August 7, 2019

Drawing Down in Pennsylvania – a mini-podcast series showcasing local efforts to reverse global warming

Posted by Laura Guertin

In my previous blog post, I presented an overview of Project Drawdown, a research and communication organization working towards modeling solutions to reverse global warming. In Summer 2019, The Pennsylvania State University hosted 55 undergraduate students from institutions across the United States for the Drawdown Scholars Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program [see also this Penn State News article]. Students supported the Drawdown solutions through modeling, feasibility analysis, and curriculum development – check out their exciting projects!

I was fortunate to have one of the Drawdown Scholars at my campus (Penn State Brandywine). I was so proud of Anna, a rising sophomore, who dove right in to the mission of Drawdown and her summer work. Her passions matched well with our 8-week project: to design a mini-podcast series that explores efforts in the state of Pennsylvania to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Anna reached out to businesses, non-profit organizations, university researchers, and others to do interviews with those actively working on initiatives and projects that connect to the eight Drawdown sectors (Electricity GenerationFoodWomen and GirlsBuildings and CitiesLand UseTransportMaterials and Waste, and the newest sector Ocean). She certainly learned much along the way about scheduling interviews, conducting interviews online, editing (and editing and editing!), and getting the final approval from those she interviewed (and their press offices).

I want to share her podcast project, as this is something students in our classes can also complete. Students can be creative with the format of their narratives and address issues to reverse global warming in the local community or their home state/country, on campus, etc. Anna completed 11 podcasts in 8 weeks, with no prior experience with interviewing or recording – yet she had listened to podcasts before (I blogged previously about the growing popularity of podcasts, especially with younger audiences). Anna shared online her experience and provides suggestions for other students.

Anna posted her podcasts on SoundCloud and created a website with supporting information for further exploration for the listeners.

I encourage you to explore Anna’s website:

And explore Anna’s audio files, starting with an overview of Project Drawdown and its importance in the state of Pennsylvania. (Again, this topic can be modified for a student to produce for a local-to-national region)


One additional podcast we initially did not anticipate recording was all of the hopeful messages Anna was receiving from the people she interviewed that we will be able to reverse global warming. We decided to take those messages and pull them together for a separate episode titled Hope.


One of the most rewarding podcasts Anna created was hearing how throughout our university, there are ongoing efforts to reverse our carbon emissions. If we had more time, this could have been a podcast series on its own, with interviews from several people and several offices across the campus.


The early feedback we are receiving as we share this podcast series is the “I didn’t know any of this was happening in our state.” This is exactly the impact Anna wants to have – she hopes people will listen and learn. I hope people will then share and take action. Both are needed if we are truly going to reach drawdown.