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Climate Stew Blog

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.

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.