Eight Environmental Podcasts to Follow in 2024

A microphone, a laptop, a notebook, a cup, a photo frame, and some plants sit on a desk.

In a world full of podcasts, what are some unique and refreshing environmental podcasts you can listen to? Edge Effects has the answer. We define “environment” broadly and capaciously to encompass a wide range of topics related to environmental and social change. This is why our recommendations cover a long list of subjects including climate activism, Indigenous foodways, mining conflicts, corporate greenwashing, environmental costs of digital development, and more.

The common topics and themes among these podcasts include: What action can we take beyond making “greener” consumer choices? What systemic forces motivate individual action? In what ways are racial and social issues entangled with environmental problems? If these are questions you care about, give these podcasts a listen.

1. Burn Wild

a burning house against a red background

Burn Wild takes a deep dive into the history of a radical underground environmental group—the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Notorious for bombing and arson activities, ELF has been deemed the most dangerous terrorist group in the United States by the FBI. This series brings listeners the personal stories that have been omitted or obscured by sensational headlines. For example, how does a love of nature—which many adults try to cultivate in themselves and their children—drive one to join a group that will ultimately be labeled “eco-terrorists”?

For those who experience intense climate anxiety, listening to this podcast is also a way of processing and grappling with feelings of despair and helplessness. It prompts questions: what political action can and should we take in the face of crippling climate distress? The question of temporality also arises. Is it possible for political action that was once considered extreme to feel proportionate to the problem as scientific consensus shifts regarding the speed and scale of climate change?

2. The Data Fix with Dr. Mél Hogan

colorful abstract background with the worsd "The Data Fix"

This podcast, hosted by Dr. Hogan, interviews environmental scholars and media studies scholars on the ecological impact of technology and media consumption. The idea that advances in digital technology—including generative AI and cloud computing—have a negative impact on the environment is now increasingly mainstream. It almost feels too straightforward: digital and computer technologies have material impacts on the environment.

The conversations in this podcast reveal the complexities of this issue. Another thing we appreciate about this podcast is that it answers many questions that you may be too embarrassed to ask and too lazy to Google—questions like “what exactly is a microchip?” or “where are data centers located?”. The Data Fix covers both the basics and the intricacies of the environmental impacts of data science and technology.

3. Drilled

Black viscous fluid dropping over a globe against a red background; the word "Drilled" is on top

Labeled as a “true-crime podcast about climate change,” Drilled draws on a variety of cases around the globe to explore how states and corporations frame environmental activists as criminals and terrorists. If you want to learn more about corporate greenwashing, this is the place.

One of the highlights of Drilled is the three-part mini-series “Herb” (Episodes 1 to 3 in Season 9) on Mobil Oil’s campaign to promote the idea of “corporate free speech” since the 1970s, a movement that has permanently tilted the power imbalance between corporate players and individual citizens/grassroots organizations. And in its latest season, one of the episodes (S10, Ep 5) talks about how Atlas Network, a conservative think tank, launched campaigns and shaped public opinion against activist groups such as Last Generation (which Edge Effects has covered in a story about climate protests in art museums). It’s a podcast that allows us to see the struggle shared by climate activists across the world.

4. Mining for the Climate

A grey mine-like structure under a grey sky. The phrase "Mining the Climate" is in the center.

Produced by Blue Lab, Mining for the Climate takes a deep dive into the harm of mining minerals, which, ironically, is often presented as a solution for climate change. Critical minerals, after all, are essential for developing electric vehicle batteries and solar panels. The harm of mineral mining is often framed as a reasonable tradeoff in “clean” or “green” energy transitions. The first season of Mining for the Climate, for example, follows the story of how Piedmont Lithium bought up land in Gaston County, North Carolina, and how the community responded to it.

While many news stories focus on questionable or unethical mining projects in less wealthy countries, Mining for the Climate sheds light on the conflicts related to mining activities in the U.S. (Opposition and protests against Lithium mines are also taking place in Nevada and Maine, among others.) This podcast is also an excellent pedagogical tool for those who are teaching a course on mining, extraction, land use conflicts, or social justice. Go to the show notes, and you’ll find plenty of supplemental readings and resources.

5. Toasted Sister Podcast

An abstract drawing of a person in black and white, with the words "toasted sister podcast" in a banner at the bottom.

This is an oldie but a goodie. The Toasted Sister Podcast brings you excellent content on Native American food and foodways, covering topics such as food sovereignty and Indigenous farm workers. For those who like to follow celebrity chefs and cooking shows, this podcast offers great profiles of Indigenous chefs, such as 2023 James Beard Award winner Sherry Pocknett, and recipes you can try at home.

We also encourage you to go into their archives to listen to some of the older episodes. For instance, the mini series “No Longer Gentle Indians” provides a historical view of Native Americans’ relationship with food and reasons behind their distrust of medical institutions.

6. Under Our Feet

drawing of feet against a blue background on top; at the bottom, there are layers of orange, yellow, brown. The words "Under Our Feet" can be seen.

Under Our Feet explores the hidden systems that shape the world around us by revealing the geologic forces and events that shape the landscape and our lives. In the new second season, the podcast tells the story of PFAS (or “forever chemicals”).

You might have heard headlines about these substances, which have pervaded our environment, drinking water, and even our bodies, but Under Our Feet goes deeper into their history, science, and impact than you’ll read about in the news. In Under Our Feet, you’ll find the intimate connections between the earth and ourselves.

7. In Common

A blue symbol that looks like petroglyph is at the bottom right corner, against a white and beige background. The words "The In Common Podcast" are in the top left corner.

The “commons” are widely understood as environments or natural resources belonging to everyone. As diverse, contested geographies that are not always accessible to everyone, however, they present unique environmental, ethical, and managerial challenges. The In Common podcast explores how environments and the more-than-human world are shared across time and place. It covers topics ranging from commons governance to conservation, sustainability, and everything in between. The in-depth interviews published on their website offer unique perspectives from people across disciplines within traditional university settings and those who work in applied fields.

If you venture into the stacks and explore the archived episodes on their website, you will find a lovely collection of episodes curated by the editors of the International Journal of the Commons. These episodes feature several conversations specifically related to environmental decision-making in the face of conflict and climate change.

8. Public Trust

Drawing of water in the foreground, and trees, a boat, a sun, and houses in the background.

Public Trust is a podcast miniseries co-produced by Midwest Environmental Advocates and Wisconsin Sea Grant. Producers Richelle Wilson and Bonnie Willison visit three communities in Wisconsin affected by PFAS (“forever chemicals”) contamination in their water supply.

In the first two episodes, they visit French Island, where residents have been drinking bottled water for three years because the tap water isn’t safe. Then, they travel to the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation, where scientists are working with the tribe to test for PFAS in maple sap, wild rice, and fish. In the final episode, they talk to residents of Peshtigo who have been going up against a corporate polluter since 2017 to fight for safe drinking water in their community. While the podcast includes interviews with scientists, environmental lawyers, and other experts, the real stars of the show are the community members who share their stories. It’s an example of public humanities in action.

Featured image: Work desk with microphone, laptop, a plant, and a cup of beverage. Photo by Vika Strawberrika, 2021.

Speaking of environmental podcasts, Edge Effects produces its own podcast series featuring interviews with scholars, scientists, activists, and artists who engage with questions of environmental and cultural change. Learn more about our podcast on this page.