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Polar Pod

Author: Oxford University Polar Forum

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Polar Pod explores the big themes in polar research today. Created by the Oxford University Polar Forum.
6 Episodes
After listening to the Herders under pressure episode, Roberta sat Sam down to dive into some questions she had. For instance: to what extent can recycling help supply critical materials for the energy transition (like lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite)? Join us as we consider this, reflect on the core justice issues for Sámi reindeer herders and consider what different pathways to net zero might look like.
Oula-Antti Labba spent much of his childhood in Finnish Sámiland helping his family with the traditional reindeer herding work. But this traditional livelihood is under dual threat: from climate change and industrialisation of Sámi lands. After experiencing "the lack of respecting indigenous rights" that accompanied permits for mining being granted without the consent of local communities, he decided to pursue a career in law to stand up for Sámi people--and indigenous people worldwide. ...
Buckle up for a trip back in time to the last ice age. We touch down in the mammoth steppe, and discover that this was a surprisingly productive ecosystem--it supported a high density and diversity of animals, including mammoths and other big hairy herbivores. So productive, it has been called the 'Serengeti of the North'. And it turns out that the very nature of this ecosystem--the interactions between herbivores, plants, microbes in the guts of animals, microbes in the soil, little di...
Recorded during the UK's July heatwave, Sam and Roberta turn their thoughts north to cooler regions...We tend to think of Arctic regions as harsh, frozen, crisp, cold. But professor Marc Macias Fauria invites us to consider parts of the Arctic landscape differently. In summer, he suggests, it is like a landscape of butter.In this dynamic environment, the carbon locked up in frozen ground, or permafrost, is vulnerable. In episode 2, we looked at how carbon gets into the ground, and how the fre...
In this episode, we take a close look at permafrost and how it is responding to climate change. This matters because the permafrost is acting as a giant freezer for vast quantities of carbon-rich organic matter--if the freezer thaws, microbial decomposition can lead to this carbon ending up in the atmosphere, causing further warming. So, how resilient is permafrost to change? We also discover how, as the ground thaws, it changes shape, and what this means for people's homes and infrastru...
Carbon-rich organic matter is just like spaghetti bolognese: a tangle of carbon chains that's vulnerable to being eaten. In order to keep your spag bol safe, special conditions are required (tupperware, fridge), and it's just the same for organic matter in the ground.Why does this matter? As the climate warms, so does the very ground beneath our feet. And where that ground is frozen (large parts of Canada, Alaska and Siberia) warming can lead to thawing, allowing carbon-rich soil to come out ...