How to Save a Planet

Nov 19 2020 40 mins 4.2k

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.

Trying to Talk to Family about Climate Change? Here's How
Nov 19 2020 38 mins  
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! For more details, sign up for our newsletter. Here are the six steps outlined by Steve Deline with the New Conversation Initiative on how to have difficult conversations about climate change. Step 1 – Set realistic expectations for yourself! Your initial goal should be to lower the temperature around this issue. Even if you just succeed in attempting to talk to them one on one, or expressing a DESIRE to do so, that’s an important step forward! Do NOT set yourself an expectation that you will change how they feel about climate all in one go! Step 2 – Find a buddy! Find someone you trust and feel comfortable with who’s down to be your support before and after having a challenging conversation with a friend or family member. Talk to them about what your fears are, and name some goals for what you’re doing to make this one go different. Step 3 – Find a quiet moment to talk to your family member Ideally do it when you can be one-on-one, NOT surrounded by the whole family at the actual Thanksgiving table! Be direct and say “Hey, I’d love to find a time to talk more about this.” So that they have a chance to opt in. Step 4 – Listen! When the time comes to talk, start by letting them know that you really want to understand how they feel about climate change. Listen, and ask follow up questions “Tell me more? Why do you feel that way?” But importantly, DON’T RESPOND. Don’t engage with the parts that you disagree with. Just give them a chance to talk it out and be heard, you want to let them get the crux of their feelings on the subject off their chest. Step 5 – Acknowledge that you disagree Let them know what you think. For example “Got it. So you’re probably not surprised to hear it but I think climate change is real and human-caused.” But then most importantly, say “BUT I really want to find a way to talk to you about it openly, and better understand what each other thinks, even if we don’t agree.” In other words, name the elephant in the room – that you disagree – and name it without being upset about it! Step 6 – Make it personal. Turn the conversation away from dueling facts, and towards life and experiences. For example, I might share a story about my friend Laurel, whose sister lost her home to a wildfire in Paradise, CA, and how hearing her story was the first time I felt a knot of fear in my stomach, that my own community could be in danger of the same thing. The key here is to share vulnerably, and then talk about how it made you FEEL. And then (most importantly) invite them to do the same – bring emotion explicitly into the conversation. Some more resources that we recommend: The Secret to Talking about Climate Change, from the Alliance for Climate Education How to Talk About Climate Change at Thanksgiving Dinner feat. Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, by Young Evangelicals for Climate Action Bob says to send your conservative family members to, where they can talk to them in the language of conservatism A few of the research papers telling us that climate conversations matter: Discussing global warming leads to greater acceptance of climate science Children can foster climate change concern among their parents The influence of personal beliefs, friends, and family in building climate change concern among adolescents If you have a conversation about climate change, do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear how it went and what it felt like. Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us at [email protected] We might use it in an upcoming episode.

Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Climate?
Nov 13 2020 45 mins  
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 Scientist lets you compare emissions from EVs with internal combustion engine vehicles in different regions across the U.S. -Transport & Environment has a similar calculator for folks in the European Union -If you want to check out the report discussed in this episode, comparing the environmental impacts of EVs and other vehicles, you can find it here! -Send us a voice memo! We love hearing from listeners! Send us your questions, Have you taken one of the actions we’ve recommended? Have some burning climate questions that just need to be answered? An episode idea you can’t wait to hear? Just have some climate feelings?! Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected] We might use it in a future episode! -Subscribe to the newsletter! It’s great, we promise. You can sign up here. Please note: The original version of this episode contained an inaccurate statement about why electric cars accelerate faster. We regret the error and have updated the episode. How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production. You can follow us @how2saveaplanet on Twitter and Instagram, and email us at [email protected] How to Save a Planet is hosted by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg. Our reporters and producers are Rachel Waldholz, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Anna Ladd and Felix Poon. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design, mixing and original music by Emma Munger. Additional music by Bobby Lord, Billy Libby and Catherine Anderson. Full music credits can be found on our website. Our fact checker this episode is Claudia Geib. Thanks to Olivia, Patrick, Molly, and all the listeners who wrote in! And special thanks to Ami Bogin and Harry Bishop, whose question inspired this episode.

Presenting: Drilled
Oct 29 2020 40 mins  
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 the story of this inflection point, as told on the first season of the podcast Drilled. If you like what you hear, find Drilled in your favorite podcast app, or at Want more? Read this article in Scientific American: Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago, and see more reporting on the topic on Twitter with the hashtag #ExxonKnew Listen to the rest of the first season of Drilled. Also, check out the current season of Drilled. In the latest season, reporter and host Amy Westervelt is telling the story of a decades-long case between Chevron and an Indigenous group in Ecuador. It's a wild story with a lot of twists and turns that ultimately highlights just how far oil companies are willing to go to avoid accountability. Our podcast now has a patron saint Allow us to introduce you to Eunice Newton Foote, the scientist who discovered that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere would cause planetary warming. And she discovered this in 1856!! Check out this paper she published 164 years ago. She tried to warn us! #VoteClimate And lastly, the election ends in just a few days. Besides voting, you can still get involved at a local level. We recommend checking out Lead Locally — an organization whose mission is electing community leaders who are dedicated to stopping big fossil fuel projects & protecting our climate. They have info on the slate of local candidates they are supporting this election and you can even sign up to phone or text bank for them.

Cold Hard Cash for Your Greenhouse Gas
Oct 22 2020 45 mins  
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. This week, in collaboration with NPR’s Planet Money, we take a ride with a couple of guys who tackle these climate threats with a pair of extremely high-tech tools: a van, and some cold hard cash. Then, we talk about the climate solution you could be interacting with every time you buy ice cream. Also, sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already! Calls to action Find out what refrigerant your local grocer uses at Check out how the big supermarket chains are doing on HFCs using the Supermarket Scorecard. As for your own household fridge, if you're in the market or know someone who is, choose an HFC-free model. Learn more about how to properly dispose of your fridge, freezer, air conditioners, and other such appliances at the end of their useful lives. Of course, you can always call Tim and Gabe to help with disposal too! Check out their work at Tradewater and Refrigerant Finders. Sign Green America’s Cool It! Campaign petition. While you’re there, find a climate friendly supermarket near you and thank them! If you’re a business owner, submit a letter to the Trump Administration asking them to ratify the Kigali Amendment, the international treaty that sets the phase down schedule for HFCs globally. You would be joining many states, major industry refrigerant suppliers, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle. The AIM Act is a bipartisan bill, supported by both the House and the Senate, that effectively would enforce the same HFC phase down schedule as the Kigali Amendment without needing to ratify it – it would cut HFC use by 85% by 2035! However, it’s likely to be vetoed by the current President., specifically, #VoteClimate. And when it comes to local candidates those really matter too for things like public transit and composting and bike lines, so please do a little digging of your own on local candidates. Finally, if you do end up taking one of these actions — do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear about what you did and what it felt like. So if you do something, record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us at [email protected] We might use it in an upcoming episode.

How 2020 Became a Climate Election
Oct 08 2020 54 mins  
For years, American politicians have failed to take climate change seriously. The 2016 presidential debates didn’t even include a single climate question. Fast-forward four years, and climate change is a major election issue. So how did 2020 become a climate election? This week, how a bunch of outsiders turned the Green New Deal into a national rallying cry — and pushed Joe Biden to adopt the most ambitious climate platform in U.S. history. Want to take action? Most important: VOTE! Check out to make sure you’re registered to vote and find information on polling stations, early voting or absentee voting in your state You can check out the Sunrise Movement and read the THRIVE Agenda You can read Joe Biden’s climate plan and environmental justice plan (they’re short!) or watch his recent big speech on climate change You can check out the Blue New Deal Or read the original Green New Deal resolution - again! How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production. You can follow us @how2saveaplanet on Twitter and Instagram, and email us at [email protected] How to Save a Planet is hosted by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg. Our reporters and producers are Rachel Waldholz, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Anna Ladd and Felix Poon. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design, mixing and original music by Emma Munger. Additional music by Peter Leonard, Catherine Anderson, and Billy Libby. Full music credits can be found on our website. Our fact checker this episode is Claudia Geib. Special thanks to Rachel Strom.

Making Republicans Environmentalists Again
Oct 01 2020 60 mins  
The Republican Party has been almost uniformly opposed to climate action for years – nobody more so than President Donald Trump. But it wasn’t always like this. On today’s episode, we look back at how conservatives came to see the denial of climate science as a kind of badge of honor – and we talk to two conservative activists who are trying to change that. Want to take action? Check out the American Conservation Coalition and read their American Climate Contract You can find more information at and check out their podcast, EcoRight Speaks. You can also read the full memo we mentioned in the episode - the Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan (get ready to be mad) Or listen to the podcast Drilled for a deep dive on the fossil fuel industry’s long misinformation campaign Don’t forget to VOTE! Check out to make sure you’re registered to vote, find your polling station or get information on absentee ballots in your state. Want to know more? We have a reading list! Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Eric Conway The Republican Reversal by James Turner and Andrew Isenberg Dark Money by Jane Mayer How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production. You can follow us @how2saveaplanet on Twitter and Instagram, and email us at [email protected] How to Save a Planet is hosted by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Alex Blumberg. Our reporters and producers are Rachel Waldholz, Kendra Pierre-Louis, Anna Ladd and Felix Poon. Our senior producer is Lauren Silverman. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Sound design and mixing for this episode by Sam Bair with original music by Emma Munger. Full music credits are available on our website. Our fact checker this episode is Claudia Geib. Special thanks to Rachel Strom. Thanks to Anthony Leiserowitz for helping us understand some of this history. This episode also relied on phenomenal reporting from a number of places, including the books Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich, Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, Kochland by Christopher Leonard, Dark Money by Jane Mayer, and the podcast Drilled, hosted by Amy Westervelt.

Unnatural Disasters
Sep 10 2020 45 mins  
As this summer has made clear: from hurricanes to wildfires, climate change is exposing more of us to extreme weather. This week we hear what it's like to survive a life-changing disaster, get tips on how to prepare — from a disasterologist — and learn why you should never call a disaster “natural.” Call(s) to action Build a go bag or preparedness kit. You can check out for some tips on how to build your own bag. Remember it's a guide - not a rulebook - so think through what you will really need in a disaster. Kendra packed a spare pair of glasses, just in case, for example. Create your own disaster plan. The kit is only the first step in disaster preparedness. While building your bag also think through your disaster plan. You can check out to think through things like if you had to evacuate what your route would be and where you would go. If you have children, , helps you incorporate your kids into your disaster planning - which is important because they will be going through this with you. Prepare your home for your disaster. We'll link to specific tips on doing this in the additional reading, but prepping your home for the inevitable increases the odds it will survive. If you're a homeowner it's worth checking out what your insurance policy says. If you are a renter, it's worth getting renters insurance, though it's typically less comprehensive than homeowners insurance. Find out what your local government and community organizations are doing to prepare for disaster. This is everything from attending meetings that your emergency managers are holding (and if they aren't holding them, why not?) And if you want to go even further consider getting community emergency response team or CERT training. For more info on the climate anthology that Ayana has co-edited, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, and to order a copy, head to It includes poignant essays by Christine Nieves Rodrigues, our own Kendra Pierre-Louis and 40 other women climate leaders.

20 Million Trees
Sep 03 2020 40 mins  
Climate change is a big problem — and we’re going to need a big team to solve it. That means reaching people who might not think of themselves as climate activists. This week, we explore what the climate movement can learn from YouTubers... starting with MrBeast. Sign up for our newsletter here! ( We’ll send you calls to action, must-read articles and other surprises every week when we put out a new episode. Want to plant a tree? Here are some treesources: Find the right tree for the place you live with the National Wildlife Federation’s Plant Finder: Learn how to plant and take care of your tree: Some cities will give you a tree to plant for free! Here are a few: Los Angeles, CA: Denver, CO: Portland, OR: St. Louis, MO: Philadelphia, PA: Fort Worth, TX: Austin, TX: If you aren’t able to plant a tree, you can adopt one! Take care of a street tree in your neighborhood in these cities: NYC: Miami, FL: Richmond, CA: Cambridge, MA: Lexington, KY: Minneapolis MN (get a free beer when you adopt!): Pinecrest, FL: Fairview Park, OH: Stafford Township, NJ If your city has a tree planting program too, send it to us and we’ll add it to the list! [email protected] Send us pictures of you hugging your saplings on Instagram and Twitter @how2saveaplanet. Learn How to Stop a Bird Murdering Cat

4.3 • 11 Ratings

annarusspt Nov 03 2020
Love the dynamic chatter between Emily and Michael. Any podcast that is funny, educational, inspirational, and light is a keeper.

1q3er5 Nov 01 2020
gud podcast save earth!

Robwatso Oct 27 2020
There are places where people live who are also interested in this topic that are NOT in the USA. Maybe talk to them too? Not a mention of the wildfires on the East Coast of Australia less than a year ago? Alternatively- just be up-front and tell us that the design point is USA audience.

Jer Oct 16 2020
Terrible! This is pseudoscientific, hyper-partisan garbage. Climate change is absolutely a major issue but that doesn't mean it's okay to use emotion over reason. They never question their assumptions which is too bad because they're unrealistic and ridiculous. There are ways to address the climate crisis but this isn't it. If you're ultra left wing and just want to feel good about yourself, this is a podcast for you. If you want science and critical thinking, turn around and run!

SharkyJenny Oct 11 2020
This is an incredible podcast. You will laugh, you will cry, you will scream, the fire will be lit in your heart. You may never have listened to a podcast about climate change in your life, it doesn't matter, listen to this one. You won't be disappointed!

AW Oct 09 2020
I love it! More please 🙏🏻 thanks for centering the voices we all need to hear.

globalgourmand Oct 07 2020
I appreciate hosts who are candid about how frustrated and hopeless they feel. But the action-oriented info at the end of each episode keeps me from feeling totally helpless.

Stable Genius Oct 05 2020
Really interesting podcast about climate change. Every episode gives a good background and gives average listeners things they can do to help.

Clau-dia Oct 04 2020
love Alex Blumberg! his ability to tell compelling stories combined with his good intended humor and positive view on the world makes my day 😃 and together with passionate Ayana Elizabeth Johnson they present us an intense but still lighthearted show

Kevin Sep 01 2020
Really enjoyed the level reporting and mild advocacy. Looking forward to more episodes!

damien Aug 27 2020
Great work Gimlet, our world needs this!