Conservation news

The top 6 moments from the Mongabay Newscast in 2017

We launched the Mongabay Newscast in September 2016 and have released a new episode every two weeks since then. Now that we’ve arrived at the end of 2017, however, we’ve decided to take a break from our regular production schedule and instead take a look back at some of the most compelling conversations we featured on the Mongabay Newscast this year.

From world-famous conservationists like Jane Goodall and E.O. Wilson to renowned musicians like Paul Simon and best-selling authors like Margaret Atwood, we welcomed a lot of truly fascinating people onto our podcast in 2017. Below are six of our favorite quotes from the Newscast this year, which will hopefully provide jumping off points for you to dig in more deeply.

Remember, if you want to keep up with the Mongabay Newscast in real time, you can subscribe via Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or RSS.


6. Naomi Oreskes on why scientists need to speak up in public

Harvard professor, climate historian, and noted author Naomi Oreskes appeared on the Mongabay Newscast shortly after the Trump presidency officially began. We wanted to know what environmental stories Oreskes was worried would get lost in the media’s hyperfocus on the chaos surrounding the new Trump Administration in the U.S., and also spoke with her about her lecture at the 2017 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in which she laid out an evidence-based case for why scientists should be speaking out about their work in public more often.

“One of the things that I think is really important is that people not lose sight of the fact that climate change is a fact, that we have growing evidence every day of how it’s unfolding in ways that are already impacting people’s lives. There’s a tendency, particularly among scientists but also journalists, to talk about climate change as something that’s in the future. And that’s not right. It’s something that’s happening right now, and it’s pretty serious.” – Naomi Oreskes


5. Katherine Hayhoe on how to talk about climate change

Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and acclaimed climate science communicator at Texas Tech University, teamed up last year with her local PBS station, KTTZ, to write and produce a web series called “Global Weirding.” We checked in with Hayhoe as she was in the middle of shooting the second season of Global Weirding in order to get a sense of what to expect from the new episodes of the show and how she views the overall political landscape around climate action today.

“It was a complete breakthrough for me to realize that sharing from the heart, which is the opposite of what we’re taught to do as scientists, was the way for me to connect with people. And then, after that connection, share from the head how we know this is real, we know it’s us, we know the impacts are serious, but we know there also are solutions. And the solutions bring it around full circle back to the heart, because the solutions are what give us the hope that we need to fix this thing.” – Katherine Hayhoe


4. Paul Simon on why he supports the Half-Earth Initiative

12-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Paul Simon embarked on a 17-date US concert tour in 2017 — which he announced right here on — with all proceeds benefiting Half-Earth, an initiative of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. Mongabay contributor Justin Catanoso interviewed Simon about his long-time friendship with E.O. Wilson and why Dr. Wilson’s Half-Earth idea inspired him to get involved in an environmental cause.

“It’s not always the case in human nature, but in this particular case, predictions of dire consequences for our actions tend to produce denial. We block it out. That’s one of the main things you have to fight. There are so many people who believe it isn’t happening. Or that it’s a hoax by China. … So here’s this world figure who understands what’s going on (with the planet) and can explain it in a way that I understand. And he is making me feel like something can be done.” – Paul Simon


3. Margaret Atwood on her conservation-themed graphic novel, Angel Catbird

Margaret Atwood’s novels and poetry have won everything from an Arthur C. Clarke Award for best Science Fiction to the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Atwood recently tackled a medium she is not as well-known for, however: She wrote a comic book series, called Angel Catbird, that “was a conservation project from the get-go,” she told Mongabay.

“We know that there are four big killers of especially migratory songbirds, but birds of all kinds, and they are pollution, habitat loss, glass window strikes, and cats. Conservation organizations have tiptoed around it, not wishing to alienate and infuriate cat-lovers. And since I have been a cat-lover and have had a number of cats, I understand that. So how better to address the problem than by creating a flying part cat, part bird, part human superhero who can understand both sides of this problem? It seemed obvious to me!” – Margaret Atwood


2. E.O Wilson on his Half-Earth initiative

Edward O. Wilson is considered one of the greatest scientists of the last 100 years.
Mongabay senior correspondent Jeremy Hance interviewed Wilson in January about the Half-Earth book and conservation initiative, his thoughts on the then-incoming Trump Administration, and how he maintains hope for the future.

“I have faith that the vast majority of these people — you know, our leaders in both parties and, the Lord help us, I hope Mr. Trump, too — that there’s a very common human quality shared by all that the natural world is worth saving. That the rest of life — those other 10 million species — are worth saving. And this is an innately compatible — with [almost] everyone — moral command that we all respond to. And the response has the ability to make us proud and strong, and in one way, at least, united.” – E.O. Wilson


1. Jane Goodall on being vindicated about animals having personalities

Jane Goodall’s work as a primatologist studying animal behavior for the past six decades has made her a household name. Just before Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler interviewed her, Goodall’s contention that chimps have personalities just like people, which she’d held for nearly 60 years, was vindicated by new research.

“Quite honestly I think almost everybody recognized that animals have personalities, whether they were in the wild or whether they weren’t. And it was just science saying, ‘Well we can’t prove it therefore it’s better we don’t accept it.’” – Jane Goodall


Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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