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Climate Stew Blog

Bucket baths and flush toilets — Day Zero is coming

Peterson Toscano, host of the Citizens Climate Radio, chatted with two residents of Cape Town, South Africa about “Day Zero.” If it sounds ominous, it is because it is. Sometime over the next few months the city will have to turn off the water that is piped into homes.

Because of a climate change magnified drought, mismanagement, lack of preparation, overcrowding, and wasteful water practices by much of the middle class, there is not enough water in the dams.

Residents are in a panic as they prepare for Day Zero. In addition to figuring out how they will live within 25 liters of water daily, they are working hard to reduce water use right now in hope of holding off the crisis.

Listen to the entire episode of Citizens Climate Radio to hear more of what Helen Moffett has to say. Also meet Judith Abrahams, who shares her insights about the crisis.

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher Radio, SoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle Play, PlayerFM, 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.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing the show.

More Women in Energy Sector Leads to Climate Action?

Writing for the Guardian, Adam Vaughn, reports, “Gender imbalance at energy firms and industry events is slowing transition to greener power.”

Catherine Mitchell, a professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said poor gender diversity meant the industry was less open to new ideas, in particular the move to a lower-carbon energy system.

“I absolutely do think that the fact that the industry is so dominated by men and particularly older white men it is slowing down the energy transition,” said Mitchell, who has worked on energy issues for more than 30 years and advises the government, regulators and businesses.

An energy conference featuring women-only panels is being held next month to address the lack of visibility of female leaders in the sector.

“I thought we really need to have something where all these women who are great get to speak,” said Mitchell, who has helped organise the event.

On Saturday at the Green Allies Conference held at Swarthmore College, I chatted with one of the organizers about how the majority of the presenters (like me) were men, but the majority of the participants were women. We talked about how the conference next year can include a majority of women presenters. How would this change anything? I am not sure, but for one I imagine it’s meaningful to be represented by the speakers.

As a gay guy concerned about the climate, I feel like a spot of purple in a sea of green when I am an environmental events. Sure there are other LGBTQ people there, but usually I am the only speaker who is presenting from that perspective. And it can be a unique perspective. Similarly by increasing the diversity of speakers to include more people of color, first nations people, and people with disabilities, the conversation deepens, becomes more complex, and can very well lead to more justice-minded solutions.

Vaughn’s article raises an important question, Does diversity in the energy sector lead to fresh new approaches and an openness to more bold action?

Juliet Davenport, the chief executive of the energy supplier Good Energy, said the argument was credible. “The energy sector is lagging sorely behind other industries in terms of diversity, meanwhile sustainable [green] businesses are very balanced. So the idea that lack of diversity is contributing to the issue of transition to renewables is very plausible,” she said.

Nearly two-thirds of the leading 89 energy companies in the UK have no women on their boards and industry events with men-only panels, or just one woman, are common.

One female energy expert said she had been disinvited from a panel of chief executives at an annual event after a company deputised a female executive.

“It became a panel of CEOs, with a woman, and so they did not ‘need’ another woman,” she said.

You can read the rest of the piece over at the Guardian:

Lack of women in energy ‘holding back fight against climate change’

An oil town becomes a major wind energy producer

Grant Samms

Who doesn’t like a good story about how a town filled with a long Conservative history is offered something new and they run with it? When Grant Samms told me about his time in Woodward, OK, I knew I needed to interview him for my monthly show. He’s a brilliant storyteller with a great story to tell.

He explains how this Western Oklahoma town, which was founded because of oil extraction, found a way to add wind energy to their portfolio. Grant expected to find conflict between the established oil folks and outsiders pushing liberal green renewable energy. Instead he found that the identity of the citizens and their sense of place opened the door for them to try something different. To them it was an extension of who they are as energy produces and providers.

Click below for a short clip of Grant explaining what he discovered

Chantal Bilodeau

In the show I also chat with playwright, Chantal Bilodeau. She adores the Arctic, and how she describes its vast openness and raw beauty, I imagine she draws lots of her audiences to consider this distant, cold world. She told me about the need for good art in talking about climate change. It’s not about debate, but about understanding the problem and our  possible responses. She also works hard to connect artists doing climate work with each other.

Click below to hear Chantal share insights about theater and art.

Every month I produce an episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio. It is not your typical climate change podcast. I also include an artist, like Chantal, and we focus on stories and solutions. Have a listen to the full interviews with Grant and Chantal.

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

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

Turns out Superheroes are Amazing Polluters

Sarah Kaplan at the Washington Post published a piece, Superheroes might save the world, but they’d totally wreck the environment. Scientists trying to engage the public in good science are turning to pop culture.

To run at the speed of light, the Flash would need to consume 59,863,610,416 calories per second — the rough equivalent of a 12-foot tall hamburger every week. That adds up to nearly 90 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Meanwhile, flying alone would require Batman to burn the fossil fuel equivalent of 344 plane rides from New York to San Francisco.

This reminds me of when the US Center for Disease Control outlined the protocol of how to address a Zombie Apocalypse.

Read Kaplan’s article for yourself. In addition to pollution, scientists take on the Ice Wall in Game of Thrones and the superpower of carbon sequestration that the Swamp Thing possesses.

Superheroes might save the world, but they’d totally wreck the environment

How Climate Change Affects our Emotions, and How to Face Them

In November I got to speak with an amazing climate advocate at a Citizens’ Climate Lobby conference in Ottawa, Canada. Marlo Firme was born in the Philippines and lived in both Vancouver, BC and Manila. From the earliest age he heard about climate change, and it bothered him. Anxious, angry, guilty, overwhelmed, he experienced many emotions. Still he find he needed to do something about it.

Prototypes of artistic solitary bee habitats.

Marlo speaks with such emotional honesty and with wisdom. I include our chat for Ep 19 of Citizens’ Climate Radio.

Also, I feature Emily Puthoff, a sculptor who is using her skills to build bee habitats in her community. Learn about the many different types of bees in North America, the risks they face, and ways we can help foster healthy bee populations.