“Scene on Radio” from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and PRX present “The Repair,” a new podcast series exploring the global climate crisis and the need for economic and cultural transformation
The series is produced and hosted by John Biewen and co-hosted by climate journalist Amy Westervelt, maker of the “Drilled” podcast. “The Repair” will feature thinkers, environmentalists, and activists on the cultural roots of the environmental emergency in the U.S. and will spotlight stories from the frontlines of climate change in Indonesia, Nigeria, Ecuador, and Scotland
“Scene on Radio,” the two-time Peabody Award-nominated podcast produced by audio director John Biewen from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and distributed by public media organization PRX, today announced “The Repair,” a new series exploring the global climate crisis and possibilities of transformation.
Climate journalist and Critical Frequency podcast network founder Amy Westervelt will join Biewen as co-host of “The Repair.” The 10-part series will launch on Wednesday, September 15 with new episodes weekly through mid-November. The series will be available free to audiences via the “Scene on Radio” podcast across all major podcast listening platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
On the heels of the United Nations’ report that climate change is now “a code red for humanity,” “The Repair” will investigate the cultural roots of the ecological emergency facing the globe today and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and the human species. Through interviews with author Enrique Salmón (“Eating the Landscape: American Indian Stories of Food, Identity, and Resilience”), environmental humanities expert Kate Rigby, scholar Bina Nir, and political scientist Charisse Burden-Stelly, “The Repair” will trace the evolution of the West’s colonizing and extractive culture. The series will also explore how a set of newer Western cultural values around faith, wealth, individualism, and private property sped up a race towards disaster, featuring perspectives from community activist and Hip Hop Caucus CEO Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., sociologist Robert Brulle, ethnographer Colin Jerolmack, media studies scholar Melissa Aronczyk, and historian Darren Dochuk.
In addition, “The Repair” will feature on-the-ground stories and reporting from countries that did not create the climate crisis, but where climate change hit early and hard, including:
- Indonesia — Southeast Asia is expected to be among the regions most heavily harmed by climate change, and Indonesia may soon be forced to move its national capital from Jakarta as the city sinks into the sea. This story is produced by Nita Roshita.
- Nigeria — In Nigeria, climate change is exacerbating flooding, erosion, and sometimes violence, despite the fact that the region has contributed the least, by far, to the global climate crisis. This story is produced by Ugochi Anyaka-Oluigbo.
- Ecuador — Ecuador was the first nation in the world to enshrine in its constitution the Rights of Nature, the principle that non-human living beings and ecosystems have rights. A case before Ecuador’s supreme court will test whether this amendment will have teeth. This story is produced by Julian Cola.
- Scotland — Scotland has declared some of the world’s most ambitious decarbonization goals, but also faces difficult choices given the long-held hopes of many to declare independence from the UK with an economy bolstered by oil from the North Sea. This story is produced by Victoria McArthur.
Biewen and Westervelt will also look at potential climate solutions — the repair. How are people around the globe responding, adapting, and showing resilience in the face of damage? What cultural and traditional resources are there to learn from? What actions and policies must the U.S. explore to stave off the worst? Is it possible to transform energy systems? How we live together on the planet?
“I’ve felt for many years that most of us making media should be shouting more loudly about the climate crisis — it’s the story, the most pressing emergency, of our time. But I hadn’t figured out a way to contribute something fresh to the conversation. I think we’ve found a way,” said Biewen. “With help from Amy Westervelt and collaborators, we’ll dive into how we got ourselves into this climate fix, and how we need to transform our societies to heal and to save the only home we have.”
“We’re proud to help bring the consistently vital work of ‘Scene on Radio’ to listeners,” said Jason Saldanha, Chief of Business Development and Content at PRX. “Recent surveys have shown that climate change is under-covered by major media networks, even today . Thank you to John, Amy, and the team for centering this crucial issue through sound, story, and thought.”
In addition to Biewen and Westervelt, “The Repair” production team includes Cheryl Devall as story editor, who recently served as story editor for “Un(re)solved” from FRONTLINE and as consulting editor for “Blindspot: Tulsa Burning” from WNYC Studios and KOSU.
Previous seasons of “Scene on Radio” focus on the history and meaning of whiteness (“Seeing White”), patriarchy and misogyny (“MEN”), the past and present of democracy in America (“The Land That Has Never Been Yet”), and more. Previous collaborators on “Scene on Radio” have included journalists Celeste Headlee and Chenjerai Kumanyika.
PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. With an award-winning portfolio of iconic public radio programs such as ‘The World,” “This American Life,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “Latino USA” “Snap Judgment,” and “Reveal,” PRX is also home to a growing body of podcast productions, including via the Radiotopia podcast network and the TRAX podcast network for tweens. More at PRX.org.