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The Sweaty Penguin

57 EpisodesProduced by Ethan BrownWebsite

Sometimes, climate change IS a laughing matter. Every week, The Sweaty Penguin cuts through the noise and the doom-and-gloom of the climate conversation with late-night-comedy-style monologues and in-depth conversations with leading global experts on a variety of environmental issues. Through a nonp… read more

57 Episodes | 2020 - 2021

45. Tea

May 14th, 2021


There isn’t anything inherently bad about tea, but the current tea agriculture system faces a number of issues, from excessive pesticide use to …

Bonus: Cicada Coachella

May 7th, 2021


After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with Christian Alberga and Matt Grottkau for a bipartisan conversation on episode 30: “International Accountability.”

Support the show and unlock …

44. Jellyfish

April 30th, 2021


While climate change threatens most marine species, jellyfish could be poised to come out stronger than ever. Research remains ongoing, but many …

43. NGOs

April 23rd, 2021


Happy belated Earth Day, and happy almost one year anniversary of The Sweaty Penguin! Earth Day is a special holiday for many reasons, one of which …

42. Brownfields and Superfund Sites

April 16th, 2021


From old petroleum sites to chemical dumping grounds, toxic waste sites are disproportionately located in low income and minority communities, and …

41. Fracking

April 9th, 2021


It’s in the news all the time, but what actually is fracking, and why is it under such heavy scrutiny? To kick off season three, we’re diving into one of the most high profile climate issues, examine how fracking …


April 8th, 2021


Sometimes, climate change IS a laughing matter. Every week, The Sweaty Penguin cuts through the noise and the doom-and-gloom of the climate …

Bonus: Mac and Cheese Trees

April 2nd, 2021


After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with The Sweaty Penguin’s Producers Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, and …

40. Rethinking Natural Resources

March 26th, 2021


When we talk about natural resource issues whether they be food, water, energy, land, or materials, we typically discuss them one at a time and craft …

39. The Amazon Rainforest

March 19th, 2021


The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world, home to 427 mammal species, 1,300 bird species, 378 reptile species, over 400 amphibian species, and 30 million people. It’s also a massive carbon sink, …

38. DDT

March 12th, 2021


In 1962, Rachel Carson published the famous book “Silent Spring,” which explored the impacts of the pesticide DDT on the environment and human health and catalyzed a movement that led to the passage of the National …

37. Corn

March 5th, 2021


It’s the most produced food commodity in the United States, but only 1% of it is actually sweet corn eaten by humans. The rest is turned into …

Bonus: Baby Boomer Polar Bears

February 26th, 2021


After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with Leo Brother and Velina Georgi for a bipartisan conversation on episode 17: “Vanilla.”

36. The Great Barrier Reef

February 19th, 2021


Spanning over 100,000 square miles off the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, providing a home to thousands of marine species, sequestering millions of tons of …

35. Elementary Education

February 12th, 2021


As climate change becomes more and more pressing, educators have faced the challenge of how to teach it to young children. The Next Generation Science Standards have started to push the needle with a few climate …

34. Mangrove Forests

February 5th, 2021


Mangroves are the only type of tree that can grow in saltwater, but that barely scratches the surface of why they’re special. These tropical coastal forests protect the adjacent land from storms, provide nurseries for …

33. Plastic Straws

January 29th, 2021


It’s the environmental issue everyone’s talking about, with companies and cities banning plastic straws all over the world. But while it’s often played up as either a super simple environmental issue that cities and …

Bonus: Neptune Balls

January 22nd, 2021


After some of the latest environmental news updates, Ethan sits down with episode 3’s Velina Georgi and Leo Brother for a bipartisan conversation on episode 21: “ADHD.”

32. Artificial Intelligence

January 15th, 2021


Artificial intelligence is most often discussed in the environmental world as a sustainability solution capturing invasive starfish and detecting the …

31. Landslides

January 8th, 2021


For many living on or by mountains, cliffs, or other slopes, landslides pose a huge risk. The ground itself can come crashing down or slip out from under you. Globally, landslides kill thousands of people per year and …

30. International Accountability

January 1st, 2021


International environmental treaties are a fantastic start, but they also regularly struggle because even when a country signs a treaty, they still …

29. Maple Syrup

December 25th, 2020


Maple syrup is a staple for every breakfast on Christmas morning, but with climate change harming the health of maple trees, maple syrup is under threat. Today, we’ll break down how climate change affects maple syrup …

Bonus: Cyclone Simba

December 18th, 2020


After some of the latest environmental news updates, Matt Grottkau and Christian Alberga sit back down with Ethan for a bipartisan chat about episode 13: “Wild Salmon.”

28. Airplanes

December 11th, 2020


Airplanes are a really tricky issue. They emit greenhouse gases, create air and noise pollution, and operate in a ridiculously unstable business …

27. Electrification

December 4th, 2020


Powering everything through clean, carbon-free energy to mitigate climate change requires not just decarbonizing electricity, but actually making several things like cars, furnaces, and factories electric. But with the …

26. Ventilation

November 27th, 2020


To help prevent the indoor spread of coronavirus, buildings around the world have been checking up on their ventilation systems, often for the first …

25. Carbon Neutrality

November 20th, 2020


When organizations and governments create climate plans, they often contain the same phrase: carbon neutral. And carbon neutrality is a major piece …

Bonus: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Yellowstone Hot Springs

November 13th, 2020


As promised, the bipartisan discussion bonus episodes are here! Today, Ethan sits down with episode 1’s Christian Alberga and Matt Grottkau to hear their first impressions and find some common ground on episode 20: …

24. Organic and Fair Trade Certifications

November 6th, 2020


Certifications such as organic and fair trade are great ways to quickly inform consumers that a product they want to buy was made at a high environmental and ethical standard and give producers meeting those standards …

23. Old-Growth Forests

October 30th, 2020


Old-growth forests provide a lot of services that are unique from their younger counterparts, from increased carbon storage capabilities to homes for several endangered species. And on Wednesday, the United States …

22. Light Pollution

October 23rd, 2020


We often hear about light pollution preventing us from seeing the night sky, but it is responsible for so much more, from massive economic costs to …

21. ADHD

October 16th, 2020


October is ADHD Awareness Month, and in addition to genetic and biological causes, ADHD is partly caused by toxins in the environment such as BTEX …

Bonus: Annoying Orange Jr.

October 9th, 2020


In the final episode of season 1, Ethan sits down with The Sweaty Penguin Researchers Olivia, Megan, and Dain to discuss the most recent four episodes and their reflections on the season. After that, he chats with the …

20. Economic Recovery from Coronavirus

October 2nd, 2020


The coronavirus plunged the world deep into an economic recession, and to recover from a recession, governments typically start spending a lot  of money. Where that money goes has a lasting effect on the economy and the …

19. Mercury

September 25th, 2020


John Oliver seems quite taken by Danbury, Connecticut’s history as the Hat City, but hatmaking came at a price: the mercury used to make felt  for …

18. Wastewater Treatment Plants

September 18th, 2020


Wastewater treatment plants made national news this month after the mayor of Danbury, CT (the city where Ethan was born) responded to a joke on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” by naming Danbury’s sewer plant the …

17. Vanilla

September 11th, 2020


The global vanilla market is ridiculously unstable, with vanilla prices  swinging from $20/kg to $600/kg in the span of a few years, higher than the …

Bonus: Queen Methane Emissions

September 4th, 2020


Join us for a conversation with The Sweaty Penguin’s three Researchers  Olivia Amitay, Megan Crimmins, and Dain Kim about mega(n)cities, fast  fashion, salmon, and some of the recent climate-induced hurricanes and …

16. Fast Fashion

August 28th, 2020


As fibers like cotton and polyester became cheaper to procure, fast  fashion stores began creating items that appeared fashionable at a  fraction of …

15. Pellagra

August 21st, 2020


During the coronavirus pandemic, a global economic collapse, and  increasingly frequent and severe droughts, what better time for southern  African …

14. Megacities

August 14th, 2020


In the last thirty years, the number of cities with a population of over  ten million jumped from 10 to 34. Today, 55% of the world population  lives …

13. Wild Salmon

August 7th, 2020


We often hear about projects that will harm salmon such as the recently  proposed gold and copper mine in Alaska, but why does it matter? As it …

Bonus: Chariot of Chameleons

July 31st, 2020


On this week’s bonus episode, we’re discussing the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, reflecting on last week’s Rethinking Climate Change episode as Frank’s home in Puerto Rico experiences a tropical storm, …

12. Rethinking Climate Change

July 24th, 2020


Climate change is so often framed as a problem for “our kids and our  grandkids,” and that’s true, but climate change is also here right now,  and it’s causing a lot of problems. We’ll take a look at a few of the …

11. Gypsy Moths

July 17th, 2020


Murder hornets may be getting all the attention, but gypsy moths are another invasive insect species causing a lot of damage by defoliating trees, …

10. United Nations Environment Programme

July 10th, 2020


Aside from some scary climate change reports you may hear in the news, what does the United Nations Environment Programme do? As it turns out, a lot less than you might expect, and that’s because UNEP was designed to …

9. Asthma

July 3rd, 2020


As coronavirus continues to spread, people with asthma have faced a higher death rate. And asthma itself is a huge issue too, killing ten Americans every day. This week, we take a deep dive into the South Bronx in New …

Bonus: Socks, Sandals, and Barbecue Fires

June 26th, 2020


This week, we bring you our top environmental news headlines, and then sit down with The Sweaty Penguin’s Producers Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, …

8. Natural Gas Compressor Stations

June 19th, 2020


Whether it’s for heat, cooking, or electricity, most Americans use natural gas regularly. But before arriving at your home, natural gas traveling …

7. Earthquakes

June 12th, 2020


Most environmental issues we hear about are caused and controlled by humans, but earthquakes happen whether we’re here or not. But just because we …

6. Rare Earth Minerals

June 5th, 2020


What do cell phones, computers, airplane engines, and wind turbines have in common? They all require rare earth minerals, and while these minerals can be mined and processed sustainably, they currently are not, leading …

5. Beef

May 29th, 2020


Wondering why there’s so much fuss in the news over cow farts? We’ve got you covered. This week, we discuss why beef’s environmental impact far exceeds most other food products and consider ways to reduce those impacts …

Bonus: Plankton Buys a Glowstick

May 22nd, 2020


This week, we bring you our top environmental news headlines, and then sit down with The Sweaty Penguin’s Producers Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, …

4. Lead Paint

May 15th, 2020


We often think of lead paint as a problem of the past, but in reality, any house built before 1978 could have lead paint on the walls, and when they …

3. Yosemite National Park

May 8th, 2020


Yosemite was set aside as a national park in 1890, and since then, we haven’t done a spotless job preserving and managing it. There’s even a Starbucks in the park! We’ll discuss the economic inefficiencies, inequities, …

2. Lawn Pesticides

May 1st, 2020


We often hear “pesticides are safe” or “pesticides are toxic,” but in reality, it’s not that simple. We’ll discuss the impacts of various lawn …

1. Traffic

April 24th, 2020


Not only does traffic contribute to climate change, but it costs the average American $1,377 per year in lost time. We’ll break down the issue, and …

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