The World Meteorological Organization labeled summer 2019's arctic and boreal wildland fires "unprecedented." In the first episode of In This Climate, Janet, Jim, and Emily explore with scientists and policy experts how and why this circumpolar fire season was so significant and what we can do moving forward.
Season 1 Episodes
How the Arctic caught fire
The brief history of air quality
The billowing black factory smoke may be gone, but there remains much work to be done for U.S. and global air quality. As the earth warms, ozone worsens and wildfire particulate matter threatens communities. Janet, Jim, and Emily delve into these issues and more with a host of seasoned air quality experts and one community group fighting for quality of life.
Striking the political match
September 20 is the first day of the Global Climate Strike. It's an event that follows the rise of youth organizations like the Sunrise Movement and Zero Hour, a full year of Fridays for Future school strikes and CNN's 7-hour climate change town hall marathon. At every level of society, people have gotten involved in the politics of the environment. In this episode, the team talks with activists, a communication scientist, and journalists to find out how much of a difference any of it can make.
Speaking of hurricanes
With rising and warming ocean waters, hurricanes are on track to intensify. This change means greater risk for people in the path and greater need for effective long- and short-term risk communication. To understand the chatter around hurricane season, the team talks this week with a meteorologist, a risk communications specialist and a podcast host whose family lived through Hurricane Maria.
Lost birds and how to bring them back
In fewer than 50 years, North America has lost 2.9 billion birds, nearly a third of the 1970 population. In this episode, the team explores the significance of birds, the story of one unloved variety and the ways people can work to bring back our feathered friends. Hint: a big one is birding.
The long history of the Bering Strait
Like many of us, Bathsheba Demuth grew up seeing the human world and the natural world as separate. Then, she spent a couple of years between high school and college in Old Crow, Yukon. There, she developed a sense of a social world that contains more than human beings. Emily talks in this episode with Demuth, now a Brown University Assistant Professor of History & Environment and Society, about her new book Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait.
Snowy waves of grain
Late September in the U.S. saw a host of abnormal weather events: record heat in the Southeast, a Category 5 hurricane in an odd location, and five feet of snow in Montana. This episode, the team zeroes in on the early, heavy snows that could have a long-term effect on farmers in the Northern Plains.
When environmental journalists gather
We took a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado, for the annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference, and we want to tell you about it. In this episode, we dig into the conversations, moods, and trends that emerge when environmental journalists converge.
The fate of barley and future of beer brewing
As climate changes, so do pieces of culture. Pieces like car ownership, outdoor sports, and the drinks we share. This is the first episode in our beverage series, and it's all about beer. From field to glass, we explore challenges for barley farmers, options in sustainable brewing, and the willingness of the public to invest in more environmentally friendly beer.
Sustaining wine and identity
This is the second episode in our beverage series, and it's all about wine. We start at a vineyard and winery in California, take a look at the growing wine industry in China, go back to 2003's Europe, and finally return to the present day with challenges and opportunities in resilience.
Rebuilding the coffee system for resilience
This is the final episode in our beverage series, and it's all about coffee. We follow guests to Colombia, El Salvador, and Costa Rica to learn about the systems preventing coffee farmers from building climate resilience and possibilities for improvement.
From Arctic fires to Colombian coffee
The In This Climate team is thankful for a lot this year. Since our first episode at the beginning of September, we've covered wildfires as they relate to the Arctic, air quality, and wine. We've explored birds and coffee and a little bit of the intersection. We've featured stories about communities standing up for their health and talked with experts about topics ranging from hurricane communications to environmentally sustainable beer brewing. In this episode, we walk back through it all. Enjoy the walk? Wish it were different? Please, let us know!
Recipe for an electric vehicle battery
What does a Tesla have to do with red mud and white seaweed in Indonesia? What stands in the way of solid state batteries? How can you tell what's really powering your electric vehicle? In this episode, we work through trends and complications in the technology that could deliver transportation powered by renewable energy.
Bonus episode: Playing to our strengths
When so many of us feel responsible for and powerless against climate change, it can be difficult to assess what kind of actions are effective. In this bonus episode, associate producer Jacob Einstein speaks with Chelsea Campbell about an environmental app and explores the complex relationship between individual and collective action in the fight against climate change.
O Christmas tree, o climate change
From the peaks of the Appalachians to a wave of Belgian plantations and the Louisiana shoreline, we explore how the age-old holiday tradition of tree decoration intertwines with the environment.
The change has not been delicate
In the new year, we're returning to our first episode, "How the Arctic caught fire." But this time, we focus in on the Gwich'in perspective. Edward Alexander, co-chair of the Gwich'in Council International, tells us how he and those around him are working with the Arctic Council to exchange information and resources in support of a collaborative and resilient Arctic future.
The political power of winter sports
As cities viable for hosting the Winter Olympics dwindle, ski resorts face shorter seasons, and climbers work with less predictable terrain, the winter sports industry acts as a key site influencing climate policy.
In a two-part episode, the team speaks with a traditional owner who helped organize a fundraiser to help spread First Nations fire knowledge and land lore, which has protected patches of land this season and for thousands of years. In the second part, the team discusses effects on wildlife and communities, whether in the fire zone or choked by smoke. Then, they turn to the generative and unifying role of artists near and far in times of crisis.
Empathy through environmental music
For thousands of generations, people have connected with their environments through music. They've developed ecological empathy, communicated with the divine, and passed their understandings through space and time. Today, from Frank Waln's " Oil 4 Blood" to Billie Eilish's climate-tinged "All the Good Girls Go to Hell," popular artists continue to weave environmental activism into their art. Simultaneously, local artists foster space where people can engage collectively in the tradition of environmental music. In these episodes, we continue to explore what all of that means, from Northern Indiana to rural Haiti.
Paths to (and from) climate gentrification
In our first episode on climate gentrification, we look at the case of Miami-Dade County, including the history that got us to this point and potential solutions moving forward.
In our second episode on climate gentrification, we look at the case of the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn, including the history that got us to this point and what we can learn from the people there.
In pursuit of environmental justice
The legacy of environmental (in)justice stretches beyond the commencement of the industrial revolution, and according to long-time community organizer Peggy Shepard, it remains among the greatest challenges of the next generation. This episode, we discuss the definition of environmental justice, how it tends to play out for regulators, and examples of communities around the world standing up for fair distribution of environmental burdens.
As central banks address climate
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco hosted in late 2019 the Fed's first conference focused on climate change. There, researchers presented on topics ranging from the effects of climate change on the global workforce to the interaction between pollution and interest rate. But the day kicked off with one series of questions: why this and why now?
In this episode, with the help of Reuters reporter Ann Saphir, we examine central banking's climate risks and the Fed's engagement with those issues.
A future for Las Vegas
Positioned in the driest desert in the United States, Las Vegas is one of the nation's fastest-warming cities. In our first episode, we focus on the intertwined environmental, indigenous, and settler histories of the region, with an eye on what might be informative for the future. In our second episode, we look past the current urban landscape to the potential of a redesigned city.
Building resilience through parks
When we learned about the storm-resilient Hunter's Point South Park, we immediately took interest in the resilience potential of urban public space. Then came the questions. How can we manage public space to work in line with local ecology and protect residents from the effects of climate change, all while respecting neighborhood identity and keeping that space truly public? In this two-part series, we look for answers.
How we solved acid rain
As early as the 1930s, lakes in the Adirondacks began registering fish loss. By the 1980s, visible forest dieback turned the attention of the United States to the acid rain crisis. Today, scientists are observing the biological recovery of the region. This is the story of how it all happened.
The environmental justice landscape
In this bonus episode, IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs professor David Konisky helps us understand the modern environmental justice movement in the context of its history.
Arctic change through the eyes of mushers
On the long list of lives changed by Arctic warming are sled dogs. This episode, we're featuring a story by Elisa Shoenberger that dives into the way the sport of mushing is changing along with the climate. We also dip into our vault to take another look at the 2019 Arctic fire season, from Alaska to Siberia, from fire ecology to the politics of air quality.
Earth Day Live
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we went live on Facebook to reflect on historical Earth Days and discuss present issues in environmental health and climate communications.
Engaging with climate through art
Observing art can help us relate to environmental issues and move us emotionally, but what happens when we take the next step and begin creating art? In this episode, we look at the multi-level potential for art to help us engage in climate commitment.
The psychology of (climate) change
In this episode, we examine the emotions that can make commitment to climate action difficult and the strategies useful in supporting each other as we reimagine and create a more sustainable future.
Ghosts and thunderstorms
A year after Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in southern Africa, communities in Zimbabwe continue to feel the storm's effects. For many, the trauma is physical, emotional, and spiritual, necessitating mental health care that has become increasingly inaccessible since the country's economic crash. In this bonus episode, we talk with freelance journalist Ray Mwareya, who grew up in hard-hit Chimanimani and wrote a feature story on the subject.
How AI can help fight climate change
Machine learning's potential to assist in climate change mitigation and adaptation is vast, but as with any developing technologies, so are the challenges. In this episode, we talk with journalist David Silverberg and Parity CEO Brad Pilgrim about the ways we can use and improve artificial intelligence to fight climate change from all directions.
A future for Las Vegas, part 3
Positioned in the driest desert in the United States, Las Vegas is one of the nation's fastest-warming cities. In our third episode on its past and future, we focus on the time from 2000 to present, paying close attention to the ways its extractive industries have intersected with each other and examining the possibility of shrinking the city.
Understanding corporate climate denial
In the finale of our first season, we talk with environmental attorney Barbara Freese about her new book Industrial Strength Denial and learn about the mechanisms behind corporate climate change denial.