DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University undergraduates today launched the second season of an innovative podcast series called Operation Climate that aims to raise awareness of climate change, how it affects our lives, and the innovations and technologies being developed at Duke to help solve it.
“Our goal is to showcase all the amazing work on climate mitigation, adaptation and intervention being done here at Duke, both through student groups and through faculty and graduate student research,” said Matthew Brune, a sophomore majoring in civil and environmental engineering, who helps lead the project.
The new season of Operation Climate kicks off with two especially timely podcasts: “An Overview of COVID-19 and the Climate” and “Populations at Risk”.
“Our theme this year is ‘Climate Change and the Coronavirus’,” Brune said. “We’ll be exploring the different ways a warming climate affects the spread of the virus and amplifies risks.”
Listeners who post reviews of either of the new podcasts by Dec. 5 will be entered to win a Hydro Flask water bottle. Reviews can be posted on SoundCloud or iTunes/Apple Podcasts by searching for “Operation Climate”.
The podcasts each last about 10 to 15 minutes and are produced over Zoom using Voice Memos on the students’ phones.
Brune and his colleagues produced their first three Operation Climate podcasts last spring as part of a Bass Connections course on geoengineering, a widely debated approach to offsetting global warming through large-scale manipulations of Earth’s environment, such as launching sun shields into orbit around the planet to deflect incoming solar radiation.
“Geoengineering can be an intimidating topic for people outside of academic circles, so we wanted to produce podcasts that explained what it is, and what its potential risks and rewards are, in a way that anyone could understand them and make informed decisions,” Brune said.
Feedback was so positive that the students decided to continue the series this year and partner with the Duke Environmental Alliance and the Environmental Student Union to expand its reach and focus.
“There’s so much important work on climate being done at the Nicholas School of the Environment and by other schools and groups across campus,” Brune said. “We want to help tell that story.”
Students serving with Brune as project leaders of Operation Climate this year are Katherine Li, a junior majoring in environmental engineering, and Natasha Von Sellen, a senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Leah Roffman, a sophomore majoring in public policy who is president of the Environmental Alliance, and Kevin Pang, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering who is vice president of the Environmental Alliance, also help lead the series.