Audio adventure podcast explores polar climate change

Theresa Bakker

An audio adventure series podcast produced by the University of Alaska Museum of the North has debuted on the PoLAR Hub website. PoLAR Voices is part of Columbia University’s PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership, which includes UAF and is supported by a five-year, 5.6 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a suite of innovative educational tools that engage people in learning about and responding to polar climate change.

UAMN head of exhibits and digital media production Roger Topp said PoLAR Voices will explore change at the poles through the voices of the people who study, live and work there. “Most of us do not have the opportunity to travel to the places that are most affected by climate change and speak with people who live and work there. They need a guide. These programs immerse audiences in the polar environments through a synthesis of radio drama and documentary.”

The podcast features several episodes each season, to be released online over the next few years. The episodes will take listeners to the polar regions – the arctic tundra, coastline and oceans, the Antarctic ice cap and the Southern Ocean. And they’ll do it with sound.

“We are writing a radio play that will transport characters and listeners to the far corners of the earth,” Topp said. “With audio, the earth can have corners and ends and everything can be closer together than nature dictates. Our voices are no longer constrained by geography.”

The fully produced programs include layers of multilingual voice acting, ambient sound and an array of polar climate change topics. Listeners will meet scientists and residents who are working together to better understand and respond to climate change in the Arctic, and scientists devoted to explaining the scope, scale, nature and impacts of climate change in the Antarctic. Each episode will be accompanied by online materials that enable listeners to engage more deeply with the research featured and an opportunity to learn more about the people involved.


Maribeth Murray, executive director of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary and a research affiliate at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, is the lead for the PoLAR Voices project and one of the PoLAR Partners. She said that games and other forms of innovative communication are increasingly used to engage diverse participants in learning about complex issues and for problem solving.

“The PoLAR Voices radio series is designed to speak to a very wide audience and to entice people into learning more about polar climate research, which in turn will enable broader and better public understanding of global climate change,” she said.

You can listen to the first episode of PoLAR Voices at

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Roger Topp, UAMN head of exhibits and digital media production, at 907-474-6985 or via email at

PoLAR Voices –
PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership –

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