In spite of -- or perhaps because of -- the global COVID-19 pandemic facing our nation and others over the last year, Americans have expressed renewed interest in sustainability and environmental responsibility. From exploring low-impact living in tiny homes to researching regenerative travel, today’s consumers have refocused their energy on limiting their carbon footprint. To aid those attempting to live sustainable low-waste lives, podcast hosts like Marjorie Alexander and Elsbeth Callaghan have assembled accessible teams of experts. Quoted by Megan Wild in her 2017 article “Why Jason McLennan is optimistic about regenerative buildings” for Green Biz, Living Deep co-founder Jason McLennan acknowledged the importance of visibility in sustainable design and living. He noted that seeing the benefits of sustainable design and lifestyles firsthand “proves that it’s possible, not different or strange.” Each podcast host in this list advocates for sustainable living simply by exposing their listeners to the accessibility and achievability of low impact lifestyles and incremental change. To learn more about our top six sustainability podcasts to listen to in 2021, follow below.
Six Sustainability Podcasts to Listen to in 2021
#1 A Sustainable Mind - A Podcast About Climate Change
Marjorie Alexander -- an ex-media producer turned environmental activist -- created the A Sustainable Mind podcast in reaction to the climate crisis. According to her LinkedIn bio, Alexander has long been passionate about preserving our planet but it was only six years ago -- while pursuing her master’s thesis -- that Alexander launched A Sustainable Mind. With each consecutive year, the podcast garnered more and more listeners and acclaim. Today, the show is “the #1 all-time Nature show on Apple” and has been downloaded by fans over a million times. Not only is Alexander an advocate for the environment, but she also advocates for and offers advice to emerging entrepreneurs and the LGBT community. A frequent guest on other sustainability, lifestyle and personal development-focused podcasts, Alexander is a powerhouse -- and a true force for good -- in the podcasting industry.
Why We Love A Sustainable Mind
The Good Trade reviewed A Sustainable Mind in their staff guide post “10 Thought-Provoking Podcasts To Inspire Sustainable Living,” emphasizing how palatable and approachable Alexander makes each subject for her listeners. The post notes that Alexander meets with “the people behind some of today’s most impactful start-ups, organizations and campaigns” in her weekly episodes. At forty minutes to an hour long each, A Sustainable Mind offers informative, intriguing auditory bites for anyone returning to their daily commute. Alexander explores everything from local energy issues facing our nation to our impact on the climate as global citizens. Recent episodes from the 2021 season include “Sustainable Seafood & The Healthy Oceans Cookbook with Jackie Marks of the Marine Stewardship Council” and “Climate Change Along the Chesapeake and the Come Together Handbook with Dana Simson.” At the end of her episodes, Alexander frequently offers resources and action items to listeners, encouraging them to take steps towards a sustainable lifestyle and to support others on their journeys.
#2 Conscious Chatter - A Podcast About Conscious Consumerism
Conscious Chatter is our pick for podcasts about conscious consumerism. Created by San Diego-based Kestrel Jenkins in 2016, Conscious Chatter explores the impacts and meanings behind what we buy and what we wear. Jenkins has a long history of advocating for causes surrounding sustainability and environmental responsibility. She served on the board of directors for the 1to1 Movement, a California organization that encourages and offers direction for those pursuing sustainable living -- particularly amongst young people. Jenkins has focused mostly on sustainable sourcing and content creation for ethical fashion and clean beauty companies throughout her career. Jenkins has worked for People Tree, Fashion Me Green and Fashioning Change.
Why We Love Conscious Chatter
In a 2017 interview with Kestrel Jenkins, Antonia Bohlke -- Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Mochni -- asked about the purpose and platform behind Conscious Chatter. Quoted by Bohlke, Jenkins explained that the podcast grew out of “a past blog [she] started during the beginning of [her own] conscious fashion journey.” Jenkins was inspired to help others transform their lives -- particularly their consumption of “fast” goods -- after encouraging feedback to the blog and early episodes of her podcast. In each episode, Jenkins connects with “designers, farmers, and more” to educate herself and her community about the global supply chain and its impacts on the earth.
Jenkin’s education in Global Studies, Women’s Studies and International Journalism during university has informed her passion for climate justice, ethical production and conscious consumerism. Fun, fresh and informative, each episode of Conscious Chatter explores issues facing fashion while honoring incredible creators around the globe. Recent episodes include “YESSENIA FUNES OF ATMOS ON RACE AND THE ENVIRONMENT + CENTERING FRONTLINE ORGANIZERS AS THE WRITERS OF THEIR OWN STORIES” and “SELINA SANDERS ON UPCYCLING, HOW FASHION CREATES CULTURE + HOW HER PHILIPPINE HERITAGE INFLUENCES THE BRAND'S AESTHETIC.”
#3 Practical(ly) Zero Waste - A Podcast About Simple Solutions for Sustainable Living
Included in FeedSpot’s “Top 15 Zero Waste Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021” and GreenMatters’ “7 Zero-Waste Podcasts Filled With Sustainable Living Inspiration,” Practical(ly) Zero Waste offers listeners offers easy-to-follow solutions for those entering the zero waste lifestyle. In her article for GreenMatters, Sophie Hirsch extols the Canadian podcast and its host Elsbeth Callaghan, who has tasked herself with finding ways to make a difference in everyday life. Hirsch writes that Practical(ly) Zero Waste is “all about ‘making zero waste living as practical as possible.’” Callaghan’s podcast covers everything from “how to start a zero-waste shop or eco-friendly side hustle” to “urban composting, the food waste crisis...and community gardens.” Callaghan provides her listeners with ways they can respond to the climate crisis, join the Global Climate Strike and alter their own lives in simple ways that really do make a difference.
Why We Love Practical(ly) Zero Waste
Describing her intentions for her own podcast, Elsbeth Callaghan writes on the podcast’s “About Page” that she started with mindfulness. She approached sustainability and the zero-waste lifestyle with “a list of changes [she] needed to make” and began “exploring the ways [she] could make those changes as practical as possible.” Callaghan acknowledges that “if a zero waste lifestyle isn’t as convenient as the single-use alternative, it will be that much harder to make the change and stick to it.” Thus, Callaghan and Practical(ly) Zero Waste encourage listeners to make reasonable changes to their buying habits and everyday lives without judging them. Elsbeth Callaghan recommends starting from the beginning with her inaugural “Mindfulness” article, proceeding chronologically through the series. A few of our favorites from this season of the podcast include “Backyard Biodiversity” and “The Art of Mending" -- both of which emphasize investing time and energy into our home environments.
#4 Impact Leaders - A Podcast About Eco-Conscious Investing
For those fleshing out their IRAs, diversifying their investment portfolios or simply interested in the intersection between finance and environmental responsibility, the Impact Leaders podcast offers a series of thoughtfully composed episodes. Impact Leaders is hosted by Forbes contributing writer JP Dallmann. An experienced investment banker, JP Dallmann is the Founder and CEO of ILA & Partners, where he advises clients on sustainable investing. His bio for Forbes describes Dallman as “passionate about Leadership with Purpose and Impact.” He describes himself as someone who believes strongly that “Sustainable Investing and the Performance of companies, leaders and people play a key role in helping solve some of the world's biggest problems.” Dallmann underscores his commitment to “making a contribution to our society by helping and inspiring people and companies to be transformed” in a way that supports the environment and humanity.
Why We Love Impact Leaders
In its description on Apple Podcasts, the Impact Leaders podcast defines its primary goal as supporting sustainable business leaders "that are solving the world’s biggest challenges.” The show features leaders of companies focused on sustainability, transparent supply chains and environmental responsibility. It offers listeners an alternative way to invest in public companies -- focusing on eco-friendly, morally directed businesses with incredible causes at the forefront. Our favorite episode from the 2021 season of this podcast thus far has been “Lars Meisinger & Alex Lenz of Aquila Capital: Creating Sustainable Real Asset Solutions with Smart Capital.” In conversation with Lars Meisinger and Alex Lenz, JP Dallman discusses “investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, infrastructure, residential real estate, green logistics as well as timber and agriculture.”
#5 Mothers of Invention - A Podcast About Feminist Leaders for Climate Change Solutions
An incredibly popular podcast -- both in the United States and across the Atlantic -- Mothers of Invention offers a platform to “the women driving powerful solutions to climate change all over the world.” The Mothers of Invention podcast is hosted by three inspiring women -- Mary Robinson, Maeve Higgins and Thmali Kodikara. Robinson is the first female President of Ireland, Higgins is a hilarious comedian and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” regular based in New York and Kodikara is a producer also based in the Big Apple. All three have fearlessly and tirelessly advocated for climate justice around the globe, lifting the voices of other women as they push for change. Together, they have created a world-renowned podcast that “gives focus to the stories of black, brown and indigenous women and girls who have been innovating from the front lines of climate change for generation.” The show defines itself as “a podcast on feminist climate change solutions from (mostly) women around the world.”
Why We Love Mothers of Invention
While some episodes are pre-recorded, others are live, featuring the voices of icons and leading sustainability thinkers like Bernie Sanders. Laura Berger recently interviewed Thmali Kodihara about the podcast’s future in her article”Exclusive: Climate Change and Feminism Podcast ‘Mothers of Invention’ Is Back With Season 3” for Women in Hollywood. Quoting Kodikara, Berger writes that the new season “‘introduced us to some of the most inspiring feminist climate leaders on the planet.’” With the podcast offering action items to each listener from the first to last episode, Kodikara notes that “‘there’s no way anyone’s leaving without feeling energized to get involved’” in solving the climate crisis. Our favorite episodes from last season include “Million Dollar Questions” and “Microbial Magic.”
#6 The Indisposable Podcast - A Podcast About Plastics Pollution
According to the show’s tagline, The Indisposable Podcast celebrates “solutions to plastic pollution - because throw-away is so yesterday.” The Indisposable Podcast is produced by the UPSTREAM Policy Institute. According to the UPSTREAM website, the organization is focused on “ideating, co-creating and accelerating real-world practical solutions to plastic pollution and today’s throw-away culture.” The nonprofit hopes to build on the movement to “‘make throw-away go away’ through business, policy and cultural innovation.” In his article “Voices on Plastic Pollution” for Mint Lounge, staff writer, science and technology editor Nitin Sreedhar delves into the intention behind The Indisposable Podcast. According to Sreedhar, the podcast “looks at efforts to tackle pollution,” featuring zero-waste experts and “people who are revolutionizing the reuse culture.” Recent episodes detailed by Sreedhar have offered ways to eliminate plastic pollution by altering consumer behaviour.
Why We Love The Indisposable Podcast
The Indisposalbe Podcast approaches the zero-waste movement without an ounce of judgement, encouraging listeners from all walks and every stage of life to engage with their broadcasts. They offer household, local, state, national and international solutions to pollution and waste generation. Challenging us to reconsider how we live our lives -- from commuting during the workweek to feeding and caring for our children -- recent episodes explore how we can transform our daily lives to respect both our bodies and the planet. For new parents and caregivers, we love the April 1st episode “An indisposable future for your baby.” For those interested in US policy surrounding plastic pollution, we recommend The Indisposable Podcast episode “2021 Plastics Policy Roundup.”