The last few months have seen the conversation around climate change explode. Newly elected politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and young activists like Greta Thunberg have thrown the issue of climate change into the public consciousness, and the timing couldn’t be better for a podcast like Mothers of Invention.
Mothers of Invention has one central belief: that the manmade problem of climate change has a feminist solution. Each episode brings stories about the women around the world who are driving projects and initiatives to solve climate change.
But it’s not just this empowering message of feminism and climate justice that makes this podcast stand out. Somehow, they manage to make the discussion engaging and entertaining – it has never been more fun to listen to two people talk about climate change.
Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins: The Dream Team
Mothers of Invention is hosted by Mary Robinson (the first female President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, chair of The Elders, and founder of The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice) and Maeve Higgins (Irish comic, writer, NYT columnist, and host of many podcasts). An unlikely pairing, but whoever it was that decided to put these two brilliant Irish women together is a genius.
Climate change isn’t an easy subject to talk about. So much of the facts around climate change are scientific and exact, and it makes you either want to switch off, or sends you into a deep feeling of despair about our future on this planet. This is not the case with Mothers of Invention. Without understating the urgency of the issue, their laid-back conversational style, punctuated with witty and sometimes laugh-out-loud jokes (usually from Maeve Higgins), makes this a refreshing approach to an important conversation.
Amplifying women’s stories
While the two hosts are central to the success of the podcast, the show was never about them. Mary and Maeve are simply there to let other women – and sometimes men – be recognised and celebrated for the real work they are doing on the ground, as part of research teams, or through activism, to change the way we live and save the planet. These stories show that there are people out there who care and who are putting in the work to tackle climate change. All we need to do is give them the space to make their voices heard, and that is what Mothers of Invention is doing.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there is an important link between gender and climate change. Women are more likely to be affected by climate change, especially women in vulnerable communities who rely on natural resources to survive.
It is for this reason that many women who have first-hand experience of the impact of climate change are also the ones leading the charge in fighting back against it.
Where to start
Every episode of this podcast is a great listen, and each one shares important, empowering stories that are worth listening to. If you’re looking for a place to start, here are a few suggestions:
Season 2, Episode 1: Nothing Happens Unless You Press the Button: Each story on this podcast leads me feeling more optimistic about our future, but none has been more inspiring than hearing about the young people across the world who are striking from school to demand action on climate change.
Season 2, Episode 2: Ghosting the Planet: To learn more about changing public opinion on climate change in the US and what this might mean for the future of climate change policy, this is a great episode, and a really fun one too, featuring guest host Rhiana Gunn-Wright, one of the lead policy writers of the Green New Deal.
Season 1, Episode 5: Against the Grain: For anyone wondering if their diet is having a negative impact on the environment, this is a great look at the relationship between food and climate change, and offers real tangible steps you can take to reduce your impact.
You can listen to Mothers of Invention at mothersofinvention.online or on your favourite podcast app.
Featured image by me. Please do not use without permission & credit.