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7 climate podcasts to help you make sense of the future

Look, we know there are podcasts for just about everything at this point, but there's a reason for that. They are excellent tools for helping us understand complex topics, hear directly from experts, and make things more digestible. There are few topics that could benefit more from the focused, easily consumable medium that podcasts provide than climate change. Whether you want to better understand the causes of global warming, the biggest challenges ahead, or how you can change your life to embrace sustainability, there's a climate change podcast for you.

The truth is that climate change is going to affect everything — where we live, how we travel, what we eat. Processing all of this can be overwhelming, and imagining how it will affect you and those around you can be anxiety-inducing. Here are seven of our favorite podcasts that can help you get started.

1. How To Save A Planet

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How To Save A Planet started with a very big, very important question in mind: "How screwed are we?" The answer to that question, luckily, has not yet been determined because we still have the opportunity to answer it ourselves. Hosts Alex Blumberg and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson spend each episode tackling a different part of the climate crisis, from the effects we're feeling on the ground with extreme weather to how the politics of climate change got so toxic and how different proposed solutions to the problem might actually play out. If you're a policy wonk at heart and are looking to answers to big questions, this podcast will serve you well.

2. Mothers Of Invention

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The Mothers of Invention podcast has a telling tagline: "Climate change is a man-made problem — with a feminist solution!" Benefitting from the odd-couple pairing of its hosts — former Irish President Mary Robinson, comedian-writer Maeve Higgins, and series producer Thimali Kodikara — this show tackles everyday topics and shows the impact of climate change on all parts of our lives. More importantly, it highlights the people who are setting out to solve the problems plaguing the planet and shows how BIPOC women are leading the charge.

3. A Sustainable Mind

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A Sustainable Mind started out as a master's thesis project by environmental activist Marjorie Alexander, with the goal of bringing in voices that are often left out of the climate conversation — namely, young people and women of color. The show has grown into an ongoing conversation about our collective responsibility to take care of the planet and make sure it remains stable and inhabitable for those who come after us. Each episode, Alexander speaks with an expert who is trying to create a more sustainable world and helps guide listeners to making better choices for the planet.

4. A Matter Of Degrees

A Matter of Degrees, hosted by Dr. Leah Stokes and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, is a newly launched endeavor, and one that will be worth following if you care about the climate. The show sets out to highlight many of the forces behind climate change. Everything from the fossil fuel industry to politicians and lawmakers and environmental racism gets put under the microscope and examined. But just as important in understanding how we got here and who is responsible is figuring out what we can do to fix it. Much of the show is dedicated to highlighting the tools that we have available to us right now and figuring out how we can pull the right levers to fight for our planet's future.

5. Sustainable(ish)

Life is complicated. We all know full well that some of the habits we have and behaviors that we practice are simply not sustainable, but we're stuck in our ways. Addressing that all at once feels overhwelming, and the Sustainable(ish) podcast recognizes that. Host Jen Gale doesn't seek to push people into the pool, but rather help them dip their toes in and adjust to the water. The podcast points out baby steps that you can take in your everyday life to live more sustainably, without sounding judgmental if you don't feel capable. The goal, ultimately, is a snowball effect — little changes adding up to big ones over time.

6. Outrage + Optimism

The name kind of says it all with Outrage + Optimism. Spend any time reading about climate change and you will feel plenty of the former, and we can all certainly use more of the latter. This show certainly isn't afraid to tackle the parts of global warming that are upsetting — the ways the planet is changing because of human behavior, the industries responsible for pushing us to the brink of destruction, the policymakers standing in the way of fixing this crisis. But the hosts happily point to the solutions that are available to us, highlight how we are fighting climate change, and provide the possibility for the best possible outcomes. The show recognizes that they are within our grasp if we are just willing to change.

7. Wardrobe Crisis

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Clothes are a perfect example of an item that we might not give much thought to but that has a surprising impact on the planet. No one knows this better than Clare Press, the former sustainability editor for Vogue Australia. Her podcast Wardrobe Crisis uses her fashion expertise and your closet as a jumping off point for big conversations about every part of the fashion supply chain — from farming to shipping to packaging and more — to show how something as simple as what you wear every day affects the planet.