If an overwhelming smell of rotting produce ever greets you when you open the fridge, you’re not alone — in fact, CBC podcast hosts Rohit Joseph and Johanna Wagstaffe have been there too.

Their new podcast, 10 Minutes to Save the Planet, opens with a recording of one of the hosts opening a fridge to the stench of rotten tomatoes. It’s then followed by a discussion with a human behavioural expert on how people can reorganize their refrigerators to reduce personal food waste. 

It’s all in a bid to get listeners to think about how changing habits can help fight climate change. While many factors related to greenhouse gas emissions are out of our control as individuals, the hosts have dug up ways that people can have an impact in their everyday lives.

On The Coast6:57Ten Minutes to Save the Planet

Co-Host Rohit Joseph speaks with Gloria Macarenko about the latest podcast from CBC.

The series, made up of 10 episodes, each 10 minutes long, launched this week and is available on multiple podcast platforms as well as the CBC Listen App. Co-host Rohit Joseph joined Gloria Macarenko on On The Coast to discuss the show’s approach to social change and its mission to be accessible.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Overall, how would you describe 10 Minutes to Save the Planet?

I would say it’s all about tangible actions. There’s so much of the climate crisis that feels and is out of our control as individuals. But with this podcast, we wanted to make climate solutions more approachable, more part of your everyday routine. So we’re trying to have some fun with it. We’re trying to get people to start thinking,  ‘OK, what can I actually control in my everyday life that can actually help the planet?’

cartoon picture of a man and a woman standing with the words "10 minutes to save the planet" between them.
’10 Minutes to Save the Planet’ consists of 10 episodes designed to inspire people to take action against climate change in their everyday lives. (CBC)

Why do you centre the show on the United Nations’ list of 10 actions for a healthy planet?

We decided we’d start with this United Nations list because it’s based on good science. It’s based on things individuals can control, but we try to have some fun and look at practical ways to apply this list. 

That list is the focus because of that tangibility or practicality. Each of these things are things that we’ve heard before, whether it’s the three R’s like recycle, reuse, reduce or something like driving less. But what do these things actually mean, and how do we apply them to our lives in which everybody has such different individual circumstances. 

In approaching climate change action from the perspective of human behavioural change, what did you learn? 

So many things that we do we sometimes can’t even rationalize, like the fridge. Why do we have so many things just rotting in the crisper? Fridges, for example, weren’t designed particularly well. We have this behavioural expert from UBC [on the podcast], Jiaying Zhao, and she points out that just reorganizing your fridge so that you actually see the perishables right in the most visible parts of your fridge can actually make a difference and remind you that ‘Oh yeah, that’s the thing that I should use up before it goes bad.’

A lot of climate problems are driven by human behaviour, by those little choices that we make. So if we can make the green choice, the friendlier choice for the climate, a little easier to actually implement, that’s where the human behaviour part is so key. 

We hear the argument that it’s not individuals that can solve climate change, that it has to be the corporations, the governments that do it. What do you say? 

I’m not gonna deny that corporations and governments need to be part of the solution, but one of the reasons that we don’t focus on that as much with this podcast is just because we’ve heard that, and we know that corporations and governments need to do more and when it comes to individuals, it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation. We need everybody. If there are even small things that we can do to make a difference, it’s going to make you just feel better about living through the climate emergency. 

I feel like we all have this sense of guilt and sort of helplessness, and we want to reduce that because there’s nothing worse than being paralyzed in an emergency. So if we can just make you feel that ‘OK, I’m doing my part,’ then it might motivate you to call for the government to do more or to call on your corporations to do more.

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