Topic updates

Podcast recommendation: Rethink Climate (BBC Sounds)

Alice Griffiths

17th January 2023

Rethink is a BBC Radio 4 series presented by Amol Rajan, and inspired by how the world might change after the coronavirus pandemic. Most recently Amol and his guests have been ‘rethinking’ climate change.

Over a series of five programmes, Rethink Climate has looked into:

  • Pledges and progress
  • Behaviour and communication
  • Green economy, money and prosperity
  • Green technology and innovation
  • Leadership

Of direct relevance for teachers of the water and carbon cycles topic, the Green technology and innovation episode investigates the extent to which human interventions in the form of tech can mitigate climate change, by reducing carbon emissions.

His guests are very well versed in current mitigation issues such as developing greater energy storage for power from renewables, investing in a greener shipping industry (fuelled by hydrogen ‘Power-to-X’ liquids), the potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the possibilities of today and tomorrow’s technology in the agricultural sector.

It’s great to hear such optimists talk about rapid and wide-ranging transformational change (some of which is already underway e.g. the rapid growth in wind and solar power); and it’s a real call to action for investors. I think what makes the discussion all the more interesting, however, is the fact that the former President of Kiribati, an island nation infamously threatened by rising sea levels, is also in on the debate. Anote Tong provides a dose of realism about the effects of global warming he has witnessed over the last three decades – providing a counterpoint to the ‘tough talk’ about the power of techno-fixes. All in all a great update for teachers. Interested sixth-formers would also benefit from the insight the episode provides into green industries and future careers, perhaps.

Geographers might also enjoy the five programmes entitled Rethink Population - relevant to the optional Population and the Environment topic at A level - which address, for example, the concept of the demographic dividend.

Similarly, the focus on global systems and global governance in the four Rethink the World Order programmes will help teachers stay up to date – not least on the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the topic of geopolitics and interdependence.

Alice Griffiths

Alice has taught Geography over a period of twenty years. She is a published author and editor of a wide range of A level resources and has also created award-winning, online content for younger students. An occasional presenter at the GA’s annual conference, she was head of department at an 11-18 school until 2020.

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