New Podcast Series Explores “The Art of Climate Dialogue” 

January 3, 2024
A new podcast series out of Iowa features conversations with farmers, artists, researchers, and activists who are using arts and storytelling to talk about climate and agriculture in Iowa. Artwork by Moselle Singh.

A new podcast series out of Iowa features conversations with farmers, artists, researchers, and activists who are using arts and storytelling to talk about climate and agriculture in Iowa. 

“The Art of Climate Dialogue” podcast series is hosted by community-engaged artist Vivian M. Cook. 

Originally from Prescott, Arizona, Cook traded the arid cacti-filled landscapes of Arizona for the cornfields and humid summers of Iowa to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts and French from Iowa State University. She then immersed herself in the interdisciplinary Community Development and Sustainable Agriculture graduate programs at Iowa State University. She began working with The EcoTheatre Lab, a collective transforming environmental and social justice issues into captivating performances and arts events. Cook was particularly interested in addressing challenging climate conditions through artistic means. 

“Research shows that a critical and often overlooked step in addressing climate change is climate dialogue,” said Cook. “And research has also shown that effective facilitation of climate dialogue in agricultural communities should highlight values, diverse perspectives, and personal experiences. Artistic engagement methods are especially apt at incorporating these elements into public dialogue.” 

With support from an NCR-SARE Graduate Student Grant, Cook launched her podcast series to explore the intersection of arts and climate communication. Between October 2022 and February 2023, Cook conducted 13 interviews with 15 guests. She hopes the podcast series will increase awareness about the Iowa farmers and artists who are doing creative work to address the changes in weather patterns that have made it harder to produce crops and raise livestock. 

Featured guests have included: 

  • Shelley Buffalo 
  • Angie Carter 
  • Omar de Kok-Mercado 
  • Jean Eells 
  • Stephanie Enloe 
  • Linda Shenk 
  • Lance Foster 
  • DK (DeAn) Kelly 
  • Tamara Marcus 
  • Alice McGary 
  • Cornelia F. Mutel 
  • Sikowis Nobiss 
  • Ruth Rabinowitz 
  • Moselle Nita Singh 
  • Mary Swander 

“The work that the 15 podcast interviewees are doing is already contributing to more effective, inclusive dialogue around climate change in agricultural communities...dialogue that, in many of their cases, has already contributed to concrete climate action, whether that be through education, coalition-building, research, community development, advocacy initiatives, or changes in agricultural practices,” said Cook. 

Cook graduated in May 2023 and works as a Regenerative Agriculture Specialist with Iowa State University’s Bioeconomy Institute and as Community Engagement Director with The EcoTheatre Lab. She is pleased that the number of podcast listeners continues to grow and hopes to keep that momentum going. Throughout the next few months, The EcoTheatre Lab will continue to share the podcast, amplifying the strategies and recommendations of the podcast interviewees. 

Dig Deeper 

Listen to the podcast here.

SARE’s “Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches” bulletin outlines the new challenges that changing weather patterns pose in agriculture and what you can do to make your farm more resilient. 

By understanding the climate risks to your production system and practices that can reduce those risks, you can identify some management steps that will improve the resilience of your farm or ranch to changing climate conditions while allowing you to achieve your other sustainability goals. 

Read it or order a free copy.

Apply for a Graduate Student Grant 

NCR-SARE will start accepting proposals for new Graduate Student grants in February. Learn more about applying.

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Topics: Quality of Life, Sustainable Communities
Related Locations: Iowa, North Central