Wider Listening in Geography

Which podcasts are worth listening to?

We’ve pulled together a collection of great podcasts every geographer should watch. Got a recommendation? Contact us using the form below.

RGS Podcasts

A conversation with Tim Marshall, author of the seminal book Prisoners of Geography

Plate tectonics and earthquake prediction with Dr Rebecca Bell

How is internal migration changing cities?

What are the big challenges for global water security?

Extreme weather in the UK: past, present and future

Forests and the carbon cycle

Hazards and volcanic gas emissions – How do geographers research volcanoes?

BBC Logo

A load of rubbish

An investigation into what’s really happening to the recycling we send overseas. Listen now – 37 minutes

Earthquake Farm

In 2016 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake tore apart Derek and Jane Milton’s farm. Nancy Nicolson is in Marlborough on the South Island of New Zealand to find out how they rebuilt their lives and their business. Listen now – 22 minutes


The idea that recycling is a moral obligation, as well as an economic one, is relatively new. Should we take a more hard-headed view of the economic costs and benefits? Listen now – 14 minutes

Shared Planet

Monty Don presents Shared Planet, a series exploring the complex interface between a growing human population and wildlife

Half and Half

The world has lost so much wildlife that some conservationists think half the earth should be set aside for nature. Could this work? Monty Don and a panel of experts discuss.

The Future of Corals

Coral reefs are renowned for their beauty and diversity, and they provide us with a wondrous spectacle. But as the seas warm and become more acidic, will they survive?

Wildlife and Drought in East Africa

As east Africa gets hotter and drier, livestock are increasingly being grazed inside wildlife reserves. Inevitably this leads to predation by big cats. What does the future hold?


Ten years after the international trade in big-leaf mahogany was restricted, Monty Don asks if we are closer to finding a way to share the planet with these giants of the forest.

National Parks

‘National park’ means different things depending on where they are situated; some have more protection than others. But are they good for wildlife, or do humans usually win out?


What is the effect on wildlife of tourists visiting wildlife hotspots? Monty Don explores this question through an encounter with whales and dolphins in the Azores.

What is Sustainability?

It’s an easy word to use, some say. But is it possible for seven billion people to live with nature sustainably? Monty Don explores how the natural world and human population meet.

The Problem of Population

Monty Don presents a new series exploring the interface between a growing human population and wildlife. He begins with the example of the chimney swift in North America.

Building and Wildlife

Monty Don presents a programme focusing on towns and cities, with a report from North America about their largest swallow, the Purple Martin, dependent on towns for nesting.

The Guardian

Recommended podcasts from Today in Focus by The Guardian

NEW – Kenya – The women fighting back in Kenya’s biggest slum

Edita Ochieng and like-minded women are taking a stand against endemic sexual violence and police corruption in Kibera Listen now.

NEW – Fossil Fuels – ‘It’s all gone’: how Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas

Oliver Laughland tells Rachel Humphrys about the destruction he witnessed in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Listen now.

NEW – The Amazon Rainforest – A 2,000km journey through the Amazon rainforest

The Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, tells Anushka Asthana about the polluters series, which identified 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era. Listen now.

NEW – Bahamas – A 2,000km journey through the Amazon rainforest

The Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, tells Anushka Asthana about the polluters series, which identified 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era. Listen now.

Ebola is back – can it be contained?

The current outbreak of the deadly virus in the DRC has been called the most complex public health emergency in history. Peter Beaumont describes his recent visit to the DRC and Sarah Boseley discusses how the 2014 outbreak was eventually contained. Listen now.

Life in the fastest-warming place on earth

In the world’s northernmost town, temperatures have risen by 4°C since 1971, devastating homes, wildlife and even the cemetery. India Rakusen and Jon Watts travel to Svalbard to find out how the island is coping with the effects of global heating. Listen now.

What really happens to the waste in your recycling bin?

Recycling is often cited as one of the easiest ways to make a difference to the environment. But does old plastic really get reprocessed into new? Guardian reporters around the world have been investigating what really happens to our waste. Listen now.

Running dry: the water crisis driving migration to the US

Nina Lakhani explores how drought and famine are fuelling the wave of migration from Central America to the US. Listen now.

What oil companies knew: the great climate cover-up

Oil firms are said to have known for decades of the link between burning fossil fuels and climate breakdown. Author Bill McKibben describes how industry lobbying created a 30-year barrier to tackling the crisis. Listen now.

Death, carnage and chaos: a climber on his recent ascent of Everest

On 23 May, an image taken by the climber Nirmal Pujra went viral. It showed a long queue of climbers waiting to reach the summit of Everest. Elia Saikaly, a film-maker, was on that climb. He describes the ascent, while the Guardian’s Michael Safi discusses why the number of people seeking to scale Everest has exploded. Listen now.

What happens to a place when its steel industry collapses?

The announcement that British Steel was entering insolvency came as a hammer blow to Scunthorpe, where it employs 5,000 people. It has become a familiar story in recent years, and Helen Pidd returns to Redcar, which lost the majority of its steelworks in 2015. Listen now.

Are our blueberries radioactive? The Chernobyl nuclear cover-up

On 26 April 1986, the worst nuclear accident in human history occurred in the No 4 reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine. Kate Brown has spent years researching the cover-up that took place afterwards. Listen now.

How Greta Thunberg’s school strike went global

Greta Thunberg’s school strike against climate change has spread to 71 countries, and this Friday’s action could be one of the largest global climate change protests ever. Now nominated for the Nobel peace prize, she tells our environment editor Jonathan Watts how it all began. Listen now.

The Economist Radio

Recommended podcasts from The Economist Radio

NEW – Carbon sucks – new ways to reduce emissions

SCIENTISTS ARE experimenting with different ways to reduce the amount of carbon being emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere. Listen now.

NEW – Climate change – how much can individuals do?

AS GLOBAL LEADERS prepare for the UN climate change summit next week, we debate what changes individuals can make today to help limit the effects of climate change. Listen now.

Zero-carbon Britain: how fast can it happen?

This week a government advisory committee releases its anticipated recommendations for Britain to become a carbon-free economy. But will ministers take meaningful action? Listen now.

Hot as hell—extreme weather, climate and conflict

RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVES are becoming routine and they are killing people. But many of the potentially life-saving solutions are both low-tech and low-cost. Governments should be doing more. Also, we visit Lake Chad in the Sahel to understand how climate change can fuel conflict. And, droughts or floods, heatwaves or cold snaps, just how responsible is humanity for extreme weather events? Listen now.

“Much of it would become a tropical savanna”—the Amazon’s point of no return

DEFORESTATION IS on the rise and Brazil’s government is all but encouraging it. Beyond a certain threshold, the world’s largest rainforest will dry out into a savanna—with dire consequences. Listen now.

A cure for Ebola?

TWO TREATMENTS for Ebola have emerged from a clinical trial in Africa. Scientists estimate that sea-levels across the globe will rise by 50cm or so in the next 80 years; in some places, they could go up by twice as much. Are governments and businesses prepared to deal with the rising tides? Listen now.

“Coal is going to linger in Asia for many, many years yet”—a nasty regional habit

THE REGION accounts for three-quarters of the world’s coal consumption—even as giants such as China and India consider its environmental effects and opportunities in renewables. Listen now.

Growing up—the rising promise of vertical farms

INVESTORS ARE ploughing hundreds of millions of dollars into vertical farming. Could towers of vegetables help feed the world’s growing population? Listen now.

The World Ahead: Shirting Sands in the Sahara

In this episode of the future-gazing podcast, the often ignored region in Africa seems set to grow in prominence, for the wrong reasons. Download now.

Babbage: What a difference half a degree makes

How can governments and reach ‘net zero’ and whether the global economy can both grow and go green. Download now.

The Inquiry

The Inquiry, by the BBC, gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world. Below are a selection of recommended podcasts. You can access the full list of The Inquiry podcasts here.

How do you move a capital city? 

Indonesia has announced it is thinking of building a new capital city, away from busy Jakarta. Just how difficult is the process? Listen now – 37 minutes

Are smart cities dumb?

A bright new future of clean power and easy living, or a science fiction nightmare? Listen now – 24 minutes

How can we feed 11 billion people?

The world’s population is set to grow from 7.7 to 11 billion by the end of this century. The challenge is to produce enough food to feed this number of people. Listen now – 24 minutes

Can we stop mass extinction?

Human activity is sending animals and plants extinct. But scientists have radical solutions to save them – from transplanting polar bears to “de-extincting” a very strange frog. Listen now – 24 minutes

What went wrong in Indonesia?

Thousands died when an earthquake and tsunami struck Palu, Indonesia – but could more lives have been saved? Experts on the ground and around the world speak out. Listen now – 23 mins

How long can we live?

Life expectancy is rising as medicine advances. But can we beat the most fatal condition of all: old age? Scientists on the frontier of the fight against ageing itself talk. Listen now – 23 mins.

Can Delhi clean up its air?

Air pollution is suffocating Delhi – what can be done? Listen now – 23 minutes.

Should we rethink the ban on child labour?

Most countries have pledged to ban child labour – but is this the best approach? Some child workers say it stands in the way of their rights and are campaigning for a rule change. Listen now – 23 minutes.

Can we eat our way out of climate change?

Changing what we eat could be one of the fastest ways to slow down climate change. But moving the world to a new diet would not be easy. Listen now – 23 minutes.

Is plastic doomed?

The tide of public opinion is turning on plastic – what’s its future? Listen now – 23 minutes.

How do you make people have babies?

How governments are encouraging people to have more children to offset a demographic crisis. Listen now – 23 minutes.

How did we get hooked on plastic?

Early inventors wanted to find a substance that could replace ivory as they were concerned they were hunting elephants into extinction. Now it’s something we can’t live without. Listen now – 23 minutes

Is it time to ban the plastic bottle?

Every single second, 20,000 single-use drinking bottles are sold around the world. Listen now – 23 minutes

Could we ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars?

Nations around the world will ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the coming decades. What’s stopping us from doing it now? Listen now – 23 minutes

How do we stop people dying in floods?

Do we have the power to avoid the natural forces of intense rainfall? Listen now – 23 minutes

Do we need a plan B for climate change?

Scientists have been developing some very ambitious ideas to re-engineer our climate if ‘plan A’ – concerted global action – fails. Listen now – 23 minutes

Is retirement over?

People are living longer, but not saving enough for their old age. Could a long rest after a hard working life soon become a thing of the past? Listen now – 23 minutes

Can we quake-proof a city?

Earthquakes have killed a million people in the last two decades. From shacks to skyscrapers, what more could we do to minimise deaths and destruction? Listen now – 23 minutes

Should we solar panel the Sahara?

Solar could be the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card, providing clean energy on a vast scale. The technology exists. But the politics are difficult. Listen now – 23 minutes

How will a population boom change Africa?

The UN forecasts the number of people in Africa will double by 2050. Some fear the impact of a demographic explosion – but others say it could be a good news story. Listen now – 23 minutes

Can we learn to live with nuclear power?

After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the country is turning its reactors back on. But elsewhere the nuclear industry is in retreat. Listen now – 23 minutes

Is opposition to GM crops irrational?

In a recent US poll, a large majority of US scientists said GM food is generally safe to eat. Is it time to embrace GM technology to help deal with world hunger and food shortages? Listen now – 23 minutes

Science in Action

Science in Action, by the BBC, has a range of up to date Earth science podcasts. Below are a selection of recommended podcasts. You can access the full list of Science in Action podcasts here.

More than 2 million people live around this volcano, which has become more active. Listen now – 31 minutes

Siberia has seen 38 degrees Celsius, 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Listen now – 26 minutes

An attribution study shows fires were at least 30% worse due to mankind’s influence on the climate? Listen now – 30 minutes

The latest climate report looks like earlier ones, where is the call to action? Listen now – 30 minutes

Despite extreme rainfall, climate scientists predict drought in India within months. Listen now – 30 minutes

How malaria jumped from great apes to humans and why Antarctica may hold a new treatment. Listen now – 30 minutes

Is it going to be a particularly bad burning season for Brazil’s rainforest? Also, Greenland’s top geologist gives his valuation of his native island for prospective purchasers. Listen now – 30 minutes

Cracking the case of the Krakatoa volcano collapse

Scientists investigate the precise events around last year’s lethal eruption. Also, a dinosaur fossil trove in the USA, detecting fluorescent aliens, and a pair of robotic pants. Listen now – 33 minutes

The snowball effect of Arctic fires

Scientists investigate the precise events around last year’s lethal eruption. Also, a dinosaur fossil trove in the USA, detecting fluorescent aliens, and a pair of robotic pants. Listen now – 33 minutes

‘Free’ water and electricity for the world?

The solar panel which simultaneously produces electricity and purifies water Listen now – 30 minutes

Analysing the European heatwave

An analysis of weather and climate variables shows global warming had a role. Listen now – 28 minutes

Is climate change driving Europe’s current heatwave?

Scientists are unpicking the influence of anthropogenic forces on this event as it happens. Listen now – 28 minutes

South Asia heatwave and climate change

South Asia has experienced record-breaking temperatures, climate models predict these could become more common in future. Listen now – 29 minutes

The birth of a new volcano

A new undersea volcano has appeared off the coast of East Africa. Listen now – 27 minutes

The World Wood Web

Why a network of fungi living in harmony with trees are key to our understanding of climate change. Listen now – 27 minutes

Biodiversity in crisis

Can we halt global biodiversity loss and still allow for economic development? Listen now – 27 minutes

What is behind the Indian Ocean Cyclones?

Why have three cyclones developed in the Indian Ocean in quick succession? Listen now – 27 minutes

Cyclone Idai 

What were the factors which contributed to the intensity of this extreme weather event? Listen now – 27 minutes

Volcanic activity in the Comoros Islands

Undersea tremors in French Indian Ocean territory. Listen now – 26 minutes

Why are volcanic tsunamis difficult to predict?

Volcanologist Thomas Giachetti on the collapse of Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano. Listen now – 3 minutes

Rising methane levels impact climate change

By the year 2000, methane levels in the atmosphere were thought to have stabilised, but now they are again on the rise, exacerbating climate change. Why is this happening? Listen now – 27 minutes

Detecting earthquakes with fibre optics

How a system designed to carry TV and internet traffic can help detect earthquakes. Listen now – 27 minutes

Why speed matters in earthquakes

Last September’s earthquake in Indonesia was so destructive due to its speed. Listen now – 27 minutes

Brazils mining disaster

Many are dead following the collapse of a ‘tailing’s dam’, but what is this hazardous structure associated with iron ore miningListen now – 27 minutes

Is 2018 the warmest year on record?

Global temperatures are reaching new highs. Studying the oceans may help explain why. Listen now – 27 minutes

A path to malaria eradication?

Zanzibar has reduced malaria infections by over 95 per cent, could this provide a model for the rest of Africa? Listen now – 27 minutes

Will earth run out of food?

Will Earth run out of food? Also wind turbines heating up, the dilemma of copyright in science publishing and detecting drug-use from fingerprint sweat Listen now – 27 minutes

Sulawesi – Earthquake, Tsunami, Volcanic Eruption

The geology that makes Sulawesi a natural disaster hotspot. Also MASCOT lander on the Hayabusa 2 mission and the 2018 science Nobel prizes. Listen now – 27 minutes

The path of Hurricane Florence

Why Hurricane Florence is headed for the US Eastern seaboard and the impacts of landfall. Listen now – 27 minutes

Devastating floods in Kerala

Monsoon floods in Kerala. Understanding landslides, a probe that detects and delivers anti-seizure drugs directly to epileptic brains and giving crystal meth to brains in a dish. Listen now – 27 minutes

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