New ‘All for Earth’ podcast addresses environmental issues, solutions

Sept. 12, 2019 11:52 a.m.

The new Princeton University podcast “All for Earth” delves into the urgency of today’s environmental crises — as well as the effectiveness of the tools we already have to mitigate them — through in-depth interviews with the people leading the race against time to prevent the implosion of the interconnected systems that support life on Earth.

All for Earth podcast logo

The first three episodes of “All for Earth” are available for free on the podcast’s homepage, or through iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and Google Play. A production of the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and the Princeton University Office of Communications in collaboration with the Council on Science and Technology, “All for Earth” previews a few of the topics and speakers featured in the upcoming Princeton Environmental Forum slated for Oct. 24-25. The conference and the podcast coincide with the 25th anniversary of PEI, the University's interdisciplinary center for environmental research, education and outreach. 

The podcast’s premise is simple and twofold: the planet is facing an existential crisis — and we have the tools to avert it. Host Catherine Riihimaki, associate director for science education in the Council on Science and Technology, speaks with Princeton faculty and alumni environmental leaders working in science and technology; politics and government; finance and business; health, media, sports and more. The podcast will be released weekly on Thursdays until Oct. 24, ahead of the Princeton Environmental Forum. 

These people describe the true scale of the multiple environmental calamities now underway that will accelerate in the coming decades: climate change, the mass extinction of plant and animal species, a shortage of food and arable land for a growing human population, and a lack of clean, plentiful water.

At the same time, while society struggles to accept the urgent need for — and the scale of — the action we need to take, the technology and policies needed to implement these vast changes are at the ready.

In episode 1, Stephen Pacala, Princeton’s Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a past director of PEI, discusses how an army of researchers working across multiple disciplines are providing us with the technical and scientific capabilities to avert the interconnected catastrophes of climate, mass extinction, famine and drought. (For today’s Princeton undergraduates, these issues are projected to peak in their lifetimes, a central feature of the flagship environmental studies course Pacala developed, “The Environmental Nexus.”)

In episode 2, Suzy Friedman of Princeton’s Class of 1994, senior director of agricultural sustainability at the Environmental Defense Fund, talks about the hard impact of climate change on farmers. The solution could be working with commodity farmers at the largest scale to help our food system adapt to environmental changes, lower agriculture’s environmental footprint, and feed a population that is heading towards 10 billion people.

In episode 3, Fred Rich of Princeton’s Class of 1977, a lawyer and author of “Getting to Green: Saving Nature: a Bipartisan Solution,” explores the polarization of climate change at a time when everyone needs to pitch in. Rich proposes that bipartisan support for the American environmental movement can be restored by conservatives reconnecting with their support for conservation and by the Green movement adopting necessary reforms. Rich is scheduled to speak at the Princeton Environmental Forum.