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Climate Stew Blog

New Web Series — Funny, Smart, and Really Good!

I am so grateful to Daisy Simmons over at Yale Climate Connections for writing about The North Pole show, a new web series about a group of friends in Oakland, CA. What a blast!

I love how it plays with the stereotypes of environmentalists and re-centers the conversation to look at earthlings in cities, gentrification, justice, and friendship.

Over on their YouTube page they explain the show this way:

The North Pole is a political comedy web series that hits on our generation’s biggest social issues: Gentrification. Global warming. Gluten-free donuts. The show follows three best friends born and raised in North Oakland, CA (better known to locals as The North Pole) who struggle to stay rooted as their neighborhood becomes a hostile environment.

Across seven outrageous episodes, Nina, Marcus, and Benny fight, dream, and plot hilarious schemes to save the place they call home. Facing both local displacement and global climate change, they combat evil landlords, crazy geoengineering plots, and ultimately each other.

It is the connecting of these various issues that do not normally get into the climate change conversation that makes this show shine. Check out the trailer.

Now watch Episode One

Nina, Marcus, and Benny head on a unique tour of their rapidly changing North Oakland neighborhood. Hit with an unexpected rent hike, they have to find a creative solution to stay in their home.

Can a Car Racer also be a Climate Advocate?

Aaron Telitz

The short answer is, yes of course. We need climate advocates in every field and profession. Still a race car, which pumps out tons of greenhouse gases in a single seasons seems like the unlikely place to find a climate advocate. Or so I thought.

Then I met Aaron Telitz, the 25 year old Indy Lights driver. He drives fast and is concerned about climate change. He also puts his money where his mouth is, and agreed to charge himself $15 per ton for the fossil fuels he burnt and used up with tires (so many tires!)

It seems like a modest start, but this is the model a group called Citizens’ Climate Lobby is proposing. Price carbon so much per ton, then every year raise the price. Following this plan, Aaron will pay $25 per ton during his next season. All the money he is donating to Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

I sat down with Aaron to talk about his self-imposed carbon fee, but as these things go the conversation bounced around lots of other issues. I learned a lot about car racing, why drivers like him need to keep his weight stable, some of his favorite food cravings during the season, and the superiority of electric engine compared to combustion engines.

You can hear a sample of our conversation and see pics of Aaron in this video below.

Hope Clark doing community art around climate change

You can hear the entire interview on the Citizens’ Climate Lobby channel in iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, or wherever you get your podcasts. The show also featured Hope Clark, a dancer who is using movement and art to help her community better understand climate change and make connections to their own lives. Here is a direct link.

Or just click play right below.

Good Wines from Poland and England?

Yes, the climate is changing, and as a result wine production is shifting away from the previously reliable wine-growing regions into new territories. According to Akshat Rasthi writing for Quartzy,

The map of the wine world is undergoing a dramatic change. World wine production is set to fall to its lowest levels in decades, largely due to the weather, according to estimates from the International Organization of Vine and Wine. Meanwhile, wine production in the UK has reached record highs, with sparkling wines leading the way.

Though experts remain divided on which areas of the world will lose and which will win, they all agree that the world’s most famous wine regions are not going to remain the same. As global average temperatures rise, the best lands to plant a vineyard are moving away from the equator, creeping up into the northern hemisphere and down into the southern hemisphere.

Still the jury is still out about how reliable these new regions will be as wine producers.

But the study was criticized (pdf) for its poor methodology. Though these traditional regions are definitely under threat, follow-up studies have painted a more complex picture. As global temperatures rise, local weather changes may play out differently across the world: Some regions will experience droughts, and others floods. A better way to predict these changes is to study individual regions.

The reality is that we will likely see a continuation of lower yields in wine production, and perhaps more concerning, a shift in the taste of wines. While Jesus counseled that we need to put new wine into new wine skins, it is still unpredictable about what kind of wine will be produced in new wine regions.

Read the whole article for yourself: The Improbable New Wine Countries Climate Change is Creating.

Volunteer Power bringing Solar Power from NYC to Puerto Rico

I traveled to the island of Manhattan and met with someone engaged in hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Ofelia Mangen, an Educational Designer and Technologist  at New York University, talks about climate change and Resilient Power Puerto Rico. This NY-based project has brought emergency solar power to the Puerto Rico. In addition, they are engaged in a project to provide long-term solar production. Ofelia talks about her own experiences in Rockaway, NY during Superstorm Sandy, and useful lessons she learned about resiliency.

Hear a Sample!

Hear the Show!

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher RadioPodbeanNorthern Spirit Radio, Google Play, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

Coming Out as a Gay Climate Activist

There was nothing in my previous work as an LGBTQ human rights activist and as a queer Bible scholar to indicate that I would make a radical shift to climate action. These days I spend much of my time thinking, researching, writing, and talking about climate change. I lead workshops on climate communication, I perform on stage, and I produce a monthly podcast about it.

Here I am coming out at the People Climate March with the Queers for the Climate. See peeking in the bottom of the frame.

So what happened? How did I go from being aware and concerned but not engaged to someone who can’t stop talking about climate change? Did I receive a Al Gore into my heart? Did I have an encounter with a polar bear? Did I get abducted by environmentalists? Nope, none of the above.

It was love that drew me into climate work, love for my husband, Glen Retief, who suddenly felt gripped by the reality of climate change and initially powerless to do anything about it. His distress triggered something in me that led me to learn more. But what ultimately woke me up to the reality of climate change was not any of the normal triggers. No, my climate story is definitely queer. It had nothing to do with polar bears and everything to do with pasta.

In this video I break it down for you. Yes, I am shallow, but that shallowness got me engaged, so that’s something.

Coming Out Again? This time as a climate weirdo. from Peterson Thomas Toscano on Vimeo.