Hearing reports of extreme weather, stats about rising sea levels, or environmental sustainability doesn’t always have to be boring. There’s an easy and fun way to absorb knowledge: here are three podcasts that make learning/caring about the earth cool. Recommendations by LIDIYA JOSIFOVA.


60-Second Earth: ‘Urban Growth Defines This Century’

Broadcast: July 14, 2014

If you’re a true millennial, chances are your free time is pretty scarce. This is where 60-Second Earth comes in handy. Produced by the Scientific American, each episode goes for as long as the name claims: 60 seconds. Each week brings a different report on the environment, science, and the future of energy. With such a time constraint, it might be hard to address the complexities of various environmental issues, but each episode will definitely leave your interest piqued for further investigation.

The episode in question unpacks in a very short amount of time where our planet’s future is headed in terms of urban growth. The connections between infrastructure, greenhouse gas emissions and an ever-increasing population are made clear enough for you to humble-brag to your friends about your newfound scientific knowledge. The statistics too serve as some serious food for thought.


Costing the Earth: ‘Chemical Weapons 100 Years On’

Broadcast: April 29, 2014

Where 60-Second Earth gives quick overviews to reinvigorate our brains after staring too long at blank screens where essays should be, BBC Radio goes in-depth. Hosts Tom Heap and Dr Alice Roberts tour the UK and the world to delve into a different environmental issue each week. There’s a mixed bag of expert interviews, in-the-field reporting and locational sounds that make it more immersive than your average podcast. Thanks to clever editing it never drags on, even at 28 minutes long.

This time, Costing the Earth puts the magnifying glass up against the issue of chemical weapons. There’s a plethora of questions on this topic, the most relevant of which includes, how are we dismantling Syria’s chemical weaponry? Not only do we get the answer, but we get transported to where it happens through on-location reporting. The episode also covers the fate and consequences of old chemical weaponry, as well as the impact of previous use of chemical weapons on cities. Can you ask much more of a podcast? Probably not.

Listen to the episode here, and subscribe the podcast on iTunes, here.


Future Tense: ‘Pump up the Volume’

Broadcast: July 13, 2014

Future Tense is one of ABC Radio National’s offerings, but before you shy away from what you think is maybe your dad’s station of choice, consider this: it’s the design and innovation show you didn’t know you needed. As the world evolves, new needs and predicaments develop, meaning that new technological and social approaches also surface to meet them. The flavour of this podcast might be more urban, but its direction looks forward towards our future.

This episode takes a look (and a listen) at our changing perspectives on noise. Notably, Gen Y might actually be more at home studying in areas with background media noise, given the technological world we’ve grown up in. At least, that’s what I’ll be telling myself when I have Arrested Development on in the background the next time I’m “studying”. But it goes further – noise pollution considerations impact product design, and there are even health implications.