“This is a podcast about all the things that make us go ‘Yikes!’,” Mikaela Loach announces in a recent episode’s introduction to this award-winning climate podcast. “All the things that can be super-overwhelming and make us run away from them because they are too big or scary.” And in that statement, Loach and her co-host, Josephine Becker, have identified the main source of the contemporary climate movement’s problem: the climate emergency is overwhelming and scary – so much so, that it can often lead people to inaction. However, this podcast aims to create the necessary space to process the myriad challenges humanity faces today and motivate listeners to action despite the difficulties. 

Two episodes of Yikes are released a month, alternating between the 30-minute On the Frontlines episodes – a series that offers a platform for the voices of activists fighting the climate crisis in real time – and the 60-minute chat-show-style episodes, which include the two hosts and special guests. The themes of the group conversations predominantly focus on environmental issues, but they also touch on topics tangential to the climate crisis, such as workers’ rights, prison abolition, international politics and successful movement-building. Whether you’re new to climate justice or are a seasoned organiser with years of knowledge, there is much to be gained from listening to local and international analyses of ever-evolving climate news.

The podcast’s tone is warm, friendly and informal – a classic example of two friends having a casual chat without following scripted guidelines – so it’s no wonder the hosts have captured a sizeable loyal following. Yikes is very much a home production, one that could do with a bit of tightening and editing for an audience that would prefer a shorter and more heavily produced podcast. Yet that’s also a part of its charm. Like its hosts, it’s not looking to be perfect. Instead, it’s clear that Loach and Becker’s priority is to be accessible to people just getting acquainted with the climate justice movement by easing them into it with real-life conversations. 

Overall, Yikes is a good primer for building an intersectional approach to dealing with the climate crisis. The hosts have achieved that not only through their politics, but also through the inclusion of activist stories from the global south, which are too often missing from the mainstream.

Diyora Shadijanova is the climate editor for gal-dem.