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Climate Stew Blog

Processing Grief in a Time of Climate Change with Extinction Rebellion and Hope Clark

We have entered an age of fierce and essential protesting. The #BlackLivesMatter Movement demonstrated the power of organizing and demanding to be heard on-line, in the media, and on the streets. Now in regards to climate change, we are witnessing a global uprising of young people and adults insisting they need to be heard by the powers that be.

Robin Boardman of Extinction Rebellion

While to many people much of these uprisings seem totally spontaneous and the leaders appear to have come out of no where, often there has been a great deal of thought, care, and strategizing by people who have been seriously engaged with these issues for awhile. Also, behind the scenes, many of these protesters are processing strong emotions of grief and sadness about the suffering they are seeing in the world.

In my latest Citizens Climate Radio podcast episode, I speak with one of these people, Robin Boardman, a university student in Bristol, England, who has taken some time off from his studies to organize actions with the group Extinction Rebellion. He shares what it is like to shut down a major bridge in London. Robin also reveals the values and principles that ground the work he and his colleagues at XR do. He also talks about how XR takes time to acknowledge grief over climate change. Finally, he tells us about future major actions in the works.

You will also hear from Hope Clark, (pictured above) a dancer who as been honestly and vulnerably exploring the role addiction has in her life–particularly her addiction to cigarettes. She connects these to our shared addiction to fossil fuels. Through dance and words, she is trying to make sense of it as she works through the climate grieving process that many of us feel even if it is deeply hidden and distracted by various comforts.

Below is a one-minute trailer for the show and then a link to the entire podcast.

Citizens Climate Radio Ep 34 Extinction Rebellion trailer from Peterson Thomas Toscano on Vimeo.

Power Will Sketch 1 from Hope Clark on Vimeo.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, 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.

 

On a desert island in a time of climate change #Philippines

Gael Henry Carlut grew up in the Philippines on what was once a desert island. Gael’s father is from France and his mother is from Iloilo in the Philippines. They fell in love and in 1986 settled on Pandan Island.  Their goal was to protect the extraordinary coral reef that surrounds the island and then share it with others. Gael left the Philippines and settled in France to study environmental science and water treatment processes. He felt a strong pull though to return not only to the Philippines, but to this remote island. I recently visited Pandan Island and chatted with Gael about the island, climate change, and the pursuit of happiness.

Marissa Slaven talked to me about her novel, Code Blue, an eco-mystery. Drawing on her love of the coast in New England and even her background a palliative care physician, Marissa has created a near future world that is stressed by climate change in a society has chosen to respond creatively to it. She expertly weaves in various mysterious her main characters, Atlantic or Tic, a high school student, must solve. These mysterious are both personal and scientific. Her book is one you cannot easily put down once you start reading it.

Pollution so racist? Pollution does not affect everyone equally.

Brentin Mock

Brentin Mock writes about a new map that highlights how pollution and the ability to process it in a community affects residents of low-income or high-minority neighborhoods.

Chicago suffers from inequality in many forms, including uneven exposures to pollution and toxins throughout its many neighborhoods. Now, a sophisticated new map of the Windy City shows how, even among the dirtiest streets, not all pollution is created equal.

That’s because some neighborhoods are better equipped to handle these environmental risks than others—perhaps because they’re wealthier, or have more time, or enjoy closer access to their political representatives. Meanwhile, residents of low-income or high-minority neighborhoods can sometimes be all but forgotten by their representatives. It’s a distinction of which policymakers must be mindful when planning new developments in Chicago.

Created by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the new map combines both the environmental and socio-demographic characteristics of each Chicago neighborhood. It considers factors such as cancer and respiratory risks from air toxins, lead paint exposure, and proximity to Superfund sites; on the socio-demographic side, it incorporates poverty, minorities, linguistic isolation, and the percentage of young and old people.

Read the piece and see a high res image of the map at CityLab.

The Bible and Climate Change — A Candid Conversation

At a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in rural central Pennsylvania, I brought the conversation to a sudden halt, when I mentioned I am a Bible scholar and lately I have been wondering what the Bible had to say about climate change. One woman at the table nearly lunged at me, “What does the Bible say about climate change?” She was genuinely curious as were the other people at the table.

I recently sat down with three Evangelical Christians, including a pastor in the rural town where I live. I asked them about the Bible and climate change. They shared Bible passages, stories, and testimony.

I pushed back a few times–Yeah, but you are always preaching about heaven. How can you care for the earth if you see it as your temporary home and you are just passing through to a God who will forgive you for any harm you have caused? They graciously shared their faith and how it leads them to care deeply about the earth and the people on it.

Hear Corina Newsome (pictured above with the fabulous owl!) Kyle Kyle Meyaard Schaap, National Organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and Pastor Josh Gibson from Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church. Also, my character, Tony Buffusio, shares Joseph and the not so amazing climate adaptation story. PLUS a puzzler question: Climate Change–what’s faith got to do with it?

You can hear our conversation on SoundCloud or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just look for Citizens Climate Radio Ep 30 What Does the Bible Say About Climate Change?

Climate Movement So White???

Brentin Mock

Some people have the idea that climate change conversations only center around polar bears or parts per million of carbon dioxide. I sat down with two African-Americans concerned about the environmental health impacts on people of color. It is a moving and challenging conversation. I also chat with Tyree Daye, a poet from North Carolina who reads from his book of poems, River Hymns.

Dr. Natasha DeJarnett

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, 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.

After 10 years of reporting on race, culture, and civil rights, Brentin Mock embraced environmental issues as his new beat. That was in 2008. He has since become a leading voice highlighting environmental racism in America.  He speaks with Citizens Climate Radio host, Peterson Toscano about pollution, segregation, asthma, and mobility. Brentin also speaks candidly about failures of predominately white environmental organizations that attempt to reach out to people of color. He shares why these attempts fail and what climate advocates can do to build a more diverse coalition. Also joining the discussion is Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, environmental health policy analyst from the American Public Health Association. She outlines statistics on historical and contemporary pollution and how air and water pollution pose severe heath risks for everyone, but espeically people of color in the USA.

  • African-Americans faced 54% higher health burden from air pollution (particulate matter) compared to the overall population. Communities of color overall had a 28% higher health burden compared to the overall population (Mikati et al., 2018).
  • Communities of color have higher exposure rates to air pollution than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. A study monitoring 12 air pollutants showed that whites had the lowest exposures, non-Hispanic blacks had higher exposures than whites to 13 of the 14 pollutants. Hispanics generally had the highest exposures (Bell & Ebisu, 2012). Some of the pollutants studied including particulate matter, nitrate, chlorine, nickel are connected to repertory illnesses, asthma, and cardiovascular issues.
  • From a 2010 CDC report, seven million American children have asthma, about one out of ten. One out of every six black child has asthma (CDC, 2010). The reported rate rose 50% between 2001 and 2010.
  • In 2000 and 2010, disparities in nitrogen dioxide concentrations were larger by race-ethnicity than by income. Black and Hispanic people experienced 37% higher exposures to NO2 than white people in 2010 (Clark et al., 2017). NO2 is linked to asthma symptoms, increased susceptibility to repertory problems and heart disease (EPA).
  • Most communities located next to, and directly affected by the operations of, corporate, industrial, or service facilities are low-income, communities of color, and other systemically oppressed groups. This placement exposes these groups of people to health, economic, and social hazards. Over 1 million African-Americans live in counties facing cancer risks above the EPA’s level of concern from toxins emitted by natural gas facilities. (Franklin, 2018)
  • The percentage of black people in fenceline zones is 75% greater than for the U.S. as a whole, while the percentage of Latino people is 60% greater than for the U.S. as a whole (Orum et al., 2014). Larger, more chemical-intensive facilities tend to be located in counties with larger black populations and counties with high levels of income inequality.
  • People of color are more likely to be exposed to environmental threats than are whites of the same social class. Race is a powerful predictor of many environmental hazards including the distribution of air pollution, location of municipal solid waste facilities, location of abandoned toxic waste sites, toxic fish consumption, and lead poisoning in children (Bullard, 1993).
  • People of color make up nearly half the population in fenceline zones (11.4 million), and are almost twice as likely as whites to live near dangerous chemical facilities. Children of color make up almost two-thirds of the 5.7 million children who live within one mile of a high-risk chemical facility in the United States. Facilities in communities of color have almost twice the rate of incidents compared to those in predominately white neighborhoods – one incident per six facilities compared to one incident per 11 facilities (Starbuck & White, 2016).

(Special thanks to Dr. Natasha DeJarnett and Siena Fouse from the APHA for Dig Deeper content)