What Next

A Different Kind of Pollution

“Sensory pollution” in the environment can be just as harmful as chemical pollution—but it’s also much easier to fix.


Episode Notes

Animals navigate the world using echolocation, ultraviolet vision, and a sensitivity to sounds and scents that humans can only imagine. That means things like light pollution or the noise of a highway can impact them in ways we might not readily consider. But with an empathic ear—and eye, and nose—we can make small changes to be much better neighbors to our fellow species.

Guest: Ed Yong, science writer at the Atlantic and author of An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, Madeline Ducharme, Anna Rubanova and Jared Downing.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.