January 10, 2019
We hope you've enjoyed Season 3 of Climate Conversations, devoted to the question: what does it mean to learn to change, with the speed and scale that can address the climate crisis? In this episode, co-hosts Rajesh, Dave and Curt reflect on their key takeaways, surprising realizations, and nagging questions from the season. Across such varied settings -- personal conversations, community connections, school classes -- we've been inspired by the creative and committed ways people are turning crisis into opportunity and creating the change we all need.
December 19, 2018
How can we encourage policymakers and communities to take bolder climate action? We talk with Quinton Zondervan about the generative potential of learning from quick "safe to fail" experiments, and the practical benefits of turning learnings into habits. Quinton is a city councillor in Cambridge MA, an MIT alum, a respected business leader and long-time climate activist.
December 12, 2018
In Episode 4, we heard about a pioneering form of climate-related learning in the Boston school system, Youth Climate Action Network (YouthCAN). Need an encouraging story from a young climate action leader? Give a listen in this extended cut to Susan Tang! Susan takes us through her journey from new 7th grade student at Boston Latin School - inspired by a presentation on climate and justice - to 12th grade skilled co-leader of Youth CAN. Along the way we hear plenty of examples to give us hope. Whether it’s bike-powered musicians, partnerships with faculty and advocacy groups, or her insights about reaching the next generation, Susan conveys the power of passionate young people learning to change.
December 5, 2018
In Episode 4, we heard about a pioneering form of climate-related learning in the Boston school system, Youth Climate Action Network (YouthCAN). Join us in this episode to hear from Rebecca Park, an alumna of Boston Latin School (BLS), as she opens a window onto the impact of Youth CAN on her life and work. Rebecca’s stories from Youth CAN, learning from BLS history teacher Cate Arnold, and examples from her own teaching make visible the great value of empowering young people.
November 27, 2018
In Episode 4, we heard about a pioneering form of climate-related learning in the Boston school system, Youth Climate Action Network (YouthCAN). In this episode faculty member Cate Arnold tells us how as a middle school history teacher at the Boston Latin School she started YouthCAN. Not only did YouthCAN became one of the school's most successful clubs, but it also has provided a wealth of learning opportunities for students and faculty for over 12 years. Cate shares her inspiring stories and lessons learned along the way, all of great value to anyone interested in joining with young people (and other educators) to learn to change.
November 20, 2018
In Episode 3, we heard how Mothers Out Front takes climate action through learning in community, from and with each other. Here's an extended cut of the conversation from that episode with Stacy Levy, a co-founder of the South Bay CA (San Jose) chapter of Mothers Out Front. Stacy tells us about how a deep love for her children, and deep commitment to do anything to protect them, led her to organize a new climate action group with friends. We discuss the growth and connections fostered by house parties, and how mentoring and mutual support leads to continuous learning and leadership.
November 13, 2018
In Episode 3, we heard how Mothers Out Front takes climate action through learning in community, from and with each other. Here's an extended cut of our conversation with Vanessa Rule, a co-founder of Mothers Out Front co-founder and their director of learning and expansion. Hear how their organizing model, built on relationships, stories and continuous learning, empowers "unsuspecting activists" to become climate leaders and build the movement.
November 5, 2018
In Episode 2, we heard how MIT's Terrascope program empowers and engages university students through free-choice learning. Here's an extended cut of our conversation with MIT Terrascope alumna Lauren Kuntz, where we dive deeply into that student experience and how it's shaped Lauren's career commitment to eliminate carbon emissions.
October 31, 2018
In Episode 2, we heard how MIT's Terrascope program empowers and engages university students through free-choice learning. Here's an extended cut of our conversation with MIT Terrascope lecturer Ari Epstein, where we discuss how Terrascope achieves its powerful results, and how the free-choice learning method can be applied in different classroom and community learning settings.
October 24, 2018
What happens when a high school student passionate about climate action shows up at a City Council meeting? In this episode, we talk to Cate Arnold, Boston Latin School history teacher and climate instigator and two of her students, Rebecca Park and Susan Tang. They are members of YouthCAN, a climate action network designed by and for high school students. Through their experiences, we learn about the trials and triumphs of some of the next generation of climate leaders.
October 15, 2018
What does "we're all in this together" really mean? In this episode we're inspired by Mothers Out Front whose work helps answer that question by examples of learning in community, from and with each other. Give a listen to how they're building on the human instincts that glue communities together: bring friends; tell stories, and connect around the shared concern for our kids and future generations. Maybe you'll be inspired too!
October 10, 2018
What happens when college students are given a massive problem to solve, and the wide-open space to unleash their full potential? Deep engagement, a healthy dose of frustration, empowerment, and changed lives. We explore this promising space in conversation with an alum (Lauren Kuntz) and an instructor (Dr. Ari Epstein) of Terrascope, MIT's environmentally-focused freshman learning community.
October 1, 2018
Learning to change begins in the personal sphere. How do emotions attached to climate change drive how we communicate and act on the issue? In this first episode of season 3, we talk with psychologist Renee Lertzman about how we, individually and in our communities, can create the necessary space to listen to others and develop emotional intelligence about climate issues.
September 25, 2018
The urgency of the climate crisis demands that we learn so many things, together -- going faster, going bigger, finding new ways to share and build upon what we're figuring out all around the world. Join us for Season 3 of the ClimateX podcast "Climate Conversations" as we explore: how do we Learn to Change?
June 5, 2018
30% of the population lives on or near a coast, and the majority of global trade runs through ports on coasts. How can the impacts of rising sea levels and stronger storms be mitigated? In this special bonus episode of Climate Conversations, the team sits down with Dr. Alexander Dale, the Senior Officer for MIT Solve’s Sustainability pillar. MIT Solve is a community for connecting innovative solution-makers with the resources to solve global challenges. They seek to connect people across spaces both within MIT and the external, global community to address the world’s greatest environmental, economic, and sociopolitical challenges. The Climate Conversations group explores how Solve is building this global network of scalable solutions, and what makes for a successful Solver (challenge winner). They discuss Solve’s 2018 “Coastal Communities” challenge, which looks at ways to address the issues coastal communities are facing due to climate change and rising sea levels. Is there a way to harness these issues, and transform them into a solution? Dr. Dale and the team discuss the innovators of the future, and how they are tackling these challenges.
February 21, 2018
After a whole season of climate justice episodes, the ClimateX team and podcast producer Dave Lishansky step back and take stock. How has our understanding of climate justice evolved? What voices and stories have stuck with us? The team discusses recurring themes, such as visibility issues, collaboration across social divides, institutional oppression, and intersectionality. They also explore areas of difference among the guests (and among themselves), such as whether capitalism is inherently exploitation or can be a force for social good. The episode and the season end with dreaming big: if you could wave a magic wand to correct one injustice, anywhere in the world, what would it be?
February 14, 2018
The Climate Conversations team sits down with the director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, Jason Jay, to discuss the role of market forces and government regulation in climate action. They discuss the theoretical framework of capitalism, and how it can lend itself to benevolent practices as well as exploitative ones. Jay and the team analyze geopolitical interests in fossil fuels and alternative energies, and transitional practices. Lastly, they discuss Jay’s research and recent book on “breaking through the gridlock” in difficult conversations. How do we move past the certainty of our own perspectives, and really engage with dissenting voices? The team looks at the power of shared values and how to foster authentic connections, in order to unlock new and better solutions.
February 7, 2018
The Climate Conversations team sits down with Jacqui Patterson, the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. They discuss intersectionality within the climate justice movement, and how global warming disproportionately impacts women of color. Looking at impacts on reproductive rights and poverty, the Climate Conversations team and Patterson analyze how local movements are utilized to combat environmental and racial injustice. The conversation then looks at capitalism’s role in injustice, and how prioritizing amassing wealth for elites disregards the earth’s well-being and human rights. Finally, the team examines mobilization strategies that take into account the interconnectivity of justice issues across individuals and institutions.
January 31, 2018
On this week of Climate Conversations, the team sits down with Ramón Bueno; a MIT alumnus and climate and development specialist. They discuss the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, in the context of systems failure and intersectional justice. Bueno outlines the significance of the centralized power system in Puerto Rico, and how its reliance on fossil fuels has failed the people of Puerto Rico. To avoid similar failures in the future, he advocates decentralizing power systems via developing micro grids, as well as developing electricity infrastructure that is more resilient in extreme weather events. Bueno and the team also look at how the hurricane amplified social and economic justice issues. There are many opportunities in the crisis for addressing those issues while increasing initiatives to reduce poverty. The conversation closes with highlights of what communities both in Puerto Rico and in the greater Boston area, have undertaken to mobilize for immediate needs as well as social and environmental justice longer term.
January 29, 2018
In this special podcast, we sit down with Marteen van Aalast to discuss climate resilience and his role in the Climate CoLab A2R contest. Van Aalst is the director of the Climate Center and coordinates support to climate risk management across the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Van Aalst explains how the UN’s A2R initiatives (Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape), which launched at Paris COP21; he helps implement protection and resources for vulnerable communities during environmental crises. He utilizes the scientific capacity to translate forecasts into humanitarian action. He also discusses the current ClimateCoLab competition on developing climate risk insurance solutions, to help protect those most vulnerable to environmental issues. All are encouraged to explore and contribute to the latest competition, co-sponsored by UN A2R, which seeks new ways to couple climate risk insurance with other social protections to help vulnerable communities absorb climate impacts. Visit to learn more.
January 24, 2018
How can we get more families involved in environmental justice? The Climate Conversations team sits down with Zeyneb Magavi, a leader in Mothers Out Front in Cambridge, MA. Zeyneb wears multiple hats as an activist with Mothers Out Front, Research Director for HEET, and a member of the Gas Leaks Allies. They discuss how mothers sharing a strong interest in protecting their children’s future cuts across boundaries, as well as how Mothers Out Front’s grassroots relationship building approach sets itself apart from other groups’ goal of securing a better future for their children through climate justice. Also of wide interest is hearing about Mothers Out Front’s groundbreaking work with allies to address gas leaks through direct negotiation with three regional gas utilities. Finally, we hear about the campaign Mothers Out Front in Cambridge is soon to launch - “Bring Paris Home” - to motivate residents to make energy efficiency choices. How can relationship-based initiatives affect positive change?
January 17, 2018
The Climate Conversations team interviews Dr. Kyle Powys Whyte, a Professor of Philosophy and Community Sustainability at Michigan State -- about indigenous views of climate change and climate justice. As a context for understanding those views, Dr. Whyte outlines how the legacy of colonialism, capitalism, and other systems of domination affected indigenous populations in North America. We also heard about efforts to surface just climate solutions that respect indigenous traditions, while amplifying the voices of contemporary indigenous peoples. Dr. Whyte concludes by describing his work with colleagues and allies to incorporate indigenous approaches into environmental research and education; highlighting a recent conference on “Being Human in the Age of Humans”.
January 16, 2018
The Climate Conversations team sits down with Tom Kiley, the organizer of the Northeastern North American Climate Policy Summit hosted by MIT in December, 2017. They discuss key results and takeaways from the event, how to strengthen ties between researchers and policy makers, and interdisciplinary approaches to climate action. The team also chats about the value of in-person connections, options for building on the Summit's momentum - particularly supporting greater regional and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
January 10, 2018
What is climate justice? How do we come up with solutions that not only recognize that climate change disproportionally impacts marginalized people, but amplify the voices of those in frontline communities? We sit down with Lisa Young, the Climate Justice Partnerships Organizer for the Better Future Project and discuss the evolution of the term “climate justice”, and the ways in which those who contribute the least to climate change suffer the most. We discuss how not only the solutions to environmental justice issues must be intersectional, but the process by which we reach those solutions. Policy changes and technological innovations will only take us so far in the fight for climate justice, we must lift up the work and voices of everyone impacted. Young and the Climate Conversations team talk about the history of mistrust and exclusion in the environmental movement. We analyze how to recognize that history and rebuild relationships moving forward; in what Young describes as a “broader-based progressive network”. How can we get everyone involved in climate action, and recognize the contributions of frontline communities?
January 3, 2018
Have justice issues changed, or are we standing still? These are the questions we’re asking Trish Weinmann, the Associate director of Radius, a place for the MIT community to discuss issues of justice and equity. Trish explains to us the role that Radius plays in helping the MIT community reflect on complex justice issues such as climate change, and how they have turned these reflections into action.
December 20, 2017
This week, the Climate Conversations team are joined by Zak Accuardi, a Senior Program Analyst at TransitCenter, and former research fellow at Project Drawdown. Zak explains how improvements to public transportation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while improving the lives of a community's disadvantaged people. Zak and the team explore some of the choices both travelers and urban land use planners need to make in promoting a healthy climate. We also discuss Zak’s role in Project Drawdown, which identifies the 100 most impactful climate change solutions that we can access immediately, and ask Zak about its future.
December 13, 2017
This week, we’re joined by Mike Wilson, graduate student at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. We discuss transformative adaptation, and how planners can develop green infrastructures whilst improving the lives of everyone in our global society. Mike explains how future planning in Boston needs to communicate with local communities to discover their lived experiences, and use these to inform future plans.
December 5, 2017
This special episode is part of MIT’s Together in Climate Action Summit, which is focused on sharing climate leadership strategies and exploring pathways forward in Northeastern North America. In this episode, we interview Deb Markowitz, a former six-term Vermont Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Currently, Markowitz is currently a visiting professor in Environmental Policy and Leadership at the University of Vermont. We discuss how state power and regional action can be leveraged to combat climate change in light of the United States plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Deb highlights how carbon pricing, market-driven policies, leadership, and ideology can produce meaningful change and measurable economic and environmental benefits. We also discuss the success of RGGI cap-and-trade system, and how inter-state cooperation on carbon emissions and environmental policy can lead when federal policies lag.
December 4, 2017
This special episode is part of MIT’s Together in Climate Action Summit, which is focused on sharing climate leadership strategies and exploring pathways forward in Northeastern North America. In this episode, we interview Professor John Fernandez, Director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative at MIT and an expert in urban metabolism  – the flows of material and energy that sustain growing cities and their ecosystems. We discuss how natural systems can mitigate and help society adapt to climate change as urban areas expand rapidly and globally. John highlights how healthy forests, wetlands, and soils help limit carbon, keep air and water clean, and limit risks from extreme weather.  We also discuss how technology (e.g. sensors, AI) can work in service of nature. John stresses the need to understand and manage our urban metabolism by coordinating natural systems policies across states and regions. If you’d like to learn more about the Together in Climate Action Summit, which runs December 7th & 8th 2017, visit
December 1, 2017
This special episode is part of MIT’s Together in Climate Action Summit, which is focused on sharing climate leadership strategies and exploring pathways forward in Northeastern North America. In this episode, we interview Frank O’Sullivan, Director of Research at MIT Energy Initiative and an expert in electricity. Frank teaches us about technology, market, and policy shifts in the electricity sector, such as renewable sources, energy storage, and flexible dynamic pricing. We consider how these advances will affect consumers and the climate, and how social equity can be improved in the transition. Additionally, Frank previews the upcoming Summit panel on regional coordination of electricity policy. We ask Frank how this might reduce policy fragmentation in North America, and lead to a more resilient and climate-friendly electric grid. If you’d like to learn more about the Together in Climate Action Summit, which runs December 7th & 8th 2017, visit
November 30, 2017
This special episode is part of MIT’s Together in Climate Action Summit, which is focused on sharing climate leadership strategies and exploring pathways forward in Northeastern North America. We interview Dr. David Cash, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Utilities, and dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. David explains the roles that governments can play in providing the right regulations and opportunities for sustainability to grow and thrive at the state and regional levels. David illustrates these roles with specific cases from his experience creating multi-state collaboration (e.g., Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) and state-level legislation (e.g., Green Communities Act and the Global Warming Solutions Act). We also discuss the importance of equity and justice in creating good policy. If you’d like to learn more about the Together in Climate Action Summit, which runs December 7th & 8th 2017, visit
November 29, 2017
How well have humans adapted to the current climate, and how will we adapt to new climate complexities? This week, the Climate Conversations team is joined by climate research scientist Nick Obradovich, who discusses the many ways the climate affects us in our day-to-day lives, including the way we sleep and exercise. Nick explains how he uses data science to look at climate and behavior, such as social media indications of how people’s mood changes with weather. We discuss climate change as a human cooperation challenge, and explore how developing countries will struggle to adapt to climate change: is it time to pay reparations to these countries?
November 15, 2017
In this week’s episode, we are joined by climate activist and Harvard / MIT researcher Geoffrey Supran, whose recent peer-reviewed paper exposed ExxonMobil for misleading the public about climate science and its implications. Geoffrey discusses the importance of the science community going beyond facts and figures to reach the heart of the climate action movement and engage the public. We also explore the way fossil fuel companies need to transition if we are to move successfully towards decarbonisation.
November 8, 2017
In the first episode of Climate Conversations Season 2, we are joined by ex-coal miner and author of The Thoughtful Coal Miner blog, Nick Mullins. We discuss the history of coal mining in the Appalachian region, including the coal industry’s exploitation of coal miners, and what a just transition away from coal should look like. Nick explains how activists and environmentalists can improve the way they communicate with mining communities in order to engage them in productive environmental action.
October 19, 2017
This week, the Climate Conversations team explore why some social groups, including women and people of color, are disproportionately affected by climate change. We examine how justice issues play out in climate disasters such as hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and consider what a “just transition” away from fossil fuels might look like in local communities.
October 12, 2017
This week, we’re discussing the human response to extreme weather and climate change, with Patrick Field, Managing Director at the Consensus Building Institute. Pat explains his role in intricate climate change negotiations, and how governments fund and adapt to climate challenges in coastal and island locations. Additionally, Pat explores the complex relationship between people and place, considering the role that the market-based solutions in climate adaptation in the wake of natural disasters.
October 5, 2017
This week we are joined by Associate Professor Noelle Selin, from MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society, who has an intimate knowledge of international climate negotiations. Professor Selin explains the complexities of international environmental agreements, including the impact of social media, and we discuss the importance of integrating of government, policy and science when studying the environment. Profesor Selin also discusses MIT’s new interdisciplinary minor, Environment and Sustainability, which links the science and engineering with governance and policy.
September 28, 2017
This week, we interview MIT student and Fossil Free MIT member, Jeremy Poindexter. We discuss Fossil Free MIT’s new career pledge, which encourages students to prioritize climate change and sustainability when making future career choices, fossil fuel divestment and much more.
September 20, 2017
This week, the climate conversations team are joined by Élodie Blanc and Erwan Monier, research scientists at MIT who are investigating the way climate change affects the amount of water available for agriculture. We discuss how climate modelling and collaborative research are used to assess the way climate influences regional agriculture, the economy and industry. Erwan and Élodie also stress the importance of bringing different disciplines together within universities to solve complex problems such as climate change.
September 14, 2017
Renewable energy, geoengineering and other technological solutions dominate the climate action spotlight, but are they the only way forward? As our reading of Project Drawdown shows, some of the highest impact solutions are low-tech: stop eating meat, empower women and girls. We have been thinking about these questions for a while and a recent interview with Richard Heinberg on this very topic on the Warm Regards podcast gave us the perfect opportunity to air thoughts in the guise of a response. Listen to this “Big Questions” episode to find out what Curt, Dave and Rajesh think about techno-fixes. And let us know what do you think – when should we trust technology and when should we look elsewhere? OWR podcast with Richard Heinberg," There's No App for Climate Change: A Manifesto for Moving Forward" - There's No App for That - Drawdown, pp. 80-82, Educating Girls -
September 12, 2017
In this bonus episode, the Climate Conversation team asks, should we reduce how frequently we fly?
September 7, 2017
This week, the team are joined by MIT Professor of Materials Chemistry, Don Sadoway. In this fascinating discussion, we explore extreme electrochemistry, Don’s novel efforts to cut the carbon footprint of steel, his liquid metal battery for grid-scale storage, and the great things you can do simply by understanding some basic chemistry.
August 31, 2017
This week, the Climate Conversations team are joined by MIT’s Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, David McGee. We discuss the many climate changes that the Earth has experienced in the last half million years, our dependence upon climate stability and David’s role in Terrascope, a freshman learning community at MIT. Additionally, David explains the many ways he and his team track historical changes in the Earth’s climate, including the measurement of tree and lake rings.
August 29, 2017
In this bonus episode of Climate Conversations, the team discusses the environmental impact of using Amazon versus physical stores.
August 24, 2017
This week, the Climate Conversations team interviews the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Somerville, Hannah Payne. Hannah explains Somerville’s climate mitigation and adaptation plans, and how Somerville is preparing to be carbon neutral by 2050.
August 17, 2017
This week, Rajesh and Laura Howells discuss the pervasiveness of plastic and which countries contribute the most plastic to the world's oceans. The two also talk over some recent natural events happening in Siberia.
August 10, 2017
This week the Climate Conversations team are joined by the founder of and Science Teacher at Boston Latin School, Timothy Gay, whose goal is to get schools across the country teaching students about climate change. We discuss the challenges associated with bringing climate change into the science curriculum, and how Timothy’s students have taken up the mantle of climate activism. Timothy highlights some of the practical and hands on climate research activities that his students engage in, with a focus on climate solutions at a local level, and tells us about the future of his Climate Curriculum project. Join the conversation at
July 28, 2017
In this special bonus episode of Climate Conversations, the team takes a climate approach to the question, where should my kids go to college?
July 26, 2017
This week, the Climate Conversations team are joined by special guest, MIT's Director of Sustainability, Julie Newman. In this episode, we explore the challenging and growing role of sustainability officers, plus autonomous vehicles, the campus building renaissance and MIT's path to carbon neutrality. Join the conversation at
July 20, 2017
This week on Climate Conversations, the team discusses the problematic term ‘stakeholders’ and ask whether climate policy makers can ever treat all stakeholders with equity. We also consider the role of individual action, and what we can do each day to support green initiatives and reduce our individual impact on the environment. Join the conversation at
July 13, 2017
In episode 2 of Climate Conversations, the team explores the role of market forces in tackling climate change. They are joined by special guest John Reilly, who discusses the complex nature of climate modeling, and the challenges faced by the climate science community in the current political climate. Join the conversation at --- More from this episode: MIT program on global change: John Reilly radio interview: John Reilly editorial: MIT Energy Initiative editorial:
June 4, 2017
How is the US responding to the Paris withdrawal and how will it affect world climate? Is Geoengineering a necessary risk? These are the questions that Climate Conversations host Rajesh Kasturirangan is discussing with ClimateX Team members Curt Newton, Dave Damm-Luhr and Laura Howells, in the very first Climate Conversations podcast. Join the conversation at
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