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The Overstory

The Overstory, a podcast from Sierra Club, brings listeners some of the most surprising, heartfelt, and provocative stories from across the American landscape. With each episode our reporters go beyond the latest news headlines as they profile the people and places on the front lines of environmental activism.

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Earth Day in the Time of Pandemic: S2, Ep. 1

Earth Day in the Time of Pandemic The first episode of The Overstory's second season was originally intended as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. As the pandemic unfolded, we pivoted to consider what social activism will look like in this season of social distancing. Hear from Denis Hayes, founder of the Earth Day Network; Zero Hour founder Jamie Margolin; author and artist Jenny Odell; and the Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Jr. Plus also: Ms. Green explains her investigation into PFAS in menstrual underwear.

38mins

3 Apr 2020

Rank #1

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Ep. 9: Birding For Change

On Episode 9 of The Overstory we go birding with Jason Ward, an impassioned birder in Atlanta, Georgia whose enthusiasm and social media savvy is helping to attract younger and more ethnically diverse groups of people into the world of bird-watching. We also hear from climate activist Patrick Houston about his tips for social change, and talk with Haviland Whiting, the youth poet laureate of Nashville. Plus: Ms. Green discusses the challenges of being a vegan.

27mins

17 Dec 2019

Rank #2

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Ep. 8: Rewilding Patagonia

We take listeners to the far reaches of Chilean Patagonia, where U.S. philanthropist Kris Tompkins has overseen the largest act of wildlands philanthropy in history. On a new segment of the show, we hear directly from frontline activists who provide us with tips and hints about effective environmental advocacy. And speaking of advice, we introduce our new sustainable living advice columnist, Ms. Green—aka Jessian Choy. Plus, a conversation with Doria Robinson, a resident of Richmond, California who lives in the shadow of a giant Chevron oil refinery.

34mins

6 Nov 2019

Rank #3

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Ep. 4: The Mighty Mississippi

Writer Boyce Upholt finds adventure—and a new sense of self—during a harrowing paddling trip on the Mississippi River. We also talk with Bernie Krause about his decades-long work to audio record the natural world, and we hear from a Virginia couple fighting a fracked gas compressor station. Plus: our advice columnist, Mr. Green, explains what a "fat-berg" is.

32mins

29 Jan 2019

Rank #4

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Ep. 3: Hiking for Healing

We join a group of single mom veterans from New York City as they take a weekend camping trip with their families — and in the course of their adventure find a respite from the stresses of military-to-civilian transition. We also talk with Ray Smith, a member of the first all African-American team to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Plus: advice from Mr. Green and a radio diary from Yellowstone's "wild woman." Subscribe, so you never miss an episode! And if you're craving more audio, check out sc.org/stories.

25mins

10 Dec 2018

Rank #5