15 Best Sustainability Podcasts You Need to Listen To & Why

9 min read
middle aged man recording a streaming podcast at home with his headphones microphone and camera

Whether you’re on the road, at the gym or listening at home, podcasts are an increasingly convenient — and important — source of information, with deep dives into particular topics featuring conversations with SMEs, government officials, activists, thought leaders and more.

In fact, if you’re looking for the latest insights and news on combating the climate crisis, contributing to environmental justice or promoting sustainable investment and innovation, then you should be listening to podcasts. Most major media outlets fall far short of their duty to cover these issues. Thankfully, many thoughtful activists, educators and leaders are hosting their own podcasts to provide important perspectives that you’re not going to hear anywhere else.

In alphabetical order, here’s a list of our 15 top picks for podcasts that speak to environmental sustainability goals (ESG) and issues of social and community justice.

A Sustainable Mind

Described as the podcast “created for the earth-conscious individual, ecopreneur, environmental activist, sustainability enthusiast, grassroots organizer, minimalist, conscious consumer and the eco-curious,” A Sustainable Mind is meant to inspire and motivate its listeners through insightful interviews and actionable advice. Producer and host Marjorie Alexander interviews environmental changemakers and guests to talk about their “relationship with nature, their journey to a green career, light-bulb moments, sustainable habits, lessons from launching their projects, and much more.” Each episode ends with advice and resources for listeners to follow up on.

Broken Ground

With its detailed stories and long-form seasonal structure, it’s easy to see why iHeart Radio named Broken Ground one of the nations top green podcasts in 2020. As part of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), Broken Ground investigates environmental stories in the Southern U.S. and interviews people from all walks of life about how environmental issues have affected them — and what they’re doing about it. For more than 35 years, the lawyers, policy experts, community advocates and partners that make up the SELC have taken on the toughest environmental challenges facing the South and the country to defend the air, water, climate, wildlife, lands and the people who live there.

Breaking Green Ceilings

Though it has ceased producing new episodes, Breaking Green Ceilings remains an important sustainability podcast for anyone who wants to hear more from activists and environmentalists across historically underheard communities. In her weekly interviews, host Sapna Mulki sought to promote a better understanding of the earth’s resources through conversations with environmentalists from all walks of life — many of whom were part of the Disabled, Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous or Latinx communities.

Building Local Power

Building Local Power is the official podcast of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), which is a national research and advocacy organization that “partners with allies across the country to build an American economy driven by local priorities and accountable to people and the planet.” The ISLR works to fight corporate control and “break the chains of monopoly power in all sectors of our economy.” Each episode of Building Local Power offers interviews with lawmakers, scholars, business leaders and advocates as well as with the Institute’s own in-house experts. Listen to this podcast on sustainability and local development for research, reporting, conversations and ideas on how to expand the power of communities so they may better chart their own future.

Climate Changers

Climate Changers is the project of Ryan Flahive, an entrepreneur and climate activist who welcomes entrepreneurs, scientists, activists and educators to talk about the work they do to combat climate changes and build a more sustainable future. Many of the guests talk about their own initiatives, sharing their stories of being on the front lines of making a new and sustainable resource and energy economy.

Green Dreamer

Green Dreamer is a community-supported, independent podcast that positions sustainability as not one field of study, but a collective goal that encompasses all sectors and parts of society. Host Kamea Chayne looks at how centralized power and established hierarchies make our current approaches to sustainable development untenable. Drawing on her background, values and worldviews influenced by Taoist and Buddhist philosophies, Chayne welcomes a wide array of thought leaders to discuss matters of collective healing, biocultural revitalization and equitable wealth generation.

Hot Take & Drilled

Hot Take, a podcast that focused on the climate crisis — and tearing into the industries, companies, systems and individuals that continue to make the problem worse — ended in December 2022. Each episode featured hosts Amy Westervelt and Mary Annaïse Heglar discussing climate with other journalists and storytellers. Amy currently hosts the podcast Drilled, an award-winning “true crime” podcast focused entirely on climate accountability and how the fossil fuel industry continues to obstruct the fight against climate change.

Living Planet

A prize-winning, weekly half hour podcast and radio show, Living Planet explores news stories from around the globe regarding climate change, the environment and sustainable development. Regular hosts Charli Shield and Sam Baker cover stories about developing green technologies, human interest stories and investigations into the human impact on the natural environment. Living Planet is a production of Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster dedicated to covering six focus topics: freedom and human rights, democracy and good governance, free trade and social justice, technology and innovation, health education, nutrition and environmental protection, and German and European culture.

People Places Planet Podcast

People Places Planet Podcast is the official podcast of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to “ensure a healthy environment, prosperous economies, and vibrant communities, founded on the rule of law.” The People Places Planet Podcast is regularly hosted by ELI research associate Georgia Ray, who speaks with attorneys, lawyers, science fellows, government officials and other experts about the histories, agencies and communities involved in environmental justice and human security.

Planetary Health Talks

Planetary Health Talks was a podcast presented by the Knowledge Centre Global Health in the Netherlands. Hosts Ashis Brahma and Renée Robbers welcomed local experts to discuss the importance of planetary health with healthcare and global health professionals. Topics include how the changes in our natural surroundings influence our health and positive ways that we can enact change.

Sustainability Defined

Sustainability can be hard to define, so hosts Scott Breen and Jay Siegel have taken it upon themselves to explore topics of sustainability — one issue at a time. Comments consistently state that this is one of the easiest and best podcasts about sustainability to listen to. Each episode welcomes a field expert to discuss a sustainability concept that falls into one of seven sectors: Energy, Cities, Natural Environment, Transportation, Business, Policy and Social. That concept is introduced, explored and then placed within the organizational “Sustainability Tree” to help better define what sustainability is and drive it forward as a concept.

The Impact Report

The Impact Report is an ESG podcast with a focus on business development. It brings together students and faculty from Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability Program to interview leaders in business, sustainability, finance and social entrepreneurship. Host and producer Katie Ellman welcomes innovative entrepreneurs, strategists and thought leaders in the sustainability space from around the world to discuss their initiatives and how they’re working to redefine our modern economy.

The Sustainable Future Report

Environmentalist Anthony Day welcomes expert guests to talk about reports on green technologies and other issues related to sustainability. Content takes a global perspective, covering all things “from energy to air pollution, water to waste, politics to plastic and comments on fracking, renewables, transport and food.” Episodes are a mix of news updates, interviews and book reviews.

  • Host: Anthony Day, speaker, broadcaster and environmentalist
  • Episode length: 15-30 minutes
  • New episodes: Weekly
  • Why you should listen: You’re looking for shorter, digestible updates along with book reviews and interviews. Each podcast includes a blog post with a transcription.
  • Noteworthy episodes:
  • Available on: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audacy, Podchaser


TILclimate (Today I Learned: Climate) is an award-winning podcast presented by the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. TILclimate is focused on short, informative coverage of “the science, technologies, and policies behind climate change, how it’s impacting us, and what we can do about it.” Each season is broken into themes, with every episode dedicated to a topic on that theme. Host Laur Hesse Fisher discusses these topics with scientists and experts to provide a quick overview and explanation for listeners and each episode page includes additional information for further reading.

We hope this list of ESG podcasts connects you to new sources of information and communities dedicated to working toward a more sustainable future. If you’re interested in developing innovative solutions to help solve global health and wellness issues, or connecting with other like-minded professionals across industries who share your passions, then we invite you to explore the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Engineering, Sustainability and Health.

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