Earth Day is celebrated annually at the end of April. Use these Listenwise podcasts to expand your students’ knowledge of environmental issues around the globe and encourage their support for environmental protection.


Environmental Kids

Documentaries are highlighting young people working to protect the planet. They are inspiring other youth to take action and stand up for change. Listen to learn more about these documentaries and the efforts they have inspired.



Carbon Footprint

Calculating a Local Carbon Footprint

New software is providing data for calculating carbon footprints on the level of a city, neighborhood, block and even household. Listen to learn how scientists are letting us track and understand emissions.




BP Pays Up

In 2010 there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over 3 million barrels of oil were spilled and a judge found the company BP responsible. Listen to hear more about the environmental and economic damage.




Clean Power Plan

The hottest year on record was 2014, and the changing climate caused extreme storms, droughts and floods around the world. Listen to hear more about how President Obama’s Clean Power Plan will slow climate change.




Supreme Court Backs Coal Industry

The Clean Power Plan includes standards on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on the Clean Power Plan. Listen to hear what this may mean for regulating coal and global warming. 


From left, Kevin Flynn and Ryan Wig, from J.A. Wig Construction and Electric, out of New Egypt, fasten solar panels on the roof of the 99th Regional Support Command headquarters building on Fort Dix June 1. The solar panels are one of the ways the installation is trying to conserve energy and become more eco-friendly. 090601-A-4429M-001


Solar Energy

To lower dependence on fossil fuels some Americans have installed solar panels on their homes to produce their own clean energy. Listen to learn how one family has dealt with this shifting energy landscape.




4. Trees


How Many Trees?

It may seem like planting a billion trees would help global warming because they absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Listen to this story to find out the results of a global tree census.



Debate: Should Rich Nations Pay to Preserve the Rainforest?

Most of Europe and America have already cut down their trees in favor of agriculture and industry. Is it fair to ask Brazil to sacrifice its interests to preserve the rainforest for the rest of the globe? Have students debate whether rich nations should pay to preserve the rainforest.




Design Inspiration from Nature

What can nature teach us? A lot. Biomimicry is the design and production of materials based on nature. Listen to hear about scientists who are working to figure out nature’s secrets.




Indigenous Groups Fight Logging

The Amazon in the north of Brazil is being deforested, much of it illegally. Listen to hear more about local efforts by indigenous people to protect the Amazon Forest.


1. fires


Forest Service Budget Goes Up in Flames

With the combination of climate change, an extended fire season, and drought, catastrophic fires are becoming normal. Listen to this story about the cost of fighting these fires.


Climate Change




Climate Change Makes Food Grow Fewer Nutrients

Scientists have found that areas with more carbon dioxide, caused by climate change, create less healthy crops. Although these crops are much larger in size, they lack nutrients such as zinc and iron.




Human Impact on Climate

A United Nations report in 2014 shows that human activities are changing the planet. Listen to hear what humans can do to reverse the trend of global warming.


The atmosphere brims with tiny aerosol particles--such as sea salt, sulfates, and dust--that come from both natural and human activities. Though they aren't always visible to the human eye, satellite sensors can reveal global patterns. This image, created using NASA MODIS data highlights the global distribution of the particles. Larger aerosols (shown in green) tend to have natural sources: Salt aerosols are visible over the oceans, and a dust is visible over the Saharan desert. Finer-grained urban aerosols are concentrated over the eastern United States and eastern Asia, particularly China. The fine aerosols in subtropical Africa are related to agricultural fires. Image information: This image shows aerosol particle radius during August 2009. For more details, please visit the NASA Earth Observations (NEO) page.Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center --Adam Voiland, Goddard Space Flight Center


Engineering a Cooler Climate

Scientists say it’s nearly certain that human activity and fossil fuels are warming the planet. Listen to learn about the strategies geoengineers are exploring to prevent further global warming.




Corals and Climate Change

Listen to hear about a scientist who has found that CO2 in the ocean is making the ocean warmer and dissolving the coral reef system.