Last summer, the team that produces the Conversation Weekly podcast took a break to think about how to build upon the success of our first year covering the big ideas that matter today.

After relaunching in the fall, we’ve produced some fascinating episodes that not only tell an engaging story, but also leave the listener better equipped to understand the news and events of the coming year.

Myself, my co-host, Gemma Ware, and our producer, Mend Mariwany, have each selected our favorite episode from the last few months. While we clearly had climate change on our minds, the episodes cover some very different ground.

Daniel Merino, Co-Host: Today, sea level rise can feel like one of the symptoms of climate change that hasn’t quite shown its face yet. The key word there is “yet.” In this episode I spoke with three experts who study the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica to learn about how some unique geography, the physics of ice and climate change have all come together to produce a looming threat.

Gemma Ware, Co-Host + Executive Producer: Buried in many trade deals are a bureaucratic device called an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, or ISDS. As environmental governance expert Kyla Tienhaara explained, ISDS clauses were originally supposed to “protect the interests of multinational companies from the global north when they were operating in these newly decolonized parts of the world.” But today ISDS clauses are frequently being used by oil companies to sue countries taking climate action for vast sums of money. The case we covered in the episode is just one of many examples of this ongoing problem.

Mend Mariwany, Interim Executive Producer: The global north has exported many things to the rest of the world, including the large steel, glass and cement buildings that make up most modern cities. But as the three experts in this episode explain, modern construction has disregarded traditional architectural ideas that can be much better suited for hotter environments. As the world warms due to climate change, Middle-eastern wind catchers and African designs that mirror ant hills may have a place in city centers around the globe.

Also today:

Daniel Merino

Associate Science Editor & Co-Host of The Conversation Weekly Podcast

Argentina’s Lionel Messi is honored with a cloak prior to receiving the World Cup trophy at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on Dec. 18, 2022. AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Lionel Messi’s black cloak: a brief history of the bisht, given to the superstar after his World Cup triumph

Pardis Mahdavi, The University of Montana

A scholar of Middle Eastern cultural traditions explains the history and significance of the bisht.

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The edge of the Thwaites Glacier extends into the Amundsen Sea in western Antarctica. NASA

Thwaites Glacier: the melting, Antarctic monster of sea level rise

Daniel Merino, The Conversation; Gemma Ware, The Conversation

If and when the Thwaites Glacier melts, it will result in nearly 0.6 metres of sea level rise, but it holds back another three metres of sea level rise lurking within the Antarctic continent. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.

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