as well as comics, artists, and etceteras about climate change and more. Sometimes they'll get into hard numbers, but it's mostly a candid, human conversation between human people. Climate change is an emergency, but it's not a sprint. If you need a break from the charts and climate projections and want to hear low-key conversation about climate, Sweatpants is the podcast for you.
Your Brain on Climate Change (with Dr. Shannon Odell)
Never has a guest on Sweatpants understood the concept of a low-key climate podcast faster than Dr. Shannon Odell (Drunk Science, Fun City, Your Brain On Blank). Despite having a PhD in Neuroscience, Shannon is also a working comedian in New York City, and you better believe they get into it on the podcast. Shannon and Rollie try to get into brains of climate deniers as well as people suffering from climate grief, but they do it in a really low-key way so they don't violate the sacred tenet of the podcast.
Please don't kidnap my mother (with Dr. Geoffrey Supran)
Put your kids on silent and throw your friends in a volcano because you don't want to miss a second of this episode featuring Dr. Geoffrey Supran (Harvard, MIT, Climate Social Science Network). Actually, you know what, I think I came in a little too hot with that intro. And a lot of you don't even have kids or access to a volcano. You know what, I'll just say Dr. Supran is one of the most interesting people I've ever met and he pivoted from being a top tier physicist to becoming a climate activist after a stunning series of revelations. Intrigued much? Oh yeah you are. Give it a listen. Or don't! I'm not your parents.
Link to the paper we're talking about in the episode: https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(21)00233-5
Link to another paper: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/20/big-oil-congress-climate-change
If something I do fails, I want it to be my fault (with Emily Atkin)
If you're looking for a relaxing trip to podcast city, you've come to the right place. Today's guest is the creator and writer of the Heated Newsletter, Emily Atkin, and she's got some insane stories to tell. Honestly, there are some pretty high key moments, so if you're allergic to excitement, get lost. Emily and Rollie talk about the ill-fated climate debate, Emily's life as a reporter, and there may even be a secret post-credits scene if you stick around long enough.
Living on a beach with Morgan Freeman (with Dr. Kate Marvel)
You are in luck, because this episode stars climate science powerhouse Dr. Kate Marvel (NASA, Columbia University, Scientific American). She also happens to have been Rollie’s atmospheric science professor in grad school, so they’ve got plenty to talk about. Dr. Marvel discusses her current research, her thoughts on the future, and the landline telephone in her apartment that she doesn’t know the number to. It’s a real wild ride stem to stern, but not in a high-key way. More like a lazy river but with controlled explosions. Check it out. Also, at one point we talk about space ghost coast to coast and I said I would link the episode in the show notes, but I couldn’t find it. I guess it’s lost to history.
The only two climate comedians we're aware of (with Chuck Nice)
Rollie strikes gold in the third installment of Sweatpants by bringing on climate comedian Chuck Nice (StarTalk, Comedy Central, Brain Games). They talk about their respective paths around comedy and climate communication, as well as general theories on how people become radicalized. It's fun and lively and low-key, so if you want to hear some of that, this might just be the episode for you.
When NASA calls you, it’s either terrible or good (with Dr. Gavin Schmidt)
The concept of a low-key podcast is strained when Rollie gets on the phone with Dr. Gavin Schmidt, NASA’s Senior Climate Advisor to the President. Luckily, Gavin was calling in from an active turkey farm which helped restore the podcast to a calming center. They talk about what an average day is like, the general state of NASA’s climate department, the difficulties of juggling, and more. Throughout the episode, Dr. Gavin Schmidt sticks the landing on so many perfect metaphors it almost feels scripted, but if this episode was scripted, don’t you think Rollie would have had better jokes? Please enjoy this Sweatpants episode unless you need something high key in which case, keep on walking.
Funny and awesome
A great antidote to hanging out with your infuriatingly anti-science family! Comedy and science and hangs; oh my!