Quenching Water Podcasts

Posted in: Inspiration | 0

Before podcasts I’m unsure how I kept my mind occupied while doing the dishes, driving long distances, or folding my laundry. If you’re like me, you have SO many podcasts on Apple or Spotify ‘favorited’ to listen to at some later date. If you’re new to podcasts, they are audio recordings of people chatting about topics such as current events, sports, food and anything you can really imagine. They can be historical, educational, or heavily opinionated, but best of all, they are free for the world to access and consume. They are kind of like radio, but now you can actually change the channel if you don’t want to listen to the same 20 songs over and over again. 


Since starting my position at the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, I naturally combined my love of podcasts and passion for swimmable, drinkable and fishable water, and delved into water podcasts. I was delighted to find so many, such as discussions on water sustainability and water law, as well as interviews with influential water conservation actors. I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you today in no particular order! I hope you check them out whether you’re a seasoned activist of water issues or just starting to look into accessible water for all.


Science Vs. Plastics: the Final Straw (32 min)

There’s a good chance you have already seen the shocking video of the straw being pulled from the turtle’s nose, and in this podcast we hear from the researcher who took the video. But this podcast is not just discussing plastics straws (as they are only 4% of the waste found in water bodies), it also touches on the other 96% of plastic products and how they get from our homes to the ocean. In the podcast we learn that microplastics come off plastic material after *just* a few weeks in the water, how microplastics affect wildlife negatively, and some steps on how we can start thinking about reducing plastics in our own lives. 


Water Dialogues by Lindsay Day (MSc Student) (all three episodes: 51 min)

This collaborative podcast was probably the most insightful episode that I listened to. I feel it began to bridge my knowledge gap in understanding that water is more than just essential for drinking and daily tasks, and that discussions surrounding water don’t stop at water management practices and infrastructure. From this podcast, I am shown that water is and can by more symbolic in nature and aligned with a way of being, with interconnected ideas and multiple identities. This podcast is a part of a larger project funded by the Canadian Water Network, looking at methods and models on integrative Indigenous and Western knowledge to inform water management and research in Canada. This project was based on recordings from national water gathering event that brought together First Nations, Inuit, Metis, and other Canadian water researchers, to have conversations on knowledge systems connected to water and address the critical water issues we face today in Canada as a result of colonization. 


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness: Who is Enforcing the Clean Water Act (40 min)

In this series, Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye hosts a podcast where he engages individuals who are stars in their fields to learn more about their world. In this episode we hear from the Waterkeeper president, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, and his interesting history on catching water polluters, and pollution stories in American cities. He discusses key American policies that ensure water safety for the people, and addresses how the clean water crisis directly affects marginalized populations. He calls for citizens of all nations to understand that environmental responsibility and economic prosperity do go hand in hand, and are not a trade-off as politicians may make it seem. 


Stuff You Should Know: How Watersheds Work (31 min)

This series discusses random topics that the hosts, Josh and Chuck, feel the public should know about and breaks down the topics into easily understandable chunks. This episode explains how watersheds work, why they are a valuable entity, and why it is important to consider how waste within your watershed can pollute the ocean. I enjoyed this podcast for the silly jargon between Josh and Chuck which keeps the listener engaged, and how their analogies help to break down complex scientific concepts.


The Water Values Podcast: How the Internet of Things Affects (and Will Affect) the Water Sector with Geoff Engelstein (44 min)

In this podcast, using accessible language, Geoff explains how the Internet of things (IOT) will affect the development of water technology within the public and private water utility sectors. In essence, he describes how one day we’ll potentially have an app to turn our water on and off, even if we were on our way to a month-long vacation. He also shares how some cities already have a computer room controlling all the water sprinklers in their city. Towards the end of the podcast there is a more technical discussion that provides insight on how a producer can get involved in the water industry using the IOT. This podcast was insightful for a beginner like me, trying to grasp the connection between emerging technology and water management practices. 


60 Second Science: You Contain Multitudes of Microplastics (2 min)

In this series put on by the Scientific American, current research is highlighted in short  segments that are less than five minutes to give you the most up-to-date science in an accessible way. A researcher from the University of Victoria speaks in this episode about how individuals may consume between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastics a year (and they share shockingly that this may be a gross underestimate). 


Let there be Water: #3 Pat Mulroy (16 min)

This new podcast is aimed at interviewing key players in the world of water to grab their insights about water practices. In this episode we hear from Pat, who is the retired General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and how she established clean and reliable water to the city of Las Vegas (which is located in the middle of a desert) within a pressure-filled timeline. I enjoyed this episode for her no-nonsense statements and her stance that water security for all is not a competition, but instead requires community collaboration regionally and locally.


Nature Talks – The Nature Conservancy of Canada: Nature, The Engineer (18 min) 

In this series put on by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, we hear a story from residents of Riverside-Albert, a community on the East Coast. The community signed a land lease protecting their water source and historic acadian forest one hundred years ago, and now the lease is up. This podcast covers the community banding together to raise money to buy back the forest and their water source that flows through it from a private landowner. I enjoy this podcast’s emphasis on nature as the superior water engineer, as the acadian forests roots filters the clean water the community receives naturally without human systems! 


Words on Water #94: Lori Weigel on Public Opinion on Infrastructure, Affordability and Reuse (25 min)

This podcast series discusses diverse water issues as they talk to water actors all over the US, discussing a variety of policy, opinion, and law. In this podcast we hear from Lori Weigel, the Principal at New Bridge Strategy which is an opinion research company. She discusses the results of an annual US poll looking at citizens perception of their water as clean, and whether there should be investment in water infrastructure. This podcast is interesting to me as they find that 85% of US citizens think water should be invested in, a belief that spans all demographics such as age, race, income level and political party. Other topics discussed include the affordability of water in the US, and public opinions on recycled water being used as drinking water.


I hope while you’re washing your dishes or throwing another load of clothes in the laundry, you listen to some of these podcasts and consider your water use and the water issues you wish to know more about. I highly encourage you to explore more of the podcasts within the series I shared above, to get inspired on how people within and outside the water industry are taking a stance for swimmable, drinkable, and fishable water for all. As always, feel free to share my podcast recommendations with friends and family, so we can keep the discussion on clean accessible water for all, flowing! 













Image creds: Reynier Carl on Unsplash

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