Image: Polar Pod

Polar Pod is a new podcast that explores the regions at the poles of our planet and how they matter to all of us. Created by researchers from the School of Geography and the Environment, the podcast is a product of the Oxford University Polar Forum, and draws together expert voices to answer big questions that polar research is grappling with today.

The first series of Polar Pod examined the fate of carbon stored in permafrost ground: as this previously permanently-frozen ground thaws, what will happen to the organic matter stored within it? In the second series, the Polar Pod team turn to the issues that indigenous people in the Arctic face today.

The first episode of this series, recently released, is set at the confluence of indigenous rights, climate change and the energy transition in Sámiland, northern Scandinavia. Oula-Antti Labba, a human rights lawyer fighting to protect Sámi communities, speaks about how their traditional livelihood of reindeer herding is under dual threat from climate change and, paradoxically, our attempts to address it. As the demand for battery minerals sky-rockets, there is pressure for a new wave of mines in Sámi reindeer pastureland. A second episode is in the works, and features Iñupiaq biologist Victoria Qutuuq Buschman, who speaks about indigenous Arctic modes of conservation, and how they can challenge some fundamental western ideas about wildlife conservation.

Listen to the new episode: Herders under pressure: climate, mining and justice in Samiland on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.