8 Podcasts About Climate Change & Activism for K-12 Students | Kidcasts

Get educated about environmental racism, the carbon impact of sheltering in place, and more with experts including Bill Gates and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

 Recent years have seen global youth-led demonstrations, including school walkouts and street protests, demanding that leaders take action on climate change. Kids are broadcasting their alarm, and, with a kid-like lack of filters, their message about impending disaster is direct and raw. Adults are listening because they are finally worried for future generations, including their activist children.

This playlist is a starting point for kids and families to learn more about climate change. Call it science camp of sorts, but with the content (all free) already planned for you.

When it comes to the coronavirus and the planet, have you considered that your behavior while sheltering in place may be helping to mitigate climate change? Have you become more acquainted with walking, riding your bike, or scooting around town instead of driving? Are you eating more vegetables from a garden and buying less meat? Are you shopping less, and did you start swapping books, games, and toys with friends or neighbors instead of buying new ones?

Want more motivation to keep up some of your newly cultivated practices in place? Listen in, and share what you learn.

Access the Climate Change Podcast Playlist.

Ask Tai Why Freckles, Video Games, and Climate-Changing Farts
Ages 5-10–Curious kid podcaster Tai tackles listeners’ questions by bringing in experts or doing his own research. This episode includes three questions: “Why do I have freckles?” “Why are video games so violent?” and “Are farts changing the climate?” Meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe shares her knowledge on the last one. The climate change fart question may seem awfully silly at first glance, but it gets at some critical ideas about how we can reduce our carbon footprints and work towards restoring the health of our planet.

Fun Kids Science Weekly Cooling the Climate and the Blue Angel Sea Slug
Ages 5-12–Part of Fun Kids from the United Kingdom, Fun Kids Science Weekly features different short attention-grabbing segments and is hosted by Dan, the next Bill Nye. Segment three of this episode is an interview with science writer and children’s book author Isabel Thomas. Her new book, This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet!, includes easy-to-implement ideas on how families can work together to fight climate change. The podcast highlights some of her favorites. The episode also includes a fascinating look at the beautiful but deadly Blue Angel Sea Slug.

Wow in the World Operation Earth: How To Be Cool To a Planet That’s Hot
Ages 5-12–Are you still grappling with the science behind climate change? This fast-paced, zany exploration and explanation include big sounds effects and epic time travel. NPR’s Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, both passionate about creating quality shows for kids, tackle difficult scientific topics with their own spin in this podcast.

[READ: A Matter of Facts: Teaching Climate Change]

The Big Melt Episode 1: The Tipping Points
Ages 8-12–From Earth Rangers/Gen-Z Media, The Big Melt takes an immersive look into climate change over a series of episodes. Youthful host Sarah interviews climate scientists, activists, and others to learn how they engage with climate change in their own lives. Start with the first episode to hear why Sarah began this podcast: to address her own fears and anxieties about how to save our dying planet. Get the fundamentals on the subject from Simon Donner, professor of climatology at the University of British Columbia. The Stranger Things-esque music and suspenseful narration will keep you listening.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Greta Thunberg read by Jameela Jamil
Ages 8-12– Based on the wildly popular Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls books comes “a fairytale podcast about the rebel girls that inspire us.” This episode reveals how Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg sparked a massive global movement to address the climate crisis. British actress, social activist, and I Weigh platform founder Jameela Jamil, best known for her role in the comedy “The Good Place,” tells Greta’s story. It follows Greta from when she first learned about the climate crisis in school to her public address at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, which propelled her to international recognition.

StarTalk Radio Coronavirus and Climate Change, with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Ages 13-17–Neil deGrasse Tyson cohosts an ultra-relevant episode with guest Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. They talk about the recent carbon crash due to people restricting their driving and flying under shelter-in-place orders, and how that is improving air quality. In some areas, the stars are much more visible. Neil and cohost Chuck Nice get real about what that means for understanding climate change in the short and long-term and what activities we’d have to change to see an impact on our planet. Neil and Chuck also talk to Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Texas Tech Climate Center, about how climate change is a political issue, not just a scientific one. Discussing sheltering and climate change, they point to the reality that viruses will keep coming if we continue displacing different ecosystems.

The Mothers of InventionYou Probably Have Everything You Need
Ages 13-17– Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Irish comedian Maeve Higgins team up to interview women leading the climate change movement. Here, they talk to people reinventing the fashion industry, including Thao Vu, sustainable designer and founder of Kilomet109, and Céline Semaan, designer and founder of The Slow Factory. While the world has become aware of sweatshops and bad working conditions in the past decades, it hasn’t learned a lot about sustainability and the energy required to make clothes. This episode includes alarming statistics about the environmental damage clothes production can do and discusses how consumers can change behavior to develop new ways of shopping—or avoid shopping altogether.

This is Working with Dan RothBill Gates to High School Students: Solve Climate Change
Ages 13-17–LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief, Dan Roth, interviews Microsoft founder Bill Gates about his philanthropic efforts and why he is focused on finding a path forward for clean energy. Innovation will determine whether we can find cheap energy that doesn’t accelerate climate change to power transportation, electricity, and infrastructures, Gates says. In his 2016 annual letter with wife Melinda Gates, the couple charges high school students to propel that change via new career paths in STEM fields. Time is of the essence: if we don’t reverse climate change, Gates says, it will impact the poorest countries first.

The Flossy Podcast “Climate Change & Environmental Racism"
Ages 14 Up–This is one of the two winners of NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge, which drew more than 2,200 entries. High schoolers from Carnarsie, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, discuss environmental racism in depth. They take their mic to a Manhattan climate march and interview youth activists, and afterward, talk openly about the small turnout from Black activists. The students talk about how this issue disproportionally impacts Black lives and how many of the students have felt the effects of climate change directly from natural disasters, especially from hurricanes. Ultimately, they call new activists to come to the forefront to create change. Listen to the episode via this article and learn more about the latest NPR Student Podcast Challenge.

To link or embed this playlist to share with your students, click here: Kidcasts: Climate Change.

To add additional episodes, request to be a contributor to the link to the playlist.

Youth technology integration consultant Anne Bensfield helps libraries and schools implement new models for innovation. Librarian and Buttons & Figs podcast creator Pamela Rogers inspires creative expression from elementary school kids by reading, writing, and playing with words.

[READ: Climate of Uncertainty: When Teachers Grapple with Climate Science]
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