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KUOW's 'Biggest Carbon Loser' series follows three community members competing to reduce their carbon footprint

January 15, 2020

Seattle, WA — This week, KUOW is launching a new reality-radio contest titled Biggest Carbon Loser. During the next three months, All Things Considered listeners will hear stories and interviews about three community members who are competing to reduce their carbon footprint. The stories will also appear on and in the KUOW Newsroom podcast feed.

“We get questions about what individuals can do to help fight climate change,” said Liz Jones, KUOW’s Editor for this series. “With this contest, we want to explore how personal choices connect to larger, systemic solutions.”

"At the individual level, we also contribute to the problem to varying degrees – and we can all contribute to solutions," writes KUOW Environment Reporter, John Ryan. "Perhaps one way a news organization can contribute is to get more people talking and involved in tackling this undeniably dire problem. We came up with The Biggest Carbon Loser contest as a different, even fun, way to push this conversation forward."

About the Series

Earlier this fall, KUOW put out a call for community members who are not already living a green lifestyle but are interested in reducing their carbon footprint. Our team then selected three participants to compete in our Biggest Carbon Loser contest: Merdedith Cooper of Capitol Hill, Will Wilson of Ballard, and Bernadette "B" Merikle of Snoqualmie. You can learn more about the three contestants here.

As part of the series, each contestant will each be paired with a “carbon coach” who will help them plan long-term lifestyle changes aimed at reducing their carbon footprint. Our coaches are Sean Watts, a consultant serving environmental and nonprofit organizations; Tom Watson, a King County environmental educator; and Kate Waind, an environmental educator with Triangle Associates. They'll also talk with KUOW reporters John Ryan, Casey Martin, and Anna Boiko-Weyrauch about the changes they’re making and the challenges and triumphs they encounter along the way.

At the end of the series, one contestant will be awarded the title "Biggest Carbon Loser." The grand prize package includes a digital subscription to the New York Times, a family membership to the Burke Museum, tickets to the Seattle Art Museum, tuition for bike maintenance classes at Bike Works, and an NPR reusable tote (yes, it's the Nina Totin' bag) filled with earth-friendly public radio swag.

How to Follow Along and Participate

The stories will air on All Things Considered and appear in the KUOW Newsroom podcast feed. We'll also be sharing updates to the contest at and through our KUOW Conversations newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

And if you're also working to reduce your carbon foot print at home, share photos of your efforts to be a using #BiggestCarbonLoser on Twitter and Instagram (you can also tag us @kuow). Do you have questions about the contest? A story of your own about adventures in sustainable living? Don't hesitate to reach out to us at