Inspired by the club anthem, and it's timely return to relevance with its adaptation by Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) to feature Greta Thunberg's UN address, Write Hear, Right Now is a space held at the intersection of the climate crisis and the podcast medium.
Climate change science, and it's altering of the bedrock upon which all other human industry and endeavor stands - may come as a shock to some podcasters, and their audiences. At least, judging from its level of representation in the body of podcast publishing, consumption, and promotion. Or even basic recognition, as the lack of a climate category in major podcast directories highlights.
As well as drawing attention to flaws and shortcomings in the industry, this space will also be dedicated to bringing focus to those who are making strides in producing climate-aware podcasts, in new, novel and effective ways.
Celebrating series like a BBC audio drama on the leading edge of sound design, with an original score from a leading artist, that also made space for a timely, deeply unsettling climate-driven theme - "Can you feel loss for something you’ve never known?".
Or, in indie podcasting, how "bedroom producers" are changing the lives of their listeners, and the podcasters themselves. As major news outlets have caught up to acknowledging the climate crisis, you can find a steady drumbeat of articles dealing with climate grief on the rise, and people facing the classic 'individual vs systemic change' question from scratch. "Talking about climate change" frequently tops their list of recommended actions.
Regular podcast listeners know to turn to their favourite shows for situations where talk is called for, whether it's sports analysis, pop culture debate, or political war-gaming. It's where people form their own opinions, choosing from the menu of readily available opinion (and justification), and also check in on the bearings of their friends they know from their earbuds. If you're reading this, you don't need the parasocial relationship of podcaster/listener explained to you.
But why the topic of climate change was, and somewhat still is, absent from those powerful relationships is a key topic of Write Here, Right Now.
To sum up this first piece with a small, proto-manifesto (because what's a mission-driven project without even a little manifesto?) - podcasting is a powerful medium for communication, persuasion, and ultimately, action. The organizing, fundraising and ultimately electoral work of Crooked Media over the last 4 years in US politics can clearly show that, along with many other examples.
The climate crisis is a wicked problem, and "wicked problems encompass highly complex issues, such as climate change, that cannot be overcome through traditional solutions because the cause-and-effect relationships are often uncertain." - that lack of traditional solutions means that traditional news, media, and communication is also insufficient.
To encourage the intersection of podcasting that engages with the climate crisis to grow, deepen and diversify. That's the mission of Write Hear, Right Now - more writing on climate-engaged podcasting, more projects, and podcasts, more urgency. Right now.
If that sounds like a mission you're excited to get onboard with, welcome! Subscribe, share with your compatriots, and reach out with your answer to any or all of the below questions - or anything else that your mind has provided in reaction and response to this topic.
Questions for you:
- What does 'the intersection of podcasting and the climate crisis' mean to you?
- What are the best climate-engaged podcasts you know of?
- Do you think the big podcast networks and publishers have been slow to acknowledge and engage with the climate crisis in their shows, even ones that have obvious overlap with climate change?
To broach first-person, 'hi, Mark here!', I'd love to get your thoughts, comments, and it's never too early to start collaborating with the other great people in this space. So please don't hesitate to reach out through your channel of choice!