How to Save a Planet

How to Save a Planet

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.... Show More

Episodes

February 25, 2021 44 min
So, what do you do with 579 pounds of seaweed? In our last episode, we ventured into the ocean to learn how seaweed farming can help solve climate change. In part II, we ask: What do we do with all that kelp? Plus our team does some seaweed R&D of its own and discovers...green scones? Calls to action Check out the New York State Assembly Bill A4213 on seaweed cultivation and for residents of New York, check out the petition. ...
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February 18, 2021 53 min
Seaweed and giant kelp are sometimes called “the sequoias of the sea.” Yet at a time when so many people are talking about climate solutions and reforestation — there aren’t nearly enough people talking about how the ocean can be part of that. In part one of our two-part series, we go out on the water to see how seaweed can play a role in addressing climate change, and how a fisherman named Bren Smith became kelp’s unlikely evangel...
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February 11, 2021 47 min
President Biden has set a goal of reaching 100% clean electricity in the U.S. by 2035. That means cutting all carbon emissions from the entire electricity sector in just 15 years. So... is that even possible? And if so, how do we pull it off? This week, we talk to experts who say that goal just might be in reach – if we act now. Calls to action: Read up on clean electricity standards! It’s the policy approach advocated by some of ...
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The Yurok tribe is reversing centuries of ecological damage to their land and making it more resilient to climate change by marrying two systems that might seem contradictory: indigenous land management practices and modern Western economics. In this episode we talk to Yurok Tribe Vice-Chairman Frankie Myers about how the Tribe recovered stolen land with the help of a carbon offset program, the creative ways they're bringing th...
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January 28, 2021 40 min
When loggers with chainsaws headed into the Willamette National Forest on Easter Sunday in 1989, they found a line of protesters blocking their way. Some buried themselves in front of bulldozers. Others spent months sitting in trees, among the world’s tallest. The ensuing battle would help catapult old-growth forests into a national issue, and become known as the “Easter Massacre.” Today, we’re sharing an episode of the podcast Tim...
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January 21, 2021 48 min
The recycling bin — many of us have learned to view this humble container as an environmental superhero. It is, after all, the critical first step in turning our trash into… well, not treasure, but at least more stuff. Or is it?  In this episode, we take a look at the science, help you understand whether recycling is an environmental boon or hindrance, and we open up the pandora's box that is plastic. We also dive into what rec...
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January 14, 2021 48 min
Gina McCarthy will serve as the first-ever National Climate Advisor, heading up the newly formed White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. So, who is she? We spent time with her before the nomination and talked about her relentless fight to link environmental policy with public health. From her early days inspecting septic systems, to her time leading the Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration. Get to know...
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January 7, 2021 68 min
On this week's episode, we meet two farmers who, at first glance, seem very different. One is a first-generation farmer in upstate New York raising fruits and vegetables for the local community. The other is a third generation farmer in Minnesota who sells commodity crops—corn and soybeans—to big industrial processors. But they share something in common. They’re both bucking modern conventions on how to farm. And they're pa...
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December 31, 2020 38 min
How do you take a global movement local? What happens when you refuse to accept things as they are? This week, we’re excited to bring you an episode of a new Gimlet show called Resistance. Resistance is a show full of stories from the front lines of the movement for Black lives, told by the generation fighting for change. Warning: this episode of Resistance has some strong language in it.   Also, what do you think Alex and Ayana’s ...
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December 24, 2020 46 min
We know that carbon dioxide is rising and we know that it’s warming the world, but how did scientists figure that out in the first place? And what will all this warming mean for our future? Our friends at the Gimlet podcast, Science Vs., visited a couple climate scientists to find out.  Want even more? Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! 
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We love listener mail! You've sent us some amazing notes. Some made us laugh, some made us cry, and some made us say—hey, that’s a great question! We should answer it. So that’s what we did. This week, we dig into some of your questions about trees. What’s up with that tree-planting search engine? Who were the original tree-huggers? And we top it off with some answers to your questions about our episode on nuclear power. Want m...
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If we’re going to deal with climate change, we’ve got to talk about buildings. Thirty percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to our homes, offices and other buildings – how we heat and cool them, how we insulate them (or don’t) and the electricity we use. But greening buildings is really hard. Donnel Baird is on a mission to change that. He founded the startup BlocPower to prove that we can green America’s buil...
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December 3, 2020 46 min
When it comes to nuclear energy, many people have strong opinions. Some say that if you're not on board with nuclear energy, then you aren't serious about addressing the climate crisis. Nuclear, after all, produces a lot of electricity and doesn't emit greenhouse gases while making energy. Others say that nuclear power tries to solve an illness with more of the disease. They say that nuclear energy, like fossil fuels, i...
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Miami Beach could be mostly underwater within eighty years, but construction of new beachfront properties is booming. What’s behind this disconnect? To find out, writer Sarah Miller went undercover posing as a high end buyer to meet with real estate agents across the city. Here’s the story of what she found. Sarah Miller’s piece, along with 40 other amazing essays by women at the forefront of the climate movement, appear in the boo...
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It’s important to talk about climate change. But how do you talk about it with friends and family who don't believe it's real, or don’t think we can do anything about it? We hear from a father and son who successfully navigated this conversation, and we bring you step-by-step tips from an expert on how to have a conversation where both sides actually hear each other. Maybe try it out this socially-distanced Thanksgiving! Fo...
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We love listener mail! You've sent us some amazing notes. Some made us laugh, some made us cry, and some made us say – hey, that’s a great question! We should answer it. So this week, we dig into one of your questions, and in the process, resolve an argument for a couple who can’t decide what kind of car is better for the climate. -Interested in how electric vehicles stack up? This calculator from the Union of Concerned Scienti...
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When it comes to climate change, it can feel like our future hangs in the balance of this presidential election in the U.S. But how much does the president really matter? And how can climate action move forward regardless of who wins? This week, Alex and Ayana talk with Abigail Dillen of Earthjustice about fighting for climate in the courts. Then, we speak with Benji Backer of the American Conservation Coalition about changing the ...
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October 29, 2020 40 min
Decades ago, the oil company Exxon made a decision that drastically changed our country’s response to climate change. At the time, the company’s scientists were warning about global warming and Exxon was investing in the research and development of renewable energy technologies. But instead of going down the path of pursuing renewables, a small group of powerful people decided to double down on fossil fuels. Today, we’re sharing th...
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October 22, 2020 45 min
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...
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October 15, 2020 39 min
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 s...
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