7 Must-Listen Podcasts To Inspire You To Change The World
The only tool you need to start living a slower, more intentional life? Your ears. Responsibly-minded change-makers are using podcasts’ soundwaves to make waves, covering everything from instant ways to greenify your life, to debate on all things eco, the circular economy and whether 3D-printed architecture is really all that. Here’s our must-listen list...
Topic? Sustainable fashion
As Vogue’s first ever Sustainability Editor, Clare is as passionate about fashion as she is ensuring clothes are made in a thoughtful way. Her podcast shares how that’s done, via warm, chatty and preach-free interviews with industry figures. Topics hop from vegan fashion and diversity in modelling to a worker’s eye view of what it’s like at the grassroots of the garment sector. Clare’s presenting is educational and fun, like hearing a good friend detail their passion project. To delve deeper, Wardrobe Crisis launched an online sustainability academy in May 2021 with e-courses to up-level your ethical fashion smarts.
Topic? Living with meaning, not clutter
You likely know friends Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus from their Netflix hit, Less Is Now. Theirs is a relatable story: swept up in corporate life, they achieved everything you’re told will make you happy (showoff cars, XL-sized homes), only to feel the opposite. So, they embraced minimalism – the idea that living with less means more room for peace and creativity. The podcast, which has had more than 80 million downloads, chats through existential topics hooked to that, such as what being authentic means, why we argue so easily on social media and, no biggie, solving the world’s environmental problems. Best bit: zero ads.
Topic? Heavy issues with humor
Brits Dave and Ol, who both work for environmental charities, got drunk one night and decided to start a podcast that tackled the most complex issues from their day jobs – only, with humor. That was in 2015, and their chatty back-and-forths find that sweet spot of not being flippant, but not being worthy, either. Episodes deal with topical and divisive issues, such as whether it’s really worse to use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand, what to say to people who aren’t bothered about being green, and a 101 on greenwashing – when a brand’s PR makes them sound greener than they are.
Topic? Can you be green and still…?
… like cars? Use Amazon? Love buying things? These are just some of the green ambiguities that climate scientist Juliet Davenport puts to her panel of guests, who span comedians, academics and pioneering eco brands. Juliet is an ever-engaging host, bringing her roaring laugh (and insights from her life in the English countryside) to issues you won’t believe you hadn’t thought about before, such as whether it’s possible to eliminate food waste without teaching people smarter cooking skills, or the carbon footprint of an email.
Topic? The climate crisis
A big-name podcast created by former UN chief Christiana Figueres and the team behind the Paris Agreement – the international treaty to limit global temperature increase. If that sounds a bit, well, heavy, don’t worry – conversation is lively, engaging and optimistic, bringing you up-to-speed on the latest developments in climate politics without acting as a sleep aid. It’s worth tuning in for the guests alone: there’s John Kerry, the first US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert, model Lily Cole, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri.
Topic? How to make a difference as just one person
You want to help the world but, as you open yet another product wrapped in single-use packaging, you feel powerless. If that feels familiar – and it was the constant frustration of host Elsbeth Callaghan – there are ways to implement small, lasting change for big results. Elsbeth explains how, focusing on how to make zero-waste living practical, even when navigating plastic-heavy activities like ordering takeout food and buying ever more pet toys (which they reject after five minutes).
Topic? A new world view, one subject at a time
The aural equivalent of a wildlife documentary that makes you look at the world in a deeper, more fascinated way, consider this podcast the prelude to wanting to save the planet. “Ologies” is the plural of “ology” – a subject of study, like biology or psychology, say. Here, science correspondent Alie Ward dives into all the weird and wonderful fields you never knew existed, such as ursinology (bears), urban rodentology (sewer rats), biological anthropology (ape sex), oikology (decluttering) and philematology (kissing). Each episode tackles a different ology, with Alie interviewing a pioneer in that field. Learn all the juicy Earth facts you wish they’d taught you at school.