What is Generation Anthropocene?
We are a science podcast featuring stories and conversations about planetary change. The Anthropocene is a statement: Humanity is a geologic force, reshaping the earth’s surface. We are on par with ice ages and tectonic plates. But who, or what, is really in control? What are the limits of our power as a species, or as a society? How did we get here, and what are the forces that will shape this humbling and awe-inspiring new geologic age?
These are the types of big, trippy questions we grapple with on Generation Anthropocene, and our goal is to represent the environmental curiosity and perspective of those living in the new geologic age. Join us.
Generation Anthropocene began in 2012 when Mike Osborne and Miles Traer – who at the time were both grad students at Stanford – decided to start a podcast about the Anthropocene. The show grew out of a project-based course in which students interviewed an experts and edited the conversations into a podcast episodes. Leslie Chang was enrolled in the original class, and was hired on shortly after the podcast launched on Earth Day 2012. Thus the core production team of Miles, Mike, and Leslie was formed.
The first run of the show (Seasons 1-6) lasted from April 2012 through August 2013. The show was placed on hiatus in fall 2013 so that Miles and Mike could finish their damned PhDs, and so that Leslie could get a long overdue break from Stanford.
During hiatus, Leslie moved to Maine and then LA to work as a freelance audio producer, Miles created a geologic reconstruction of the Game of Thrones world, and Mike became a daddy. Twas a most joyous and productive hiatus.
Somehow in 2015 we were all back working for Stanford, and we decided we weren’t done with Generation Anthropocene. We relaunched the show in May 2015, introducing a new mixed format which includes edited long-form interviews, scripted pieces with multiple interview subjects, and a hodgepodge of audio experiments. We are still currently teaching “Podcasting the Anthropocene” at Stanford, so a lot of our stories continue to come from students.
We’ve been going strong since 2015, with occasional breaks for production work and to clear out the headspace. From what we can tell, the Anthropocene isn’t going anywhere.
Where to listen
Awards and other notable news
WIRED: 5 Best Podcast Episodes of the Week, featuring our episode “Sounds of Space”
The Atlantic: 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015, featuring our episode “The Soundtracker”
Science Studio Award, best podcast 2013, for our episode “Heading to Hell in a Handbasket” (interview with Paul Ehlrich)
The Geology of Game of Thrones
Mike and Miles’ TEDxStanford talk, “Generation Anthropocene Is Upon Us”
Our production philosophy + how you can get involved
Our goal is to represent the environmental curiosity and perspective of the younger generation, and as such we’ve always sought to maintain an open platform for contributions and a spirit of experimentation. Much of our content originates from courses taught at Stanford where students contribute ideas and workshop in a collaborative setting. Since the initial class offered in 2012, we’ve expanded the course offerings and designed the experience so as to blend student ideas with professional audio production. In addition, we also feature edited long-form interviews, often led by one of the show hosts. Occasionally we experiment with new forms of audio storytelling and experience. We do not have a freelance budget, and, in fact, much of our content originates from volunteer efforts. However, we are always open to new contributors at Stanford and beyond.
Mike co-created Generation Anthropocene in 2012 with Miles Traer. Since then, he has continued to teach science communication courses at Stanford while hosting and producing the podcast. Mike holds a PhD in Geochemistry from Stanford, a BS in Geology from UT-Austin, and a BA in Criminology from UM-Missoula. He also co-hosts and produces the podcast Raw Data, and has published several articles and radio shows on popular science.
Miles is an active researcher studying planetary surface evolution. He started the show with Mike Osborne in 2012 as an after-school project that quickly took on a life of its own. As the resident space and comics nerd of the production team, Miles can often be found working on stories that take listeners to strange places. In his spare time, he created the Geologic History of Game of Thrones (because someone had to do it) and calculated the carbon footprint of superheroes (spoiler: Batman is terrible). All of the Generation Anthropocene stories are unique and special snowflakes, but some of Miles’ favorites include: Sounds of Space <<link>>, No Ordinary Garbage <<link>>, The Odd Natural History of San Francisco <<link>>, and our interview with science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson <<link>>.
Leslie loves making great audio stories. She has been on the Gen Anthro team since the very beginning – she took the original “Podcasting the Anthropocene” course in 2012 as a senior at Stanford, and after graduation became a producer and host. Currently, Leslie also co-hosts and produces another podcast with Mike, called Raw Data. Previously as an independent producer, Leslie has created stories for NPR’s State of the Re:Union, KQED Public Radio’s Forum, and a national pilot union. She holds a BS in Earth Systems from Stanford, and attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
Jackson has been a producer for Generation Anthropocene since 2016. He is also a producer at the Stanford Storytelling Project, and has interned at WNYC’s Radiolab. He cares about sounds and loves to climb trees.