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Category: Climate Change

Global Warming and Tupperware : A Climate Science Primer

Just like some people get put off by math, others feel overwhelmed when it comes to science. I remember when in college after I got an A in my Chaucer class, I took a Biology class taught by the husband of the professor who taught me Chaucer.

After a dismal showing on the first test, the Biology professor pulled me aside, “Mr. Toscano, I simply do not understand why you are doing so poorly in my class. My wife tells me you are an excellent student.” I replied, “Well, it’s just that I struggle to understand all of these biological processes. Now if you could put them into a story form and turn the microbes into characters and introduce conflict and mood, I would have no problem.”

Though she can't stand to eat leftovers, Elizabeth Jeremiah can't throw out food. The containers begin to stockpile.

Though she can’t stand to eat leftovers, Elizabeth Jeremiah can’t throw out food. The containers begin to stockpile.

He looked at me like I was a foreign and possibly hostile specie and at the end of the term proceeded to give me a well-deserved D in his class.

Climate Change Basics

Now I am caught up in the world of climate change, and of course that means I read a lot of science. And just like I did as an undergraduate, I seek out analogies to help me better understand the science. I have found that a little humor doesn’t hurt either.

If you are trying to communicate to friends about how climate change works, here is segment from the Climate Stew podcast where with the help of  Marvin Bloom and Elizabeth Jeremiah, I give the very basics of climate science. Elizabeth provides an excellent comparison of carbon dioxide with tupperware containers. Marvin helps me to better understand the role volcanoes play with our climate. Of course these two do not get along to well, so there is even some dramatic tension.

Radical Hope. How a climate scientist calmed me down

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A photo from my recent trip to Iceland. Wow, just wow!

I read a lot about climate change. While you might imagine it gets gloomy, I am always surprised by the people on the front lines who have lots of hope. Especially with all of these climate talks in Paris going on, an infusion of hope is essential. That is why I am thrilled to introduce you to Halldór Björnsson, a hopeful climate scientist.

Over a beer Halldór and I met in his office at the Icelandic Met Office in Reykjavik. He works on weather and climate change in Iceland. Since 2012 he has served as the Head of the Atmospheric Research Group at Veðurstofa Island—the Icelandic Meteorological Office in Reykjavik.    He sees firsthand the affects of a changing climate. He is concerned, and he has hope.

Perhaps what stands out the most for me is how much hope Haldór has in us, everyday citizens. I think you will find the interview a refreshing experience. Enjoy!

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Halldór Björnsson

Exposing Liberals’ Climate Denial While Offering a Solution

Climate Stew host, Peterson Toscano with his husband, Glen Retief, and the newest addition to the family.

Climate Stew host, Peterson Toscano with his husband, Glen Retief, and the newest addition to the family.

I am married to a very smart man who not only has excellent thinking and arguing skills, but he also is a master  researcher. He keeps me on my toes. My man, Glen Retief is from South Africa, and comes to the table with a global view of issues that helps him look beyond the partisan bickering so prevalent in the media and on Facebook walls. This enables him to think independently and critically. As a result, he often exposes blindspots that many in our progressive-liberal circle of academic and Quaker friends experience from being trapped in progressive liberal echo chambers.

It is because of Glen that I am so much engaged in climate change work. After looking at the data back in 2012, he became alarmed at how dire the situation was and how little we were doing to address it. His passion was contagious, so here I am today as the host of Climate Stew mucking about in climate science and global warming documentaries and environmental events.

Today Glen published an excellent piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday paper. I wouldn’t quite call it a take-down, but it is an exposé of some of the ways that progressive liberals, who roundly mock climate deniers, fall into their own traps of denial and faulty logic. What is especially nice about the piece is that Glen does not simply criticize and run; he offers solutions that can bridge both liberals and conservatives–something desperately needed if we hope to do anything of substance about climate change.

So if you are progressive or liberal (or progressive liberal) gird your loins and take a shot of what I get during most dinner conversations. Glen makes sound points that we all need to consider.

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From the piece Liberals and Conservatives versus Climate Change

After highlighting how stuck we are on engaging in any meaningful and effective climate action, Glen asks,

Colbert Climate ChangeSo who’s to blame for this depressing state of affairs?

If my Facebook feed is to be trusted, the answer seems crystal clear: conservatives. Right-wing politicians in countries like the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia act like a patient with heart disease facing a hundred qualified cardiologists. “Artery-clogging is a hoax,” they insist. “Stents and statins are evil socialist plots to destroy America’s freedoms.”

One meme widely circulated by my friends shows Steven Colbert with his eyebrows raised. “Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today!” the caption says. “Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.”

Much of this criticism seems well-deserved. What could be more clownish than the spectacle of Republican congressional leaders with absolutely nothing to offer in the face of what even the sober bankers of the International Monetary Fund view as a civilization-threatening crisis, other than threats to undo President Barack Obama’s plan to regulate emissions?

Yet all this liberal self-righteousness also leaves me queasy. My South African grandmother said it takes two to tango and, in this grand dance of planetary destruction, it takes more than a well-funded minority to keep progress at bay.

Now if you have the stomach to be dispossessed of some progressive liberal myths around renewals and such, carry on and read the whole piece. If not, turn on MSNBC.

Learn more about the solution Glen suggests

A grandfather reflects on Advent and Climate Change

last-draft-coverMusician,  children’s book author, theologian, playwright, LGBTQ justice activist, and an excellent host, David R. Weiss is someone I admire and respect. Whenever I am in the Twin Cities (Minnesota), I hurl myself at David and his partner, Margaret. What a gentle, warm, fun welcome they provide. (I highly recommend visiting them on Halloween!) Besides being the keeper of a very content bin of composting worms, David has opened his home and heart to many people and issues through the years.

I was thrilled to read David’s latest short essay, Climate Change—Claiming this Crisis as Ours. I am struck with the vulnerability and honesty in his essay along with the appeal that we lean on each other at this time of growing crisis. That last point is one that pressed itself upon me when I first began researching climate change over two years ago. As a solo performance artist who often has gone it alone, I suddenly realized that as I grappled with a changing climate, I needed community, peers, comrades, partners in this new work. David writes:

There is one other thing on my Christmas list, alongside that tool set: company. No matter our individual aspirations, this challenge is so all-encompassing that even our best principled actions will be ineffective (though not thereby worthless)—unless we learn to act in concert.

So I’m looking for a community willing to say out loud with me, from our star-seeded blood to our water-crossed brows, this is our crisis to face, our moment to be church, our season to journey together in holy conversation with one another.

Advent is the season of holy expectation and longing. We like to imagine we know what we’re longing for: the birth of a babe in a manger two thousand years ago. But there are other ways for Christmas to come. And in the face of climate change we’ll encounter Emmanuel—the Presence of God-with-us—in the honest company we keep with one another. Uncertain. Vulnerable. Present. Merry Christmas, indeed.

Please read the rest of David’s essay and share it with people in your own community.

David and Margaret in Halloween Drag

David and Margaret in Halloween Drag

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The Halloween Fiesta at David and Margaret’s home

An Evangelical Christian Comes Out as a Climate Campaigner

The climate change communicator George Marshall reminds climate activists, people do not listen to messages; they listen to messengers with whom they can relate. That is why I am thrilled to learn about Anna Jane Joyner and her personal journey to embrace climate change as an issue very much in line with her Evangelical beliefs and identity.  Joyner is featured this week on Yale Climate Connections.

Anna Jane Joyner was raised in a conservative home with a well-known evangelical minister for a father. But her family never talked about environmental issues.

JOYNER: “They were totally outside of my radar except to maybe lump environmentalists in with hippies and liberals and all the other people who were probably going to hell.”

But a semester abroad in New Zealand during college made her rethink her values.

JOYNER: “So I came home and I switched my major to environmental studies which caused a lot of havoc in my family.”

In fact, her dad stopped paying her tuition. So in an effort to bring him around, she wrote her thesis on biblical scriptures that address the moral reasons to care for the environment.

Anna Jane Joyner and her dad,

Anna Jane Joyner and her dad, Pastor Rick Joyner

But that did not stop Joyner. She has pressed on, speaks out, and tries to reason with her dad. Back in May 2014 in her Open Letter to My Daddy Who Doesn’t Accept Climate Change, she writes to her father, Pastor Rick Joyner heads MorningStar Ministries, a global group with over 100 churches and partners in dozens of countries.

As you know, combating climate change is my life’s work. I believe it is the greatest challenge of our time. I feel a deep duty, to both my faith and my generation, to spread this message. We are the first generation that knows how serious the stakes are, as well as the last to be able to do something about it in time.

I learned from you that we are called on to protect God’s creation and to love our neighbors. I write you today because we need your leadership to achieve a bright future for all of us — and our children.

Fossil fuels have brought the world many wonderful things, but now we know they come with a high price — an unimaginably high price if we don’t act soon to start transitioning off of them. We need to create a world where our energy needs are met without depending on fossil fuels that make us sick and heat up our planet. We can only do this together.

Wow even our own Elizabeth Jeremiah has been making a similar point–fossil fuels has brought tons of good into the world, but sadly it is also bringing about a world of woe, so time to change.

Have a listen to the Yale Climate Connections feature on Anna Jane Joyner (1 min 30 sec)

See video of Anna Jane featured in the Showtime special Years of Living Dangerously

Behold the Scapegoat! Jesus burning fossil fuels???

I am so glad I ran into the wacky and wonderful Elizabeth Jeremiah. This Southern preacher lady has a way at looking at the world that is both ridiculous and profound. Unlike what you might imagine, she is actually concerned about things like global warming (while not surprisingly also still completely stuck when it comes to “The Homosexual.”)

She shares her bizarre insights into who is to blame for fossil fuel pollution. You can tell she has a big heart as she tries to move people away from blaming ancestors for our current crisis. She even drags Jesus into the fray providing Biblical support for the burning of fossil fuels while also maintaining we need to find a new way. Take a listen to this silly and yet serious take on pollution, Jesus, and how to make the world a better place (transcript below)

Now before Peterson cuts me off the air I can assure you there is a climate connection to all of this. Environmentalists love to shame us into behaving differently. They wag their self-righteous green fingers at us and our parents and grandparents. They accuse us of being greedy wasteful wicked consumers. They insist that our ancestors are responsible for destroying mother earth. They hate the modern period. Instead they hearken back to some pre-industrial utopia. Where people supposedly lived at peace and harmony with the land. loving each other in some sort of eco-friendly matrilineal Shangri-La.

Let’s be honest, some of them ancient folks murdered, sacrificed the innocent, fought over pieces of property, and took advantage of each other just like we see some people do today. They just didn’t have as much technology and energy resources to do it on a global scale.

So that’s why I take offense when people go on and on about how our direct modern ancestors are evil guilty of bringing climate change woe upon our heads. These accusers do not acknowledge that our ancestors helped humankind. Think of all the advances in medical science,, in our homes, with transportation, and education. Think of all of the extra time people have had to explore the world, learn new things, and to be with their loved ones. Technology coupled with so inexpensive energy helps get all the important work done—work that women and girls mostly do.

Our great great grandparents had no idea that they were pumping into the air chemicals that ultimately would harm us. They simply used their God given ingenuity and creativity to build, expand, and dream.

Ai Weiwei, Iron Tree, 2013 Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The same thing happened with the asbestos. What an amazing naturally occurring mineral. They dug up and used asbestos even before the time of Jesus. Plentiful and inexpensive, asbestos, which is fire resistant, is the best product for electrical insulation, sound absorption, and building insulation. Unfortunately asbestos also kills people. My daddy for instance. As a young man, working class, struggling to make his way in the world. He worked for time installing boilers. As a result he breathed in a bunch pounds of asbestos fibers. Sadly later in life, although he didn’t smoke a single cigarette, which is a disgusting vile habit, he’s succumbed to lung cancer. His doctor said likely it was the asbestos. And now he is with the Lord.

So what do we do when we have something like asbestos or fossil fuels like coal and petroleum? They work wonders, and they are dangerous. Here’s another example My own niece, Vileen, is a fierce wonderful stay at home mom. Last year she took her one-year-old child to the doctors for his annual check up and was shocked to discover the child’s lead levels were through the roof. She couldn’t believe it. Her house, Their home, their safe space, was filled with a substance that could potentially affect her child negatively for life. Lead poisoning is bad and leads to neurological disorders and learning disabilities. so what did Vileen do? First she educated herself. She went online, she read books, she’s talked to experts, and then she and her husband, who is a wonderful man of God, set about to rid their lives of lead paint. It took them a lot of time and inconvenience and money. But The safety and health of their child is more important than anything else.

Ai Weiwei, Iron Tree, 2013 Yorkshire Sculpture Park

People get angry and scared when they discover a threat lurking in their homes and in the very air they breath. We look for scapegoats. And yes while there have been greedy business men who have ignored warnings by their own experts, for much of our history, people did not know that the burning of coal and the use of petroleum would bring about global warming and these out of control weather events. Even Jesus, the greatest scapegoat that ever lived, Jesus himself, the spotless son of God, released carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Of course he breathed it out like the rest of us. But also, it is recorded in John chapter 21 that he burned fossil fuels. The disciples, discouraged after Jesus’s arrest and execution returned to their fishing. Jesus, all resurrected sat on the shore. The disciples in their boat did not recognize Jesus at first. After he gave them helpful fishing advice they then knew it was their very own teacher sitting on the shore. And in verse 9 it says “When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.” Yes, Jesus released greenhouse gas into the atmosphere in order feed his friends.

And that is what humans have been doing for over one hundred and fifty years. They have been feeding family and friends and delighting them with gifts and trips and helping them with medical care and books and computers and what not. And yes, we need to find new sources of energy. But let’s stop all of this name calling and maligning our ancestors. Instead, let’s thank them for all the advances they gave us so that we can live better lives. This has been Elizabeth Jeremiah, from the Elizabeth Jeremiah Global Worldwide Ministries in Jesus, may God bless you and keep you and your whole household too.

Disabled in a Time of Climate Change

Steve Famiglietti storm chasing with Alan Hopkins

Steve Famiglietti storm chasing with Alan Hopkins

This week on Climate Stew we chat with Steve Famiglietti. Steve trains the visually impaired to use emerging technology to better their everyday lives. Steve is blind himself and with his service dog, Joel, travels around the USA and locally in Hartford, CT. An avid lover of extreme weather, well from a distance, Steve says he doesn’t know if he is the only blind storm chaser in the world, but he hasn’t met another yet.

Steve teaches me a thing or two about tornados and shares some of his firsthand experience with us. We also talk about climate change. While trained in meteorology, up until now Steve has avoided looking into climate change. He share his thoughts and his feelings, echoing what many people are also feeling.

Have a listen to Steve’s experience chasing storms.

Also in the program we hear about groundbreaking work of the Saritsa Foundation in India. They have created a mobile university to help people with disability, especially blind women and girls, skills for surviving a variety of disasters including floods and earthquakes. We travel to the future to learn about other initiatives to help meet the needs of people with disabilities in a time of climate change.

Oh, and to add some more zing to the program, Marvin Bloom shares some good news about renewable energy (and goes on a tangent about VCR players.)

Enjoy Episode 29 of Climate Stew!

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Climate Stew is available on  iTunes,  StitcherSoundCloud, or Listen here  on our site. We also have a special Facebook Group for people who want to discuss upcoming episodes and delve deeper into the issues. We also welcome your ideas. I tweet about climate change, queer issues, faith, and fruit flies, so feel free to follow and jump into the conversation. Make me happy and tell your friends about Climate Stew

We are all Climate Deniers?

Boy oh boy do some folks love bashing the climate skeptic. It’s become an intramural sport on-line. But when we focus so much attention on those who outright deny the reality of climate change, do we end up overlooking our own climate denial? Oliver Burkman at the Guardian raises this questions and muses on the psychological challenges that interrupt our understanding of the crisis.

People who become parents, for instance, actually seem to start taking climate change a little less seriously, according to Marshall’s evidence. Photograph: i love images/Alamy

People who become parents, for instance, actually seem to start taking climate change a little less seriously, according to Marshall’s evidence. Photograph: i love images/Alamy

He explains that humans are far better at responding to immediate risks than dangers that unfold over time.

We’ve evolved to respond more vigorously to threats that are immediate and easy to picture mentally, rather than those that are distant and abstract; we’re more sensitive to intentional threats from specific humans, rather than unintentional ones resulting from collective action; we’re terrible at making small sacrifices in the present to avoid vast ones in future; our attention is seized by phenomena that change daily, rather than those that ratchet up gradually over years.

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Recommended Reading

Drawing on George Marshall’s book, Don’t Even Think About It–Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, Burkman raises the complication that most of us have blind spots when it comes to climate change.

Even once you grasp that people in general are terrible at responding to a threat such as climate change, though, there’s another hurdle: it remains much harder to accept how far you’re prone to such psychological pitfalls yourself. (This bias against perceiving your own bias has its own label: the bias blind spot.) It’s easy enough for any of us who aren’t climate-change deniers to engage in armchair psychoanalysis of them: they’re mired in denial and defence mechanisms, busily constructing online communities of like-minded people to help shield themselves from guilt, from accepting the need for personal sacrifices, or from contemplating their mortality. It’s much more difficult to accept that, in a subtler sense, you might be a climate change denier yourself. But the drive to eliminate cognitive dissonance – to rid yourself of the discomfort that comes from holding contradictory beliefs, or failing to act in accordance with your beliefs – is an awesomely powerful thing.

The article is well worth reading if for no other reason than to give a helpful overview to the most important points in George Marshall’s excellent book. I have found this book to be very helpful in understanding climate change and especially in communicating it. I’ve applied some of Marhall’s ideas with real success and talk about it in Episode 25 of Climate Stew, How to Talk about Climate Change in 3 Easy Steps.

Recommended Reading: We’re all climate change deniers at heart (The Guardian)

The Not So Great “Green Great Wall of China”

In episode 26 of Climate Stew, Peterson talked about the Green Great Wall of China, a massive project to build the world’s largest man made forest. Marin Toscano, Climate Stew’s newest team member, has lived in China working on food issues and farming. She shares some of her responses to the story.

California keeps planting salad greens despite their severe drought, and China keeps planting trees along the Gobi desert to try to “stop” its’ expansion. Albeit on different scales, it seems both countries are in a kind of war to combat some of the most threatening aspects of climate change: drought, desertification and deforestation. This Triple D combo brings with it not just negative implications for the environment, but also limits valuable farmland, and decreases available drinking water.

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China’s other Great Wall.(Reuter/Aly Song)

China implemented the Three North Shelterbelt, more commonly known as the ‘Green Great Wall of China’ project in 1978. Chinese officials aim to plant a belt of trees that will span 2,783 miles along the border of Mongolian territories by 2050 with an end goal of increasing China’s total forest cover from 5% to 15%. At first glance China seems like an environmental superstar for implementing the largest afforestation (that just means planting trees) act ever, however, their actions have brought about some disconcerting effects. As is often the case when humans try to ‘stop’ the course of Nature without looking at the causes of how humans altered Her in the first place, She gets a little peeved. In this case She doesn’t exactly want to offer fertile ground for the roots of a man-made forest to take hold. Ladies, I’m sure you can relate!

Some expansion of the Gobi desert can be attributed to overgrazing by livestock and humans cutting down trees for timber, and so China policies ‘encouraged’ (aka mandated) Mongolian herdsmen to raise less livestock and plant trees instead. Since the projects launching, everyone living in the targeted areas over the age of 11 were required to plant 3 tree saplings every year, resulting in 60 billion trees being planted by common people to date – can’t you just picture all the cute little kids planting trees and growing up to make a whole nation of tree huggers!

(Photo : Reuters) After decades of growth and patience, a massive swath of trees planted across bone-dry northern China nearly 40 years ago is finally starting to reverse the desertification of the region.

(Photo : Reuters) After decades of growth and patience, a massive swath of trees planted across bone-dry northern China nearly 40 years ago is finally starting to reverse the desertification of the region.

Ok back up, now enter Debby Downer; only an estimated 15% of those trees have actually survived, and most of the “forests” being planted have not been transformed into actual forest ecosystems but are more like mono-cropped tree farms where few animals and insects are to be found. They’re kind of like forest skeletons. And then there’s the whole problem of water. Just like California can’t sustain its ‘Salad Bowl’ status, China’s Great Green Wall of trees comes at the cost of sucking up some of that regions precious drops of groundwater and many locals are complaining about how this has made even more land uninhabitable.

As is often the case environmental policy is often well… you guessed it, super political! Chinese officials are always eager to try to alter their international image of pursuing economic development at all environmental costs and curb criticism from the global community. Huge projects like the ‘Great Green Wall of China’ are large enough to serve as propaganda tools that can distract from its more day to day environmental faux pas. Not to mention the Gobi desert is getting dangerously close to the Beijing capital city, and officials have very obvious incentives to protect that city at all costs.

A manmade forest

A manmade forest

A very real consequence of increased desertification North of Beijing has been a worsening of air pollution in the capital itself, especially during the Spring months when everyone should be out stopping to enjoy the flowers, instead they have to wear face masks or on some days just stay inside. This is because of the Yellow Dust Storms of Doom (ok maybe I added the doom part) blow sand from the Loess Plateau and Inner Mongolia and add to the already unpleasant pollution in Beijing. When you are already blowing grey snot into tissues all year round, yellow sand in the spring just adds insult to injury.

As I was reading through many of the reports online about the Green Great Wall of China, I noticed one major point seemed to be totally glossed over, or just not mentioned period. That is the question of ‘Where are all of these trees coming from?!?’ Thanks to my time in China where I got to chat with plenty of locals that are disenchanted with environmental campaigns like this one, I have a pretty good idea. In many of China’s quickly developing cities there is a similar campaign roughly translated as ‘Urban Greenification’ that aims to plant thousands of trees in dense urban areas. Goals include reducing pollution output by having more trees that will suck up carbon from the air and to make the cities more aesthetically pleasing, which I must admit I did appreciate.

The Great Green Wall is due to be completed in 2050, and is expected to contain more than 100 billion trees in band covering more than one-tenth of China.

The Great Green Wall is due to be completed in 2050, and is expected to contain more than 100 billion trees in band covering more than one-tenth of China.

The problem is that most of the trees to be transplanted in cities are grown in surrounding rural areas where tree farming is increasingly subsidized. This means, much like U.S. farmers stopped growing diverse crops because of wheat subsidies, Chinese farmers that used to live off the land growing biodiverse vegetables and grains, now can make more money growing trees than they can food. It is not like China has farmland to waste; in fact, they have to feed 1.7 billion people but only have 7% of the world’s arable land. China has done a remarkably good job of feeding its large population through traditional agricultural techniques for thousands of years, but this latest development means they will be less self-sufficient in food production and this has led to a de-localization of their food system and more reliance on imports. So like with many environmental conundrums there are trade-offs: should China grow food or trees?

Critics of the Green Great Wall of China’ project point to the fact that China has made little efforts to restore natural forest ecosystems because this would take increased time and research. Officials have decided that they should plant fast growing trees like poplar, even though these were never native species to the Gobi desert. To restore the natural grasslands that the Gobi desert has encroached would take more time and diversity of species. In my opinion the underlying problem does not lie solely in lack of ecological knowledge being applied; the most foundational issue brings us back to history. Yes, I said the H-word, it was my least favorite subject in high school as well. But in China’s case their history still haunts them in very tangible ways and is essential to understanding what is going on in China today.

This is not the first time China has made a plan to combat Nature in a way that is bullheaded and closed to constructive criticism. In Judith Shapiro’s book ‘Mao’s War Against Nature’ she talks extensively about how Chairman Mao saw Nature as ‘The Enemy’ in the way of China’s industrial development. Now Nature is in in the Way of China’s War on Climate Change, but instead of working with Her, they are trying to ‘build’ a forest in what has been a landscape of desert and grasslands for thousands of years. But before we play the blame game, China is really not the only one who can be accused of going against the laws of Nature, actually Mao was using the U.S. as a kind of ‘role-model’ when plotting the ‘development’ of his country. So the morel of the story, kids, is that Nature is complex, and we should probably try our best to emanate Her rather than remake Her in our own image.

Links

It Gets Snotty — Jon Stewart Blows the Lid on Rising Pollen Count

About three weeks ago I got slammed with the worst case of hay fever I ever experienced. It actually led to an infection in my lungs. Yuck. The media LOVES to play up the idea that this is the worst allergy season ever. Really? Year after year? The worst.

Well Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has applied his critical thinking and comic genius to look at the sneezy, scratchy eye phenomenon and questions if it really is getting worse. The verdict? Hell yeah!

In summarizing the segment, Ed Mazza,  in the Huffington post writes:

Amidst his diatribe, Stewart was interrupted by Mike Tringale of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, who explained that all those breathless news reports were actually true. In recent years, each allergy season really has been worse than the previous one.

And you can blame global warming.

Check it out for yourself. Classic John Stewart and great interaction with Mike Tringale.