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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.


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


Author: Peterson Toscano

Peterson Toscano is a quirky queer Quaker concerned about Climate Change. His website is

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