Sign In or Create an Account.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy


This Chicken Named Potato Will Teach Your Kids About Climate Change

A chicken from the future, to be clear.

Future Chicken.
Heatmap Illustration/CBC, Getty Images

If I told you there was a chicken named Potato who was going to teach our kids about climate change, would you think I was kidding? Either way, I’m here to inform you that Future Chicken, an “ECOtainment platform” co-created by Catherine Winder and Annabel Slaight, launched last year, including original content like a TV show that airs on CBC and YouTube, games, and a podcast, all aimed at warding off climate doom and instead highlighting climate solutions.

Winder and Slaight have, to put it mildly, impressive resumes, with Slaight having been an executive producer of The Big Comfy Couch and Winder a force behind multiple Angry Birds movies. The show’s premise is fun, and was actually thought up by kids. The main character is a chicken (named Potato) from the year 2050, a time when climate change has seemingly been solved. She travels back and forth between the future and the present, sometimes talking about the solutions of her time.

As one of Heatmap’s resident Climate Dads, the question of how and when I should talk to my kids about climate change actually vexes me a lot, so I’m always open to new media on the subject. A couple years ago, being a millennial parent, I reached out to one of my own childhood bards (and longtime climate advocate) Raffi, of “Baby Beluga” fame, for his advice.

Here’s what he told me:

Wait. Wait until the child asks you about climate change. And then, depending on the child’s age, your response can be brief and not alarming. You don’t want to get into a long climate-data talk. Keep it brief, don’t say too much. If and when the child returns for more, then say more. We want to comfort, not add to the child’s anxiety. Comfort comes in knowing that many are engaged in climate action, and we’re in this together.

Future Chicken, from what I’ve seen, follows similar guidance. In one episode, Future Chicken introduces us to climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe (for a quick second her on-screen name reads Katharine Play-Dough), a “planet protector who helped us build a better future.” She talks about how individual actions like reducing food waste or walking or biking to school affect others. “When we talk about them with other people,” she says, “that’s how we catalyze change.”

When I showed Future Chicken to my kids, my seven year old son was most drawn to an episode featuring a video game influencer named Mackenzie Turner, who emphasized trying to get outside and away from screen time. (The show playfully called it getting more “green time.”) As an avid videogamer, my son didn’t quite see eye to eye with her on this one, but it led to a good conversation about the importance of nature.

My almost-five year old daughter really liked the episode with Robin Greenfield, a climate activist famous for trying to reduce waste in every way possible, which has resulted in stunts like wearing all the trash he produced in a month.

I asked my daughter what she learned from the episode.

“I learned that there are leaves that grow out of your butt.”

“That doesn’t happen,” I gently explained. “The guy talked about wiping his butt with leaves.”

“That’s what I meant,” she said.

Future Chicken is no Bluey, a.k.a. the “best kids show of our time.” But it did keep my kids’ attention for the three 11-minute episodes we watched.

The real test will be if they ask to watch it tomorrow – or if my daughter asks me to fetch her some fresh leaves.

Mike Munsell profile image

Mike Munsell

Mike is the VP of Sales at Heatmap. He previously was the founding director of growth at Canary Media, where he authored a column on the intersection of climate and culture.


Wind Is More Powerful Than J. D. Vance Seems to Think

Just one turbine can charge hundreds of cell phones.

J.D. Vance.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

It’s a good thing most of us aren’t accountable for every single silly thing we’ve ever said, but most of us are not vice presidential running mates, either. Back in 2022, when J.D. Vance was still just a “New York Times bestselling author” and not yet a “junior senator from Ohio,” much less “second-in-line to a former president who will turn 80 in office if he’s reelected,” he made a climate oopsie that — now that it’s recirculating — deserves to be addressed.

If Democrats “care so much about climate change,” Vance argued during an Ohio Republican senator candidate forum during that year, “and they think climate change is caused by carbon emissions, then why is their solution to scream about it at the top of their lungs, send a bunch of our jobs to China, and then manufacture these ridiculous ugly windmills all over Ohio farms that don’t produce enough electricity to run a cell phone?”

Keep reading...Show less
A worker and power lines.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The United Nations calls 24/7 carbon-free energy generation, also known as hourly matching, “the end state of a fully decarbonized electricity system.” It means that every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed is matched with a zero-emissions electricity source, every hour of every day. It’s something that Google and Microsoft are aiming to implement by 2030, and it represents a much more significant climate commitment than today’s default system of annualized matching

So here’s a positive sign: LevelTen Energy, the leading marketplace for power purchase agreements, just raised $65 million in Series D funding, led by the investment firm B Capital with participation from Microsoft, Google, and Prelude Ventures, among others.

Keep reading...Show less
Beryl making landfall in Texas.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Hurricane Beryl, ahem, barreled into America’s Gulf Coast as a Category 1 storm, and whenever something like that happens the entire global energy industry holds its breath. The Gulf of Mexico is not just a frequent target and breeding ground for massive storms, it is also one of America’s — and the world’s — most important energy hubs. Texas and Louisiana contains giant oil and gas fields, and the region is home to about half of the United States’ refining capacity.

At least so far, the oil and refining industry appears to have largely dodged Beryl’s worst effects. The storm made landfall in Matagorda, a coastal town between Galveston and Corpus Christi, both of which are major centers for the refinery industry. Only one refinery, the Phillips 66 facility in Sweeny, Texas, was in the storm’s cone, according to TACenergy, a petroleum products distributor. Phillips 66 did not respond to a request to comment, but Reuters reported that the Sweeny facility as well as its refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana were powered and operating. Crude oil prices have seen next to no obvious volatility, rising to $83.88 a barrel on July 3 and since settling around $82.84.

Keep reading...Show less