Podcast Review: Shifting Climates

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I’ve been listening to the podcast Shifting Climates, a “Podcast About Climate Justice + the Church.” It’s hosted by three recent college graduates and sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.

Co-hosts Michaela Mast and Harrison Horst bring listeners along as they travel across the US Midwest and Southeast. They rely on personal and professional connections to interview people in a variety of locations about the impact of climate change on humans, ecosystems, and culture. They speak to people from a variety of Christian traditions about how they understand climate change and how their faith is informed by our changing planet. Over the course of the first season, we meet activists, farmers, educators, artists from around the world in rural and urban settings.

I started listening to the podcast because Mast and Horst interviewed a former colleague of mine for episode seven. Veronica Kyle is an organizer for Faith in Place in Chicago, and she shares in the episode about the intersections of race, climate change, and the environment. I learned so much from Veronica when I worked alongside of her, and I loved learning more from her in the podcast.

Episode three reminded me of how our lives-- and the lives of people all over the world--are already disrupted by climate change through natural disasters. In this episode, they talk about storms in West Virginia and Nepal, and those stories made me think more about my friends and colleagues who survived Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Maria. Increased and heavier storms are already a reality that we have to face. We have to figure out how we can recover from them.

Episode six highlights the work of Randy Woodley, a Cherokee farmer and professor, in conversation about the fifth IPCC report. How do we reclaim our connections to the land when scientific reports suggest that we are currently disconnected? I resonated with the grief and anger that Mast and Horst articulate in response to the IPCC report. I am moved to reconsider how my training as a pastor and educator in the West has impacted how I see other people and the world, questions that Woodley asks us to wrestle with in ourselves.

As this first season comes to a close, I am struck by how the episodes weave together faith, climate, race, economics, place, activism, food-- and more. The hosts regularly interrogate their training at a Christian college, as well as their own understandings of climate change. They leave the listener wanting more, even as the listener is encouraged to question their own implications in climate change.

So: I commend this podcast to you, and I’d love to know what you think about it.

(image is from Shifting Climates' photo essay for episode two.)