Green Thinking podcasts bring new approach to climate questions

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AHRC and BBC Radio 3’s podcast series explores issues linking climate challenge and society, in conversation with some of the UK’s leading researchers.

2021 is an important year for tackling the climate and nature emergency. The eyes of the world turn to Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit in November.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC),  part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has teamed up with BBC Radio 3 to create Green Thinking, a new series of podcasts. They aim to help stimulate the conversations and action needed to meet the global challenge.

The Green Thinking podcasts explore a wide range of intriguing topics associated with the climate challenge, through fresh informal conversations with some of the UK’s leading researchers and experts. The series launched on 3 June 2021, ahead of World Environment Day (5 June 2021).

Fresh thinking blurs disciplines

Climate change touches on every aspect of our lives, presenting societal and cultural questions as much as technical ones. Success will depend not only on technologies and systems, but on how we:

  • tell stories
  • bring together new ideas
  • mobilise communities.

Drawing on the latest interdisciplinary thinking, the podcasts provoke, inform and engage. They explore:

  • cutting-edge research into unexpected angles
  • issues related to the global challenge
  • where solutions could lie.

Green Thinking aims to engage and inspire listeners to discover and do more, to help build a brighter future. Covering topics from ecological emergencies to the future of fashion, and from environmental management in conflict zones to the world of work.

New generation thinkers

Building on the success of Radio 3’s New Thinking podcasts, Green Thinking is hosted by:

  • Professor Des Fitzgerald from the University of Exeter
  • Dr Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough from Durham University.

Both have previously been part of the New Generation Thinkers scheme. This was a joint BBC and AHRC programme, where early-career academics bring the best of university research and ideas to a broad audience through the media and public engagement.

Professor Des Fitzgerald says:

I’m incredibly honoured to be part of the Green Thinking podcast.

It shows how critical arts and humanities research is absolutely laser-focused on some of the most pressing real-world issues facing us all today, including the consequences of climate change and global heating.

If delegates at COP26 listen to the podcast, and I really hope they do, they’ll be able to help themselves to some really transformative, practical insights on some of the major topics of the conference.

AHRC’s Head of Public Engagement, Mike Collins, explains:

Some of the greatest insights and advances come where different disciplines meet.

For example, the power of storytelling combined with years of careful research has created a tipping point in how the world sees plastic pollution and its impact on our oceans in particular.

Tapping into the work supported across UKRI, from engineering and medicine to social science and the arts and humanities, the Green Thinking series aims to inform and inspire a growing audience of listeners concerned about the climate-related challenges ahead.

26 episodes for COP26

The podcast series launched on 3 June 2021 with a special Free Thinking programme on BBC Radio 3, ahead of World Environment Day.

The series comprises 26 episodes, the majority of which are 26 minutes long, and run through to COP26 in November.

The series is available via BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas podcast feed, with some broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Episodes include:

Last updated: 25 August 2021

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