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Climate Stew Blog

Earth Pride Day

In 2014 I came out as somebody concerned about global warming. I marched in the Peoples Climate March. It felt more like a parade than a marchto me. I saw strolled along with the colorful Queer’s for the climate. 

Three years later on the eve of another big climate march, this one in Washington DC, people are asking if I will take part in that event. I will not. Not that I’m opposed to it, but I will be traveling from the Midwest that day just as I traveled the same day as the women’s march in DC back in January.

I like the idea of people coming together, for joining together and taking a stand. There is a place for a March and a large public gathering. There are also many other creative and effective ways to communicate to the public and bring our concerns to people in power.

In taking on concerns for earthlings–human and non-human, we have many tools to use and many roles we can play. Some people like me are more introverted and contribute much more by creating a Podcast or writing an article or a letter. Some people are organizers who can help communities determine how they want to act. Some are rebels who engage in direct non-violent action. 

It reminds me of a passage in Paul’s writings in the Christian Scriptures. How we are many parts to the same body. Some are more visible and seem to be more important, while others are humble and often overlooked. But each part of the body is a essential. 

So March On! Or not. Be faithful to where you feel led to serve and how you feel led to serve. There is a lot of work from r all of us. 

Driving a Tesla in Florida 

I mean it’s just a car, but wow what a car. I’m visiting my friend Tom in Tampa, and we go out for Cuban food. I had no idea he had a Tesla. It is the Leonardo DiCaprio of cars!

Tom’s Tesla

Seriously, it is a super cool car with virtually no moving parts. There’s no oil to change and no transmission fluid either. In fact there is so little engine that you can store stuff under the hood. Aka the Frunk. 

I do not care if you are in environmentalist or not. You may be a lover of fossil fuel’s and totally addicted. But I have to say, if you could afford a Tesla, you would be very happy with it.

Climate and the Art of Storytelling with author Aaron Thier

Tell a story and change the world

More and more climate communication experts tell us, “People do not need more data about climate in order to change them or  move them to action; they need to hear stories from the people they trust.”

Storytelling is a vital tool in the breaking the collective silence around climate change. Still novelists have struggled to create compelling and artful climate novels. Climate fiction often comes off as clunky and didactic, or else so subtle about climate that the books serve as mere climate teasers.

Meet Mr. Eternity

Aaron Thier, author of Mr. Eternity. (credit Boston Globe)

How very glad I am that I heard about Aaron Thier’s book, Mr. Eternity. It is brilliant, hilarious, deeply moving, and has climate all over it in the most artful way you can imagine.

To do this Aaron created a character who lives over a 1000 years period traveling around. Five narrators in five different time periods from the  year 1500 to 2500 encounter this traveler. Climate change is at the heart of the book as we see so many changes happening throughout–physical, social, and political changes.

Hear Aaron speak about climate storytelling

I sat down with Aaron for an interview and can now share it with you. He generously read for me large portions of the book. I think you will find it a moving experience.

You can listen to Ep 10 of Citizens’ Climate Radio n iTunesStitcher RadioPodbean, and now on Northern Spirit Radio, or just click the link below.

Rebel, Advocate, or something else: Deciding our Roles

A Quaker Rebel

Recently I spoke with Eileen Flanagan. She is a writer, a social change teacher, a Quaker, and an activist.

Eileen Flanagan

Currently she is teaching activists about how to organize and to understand their role. In an interview with me for Citizens’ Climate Radio, Eileen told me about Bill Moyer and his Strategic Framework Describing The Eight Stages of Successful Social Movement. She also shared with me the four roles that change agents have traditionally taken:

Amani Thurman

  1. Helper

  2. Advocate

  3. Rebel

  4. Organizer

In this month’s episode, Eileen explains these roles and gives examples. I also speak with Amani Thurman, a college freshman with experience as a rebel and who has begun stepping into the role of an advocate.

Which role do you typically take?


Also appearing in this episode is Elizabeth Jeremiah, a comic creation of mine. Hope you enjoy her.

We Are Making History – Climate Conference Recap

Speaking Nerves

Hello there!

Today I’d like to recap on this past weekend. Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) held their 2017 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference (2/17-19.) It was educating and inspiring.

Second day of conference, all of the attendees. We are going to have to get a bigger set of stairs!

With thanks to Peterson, who got my foot in the door, I opened the conference with a 15-min speech that did not hold back with the jokes. Honestly, I’m not one who evades nerves before speeches, and to say I was paranoid that the audience wouldn’t laugh at my jokes is a completely accurate statement. I even watched “stand-up comedy fails” the week leading up to the big night. Not helpful.

Knowing full well that CCLers are incredibly supportive, I didn’t take it as accurate feedback when I received a standing ovation. I really only understood my impact on the audience when, a few days later, my brother of all people stated “It was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard. By the end, they were ready to march behind you to DC.” Being one who’s admittedly affected by feedback both positive and negative, I gushed. Internally.

Fantastic millennial representation

Final day of conference, members participating in an exercise

Following the speech, we had a panel of three officials, two who currently hold public office. On Saturday, we began with regional recaps of the past few months, leading into state organizing sessions for the upcoming few months. Productivity!

Although I can’t testify for what happened at most of the breakout sessions after this, I can speak to the Mobilizing the Youth track that I co-planned with a fellow CCL millennial, Nathan Graf.

We had three breakout sessions in that track, including “Carbon Fees in Universities,” which targeted internal carbon pricing at higher ed institutions; We Are #OnIt, which focused in on the national millennial carbon pricing campaign Put A Price On It; and “Climate for Whippersnappers,” which was a panel of millennials who have been doing environmental work for a while. That last one opened up interesting conversation about the relationships and communication among generations in this environmental world and the roles we play.

Closing thoughts

Overall, the conference was a raging success. Student registration was up 900% from last year. And we have renewed determination in our pursuit of climate action. So if you’re lacking a bit of motivation or hope, just know that things are happening and we will succeed.

Have a great week and don’t be trashy.