CRETE - Doane biology professor Dr. Ramesh Laungani will be in elite company next Friday night at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.

Laungani is the co-host of Warm Regards - a podcast focused on climate change and its various impacts. The podcast is one of five podcasts nominated for “Best Green Podcast” at the second annual iHeart Radio Podcast Awards in LA. The awards are on Jan. 17, and the ceremony starts at 10:00 p.m. central. It will be broadcast and streamed live across iHeartMedia stations nationwide. 

Warm Regards, originally started in 2016 by Dr. Jacquelyn Gill at the University of Maine, has nearly 500,000 listens since its inception. The podcast is one of the longest-running climate change podcasts in the marketplace and has always been independently operated.

Gill is an Associate Professor of Paleoecology and Plant Ecology. From her bio, she states, “my work takes a community ecology approach to help understand how species and their interactions have responded to interacting drivers (like climate change and extinction) through time.” 

Gill and Laungani first connected through Twitter, and then met in person at a science communication conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in March 2018. Gill was the keynote speaker at the event. Shortly thereafter, Laungani became co-host of Warm Regards.

Laungani believes there's a gap in understanding between the scientific community and the general public on a number of critical scientific topics, with one of those being climate change. Shrinking that gap is one of the driving forces behind the Warm Regards podcast.

"This is one of the focal points of the podcast," Laungani said. "Not to just think about climate change as this abstract number of the globe getting warmer. This is about peoples' lives and existence, and how we effectively mitigate and face this challenge."

Climate Change Biology is one of a handful of courses Laungani teaches at Doane University in Crete, and finding ways to mitigate climate change is one of his most passionate areas of research.

Doane has recently established a climate change emphasis option for undergraduate students in the biology department. 

During his time as co-host on the podcast, Laungani has interviewed a wide array of people ranging from scientists to climate change activists, policy makers, and religious leaders. The experience has been very beneficial, he says, and has further enhanced his science communication skills, increased his knowledge, and allowed him to identify new ways to communicate the impact of climate change with his students. 

“Not only do my communication skills around this topic get better because I’m pushing myself to ask questions about an angle of climate change that I wouldn’t normally deal with in a scientific sense but I’m also able to bring those answers back into the classroom,” Laungani said. “Our students are able to see that climate change isn’t just a scientific issue. It’s an economic issue, political issue, religious issue, and social justice issue.”

Dr. Gill added, “It’s an honor to be recognized alongside some of my favorite environmental podcasts — not just because it means that we’re having a positive impact, but also because it means there’s a growing ecosystem of conversations about climate change and other impacts to our planet. These are conversations that need to be happening, and there’s something really powerful about podcasting to help bring accessible, diverse perspectives to a broad audience. 

“I’m so proud of the amazing work our team has done to bring compassionate, heartfelt discussions to the table and I’m proud of our guests for being willing to share their own stories and expertise about the most pressing problem facing our generation.”

The awards show will honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts over the last year with nominees from 30 categories. The public will vote on the “Podcast of the Year” award and a panel of podcast industry leaders, creatives, and visionaries will determine the winners across the remaining categories.