Environmental Editorial Board pick for May: It's all about the voice

May 31, 2012 in GPRX Blog by Zoe Sheinkopf

One of my favorites of the stories I heard in May was a short interview called Two Zambian girls talk about climate change, from Michal Rahfaldt of the Children's Radio Foundation. It's a simple piece, not highly produced: Mwangala Mwale interviews her peer, Kapambwe Chanda, about her views on climate change, and the role youth should play in combatting it. I never thought an uncut interview would place among my favorite pieces (I love RadioLab-style audio engineering), but I can't get over Kapambwe's voice.

First things first: it's hard for an interviewee to shine without a good interviewer, so hats off to Mwangala– she does what a great talk show host once told me is the secret to good interviewing: according to him, one must "sublimate one's ego". Mwangala could take the spotlight for herself: insert her own views, comment– but instead, her voice acts as the frame for Kapambwe's. That's an interviewer's job: to provide a vehicle for inspiring voices to reach a wider audience. And Kapambwe's voice is possibly my new favorite sound. If she doesn't go into some form of public speaking, I'll be amazed. Her passion is infectious. When she says, "put it [climate change] on our radios, put it on our TVs, put it on the internet…", I want to do so. Her fervor makes me want to care; it makes me care. And her message is simple: "the most important thing is home". We change ourselves, we help each other change, we change the world.

I would have wanted a more substantial introduction in this piece, just a bit about who Kapambwe is and why we should listen to her on the issue of climate change. I definitely want to listen to her, though. The world needs more people with voices like hers speaking out about problems like climate change.