8 Best Podcasts to Educate You on Your Commute

A selection of positive podcasts to inspire your inner good doer on your way to work.

Feb 3, 2015
Special Collections: EXPAND YOUR MIND
Man listening to podcast on bus

There's a podcast for every bus ride (Shutterstock)

So you finished listening to Serial, and now your daily bus ride feels like it’s missing something? Join the club. Luckily, there’s a wide range of quality podcasts out there that can get you thinking as you go about your day - and even inspire some good doing on the way. Whether you’re into self-improvement, environmental issues, social matters or just good stories, these are eight of the best podcasts around to download or stream. Some of these programs are ongoing and some have already come to an end - but like any good TV show, they’re still well worth a listen, and are sure to optimize your commute.

FOR THE PLANET

1. LIVING ON EARTH
From global warming to human health, this PRI production is one of the best podcasts on environmental issues. Hosted by veteran radio presenter Steve Curwood, the weekly show is broadcasted on over 200 public radio stations across the United States, and used in many education institutions. Informative yet easy to listen to, Living on Earth is a great podcast for treehuggers and science buffs alike.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: Keeping Foods and the Climate Cool

2. COSTING THE EARTH
This insightful podcast from the BBC looks into man’s effect on the environment, focusing on the positive steps being made toward improving the world. The British hosts, Tom Heap and Dr. Alice Roberts, present listeners with initiatives and projects which are trying to solve the challenges facing the natural world around us - earth, people and wildlife alike.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: The Urban Farmers

Podcasts on the environment

Taking inspiration from the natural world (Shutterstock)

FOR THE PEOPLE

3. TINY SPARK
All about social entrepreneurs, nonprofits and international aid, Tiny Spark is the best podcast to pique the interest of the socially minded. Host Amy Costello is passionate about answering the question - how can we “do good” in the world in the most effective way?
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: The Bright Continent: Rethinking Modern Africa

4. SOCIAL CHANGE NATION
Technically, Social Change Nation is not a podcast - it’s a podblog! Dedicated to social good, host-slash-writer Joshua Schukman has combined the blog and podcast mediums to produce text-and-audio reports on the latest products and trends in cause-based business. He also interviews up-and-coming social entrepreneurs, opening readers’ and listeners’ minds with every episode.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: How Millennials Can Save America’s Children

Recording a podcast

Podcasts on people (Shutterstock)

FOR THE MIND AND BODY

5. TED TALKS HEALTH
From personal health to the wide world of medical research, this collection of TED talks reformatted for audio is just a few steps away from being at a real live TED conference. The nonprofit dedicated to disseminating “ideas worth spreading” has done it again with this engaging podcast channel - for the mind and the body.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

6. RADIOLAB
This podcast is food for the mind. Artistic food. Or in their own words, it’s where “science meets culture and information sounds like music.” Each episode focuses on one idea, weaving together a collection of voices and sounds to tell an engaging story. It is by far the best podcast for music-lovers who’ve had enough of listening to music on the commute and want to learn something on the way to work.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: Space

Woman listening to podcast

Podcasts as food for thought (Shutterstock)

FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE

7. THIS AMERICAN LIFE
No list of the best podcasts would be complete without This American Life - the popular public radio show which delves into a different engaging theme each week. On the air since 1995, the topics covered have varied widely, including but in no way limited to vacations, spirituality, music, happiness, superheroes and self-improvement.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: 81 Words

8. TED RADIO HOUR
This podcast is a co-production from NPR and TED - and in the world of mind-expanding entertainment what could be better than that? Each TED Radio Hour episode unpacks an idea from a previous TED Talk, with speakers coming together to discuss topics in more depth. The broad range of topics all present new ways to think and create, innovative solutions and amazing inventions.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE: The Source of Creativity

People walking and listening to podcasts

How many of these people are listening to a podcast? (Thomas La Mela / Shutterstock.com)

As well as managing Goodnet.org, Elana writes happy headlines with a particular focus on yoga, meditation and family matters. She has a background in online journalism and web content.

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