December 20th, 2020

An Audio Journey Through Solutions to Global Warming in Pennsylvania

By Anna Nguyen and Laura Guertin


Link to the JSE December 2020 General Issue Table of Contents

Nguyen JSE December 2020 General Issue PDF

Abstract: Podcasts are increasing in popularity as an educational tool in recent years, but there remains a lack of podcasts that focus on climate change. The goal of this project was to create a series of audio files that address global warming solutions in the state of Pennsylvania, with each episode based upon a drawdown solution. Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization that models how to reach “drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. This audio collection contains new and original podcasts addressing each Project Drawdown sector of global warming solutions, such as materials and waste, electricity generation, and land use. To highlight efforts in Pennsylvania, thirteen interviews were conducted with scientists, journalists, and professionals from organizations across the state, such as Feeding Pennsylvania, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Philadelphia Green Roofs, StateImpact Pennsylvania, and Land Air Water Legal Solutions. Named Drawing Down in Pennsylvania, the podcast collection starts with an introductory episode, then eight episodes each corresponding with one of the Project Drawdown sectors, and wraps up with two additional episodes – one titled “Hope” with messages of optimism towards achieving warming solutions from the interviewees, and a special episode that focuses on The Pennsylvania State University and its efforts toward to drawdown. The audio collection is published online, together with corresponding transcripts and supplemental materials. It is hoped that these podcasts will help inform Pennsylvania residents to make choices and to take action for a sustainable future. For residents outside of Pennsylvania, these drawdown efforts can be applied to different populations and regions. The entire podcast series can be accessed at: and is suitable for middle school through college classrooms as well as general audiences.

Keywords: Climate change, education, hope, interdisciplinary, sustainability


An Audio Journey Through Solutions to Global Warming in Pennsylvania

The phrase “think global, act local” is commonly used to challenge individuals to focus on local environmental efforts that can build up and contribute to greater change. Motivated to educate students and adults in Pennsylvania what is being done in the state to address changing temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainable business practices, a short-term summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) project held at The Pennsylvania State University generated a mini-podcast collection for the generation of thematic podcasts that mapped onto Project Drawdown’s published solutions (Hawken, 2017). Although these podcasts focus the content on efforts in the state of Pennsylvania, this collection can serve as a model for other regions and states to generate and share local solutions to global challenges – in this case, reversing global warming.

Select podcasts from the collection are shared here. The full Drawing Down in Pennsylvania podcast series can be found at: The audio-only collection is posted at: For those looking for a broader discussion of drawdown solutions and the research behind models to reverse global warming, the podcast series The Drawdown Agenda ( may be of interest.

To begin the podcast series, Dr. Tom Richard and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson discuss how numerous Project Drawdown solutions align with Pennsylvania’s identified environmental needs. Interviewees featured in this episode include: Dr. Tom Richard, Director, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment; Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; and Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, Vice President at Project Drawdown, senior writer of the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

If the embed player does not appear, the audio file can be accessed from:

One podcast highlighting a Drawdown sector is Buildings and Cities. In this episode, the two solutions highlighted include green roofs, as presented by Ms. Jeanne Weber, the Founder/Owner/Principal of Philadelphia Green Roofs LLC, and net zero buildings, detailed by Mr. Kiere DeGrandchamp from High Performance Homes.

If the embed player does not appear, the audio file can be accessed from:

Another example of a Project Drawdown sector is Food. Two of the solutions listed in the sector discussed in this episode are reducing food waste and regenerative agriculture. Ms. Jane Clements-Smith, the Executive Director of Feeding Pennsylvania, talks about the efforts of reducing food insecurity and food waste, while Nadia Sheppard details her research experience at the Rodale Institute as an intern regarding regenerative agriculture.

If the embed player does not appear, the audio file can be accessed from:

In this episode, Project Drawdown solutions within the Transportation sector are discussed, specifically how electric vehicles and mass transit can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Corporate Initiative Manager for Sustainability of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Rebecca Collins details the current transitioning journey of SEPTA from conventional to electric transportation in order to make mass transit reduce more greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Marie Cusick, a reporter with StateImpact Pennsylvania, discusses the future of electric vehicles and what Pennsylvania has done in terms of legislation.

If the embed player does not appear, the audio file can be accessed from:

In the final episode of the podcast series, various voices featured in previous episodes of this mini-podcast series share what gives them hope for reversing global warming in Pennsylvania and across the globe.

If the embed player does not appear, the audio file can be accessed from:

Notes and Reference

The Project Drawdown climate solutions by sector were updated in 2020. This podcast series is based upon the original Project Drawdown sectors and solutions published in:

Hawken, P. (2017). Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Penguin Books.



Student researcher Nguyen was supported by Penn State University’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment Drawdown Summer Program, the Penn State Brandywine Chancellor’s Funds, and Penn State Brandywine Undergraduate Research Committee.



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