Everyone is at a different place on their sustainability journey. You might have just sold your car and converted your garden into a solar farm… or you might be ready to start making changes but feel totally overwhelmed by the thought. Wherever you are on that spectrum there is help and information available. Here is my pick of the five best sustainability podcasts to provide inspiration, education and practical tips.
1. Outrage and Optimism
If you regularly despair at the global environmental challenge, then this is the best podcast for you. The show encourages us to convert our outrage into action and shares why we have reason to be optimistic about the future. The guests always bring new ideas and quality analysis, and the hosts are not afraid to ask the difficult questions. As proof of the sustainability credentials of this podcast, one of the hosts is Christiana Figueres, an instrumental figure in engineering the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.
Best sustainability podcast if… you want to feel uplifted about possible solutions to the environmental crisis.
Episode to check out: ‘BP’s road to rebuilding trust with CEO Bernard Looney’
The head of one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies doesn’t seem a natural guest for an environmental podcast, but the Outrage and Optimism team don’t shy away from the difficult questions. Solving the global warming challenge will require working with the world’s fossil fuel giants, but are BP’s new commitments believable?
2. Fully Charged
Originally a YouTube channel, and now also a weekly podcast, Fully Charged started talking about electric cars and clean energy even before it became such a hot topic. Independently funded, it can be relied on to provide honest reviews of new technology, whilst host Robert Llewellyn always manages to maintain a feeling of positivity about the future of our transport and energy systems. His guests are often the leading minds in their industries, so this is a must-listen if you want to know about the technology that will soon be part of all of our lives.
Best sustainability podcast if… you want to geek-out about the future of green tech.
Episode to check out: ‘Charles Howarth on Offshore Wind and General Electric’
Get ready to be blown away (pun intended) by the scale of offshore wind. Even just the length of new turbine blades is staggering. In this episode Robert Llewellyn gets the latest from Charles Howarth, a wind energy specialist from GE.
3. Eat for the Planet
In 2020, European Union scientists estimated that the food system as a whole contributed 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with that figure expected to rise. The Eat for the Planet podcast shines a light on how we can reduce that figure and live more sustainably through what we choose to eat. Host Nil Zacharias is joined by a stellar cast of pioneers, entrepreneurs and investors who are all working to transform our food system.
Best sustainability podcast if… you want to find out the true impact of what you eat and get inspiration for changing your diet.
Episode to check out: ‘Switch4Good – Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch’s unstoppable new mission’
American athlete Dotsie Bausch went from winning Olympic medals to advocating for sustainable eating, on an international stage. You might have seen her on Netflix’s documentary ‘The Game Changers’. Here, she chats to Nil Zacharias about her fascinating career and her latest initiative Switch4Good, an athlete-driven non-profit working toward a dairy-free future.
4. What Planet are we on? … with Liz Bonnin
The lilting Irish tones of host Liz Bonin will calm your nerves while she delivers the sometimes-uncomfortable truths about climate change. She is joined by regular hosts, as well as experts, campaigners and well-known names to discuss the key topics. They also offer practical tips on how we can improve the sustainability of our workplaces and personal lives. This podcast is produced by the BBC in the UK, which provides reassuring quality as well as thorough independent reporting.
Best sustainability podcast if… you want to pick up practical solutions and tips to reduce your environmental impact.
Episode to check out: ‘Sabrina and Idris Elba – A New Respect For Food’
If you want to launch a new podcast then it helps to have access to some well-informed, big-name guests. ‘What Planet Are We On’ certainly delivers in that regard. This episode is about food and farming and features actor Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina, both of whom are UN Goodwill Ambassadors. They share personal insights on inequality, the state of our global food systems, and how we can all do more to help.
What’s nice about listening to the Sustainable(ish) podcast is that you will never feel judged, or like an environmental failure. Listening to self-confessed ‘knackered-mum-of-two’ Jen Gale feels immediately like hanging out with an old friend. She seeks help from guests as she tries to navigate the confusing and often guilt-laden world of trying to live more sustainably. The feel of the podcast is perfectly described in her own words – ‘No change is too small. We are aiming for progress, not perfection’.
Best sustainability podcast if… you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by what changes to make.
Episode to check out: ‘Count us in – Climate action for a billion people’
The ‘Count Us In’ project is aiming to get one billion people committed to climate action: “If one billion people made changes in how they travel, the energy they use and the food they eat, this could directly reduce carbon pollution by almost 1/5 of the total reduction needed.” Although this is a HUGE target, it can be achieved through a lot of small actions. In this episode, Jen speaks to one of the founding partners of the project about how they aim to achieve that goal.