By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
In 2021, Michael Bartz was one of 16 successful applicants out of 700 to receive the Telus Storyhive Podcast Edition grant. He received $10,000 to produce the first season of his podcast In Over My Head which explores some of the challenges of tackling the enormous issue of climate change. In the first season, Bartz sits down with local experts to discuss some of specific environmental concerns in southern Alberta.
The aptly named podcast explores some of the ways small changes add up to a larger impact when done collectively. Bartz said, “This is a complicated global issue, but the answer isn’t to throw up our hands and do nothing.” The podcast localizes some of the issues surrounding environmentalism and climate change. The impact of anthropogenic emissions and other environmental concerns are observable across every nation of the globe, but Bartz’s podcast contextualizes some of these concerns locally.
“Talking about climate change from a southern Alberta lens definitely makes me more aware of the impact my actions are having locally. Having the amazing guests that I did for season one also empowered me to be a stronger voice for environmentalism in southern Alberta. I’m excited to be part of a more environmentally friendly future here,” explained Bartz.
Season one pertains directly to the local southern Alberta landscape, tying big concept ideas of conservation to the places we reside.
“This is where I’m from and the community I’m part of. In talking about environmentalism in a given geographical area, being part of the community is essential, as reducing our environmental footprint can be region-specific. What works here may not work somewhere else. So knowing where you live, and the people in it is key to making change,” said Bartz.
In the first episode, Kathleen Shepard, executive director of Environment Lethbridge, spoke with Bartz about the impact of downsizing. Bartz himself has a tiny home, just east of Coaldale, but acknowledges that not everyone is able to live this way and hopes his podcast will bridge some of the gaps of black and white thinking with respect to environmentalism. Bartz emphasized the importance of avoiding an all or nothing approach when making environmentally-minded changes. He said, “I’ve learned that small changes really can add up to a big environmental impact. The keyword is collective. If we’re all making these sorts of adjustments in our life, then that’s when a change starts to happen. Like me trying to save the planet all by myself, it’s easy to feel in over your head if you’re doing it alone.”
In Over My Head explores evidence-driven conversations related to collective changes to reduce our impact on the environment. “This show is about empowering people to make change in all sorts of ways, and that doesn’t always mean making personal sacrifices. We can live in a world that is more environmentally friendly and still has the comforts of modern life” he said. Bartz also noted that while season one ties big concept ideas of conservation to the places we reside, his podcast moving forward will also include broader conversations of conservation and climate change. “I’ll be expanding the show and reaching out to experts from all over Canada (and hopefully the world) about all sorts of topics related to reducing our environmental impact, but I’ll always have them speak to their local experience since that’s what they know best. My hope is that although there are differences from city to city, the message will resonate with everyone.”
The first season of In Over My Head is available on Apple, Spotify, and Amazon. Listeners can expect season two to be released in January 2022.