7 science/sustainability podcasts worth subscribing to today

I am addicted to podcasts lately. I wake up in the morning and start listening to them immediately. After some in-depth research I think it’s worth sharing my top science/sustainability podcasts. Feel free to share your favorites as well! I do prefer to get entertained as I generally listen while writing, running, driving, or cooking. These are also mostly short in length (I think only one is around an hour) and all have charismatic hosts – the ones marked with a {   } are explicit but also very funny!

    1. Big Picture Science: One recent episode was all about how one animal’s poison might actually be a cure for another. The podcast isn’t dry and is all about storytelling is a modern fashion.
    2. Science … sort of: You’ll enjoy listening to the paleopals (!) as they attack sometimes awkward conversations on topics from The Tragedy of the Commons and author Abby Howard. I cannot wait to track down a copy of Dinosaur Empire! Journey through the Mesozoic Era.
    3. Zookeeper Stories: This one is perfect for the car ride with the kids. Lots of the zookeeper’s have entertaining stories that will keep you laughing and wishing you asked more questions your last time at the zoo.
    4. Sustainable World Radio – Permaculture and Ecology Podcast: Jill Cloutier has been interviewing experts – teachers, designers, environmentalists – from around the globe. She knows how to make each interview compelling and worth your time.
    5. A Sustainable Mind Podcast:   What I like about the approach from Marjorie Alexander is her ability to connect with anyone she is interviewing and create action project ideas that are realistic. She’s the most inspiring on my list and a good Monday morning listen!
    6. Infinite Earth Radio: This is another superb podcast for inspiring change. It’s more civic action than changing behaviors though so you’ll have to bring some of the ideas to your local Facebook group and get organized for town hall meeting.
    7. {Probably Science: All I can say is that there was a conversation on a recent episode about how great an oyster would be as a therapist. Please do not listen with the kids around.}

Do you have any favorites that are your go-to?  How about ones focused on gardening or education?

If you’re already a regular subscriber – thank you! If not, please take the time to add your email address to the subscribe option at the top of the right hand column. Don’t forget to follow on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Millions of smiles for miles at the #womensmarch

49b02a578bdcc86ebe96ffad6711045aI am proud of the way the Women’s March in D.C. was planned and executed. It was thrilling and invigorating to be with the droves of people who wanted their voice to be heard. I chatted with folks from North Carolina, Maine, and even Nevada. It was peaceful, fun, and loud at times. It made my feet hurt but I didn’t notice. I was joyful to be a part of it. I was there vibrant and strong with a chanting voice for equal rights for all those in this great country.

And, as a marine science enthusiast/ocean conservationist I was VERY hyped to many signs reminding the new administration of the reality of science and climate change. There will be more to come in posts this year urging for action for climate change. Maybe not a shout out to the federal government but for more grassroots changes. If there is one lesson learned from 2016 it’s that everyone should make more conscious choices in our daily actions – what we believe, read, share on social media to what we eat matters! For now here is a short film on some highlights from the day. Please share your favorite march moments below!


Seven silly sea science words

Somewhere along the line people got the idea that science is scary and intimidating. But, like so much of this world … science is much more than what we first think. Science can be silly. Science can be fun. Science can be collecting and analyzing data. But, science is creating questions. And, science is sharing results.

Science can even make you smile. To prove it – here are some silly sounding words that make me laugh every time I say them. I actually had to have my daughter narrate this short film because “caudle peduncle” is just too much sometimes. Hopefully this clip will make you curious to explore new words and realms within science. It’s bound to make you smile at least! By the way, do you have a favorite sounding sea science word?

What's your faorite sea science word?

Seven silly sea science words Music by Colin Miller/Narrated by Winnie Miller


Playing well with others? Dissecting the tension between the scientist-educator community

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German-Swiss-U.S. scientist

 “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions”.
Claude Levi-Strauss (1908 – 2009) French anthropologist and ethnologist

“Those that can’t do, teach”.

It’s unfortunate, but the last phrase above affected my psyche as a child and young adult. I felt that I should go into science and prove that I could ‘do’. I am glad that I did because I’ve spent a decade doing various levels of field and laboratory work (or more recently overseeing grants of those doing field work and then I get to promote their work). It wasn’t until recently that I’ve began to embrace my desire to teach marine science to the masses. If you’ve been following my blog, Beach Chair Scientist, this can be illustrated – hopefully – in the increased quality of content that I’ve become committed to presenting in the past few months. All the while, I kept coming back to why I didn’t go in this direction in the beginning of my career and remembered that it was because I wanted to be seen as someone who could ‘do’. Boy, is that a regret! I have come to realize that non-formal education and all forms of teaching are ‘doing’ and we should all embrace the significant role of teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators play in our society.

Teachers are often our first connection to the big, expansive, beautiful world. Rejecting teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators because it seems as though they ‘play with kids all day’ or ‘invent games and just make PowerPoint presentations’ is irreverent. We become teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators because there is an inexplicable piece within all of us, not to find the answers or pose a question, but rather see “understanding wash over a child” or adult. Our moment of ‘eureka’ and validation is not when we’ve been published, but is centered on sharing the natural world and illuminating connections that may not have been obvious to others.

It seems as though there is a tension when teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators try to gain access to the science department for new knowledge. I can understand that no one wants to part with their work and have someone treat it as their own. But, I don’t think anyone believes that is the case. The relationship between the scientist and those promoting the data (teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators) should be constantly cultivated and sharing findings should be part of the process. I am glad that there is a new generation of scientists learning to engage the public with the use of social media to share findings and learn from other.

But, dare I say that it seems like pulling teeth when anyone that is trained to deal with the public tries to promote findings and interpret and translate scientific information? There are many wonderful organizations (e.g., COMPASS) dedicated to teaching scientists how to connect their science to the wider world, but connecting with nearby neighbors (i.e., coworkers) is vital and builds upon respect for one another. Teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators should be seen as an extension of the news media. Often we get creative with our translations of scientific findings and the news media will cover the interpretation rather than read an abstract. Teachers, environmental educators, and science communicators are highly trained with working with all different audiences. Furthermore, we’re well versed in techniques to filter, spin, coordinate, and share data appropriately (i.e., infographics or demonstrations in classrooms).

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the topic. Recently, I posed the question “Is the scientist-educator/communicator relationship one of a) love-hate tension, b) complete mutual respect, c) neither, or d) both a and b?” on Twitter and Facebook. Comments we’re few and far between most leaning towards b and d.

Related posts:

Dear Online Science Writing Community: A reminder for ‘call to actions’ because your perspective is priceless