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CZ-Tip: Cast Away with Coastal Podcasts!

Find ways to get to, protect, and enjoy the coast with tips from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

Podcasts have become a popular, convenient, on-demand form of entertainment (and an enjoyable alternative to staring at a screen). Audio content offers new ways to tell stories online, engage with listeners, and stimulate the mind. In fact, the story-like formula of podcasts supports a heightened state of concentration and can activate brain pathways that release feel-good chemicals. With more than 1.5 million podcasts (and 34 million episodes1 covering thousands of topics), there are myriad ways to be absorbed. So where do you start? For coastal and ocean lovers, begin by diving into the options below, organized by category: Coastal Issues, Interests, and Innovators; Research and Exploration; Science and Policy; Awareness and Activism; Environmental Justice and Climate Change; Shipping, Ports, and Ocean Industries; Adventure; Lighter Fare; and Children’s Choices. Find casual conversations on marine conservation, deep explorations of environmental justice and climate change issues, and engaging series on aquaculture, Navy adventures, and more to entertain, inform, and inspire you to take action for our coasts and oceans.

You can listen to the podcasts directly from most of the websites below, or find the individual podcasts in hosting platforms such as the Apple Podcasts app, the Play Music app for Android users, and many more. See How to Listen to Podcasts (a guide for absolute beginners) from Discover Pods for additional details on getting started.

1As of December 2020, according to PodcastHosting.org.

Coastal Issues, Interests, and Innovators

  • Cape Cod Climate Action Podcast - With recognition for the need to build more climate-resilient communities, the Cape Cod Commission has developed this podcast to highlight strategies and initiatives to address climate change. Podcast episodes include information on the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, a guide to historic structures in floodplains, upgrades to the Cape’s regional transit system, the status of Cape Cod’s climate action plan, an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for the region, and climate policy on the local and state level.
  • Trustees on the Coast - This series, developed by The Trustees of Reservations, explores issues facing the Massachusetts coast, with a focus on climate change impacts. Guests share stories of their work protecting environmental, cultural, and historic resources in the face of rising tides and changing ecologies. From triumphs and tragedies managing shorebirds on Trustees beaches to Great Marsh Restoration work at Old Town Hill in Newbury, these stories provide insight into real action happening in Bay State communities.
  • American Shoreline Podcast Network (ASPN) - A service of Coastal News Today (an information-sharing platform for coastal and ocean leaders, professionals, and citizens), these coastal-themed podcasts feature a spectrum of experts, issues, and interests along the U.S. shoreline. Tune in to explore environmental justice in Louisiana, grassroots advocacy in Chesapeake Bay, regional nature-based resiliency projects in California, surfing, sailing, and sustainable seafood in New England, and so much more! Listen to 100 different shows on the website, or find ASPN podcasts from your favorite hosting platform.
  • Maine Coast Dock Talk - A project from the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, this podcast brings the latest news and stories from Maine’s working waterfronts. Listen in as the host chats with fishermen, resource managers, and others and learn about the people, places, animals, and the environment of coastal Maine, including topics that range from consuming cod to working waterfronts to lobster licensing.
  • Maine Oyster Aquaculture Podcast Series: Stories of Resilience and Innovation - Join this series to hear conversations with the people who are shaping the business of Maine Oyster Aquaculture. Listen as local oyster farmers share their stories of success in the aquaculture business using science-based decision-making and innovation to overcome challenges, such as warming waters due to climate change. Told with humor and optimism, guests explain how they have come to create a marketable resource that can help improve water quality, contribute to the economy and tourism, and preserve Maine’s working waterfront. While listening, you may just discover where to find the best oysters in the world.
  • Salts & Water - Experience Maritime Maine presents this six-part series that details individual “characters” along the coast of Maine. Meet women lobstermen, meticulous boat builders, and a salty fishmonger, climb aboard a Windjammer in Penobscot Bay, and learn how the tides shape Downeast Maine life.

Research and Exploration

  • Big Deep: An Ocean Podcast - Join the hosts as they interview scuba divers, marine biologists, behavior ecologists, ocean environmentalists, and others with a deep connection to the sea. Take a journey through the world’s oceans and learn about decoding the language of the sperm whale, diving at a nuclear power plant, and investigating underwater crime scenes—told by those who have dedicated some part of their lives to being in or working on behalf of the water.
  • Encounters - This podcast series is produced by Meet the Ocean, an organization dedicated to educating the public on the importance of the planet’s saltwater ecosystems. Through science, storytelling, and encounters from the Earth’s most remote locations, you will be inspired by fascinating adventures and interesting facts about Antarctic dives, hunting strategies of killer whales, glacier formations, Atlantic salmon off Greenland’s coast, and much more.
  • Ocean Currents - Hosted by Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary on KWMR community radio, this podcast features ocean experts talking about current research, management issues, natural history, and stewardship associated with the marine environment, with a particular focus on the National Marine Sanctuaries. Topics include the ocean as a solution to climate change, elephant seals of Point Reyes, solutions to reduce marine debris and carbon emissions, and scientific explorations of the Cordell Bank and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. Find them all on the Sanctuary’s Radioshow Podcast Archives pages.
  • Ocean Gazing Podcasts - This series is sponsored by the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence - Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW), a group of research institutions that are using real-time information from ocean observing systems to enhance public understanding of the ocean. Each episode captures the personal stories of various scientists and promotes their scientific research and work. Learn about clams in a jam, poetry of the planet, an imminent thaw, and a diary of dirt—catchy topic titles with serious subject matters. With more than 50 podcast episodes matched to classroom lesson plans, these podcasts also serve as a tool for teaching about the nature and process of science.

Science and Policy

  • NOAA Ocean Podcast - Connect with ocean experts and explore topics from corals to microplastics through these podcasts produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service. With topics like bringing wetlands to market, the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network, NOAA's disaster preparedness program, and the benefits of natural infrastructure, NOAA highlights a wide variety of important issues and the ongoing work, research, and priorities of scientists and experts.
  • Two Sea Fans - The two hosts of this Mote Marine Laboratory podcast engage in educational conversations with experts and scientists to help communicate marine science to listeners. Learn about bizarre lives of deep-dwelling microbes, ocean acidification, toxic substances that harm marine animals and the ecosystem, aquaculture, and much more. New episodes are available every two weeks.
  • Law on the Half Shell - The National Sea Grant Law Center has created an informative podcast series on the who, what, where, why, and how of shellfish aquaculture. The series begins with the basics of shellfish aquaculture, including shellfish biology and the role that shellfish play in the ecosystem, leads into the hurdles and challenges that exist, such as the leasing and permitting requirements and impacts of invasive species, and ends with some fun facts you never knew you wanted to know.

Awareness and Activism

  • Speak Up for the Ocean Blue - This podcast, with well over 1,000 shows, raises awareness of the variety of ocean science and conservation projects conducted around the world. The host and guest speakers help to inspire an ocean-friendly life through stories and information on topics ranging from fish, marine mammals, and other wildlife to issues such as climate change, water pollution, plastic pollution, coastal development, overfishing, whale hunting, and more.
  • How to Save a Planet - If climate change is on your mind, then listen to this Gimlet Media podcast to help you discover what needs to be done to solve the climate crisis. Join the hosts—a journalist and a science policy expert—as they search for solutions by talking to people who are making a difference. Stories include how Somerset, Massachusetts, went from a coal town to a launching point for offshore wind, questions about recent unnatural disasters, tree planting activism, and some advice on how to talk about climate change with the family.
  • Women Mind the Water - Tune in for host Pam Ferris-Olson’s interesting interviews with women artivists (artist and activists) to hear how the ocean inspires their art and how their ocean-inspired art influences others. Each episode features a musician, potter, dancer, film-maker, photographer, sculptor, painter, visual artist, or other artist and highlights their connection with the coasts and oceans. Through both art and storytelling, this podcast hopes to raise awareness of the relationship between humans and water and promote the shared responsibility for its protection.
  • So You Want to Become a Marine Biologist - Brought to you by MarineBio.Life, this series takes you through the interesting lives of people who chose a career in marine biology, marine law, marine medicine, and more. Hear from researchers of marine animals, such as giant squid, seabirds, sea turtles, humpback whales, and sharks, and habitats like kelp forests and coral reefs. The podcast reveals the multi-faceted nature of a marine biologist, the commitment and persistence needed to become one, the quirky challenges on the job, and the ultimate satisfaction and reward of helping to protect the oceans.

Environmental Justice and Climate Change

  • Floodlines - From The Atlantic magazine, this moving eight-part series revisits Hurricane Katrina-the storm of August 2005 that wreaked havoc on New Orleans. Through the course of episodes, the host guides listeners through the storm and its aftermath, including the enormous impacts that arose from a lack of government coordination, social inequities and prejudice, and misinformation that hindered a timely response. By linking the big picture to personal stories, the host digs deep into the heart and soul of the disaster and ends up exposing the vulnerabilities of people, systems, and ecosystems that still exist today.
  • There Goes the Neighborhood: Season 3 - As part of the podcast series, The Stakes, Season 3 introduces the subject of “climate gentrification” in Miami, Florida. In a city concerned about sea level rise and storms, communities have adapted by raising rents and pursuing upmarket housing on the higher grounds where Black communities have been built. This podcast will attempt to identify the linkages between climate change, environmental justice, and a global affordable housing crisis that may only become more intensified.

Shipping, Ports, and Ocean Industries

  • Ballast - A subject only few ever think about, ballast (the stuff that gets carried by ships and even planes to create stability) has shaped our cities, cultures, and ecosystems. Who knew that much of New York City contains the rubble that crossed the ocean as ballast from the bombed-out city of Bristol, England? Or that ballast was alleged to have carried jade (secretly) from Canada to China? In this five-part series developed by Hakai Magazine, historians, architects, divers, biologists, and others delve into the details, presenting how ballast has “changed the world on a scale that rivals the impact of the ice ages.”
  • Blue Economy - Presented by Rhode Island: the Ocean State, this podcast explores the dynamic and growing global ocean economy and the range of business models that are operating around the world’s seas. Through interviews with influential leaders in various ocean industries, learn about topics such as clean cargo shipping, data analytics and global trade, America’s offshore wind industry, autonomous shipping, a White House perspective on the blue economy, and even the impact of COVID on the seafood and fishing industries.
  • Containers - Presented by Flexport, this eight-part podcast is all about the shipping industry, capitalism, technology, and global trade that has shaped the world. By interviewing supply chain workers, citizens of large ports, and ship captains and crews, the host takes you through how containerization developed, the way ports work, how products come into the country, the rules that govern the American fleet, and many other details about ships and sailors, tugboats and warehouses, and cranes and containers.

Adventure

  • Sea Story: Tales of Danger, Hardship, and Adventure - The official podcast of America's Navy, this ongoing series relays stories of action, danger, and adventure on the high seas. True to the age-old Navy tradition of story swapping, here Navy sailors recount rescue operations, hurricane tracking treks, and a journey through thick rainforests and piranha-infested waters to bring medicine to the Amazon. This series will have you listening with all ears, while providing insight as to why Navy sailors really are “forged by the sea.”
  • The Pirate History Podcast - Over 200 episodes about pirates—blimey! Join the host as he makes his way through pirate history—beginning with 15th century Europe when the Age of Exploration fed the Golden Age of Piracy. Each episode provides historical accounts and detailed stories about real pirates, like Captain Henry Morgan, Henry Avery, Mary Reed, Anne Bonny, Black Bart Roberts, and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, who threatened trade and stability and inspired many myths and stories about treachery on the high seas.

Lighter Fare

  • Marine Conservation Happy Hour - With discussions about poop on Costa Rica’s beaches, marine Halloween costume ideas, and how shows like Game of Thrones are similar to marine conservation, this podcast’s wide range of topics will keep your interest piqued. Through casual conversations over a pint, the hosts—who are very passionate about all things under the ocean—take a look at the many different sides of marine science and conservation.
  • Ocean Poddy - Tune in with this host—a tropical marine biologist, divemaster, and founder of the nonprofits Women in Ocean Science and The Marine Diaries—for a fun podcast featuring the sea. Each week, an ocean-loving guest appears on the show to join in on “unfiltered” (and admittedly sometimes tipsy) discussions (over a glass of wine or two) about ocean issues such as marine debris, sharks, and diversity in diving. Through light-hearted chats, these ocean advocates seek to prove that “it’s not all doom and gloom for our blue planet…”
  • Aquademia: The Seafood and Sustainability Podcast - Hosted by Global Aquaculture Alliance, this series discusses the details you never knew about seafood. Through interviews with seafood industry professionals, environmental scientists, and chefs, you will hear interesting tidbits about fisherman trading cards that have become popular among kids, jellyfish as a sustainable alternative to fish, and leather goods made with salmon. More serious topics can also be accessed, such as on progress made in the aquaculture industry to become more sustainable, a successful oyster farm on Cape Cod, and information on how consumers can make better seafood choices for the planet.

Children’s Choices

  • The Big Melt - A climate change podcast brought to you by Gen-Z Media, this family-friendly series has the aptly named tag line “Act now or swim later.” During each episode, the curious young host interviews scientists and other creative people that have new ideas about how to solve climate change problems—flipping the conversation from “freaking out” to “figuring it out.”
  • NOAA and the Octonauts - This episode-by-episode discussion of the children’s TV show, The Octonauts, brings together experts to explain the real-life versions of the Octonauts sea creatures and their ocean home. Guests from Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center (CELC) Network aquariums across North America share their expertise, give listeners tips on how to best protect these animals, and answer questions about the science behind the show.
  • Tumble - Specifically designed for kids and families, this podcast series explores stories of science and discovery. Listeners can find ocean-themed episodes, such as an adventure collecting whale snot in the Arctic, a scientific expedition at sea, the great swirling gyre of trash in the Pacific, and what would happen if there was no moon.
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