Understanding climate stories

In the latest episode of Penn Today’s ‘Understand This …’ podcast series, Bethany Wiggin of the School of Arts & Sciences and Jennifer Pinto-Martin of the School of Nursing discuss climate stories, climate grief, and climate literacy.

Close-up of hands firming a new planting into the soil
Hands working the soil of the orchard at the Penn Park Farm, part of the Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative. 

Welcome to the latest episode of the “Understand This ...” series, a Penn Today podcast. This podcast series is designed as a journey to understand how to solve problems of the day—and of our time—by uniting minds from different disciplines.

Joining for the conversation in this episode is Jennifer Pinto-Martin, the Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing, professor of epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine, and executive director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives. In conversation with Pinto-Martin is Bethany Wiggin, an associate professor of German in the School of Arts & Sciences, as well as founding director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities and the My Climate Story project. Together, they discuss the importance of sharing stories about climate change's impacts on people and places, the push for climate literacy, and how climate anxiety and grief affects children.

Follow “Understand This …” on Apple Music or your preferred streaming platform to keep up with new episodes.

Jump-off points:

4:00: Wiggin explains “environmental humanities” and the interdisciplinary model of teaching and learning around the environment.

10:00: Pinto-Martin and Wiggin begin talking about the Penn Park Farm and its function as a space for “collaborative, place-based projects,” and knowledge of resilient farming techniques. 

11:25: Wiggin talks about the My Climate Story project, which will have “Climate Classrooms” in Philadelphia School District schools that focus on climate literacy and placing climate change's impact on people and places. “A compelling story has great power,” adds Pinto-Martin.

19:00: “Quote Break”

19:50: Pinto-Martin distinguishes between “climate anxiety” and “climate grief.”

23:00: Discussion about the relationship between climate change and public health. 

26:00: Pinto-Martin discusses lessons from the pandemic and how to relate them to climate change. “More and more we learn to be more adaptive,” she says.