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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.


Author: Peterson Toscano

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

This post has 2 Comments

  1. Marin Toscano on January 13, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I love the analogy of Tupperware! That really helps me envision it! The only thing is that I actually eat my leftovers so I had to picture the inside of someone else’s fridge. I can totally relate to your experience with science in high school. I felt similar about science and math. Climate Stew is such a brilliant and imaginative way to discuss and educate about climate change. And wow volcanoes emitting CO2 but then counteracting it! Who knew?!?

    • Peterson Toscano on January 14, 2016 at 7:18 am

      Oh, good, I am glad that analogy works for you. Thanks for the comment! And there you are so far away and you had time to listen on your trip. Thanks!