Our goal with the Important, Not Important podcast has been threefold: to provide deep context for a single science-based topic or question affecting everyone right now; to provide specific and reputable Action Steps our users can take around that topic, with their voice, their vote, and their dollar; and to achieve both of these through conversations with highly-qualified, diverse voices on the frontlines of the future.
To be crystal clear: both of the co-hosts of our show are cis white men with enormous privilege, so a diversity of perspectives is both objectively -- and, because of our own limited world experience -- subjectively essential to fully understand what is happening in the world today.
In 2019-2020, we sought to expand our guest pool to incorporate even more people who identify as women and/or BIPOC (or basically, as few white guys as possible), and to deepen the impact we make with each conversation. The world is in desperate need of new voices and new leaders, and the very least we can do is try to elevate them where we can. Our goal was less to expand upon what we do, than to do it even better than before, and better than everyone else.
Finding more amazing, frontline world-changers who identify as something other than white men isn't altogether difficult, but after 85 or so episodes, finding voices that can specifically speak to the topics we're looking to discuss does narrow down the pool of options quite a bit.
And yet -- the pool does continue to grow, with an amazing new generation of young leaders coming up, and others just making their mark, or moving into a leadership role after a lifetime of hustle.
While we're lucky to field a healthy number of incoming calls these days, many of our guests are gathered from cold outreach, or from word of mouth recommendations from prior guests. We are proud of the trust we've built among the fields of science, politics, journalism, activists, farmers, and business leaders, to do our homework, to listen, and to host honest, productive conversations, and we used that precious credibility to engage with new recommendations to help our listeners truly understand the nuances of each topic, and to help move the needle for a better world.
We believed that doubling down on, and further expanding our mission, would encourage not only more action among our existing listeners, but to grow our show's audience where we possible (remembering again that our business is bootstrapped and not yet profitable -- no big checks to pump the growth wheel for us).
We are proud to have recorded 18 new highly-impactful conversations between August 1st 2019 and July 31st 2020, covering such topics as coral reefs; air pollution; kelp farming; being a female, immigrant candidate in a southern state (three times!); food waste; toxic beauty products; the electrification of the electric grid; and the reclamation of American farmland by and for Black farmers.
14 of our 18 guests identified as women, and 8 of 18 as BIPOC (so 79% not white guys). Our show retained its current audience during our first hiatus, and grew 44% in the months after. We were nominated for two Webbys (we were previously nominated for Best Podcast Host and Best Science Show in 2019, and this year for Best Science Episode and Best Newsletter), and spent three months in the top 10 Most Recommended Science Shows on the popular Overcast podcast player -- a ranking only garnered from direct listener recommendations, not downloads.
The conversations we have chosen to feature are below:
Special Episode: Ghazala Hashmi. During her campaign for the Virginia state senate, Ghazala described her journey through immigration, becoming an educator, and eventually deciding to try and become the first Muslim woman to serve in the body.
#86: Leah Penniman. Leah is the co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, and is working to teach BIPOC Americans to sustainably farm.
#88: Leah Stokes. No one knows more about the politics behind the electrification of our society, and no one is fighting harder to make it a reality.