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Generation Anthropocene

Science Podcasts

Stories and conversations about planetary change. Hosted by Mike Osborne, Miles Traer, and Leslie Chang. Supported by Stanford Earth and Worldview Stanford.

Stories and conversations about planetary change. Hosted by Mike Osborne, Miles Traer, and Leslie Chang. Supported by Stanford Earth and Worldview Stanford.


United States


Stories and conversations about planetary change. Hosted by Mike Osborne, Miles Traer, and Leslie Chang. Supported by Stanford Earth and Worldview Stanford.




Zombies, Covid-19, and The Anthropocene

Are you afraid of the end of the world? Sure! Who isn’t?! Sometimes, though, it’s hard to unpack all the stories we tell ourselves about the looming apocalypse. So perhaps the most popular monster of the 21st century, the freakin’ ZOMBIE, can help us unearth and confront our collective fears. Let’s do this. See you in the graveyard at midnight!


Timefulness, with Marcia Bjornerud

When I fell in love with geology, I developed a new relationship with TIME. It’s not just the vastness of Earth history that blew my mind— it’s imagining all that’s happened, all that’s transpired to make the Earth what it is today. In her book, Timefulness, Marcia Bjornerud captures this idea as well as anyone I’ve ever met. I had to talk to her. She’s my new favorite person.


2020 Earth Day Relaunch

It's been 3 years since our last episode – and we're (finally!) bringing GenAnthro back. On this episode, we learn how GenAnthro came to be, what happened, and where we go from here. Happy to be back, y'all – more episodes coming soon!


Raw Data's Origins of Power: Prelude

Cross-promotion. Introducing Raw Data's Origins of Power in Silicon Valley. How did we get here?


Sounds of the Ocean

When you imagine ocean sounds, maybe you hear the smooth arcing songs of the humpback whale, or the energetic, rhythmic clicks and snaps of dolphins. But it turns out the oceans are home to a much wider range and diversity of sounds than we could ever imagine, and today some of them are being captured by hydrophones (underwater microphones). In this episode, we take an audio journey of the oceans, learning what sound can reveal, what scientists have yet to identify, and how the underwater...


Telltale Signs

Two stories of ecological disruption: the great sea star wasting, and a graveyard of trembling aspens. As climate change unfolds, one of the scariest prospects is that we will witness large scale ecosystem collapse. So is that moment already upon us? Will we be able to recognize the symptoms in time, and do we have enough information to take steps in advance? In both of today’s stories, from the oceans to the mountains, scientists are trying to understand the magnitude of ecological...


Rising Seas in Silicon Valley

Sea level rise is a global concern, and on the whole, policy and funding for mitigation aren’t keeping pace. Today on Gen Anthro, producer Isha Salian shares a story about a unique mitigation method in the San Francisco Bay Area – wetlands restoration, which is happening right next door to Silicon Valley’s biggest tech campuses. The Bay Area has a reputation for being environmentally conscious, but even here, local ecologists and policy makers are facing big challenges. Isha originally...


Interview: Kim Stanley Robinson (the sequel)

What will New York City look like in 2140? Scifi author Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest novel explores a possible future in which NYC is partly submerged, due to catastrophic sea level rise. In this conversation with producer Mike Osborne, KSR discusses the bedrock of science and economics in 'New York 2140,' his writing process for the novel, and of course, the Anthropocene. This is the second time Mike has interviewed KSR! Listen to their first conversation here:


State of the Human's 'Crashing'

Once upon a time, Miles crashed a server with his project ‘Geology of Game of Thrones’. Today on the show, we're featuring a short piece in which Miles shares the backstory to the project (and the server hullaballoo), as well as the connection he sees between ‘Geology of GoT’ and the Anthropocene. Today’s episode was produced by Eileen Williams of the Stanford Storytelling Project, and was originally broadcast on their podcast ‘State of the Human.’ Check out the entire State of the Human...


Interview: Christian Parenti

Capitalocene – maybe it doesn’t roll off the tongue, but a group of thinkers argue the term is preferable to Anthropocene because it's more diagnostic of what underlies our environmental problems. One of those thinkers is Christian Parenti, a reporter and scholar. In 2011 Parenti published ‘Tropic of Chaos,’ a book about the connections between climate and conflict. More recently, he contributed to the book ‘Anthropocene or Capitalocene?’ where he lays out the case for why the state is an...


Saving the Last Ocean

We hear a lot in the news about the Antarctic ice sheet melting – but other than climate change, it’s hard to imagine what else threatens a place so cold, so remote, and so seemingly barren. What other ecological protection could the southern continent possibly need? But Antarctica is...a really weird place. No single country “owns” or governs Antarctica, so decisions about conservation are a huge challenge that involve diplomacy and cooperation. On today’s show, we learn about polar history...


Interview: Admiral Lee Gunn

How is climate change going to affect national security and the work of our armed forces? On today’s show, Admiral Lee Gunn shares his perspective on this overlooked topic. Now retired from the Navy, Admiral Gunn has been working on connections between climate and military intervention for many years. In this conversation, he discusses the implications for climate refugees, the idea of climate change as a threat multiplier, the politics inside the armed forces, and some of new technologies...


Trump on Earth's 'The Climate of Mann'

‘Trump on Earth’ is a new podcast about the environment under the Trump administration. They’re doing a fantastic job keeping tabs on policy changes coming out of Washington, so today on Gen Anthro, we want to feature one of their episodes – an interview with renowned climate scientist Michael Mann. Back in March, Mann testified before the House Science committee, and in this interview he talks about what it was like to be the ONLY participant on the panel who supported the scientific...


Interview: Camille Dungy

How do cultural constructs, like race, influence our relationship to the natural world? Poet and professor Camille Dungy explores this question by highlighting African-American voices in her 2009 anthology, “Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.” In this conversation with producer Jackson Roach, Camille shares her perspective on the intersection of race, identity, history, and the human-environment relationship. Link to “Black Nature”:


Carbon Footprint of Superheroes

In the pursuit of justice, Superman leaps tall buildings in a single bound; Ironman uses incredible technology to defeat evil forces; and Batman outfits himself with everything a flying-vigilante-mammal needs to fight the corrupt underbelly of Gotham City. In their own way, every superhero is trying to make the planet a better place for us mere humans. But given the global environmental crisis underway, shouldn’t we examine superheroes more thoroughly? As fellow inhabitants of Earth, we owe...


Interview: Paul Shapiro

Are you a vegetarian, a vegan, or a lapsed vegetarian? Do you eat meat and feel a little conflicted about it? No matter where you fall on the spectrum, Paul Shapiro wants to welcome you into the conversation around animal agriculture. Shapiro is an animal rights activist and the Vice President of Policy for the Humane Society of the United States. With producers Benji Jones and Mike Osborne, Shapiro talks about the intersection of the environmental and animal welfare motivations to eat less...


Trash to Treasure

A story about accidental beauty, a changing landscape, disappointed tourists, and the complicated nature of conservation in the Anthropocene.


Interview: Odile Madden

One word: PLASTICS! Plastics get a bad rep when it comes to the environment, but at the same time, we all benefit from this often maligned material. Today on the show, producer Miles Traer talks to materials scientist Odile Madden of the Smithsonian. What plastic artifacts define the modern era, and what should we preserve in museums? Are we in the Plastic Age, and if the Anthropocene boundary were defined by plastics, what would the global marker be?



Today, Ginkgo biloba is a common street tree, found in cities all over the world. But believe it or not, it was once almost lost to extinction. This once global tree retreated into a tiny relic community, only found in a few valleys in China. But about 1,000 years ago, humans discovered ginkgo, thought it was beautiful and useful, and began to cultivate it. From there, in time, it spread across the planet again. This makes ginkgo arguably our oldest conservation project. This episode of Gen...


Interview: Ryan Kelly

What if you you could scoop up a jar of seawater and use it to figure out what species were in that part of the ocean? Today we’re able to do that with a new scientific technique analyzing environmental DNA, or eDNA for short. In this episode, we talk to Ryan Kelly, an ecologist and lawyer at the forefront of eDNA research, about the technique itself, how it's changing what we can learn about the ocean, and how that might impact policy. Season 9, Episode 5