Pod of the Planet

Pod of the Planet

The Columbia Climate School's mission is to develop and inspire knowledge-based solutions and educate future leaders for just and prosperous societies on a healthy planet.


November 5, 2021 20 mins
COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in many parts of the world have highlighted the urgent need for accurate spatial data, which has led governments and international development institutions to seek out reliable sources of such information to inform their COVID-19 interventions. A recent New York Times article spotlights the GRID3 program, which works with countries to generate, validate, and use geospatial data on population, settleme...
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The world oceans cover just over 70 percent of the planet. The ocean produces about half of the oxygen that sustains Earth, feeds and employees millions. It’s also pivotal to regulating the climate as it absorbs massive amounts of carbon dioxide. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 8 as World Oceans Day “to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awaren...
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In March, Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano woke up from a 6,000-year slumber; soon it was jetting lava fountains as high as 1,200 feet, and sending fiery outflows into nearby valleys. Most people run from volcanic eruptions, but volcanologist Einat Lev decided to get on a plane and get as close as possible. Lev, who works at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Observatory, specializes in analyzing how lava bodies develop and move,...
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March 8, 2021 41 mins
Today we're celebrating International Women's Day with a special interview with Professor Ruth DeFries on her new book, "What Would Nature Do? A Guide for Our Uncertain Times" (14:56). She talks about how humanity can survive by adopting strategies of the nonhuman world. Also Sarah Fecht, content manager for the State of the Planet discusses a couple recent pieces from the blog including how C02 levels may have affected dinosaur mi...
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January 25, 2021 36 mins
COVID-19 has completely upended our way of life. It has infiltrated all parts of society affecting many overlooked places. That's why in this episode we explore the toll it has taken on migration both across borders and within countries. More specifically we look at how corruption, failed policies and a lack of understanding are all making things worse for vulnerable groups in India and Kenya. We get a first-hand account from smal...
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December 17, 2020 71 mins
In our final episode of the year, Kyu Lee speaks with three of his colleagues: Phebe Pierson, Sarah Fecht and Charlotte Munson. They talk about Phebe's interview with Barnard professor Sandra Goldmark and her new book, "Fixation: How to Have Stuff without Breaking the Planet" (24:27). Sarah talks about some of the top stories coming out of the State of the Planet blog (13:10). And Charlotte, an undergraduate student at Columbia, gi...
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October 18, 2020 25 mins
Our biggest, best event of the year is going virtual! Join us October 19-22 for Lamont Open House at Home. This year, we’ll be bringing all the science fun and discovery of this iconic hands-on event right to you. Lamont Open House at Home is four days filled with exciting and informative virtual earth science activities for children, families, educators, and science enthusiasts of all ages. openhouse.ldeo.columbia.edu
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September 22, 2020 47 mins
Marco Tedesco loves ice, so much so his body is covered with it. That is, with tattoos of snowflakes running up his arms. In this episode of Pod of the Planet, Kevin Krajick explores Tedesco's obsession with the cryosphere—the part of Earth that consists of frozen water (08:47). Krajick who is the Earth Institute's senior editor for science news, knows Tedesco well. He traveled with him to Greenland a few years back to see up clos...
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August 31, 2020 42 mins
George Bernard Shaw who once quipped that "youth is wasted on the young," couldn't be more wrong when it comes to climate activism. The world they build today is the world they will inherit tomorrow.  In this episode we talk about climate and sustainability education for young activists and educators. Cassie Xu, the director of outreach and education at the Earth Institute, speaks with high school students Lily from Brooklyn (15:3...
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July 30, 2020 49 mins
Marie Tharp's "aha" moment came in 1952. When arranging profiles she created of the North Atlantic ocean floor, she noticed a V-shaped indentation that ran along the center and matched those of other profiles she laid out. She thought it resembled some sort of rift valley, similar to the geological formation in East Africa, but this one deep on the seabed. Her findings which appeared to support the notion of continental drift were ...
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July 15, 2020 31 mins
Oiled and spoiled shoreline; mother cleans beach and water for her child to play Ten years ago today, the broken pipeline from Deepwater Horizon was finally capped after spewing 168 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 long days. The biggest oil spill in history caused an incalculable amount of damage ecologically, economically and psychologically on local communities for years after. In this episode, State of the Plan...
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May 1, 2020 29 mins
Students from New Jersey, Italy and Zambia talk about their coronavirus experience and how they're dealing with isolation at home (16:50). Thanks to the Eco-Ambassadors program at the Earth Institute's Center for Sustainable Development for organizing this event and Brighton Kaoma for helping to produce this segment. Community radio has the power to bring communities together. Effective communication skills are required to unders...
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April 10, 2020 62 mins
In a changing world Impacts are often not clear Look after yourself Jason Smerdon and Kyu Lee discuss home life, home schooling and pathways forward for climate research and policy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Next Kyu talks with postdoctoral fellow Robbie Parks on the effects climate, weather, and our environment have on health outcomes and mental health (20:25). Thank you to Robbie Parks for providing the enviro...
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April 3, 2020 94 mins
In this special work from home edition of Pod of the Planet, Kyu Lee catches up with Andrew Revkin, founding director of the Initiative on Communication & Sustainability at the Earth Institute. Then we shift over to a conversation between Revkin, Herman Daly and Kate Raworth on how human progress should be pursued and measured (15:26). Herman E. Daly, a founding force behind “steady-state economics,” examines possible paths to le...
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March 5, 2020 56 mins
Why bad decisions? Cars, carbon, pollution, death. Pathways must change now. Jason Smerdon and Kyu Lee talk about travel, transportation and how the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting their lives. An interview with Professor Jacqueline Klopp (10:30), co-director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development, on how travel early in her life affected her career. Also she talks about "Digital Matatus" -- her work in Nairobi, ...
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February 11, 2020 51 mins
Research to impact Needed for problems today Disasters won’t wait Co-hosts Jason Smerdon and Kyu Lee talk about their disaster plans and experiences during Hurricane Sandy. Then an interview with Jeffrey Schlegelmilch (10:15), deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness on all the amazing work their doing and the impact they are having. Last from our You Asked series (45:00), Phebe Pierson on whether eco-frie...
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February 3, 2020 34 mins
Welcome to Pod of the Planet, a brand new podcast about sustainable development. So what does that mean? Co-hosts Jason Smerdon and Kyu Lee from Columbia University's Earth Institute are here to breakdown the term and explore with their colleagues all the myriad issues that come with it. We hope you join us on this journey to understand many of the most critical issues facing our planet today.
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January 29, 2020 2 mins
Communicating science is tough. As our understanding of our planet grows, so does the complexity of actions that are needed if we're going to sustain a livable planet. Like much of science, this podcast is an experiment. We're going to test out different things. We'll switch up formats, hosts, interviewers and topics. We want you to experience the diversity of people, expertise and thought that exists here at the Earth Institute an...
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