There's a lot of information available when it comes to the environment, climate change, and sustainability, so we wouldn't blame you for feeling a touch overwhelmed. It's easy to feel that you don't have time to investigate the changes you could make, but downloading a podcast is one of the most easily digestible ways to learn more: it (usually) costs nothing, can be readily accessed wherever you are, and fills up dead time—on your commute or in the gym, for example.
Below, we've chosen our favourite, female-led podcasts that focus on environmental issues, ranging from social responsibility to sustainable shopping, eco-friendly travel and ethical investing.
Whichever you start with, remember that progress is more important than perfection when it comes to altering your habits. Simple tweaks can make a real difference, so take your pick of the podcasts below and you'll be on your way to making proper change.
For an environmentally friendly one-stop shop, check out Sustainably Influenced, masterminded by Bianca Foley. The platform—which includes written features as well as a podcast—is a practical and inviting guide to living more sustainably. The sugared-violet branding and relaxed tone may lull you into thinking that Sustainably Influenced is all sweetness and light, but don’t be fooled: there’s plenty of depth here, with features running the gamut from where to buy eco-workwear to tips on ethical investing. On the podcast, Foley interviews experts in their field about how technology is improving traceability, whether bespoke tailoring is actually good for the environment and the role activists play in sustainable fashion. This is a really robust, varied offering if you like to find all your information readily available in one place.
For hot takes on the most-discussed fashion topics of the moment—and what they mean for the planet—look to Conscious Chatter, where host Kestrel Jenkins delves into the eco-ramifications of the style zeitgeist. Stand out episodes have covered the sustainable dress code at the 2023 Oscars and whether the ‘de-influencing’ trend can help us combat overconsumption. Jenkins, who used to work for the sustainable brand People Tree, has sound credentials, and the podcast feels very up-to-the-minute, covering newsy themes and hosting guest speakers from excellent fashion brands (think Mother of Pearl and Doen).
Citizen Femme, the sustainable travel platform for style-conscious travellers founded by Sheena Bhattessa, is known for its authoritative guides to everything from eco-friendly family trips to responsible shopping in different cities. If you’re a fan of the site, we highly recommend you download the brand’s podcast, Passport To…, which covers environmental issues with a focus on travel—recent episodes have touched on ethical jewellery and the golden age of rail. The guests are all genuinely fascinating, and include names such as the chef Margo Henderson, the actress Romola Garai, and the jeweller Monica Vinader.
The Jane Goodall Hopecast
It doesn’t get much more inspiring than the Jane Goodall Hopecast, hosted by the famous primatologist and anthropologist. Goodall has spent 60 years studying the social interactions of wild chimpanzees and has dedicated her life to preserving and protecting our environment. Here, she interviews guests from Margaret Atwood to US Senator Cory Booker on what gives them hope, teasing out meaningful stories and thought-provoking anecdotes. The climate emergency can so often feel hopeless—Goodall’s podcast is the ideal, feel-good antidote to that.
If you know you have some habits that aren’t exactly the best for the planet, but really want to do your best to make a difference, subscribe to Sustainable(ish). Author and host Jen Gale has plenty of tips for people with busy lives, who want to make a conscious change without the hassle; here, you'll find manageable advice delivered in an unpatronizing way. There’s a great variety of guest speakers and Gale covers diverse topics, from talking to your local council about climate change to electric cars and eco-conscious travel. A must-listen if you’re looking for an approachable podcast that won’t overwhelm you, with sustainability jargon easily explained.
You’ll know by now that buying too many new clothes (especially those that are mass-produced) isn’t great for the planet. But what do you know about mycelium, a leather derived from mushrooms? Or toxic PFAs, chemicals found in many cosmetics and fabrics? Former magazine sustainability editor Clare Press is an expert on both fashion and the environment, and skilfully addresses the intersection between the two in Wardrobe Crisis, with the help of contributors ranging from designers and models to scientists and economists (standout episodes feature Amber Valetta and Amy Powney). More than two million downloads show that this is an essential listen for anyone interested in fashion, who wants to know how to shop well while preserving the environment.
This piece originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar UK