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The Elephant

Welcome to The Elephant! An interview and storytelling podcast investigating up-and-coming solutions to one of the greatest challenges of our time: climate change. Supported by Climate-KIC

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George Monbiot - 'Climate Change is Bigger Than Capitalism'

Guardian columnist and journalist George Monbiot is one of the foremost political and environmental thinkers in Britain today and for decades he has been putting a spotlight on ecological issues of critical importance. He joins us to talk about how the climate change crisis isn't just an isolated problem, but one that intersects with the other major problems we're facing in our societies - from the run-away political power of corporations and the undermining of our democracies, to the rampant consumerism culture that dominates the West.

1hr 2mins

30 Jan 2016

Rank #1

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Noam Chomsky, 'The Human Species Has Never Faced A Question Like This’

For decades Noam Chomsky has been one of the most important political dissidents and intellectuals in the world. Now in an exclusive new interview with The Elephant, Chomsky reflects on the incredible period in human history we currently find ourselves in, and how the peculiar institutional systems we've set up put considerations of short-term profits ahead of the very future of our species. In our interview, Noam Chomsky also shares his thoughts on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand on climate change, and why advertising has a tremendously distorting effect on our society.


23 May 2016

Rank #2

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S2 Episode 1: How Did We Get Here?

Look pretty much anywhere on our planet and it’s clear that human beings are having an outsized impact on the Earth. And it’s not just climate change. There’s our enormous land footprint, our rapidly growing numbers, our thirst for resources, and the vast quantities of waste we produce every year. But how did homo sapiens transform from a species with only minor numbers in parts of Africa, to one that’s spread across the world with 7 billion people, and whose consumption patterns have become so voracious that we’re now threatening the very stability of the planet we depend on? In this special episode of The Elephant we go on a journey from the dawn of Earth to the 21st century to find out - how exactly did we end up here?

1hr 8mins

8 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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How Cities Are Leading The Way on Climate

How our cities are run and designed can have a huge impact on the carbon footprint we have as individuals. Is there convenient and affordable transit available for example? Or are the buildings heated and cooled efficiently? But fortunately cities around the world are increasingly making their planning decisions with climate emissions in mind. In fact, actions by cities have been a rare bright spot in an otherwise mostly stagnant decade when it comes to climate action. We speak to Mark Watts - who leads a group called the C40 made up of some of the world's biggest cities - about some of the ways that cities are leading the way on climate.


4 Mar 2016

Rank #4

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Has This Scientist Found The Way To Save The World From CO2?

For over the past two decades scientist Klaus Lackner has dedicated himself to finding potential ways of taking CO2 back out of the atmosphere, all in a bid to help the world avoid the worst consequences of climate change. In this episode, we learn about Klaus’s journey, explore the science of CO2 removal, and learn if pulling CO2 back out of the air might just hold the key to us solving climate change. This is the first of four episodes in a series that we’ll be releasing, which all deal with the subject of carbon dioxide removal. These episodes will be coming out on Wednesdays for the next several weeks.This series of episode was made possible with funding from EIT Climate-KIC. Climate-KIC is a European knowledge and innovation community, working towards a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy. Find out more at www.climate-kic.org ​


12 Jun 2019

Rank #5

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The Co-Founder of Occupy Wall Street on Bringing About Social Change

The Occupy movement of 2011 was one of the most successful activist actions of the last few decades. It changed the discourse, raised the issue of income inequality world-wide, and it galvanized a new generation of activists. But its co-founder, Micah White, considers Occupy a 'constructive failure', but one that that has lessons that activists - including those of us in the environmental movement - can learn from. With Micah we talk about the story behind how Occupy Wall Street started, the future of protest, and how activists can bring about the social change that our world so badly needs.


4 Apr 2016

Rank #6

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Money, Controversy and Magical Thinking: The Many Challenges of CO2 Removal

Taking carbon dioxide out of the air - as we learned in our last episode - is technically possible. And different researchers and start-ups are experimenting with the best ways to do just that. But there's much more than engineering that currently stands in the way of seeing Air Capture become a big part of the solution to climate change. There's also the not too small problem of paying for it. For example, would you be willing to pay $10,000 each year to offset your emissions? In this episode we look at the social, political and financial hurdles that need to be overcome if we truly are going to find a way to take billion of tons of CO2 out of the air each year. This is Episode 2 of 4 of our series looking at Carbon Dioxide Removal(Pictured: The Climeworks Carbon Capture plant outside of Zurich Switzerland)


19 Jun 2019

Rank #7

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The U.S. Supreme Court v. The Future of The Planet

If you care about climate, then it's been a wild couple of weeks on the U.S. supreme court. First, in a surprise decision the court issued a stay against the EPA's Clean Power Plan - dealing a devastating blow to the U.S.'s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. And then just a few days after the ruling, Antonin Scalia, one of the 5 conservative justices who voted for the stay died at age 79. unleashing a huge battle over the future of the court. We speak to journalist John Upton of Climate Central about what the recent ruling, and Antonin Scalia's death, means for both America, and the future of the climate.


24 Feb 2016

Rank #8

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Can Conservatives and Progressives Agree on Climate Action?

Conservatives, especially in America, are known for doubting the scientific basis of man-made climate change, and the need to do anything about it. But earlier this February something surprising happened - several elder Republican statesmen released a proposal for what they call a Conservative solution to climate change. The plan consists primarily of carbon tax - something that many progressives have long advocated for. But controversially for Democrats, the plan also calls for repealing more intricate climate regulations such as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.At this time when by all signs it seems like the divide between Republicans and Democrats is wider than ever, Radio producer Barbara Lucas takes a look at the plan, and asks, when it comes to climate change, can Conservatives and Progressives in the U.S. ever find common ground?


10 May 2017

Rank #9

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Can Economics Save Climate Change?

With the birth of the industrial revolution and the creation of the modern world, economics helped us in a sense get into the mess we're in today with the climate. But what role could economics play in helping us solve the problem? And what types of economic policies could help move us towards a sustainable future? To explore these questions, we sit down with Cameron Hepburn, an Environmental Economist at the University of Oxford.


23 Nov 2015

Rank #10

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Iceland and the Surprising Science of Turning CO2 into Rock

Imagine we overcame the many obstacles and successfully built the giant infrastructure that would be needed to directly capture billions of tons of CO2 back out of the air each year. You might reasonably think that we would have then completely solved the problem. But there’s one big question mark that would still be lingering in the air:Where exactly are we going to safely store all of this carbon dioxide? After all, it’s a gas! if you put it in the ground, it’s going to want to come back up. That’s where an ingenious experiment underway in Iceland called Carbfix comes into play. Nestled among volcanic mountains, a team of scientists are hard at work experimenting with turning large amounts of CO2 into rock. Is this the new alchemy? Or a genuine solution that could end up helping us solve climate change? Listen to this, our final episode in our series on negative emissions, to find out!


19 Jul 2019

Rank #11

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The Insider’s Guide to the Climate Talks in Paris

The United Nations climate summit in Paris - or COP 21 - is just around the corner. But there's a lot to get a handle on with how these negotiations actually work. You might wonder, why have they failed in the past? What is it like to be there in the room? And what are the main points of contention between countries?To get insights into these questions, and just what we can expect from Paris, we rang up Kevin Conrad, who for 8 years represented Papua New Guinea at UN climate talks, and this year is on the delegation for Panama.


27 Nov 2015

Rank #12

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Envisioning a Future with Large-Scale CO2 Removal

Carbon dioxide removal does already exist, but only at the tiniest of scales. But what could a future where we're successfully capturing billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year, actually look like?Where would all the CO2 be stored? What might the carbon capture machines look like? And how are we going to get this whole carbon capturing business off the ground? We explore these and other questions in this 3rd episode in our series looking at Carbon Dioxide Removal. (Pictured: an artist's illustration from the Canadian company Carbon Engineering depicting what a future carbon capture installation might look like)


3 Jul 2019

Rank #13

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Storms, Isolation, and Endless Days: Investigating Greenland’s Changing Ice Sheet

The Greenland ice-sheet is massive. So massive that if it were to melt completely global sea-levels would rise by more than 6 meters. So it's critical that scientists understand how the ice-sheet is changing because of climate change. Liam Colgan is a glaciologist and professor at York University who specifically studies the Greenland ice-sheet and we got a hold of him by satellite phone as he was in Greenland on a 36 day research expedition led by NASA. We learn about how the Greenland ice-sheet is changing due to climate change, why it matters, and what it's like to do research in such an extreme environment.


17 Jun 2016

Rank #14

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Nicolas Haeringer: With Trump’s Election, What Does the Climate Movement Do Now?

Last week Donald Trump's election sent shockwaves around the world - particularly within the climate community. Trump has long denied that climate change even exists and has vowed to roll back all federal action. So what should those of us who actually care about reality do next? We caught up with activist and campaigner Nicolas Haeringer, of 350.org, in Marrakech to get his thoughts on where the climate movement goes from here, and what lessons we can draw from Trump's shocking win.


19 Nov 2016

Rank #15

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Voices of Youth at #COP22

The Elephant has been in Marrakech Morocco the past week for COP 22. And on Friday, on the last day of the conference, we caught up with a few youth groups from around the world to find out what motivated them to come to the talks, and how they feel about the future in a world grappling with climate change.


20 Nov 2016

Rank #16

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Naomi Klein on Why Climate Change is ‘Threatening To Our Elites’

We sit down with Naomi Klein to speak about Paris, why climate change is threatening to elite power, and why when it comes to dealing with the crisis, we need to temper our fears with hope for the future.


7 Dec 2015

Rank #17

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Climatologist James Hansen - 'We’re already at a level of emergency'

Former NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen is one of the most respected climate scientists in the world. In fact he's famous for helping first-bring the issue of climate change to wide-spread public attention way back in 1988 when he testified in-front of congress to alert senators that the greenhouse gas effect was real, and that we were already starting to see its impacts on the climate. We caught up with Dr. Hansen at COP 21 to speak with him about what the world needs to do to act on climate, and why when it comes to global warming "we’re already at a level of emergency."


5 Dec 2015

Rank #18

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Ex-Irish President Mary Robinson on Hope, Climate Change & Women's Day

March 8th marks international women's day, an annual celebration of the achievements of women across the globe. And this year’s campaign is: Be Bold For Change. To discuss climate change and equality, and how it intersects with the role of women worldwide, our new Elephant producer and co-host Charlotta Lomas spoke with a woman who has herself been bold for change - Mary Robinson who was the first female President of Ireland from 1990-1997. She now leads the Mary Robinson Foundation: which is devoted to climate justice and she is also the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate Change. We reached Mary Robinson by phone in Dublin. Custom Artwork by Krista Lai


8 Mar 2017

Rank #19

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How Antarctica Is Changing and Why It Matters

Antarctica's ice sheet contains enough water to rise sea-levels by over 60 meters, yet we know surprisingly little about the frozen continent to our south. In fact we know more about the surface of Mars than we do the topography of Antarctica. In a live interview in Birmingham with Glaciologist Dr. Martin Siegert, we learn the innovative ways in which scientists are studying the ice-sheet, why it matters for the world, and hear about the mysterious sub-glacial lakes that lie beneath the surface of the ice


6 Nov 2015

Rank #20