On Jan. 22, the University of Maine announced that a UMaine Professor of Ecology, Biology and Climate Sciences Jacquelyn Gill received a “Best Green Podcast” nomination from iHeartRadio for her work on the podcast “Warm Regards.” This is the first time the iHeartRadio Awards has created an award category for climate change podcasts, and the first time Gill has been nominated for an iHeartRadio award.
Gill found this nomination exciting, noting how proud she is of the work she and her colleagues have done on the podcast.
“Warm Regards,” focuses on the pressing issue of climate change. Gill stated that she and two reporters, Eric Holthouse and Andy Revkin, started the podcast in 2016 when the three of them noticed there wasn’t a lot of conversation about the climate. Gill saw this podcast as an opportunity to break the silence about climate change, to humanize the issue and highlight the people it affects.
Eventually, Holthouse and Revkin started their own projects, leaving Gill to keep the podcast going. Gill eventually invited Ramish Laungani onto the show with her to continue the conversation with her audience.
Gill noted that she also sees her podcast as an opportunity to amplify marginalized voices within the environmental justice movement.
Environmental racism and climate justice are pressing subjects that accompany the discussion around climate change, as exemplified by the interconnected nature of race, poverty and the ability to deal with the effects of climate change. Research shows that climate change leads to natural disasters that often disproportionately affect racial minorities and the working class. When these natural disasters occur, government officials, politicians and the media often ignore the damage done to these communities. Historically, the voices of people of color have been overlooked when seeking solutions to climate-related issues.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina disproportionately affected poor and African American communities across the coastal areas of Mississippi and Louisiana. Academics have drawn a connection between how the government responds to unforeseen events and race relations in these areas, noting that these communities share a history of discrimination and poorer living conditions. This disproportionately increases their vulnerability when natural disasters hit and the barriers they face in receiving access to precaution and recovery resources.
Gill hopes to stay as aware of these issues as possible often using “Warm Regards” to host environmental justice advocates who can bring insightful discussion and further awareness to the issue.
Gill says the conversation of environmental justice is extremely significant and often overlooked, noting that hearing from environmental justice advocates inspires her.
“I love getting to have conversations with a wide diversity of people. We’ve talked with an arctic youth ambassador who is from a village that is literally falling into the sea,” Gill said.
Additionally, Gill’s podcast is attempting to erase the issue of what she refers to as “climate silence.” This is the idea that climate change is an extremely harmful phenomenon, but people are not paying enough attention to it.
The theme for Gill’s next season of “Warm Regards” will be data. Gill noted that she chose this theme because “[listeners] wanted more science.”
iHeartRadio nominated “Warm Regards” alongside another podcast called “Drilled,” which takes a true-crime approach to climate change.
For those interested, you can listen to “Warm Regards” through Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.