For so many of us, thinking about the future can be tinged with anxiety, a feeling of unease, and at worst a feeling of hopelessness in the face of the Nature and climate crisis. If you feel this way, then Imagining Tomorrow, the latest podcast from Friends of the Earth, might just be the antidote you are looking for.

Imagining Tomorrow is presented by science-fiction author Emma Newman, who uses her storytelling skills to help us visualise living, working and connecting to our communities in a better future, somewhere more hopeful – a utopia. But these stories aren’t just fantasy: the podcast uses real examples from the UK where innovations in technology are being harnessed by communities and are already having a positive impact.

The podcast episodes are arranged in themes such as ‘Heating, Cooling, Empowering’ and ‘Growing, Feeding, Nurturing’, and interviews are conducted with science experts, alongside community organisers who are putting technology into action where they live. Through learning about real-life examples, and providing resources in the show notes, the podcast encourages listeners to engage with their communities to imagine a better tomorrow.

The communities that the podcast shines a light on are varied: from faith groups to climate action groups. One group, Cwm Arian Renewable Energy (CARE), not only told the story of how they have installed a 700kW community-owned wind turbine, but also described the unexpected benefits that have arisen from it. Having gained valuable experience in community organising through the turbine project, the group has branched out into supporting numerous community interest projects such as an arts space and is now supporting other local enterprises.

The podcast also shows how technology can be harnessed to support sustainability and social cohesion. One industry leader interviewed in the episode ‘Heating, Cooling, Empowering’ was infrared heating company Herschel, which is developing cutting-edge infrared heating equipment. The company has even developed a ‘halo’ heater, designed specifically for churches and heritage spaces (with churches reporting dramatically reduced energy costs, and cosier congregations).

Whilst the podcast nods to the need for the government to really pull the levers of investment and implement policies to decarbonise on a national level, it is much more about how empowered local communities and individuals can achieve seemingly small but mighty wins. Since listening to this podcast, I have started looking at my own city differently, and have seen opportunities to imagine a better tomorrow.

Imagining Tomorrow a podcast created in partnership with Friends of the Earth. Presented by Emma Newman.

Gwen Peters is head of public affairs at Uplift.