Review: The Biggest Story in the World digs deep while trying to tell an old story in a new way
The Biggest Story in the World is a podcast produced by The Guardian focusing on
climate change. In the first minute, the podcast describes itself as "a story about people", "a story
about possibility" and "a story that affects us all." Right off the bat, they've established how
important this subject matter truly is. While it may not sound exciting on the surface, this podcast
manages to raise important questions about the planet while weaving in information and
interviews to create a dynamic and thought-provoking story.
It's not an easy task, trying to educate people on a problem that we're all aware exists but
aren't doing all that much to fix. We know that we should recycle or carpool but we often find
ourselves getting our coffee in a disposable cup or calling an Uber instead of taking the subway.
They're small actions but they contribute to a much bigger problem.
The Guardian is arguably tackling the most critical problem of our generation and they do
so without lecturing. They've managed to produce something that is thought-provoking,
engaging, and appealing to an international audience. The podcast remains approachable as the
language remains simple with clear explanations to ensure that anyone could listen and actually
understand what's going on. Concepts like the fossil fuel lobby and its billion dollar industry are
given concise overviews which offer enough context for newbies to get it (and are short enough
that the know-it- alls stick around without getting bored).
And they manage to do all that without talking down to their audience--quite the feat.
During this 12-part series, The Guardian dives into everything from keeping fossil fuels
in the ground to carbon taxes to the psychology of making people care about an issue they've
become indifferent to. The Guardian strikes a balance between educating and asking questions
(because, despite their best efforts, they don't have all the answers).
I love podcasts and while this story didn't seem all that appealing to me at first, I found
myself becoming more and more absorbed as it progressed. Canadians are incredibly aware of
the impacts of climate change or at the very least Torontonians are as they put away and take out
their winter coats every other week. But this podcast is more than a discussion on the
environment, it's a behind the scenes look at the process of developing this project. If you're
interested in journalism or investigative reporting, you should give this listen. Episode by
episode, you're able to hear the thought process behind the decisions and are better able to
understand the Guardian's choices as they attempt to tell an old story in a new way.
This podcast is a call to action. Our planet is our responsibility and we often forget that
we shoulder that responsibility together. No matter where you live or what you do, you play a
part in the health and future of the world. It calls every single one of its listeners out as we sit
back while watching the ice caps melt and the ozone thin. Despite the reprimand, this podcast is
candid as the producers themselves note that they are also part of the problem and could have
done something earlier. They keep themselves in check by acknowledging the limitations of a
podcast--how much can they actually achieve? But at the end of the day, they made the decision
to do something and try to tell the biggest story in the world in an innovate way.