Environmental studies PhD candidate Andrew Mark knows what’s it’s like to have a long commute to campus, but he tries to use this time productively by thinking about and listening to podcasts.
In fact, he likes podcasts so much, he and a fellow student have created a podcast series he hopes other York commuters will find intriguing and thought-provoking.
This week, Mark and Amanda Di Battista, also an environmental studies PhD candidate at York, will launch CoHearence, a new podcast series exploring the connections between the environment and history and culture.
The first episode will explore mourning, loss and the environment
On Thursday, Feb. 9, York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) will host a screening and discussion based on the first episode of CoHearence as part of the FES Lecture Series at 12:45pm at 141 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies building. Mark and Di Battista, along with other participants from the episode, will be on hand for a Q&A period.
Funded by NiCHE (Network in Canadian History & Environment) and the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), CoHearence is a six-part, monthly audio program free to the general public. Part one of the pilot podcast is “Melancholy, Mourning and Environmental Thought: Making Loss the Centre” and it looks at the loss involved in today’s changing environment.
Cohearance will also look at protests and the environment
For anyone not familiar with podcasts, they are similar to radio broadcasts with a difference in the delivery system. Instead of tuning in via radio, listeners download episodes digitally and listen to them through a computer or personal media device, such as an iPod or cellphone. “We think [podcasting] is ideally suited to talking about complex environmental issues,” says Di Battista. Mark agrees, saying “We hope this medium can create a new venue for information dissemination, beyond the written word, the lecture, the conference or an advising session.”
Di Battista says her goal in creating CoHearence is to “facilitate interesting discussion about the relationship between culture and environment. We work really hard to make each episode interesting both to those within the academy and the general public.”
Mark hopes the project will also reach an audience outside of the University. “Our primary objective is to improve the interdisciplinary discussion happening within our Faculty. We can [also] create narratives that are engaging to people outside of our community. For example, not only does our Faculty have theoretical ideas about the G20 protests, but we also have lived knowledge of those events.”
Each podcast episode will highlight current FES research. Di Battista says the reason for choosing melancholy and mourning as the topic for the first podcast is that “in the wake of the huge amount of environmental loss we talk, teach and learn about each day here in [FES], thinking about the ways that we might deal with the grief and anger that come out of those experiences seemed like a great place to start.”
Subsequent episodes will address a range of topics, including food justice, protest and resistance, and even highlights from the Green Words/Green Worlds conference held last October at the Gladstone Hotel.
Di Battista and Mark hope that series will endure on the airwaves for a long time. To help ensure this, they are offering workshops on podcasting through the Community Arts Practice (CAP) program so future generations of FES students may continue to produce CoHearence. “People will discover and rediscover the series as a document of our times,” says Mark. “They might listen to our shows to hear about the topics or merely to come to know the people we interview better.”