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Episode 29 — Tornados, Blindness, and Climate Change

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Steve Famiglietti

On Episode 29 of Climate Stew, I talk with Steve Famiglietti, a visually impaired storm chaser. In addition to sharing insider information about the secret lives of tornados, Steve, who got his degree in meteorology, shares his thoughts and feelings about climate change. Marvin Bloom brings us a news story about the growing renewable revolution happening–The Great Transition. We also get news from the future looking back on the many ways we devise creative solutions to meet the needs of people with disabilities on a changing planet. Oh, and we have a new feature–What You Can Do THIS WEEK to address Climate Change.

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. Peterson tweets about climate change, queer issues, faith, and fruit flies, so feel free to follow and jump into the conversation. Make Peterson happy and tell your friends about Climate Stew

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Episode 29 Transcript

Opening

Steve Famiglietti storm chasing with Alan Hopkins

Steve Famiglietti storm chasing with Alan Hopkins

Hello there. Welcome to Episode 29 of Climate Stew. Peterson Toscano here serving up some fresh, spicy stew. If this is not your first episode, you know that I am so serious about climate change, that I’m willing to get down right silly if it will get someone’s attention. If it is your first time—well hello gorgeous. I have just returned from three days of lobbying in Washington DC with 900 other people from the Citizens Climate Lobby. We spoke with several members of congress and their staff about the urgent need to do something about climate change. In particular i asked them to consider placing a fee on carbon, one that steadily rises each year. Then take 100% of that money and give it to households in the form of a rebate check. I mean seriously who doesn’t like getting  money in the mail? The lobbying experience this time around was both encouraging and overwhelming. After three years of lobbying, though I will not be cowed.

But first our episode. My good friend Steve Famligetti joins us. Steve is legally blind and has a thing for tornados.  In fact, he is a storm chaser. Trained in meteorology, Steve shares his thoughts and his candid feelings about climate change and of course tornados. Also from the future we hear how citizens came up with creative solutions to help people with disabilities on a changing planet. But first, some good news about energy.

News

Hi my name is Marvin, Marvin Bloom and Our Climate News story today is about a Great Transition from dirty to clean energy. EcoWatch is singing the praises of a new book called, The Great Transition, which proclaims an energy revolution has been taking place over the past 40 years.

In their article EcoWatch points to 7 Facts that say prove that this energy revolution has arrived. Here are some of the facts.

Sony Umatic VO-5630

Sony U-Matic VCR in 1971

Fact #1 Solar power is cheaper now than ever. In 1972 the cost of solar energy was $74 a watt. That’s a watt, really Peterson? I said make me sound funny, not corny. Fast forward to today. We can produce one watt of solar energy for 70 cents. That’s like a 196 percent decrease? Advances in technology definitely lower prices. I mean in 1971, when I was a toddler, Sony came out with the U-matic Videocassette Recorder, the VCR. It was about the size of a volkswagen beetle. This new fangled video player sold for 1,395 dollars, that would be like 8000 dollars in today money. But the price dropped and quckly. In 1985 people were buying far better VCR players for 250 dollars. Of course now I can go to the thrift store down the road and get a VCR for about a dollar. They will even throw in a box of VHS videos including that classic, the Bad News Bears.

Fact #2 Those who invest in energy are adding lots of wind power to their portfolios. Wind is outpacing solar and has grown more than 20% over the past 10 years.

Fact#3 Environmentalists fiercely oppose subsidies handed out to oil companies but are rejoicing that at point 70 countries provide some sort of tax incentive or subsidy to promote renewables. Some nations are even considering placing a fee on carbon, much like the successful carbon tax in British Columbia.

Fact #4 Here in the USA they are dropping coal like a hot potato. Between 2007 and 2014 coal usage fell by 21%. More than 1/3 of the nation’s coal plants have already closed or announced plans to close very soon.

Fact #5 Electric vehicle fleets are replacing petroleum fueled transportation in cities in the US and beyond. Also, bike sharing is on the rise. More than 800 cities in 56 countries now have fully operational bike-share programs. That means there are over 1 million public bikes out there for city dwellers and visitors to use. Which I guess is a good thing, but I have to say I do worry sometimes about all these tourists biking around in cities that they don’t know,  without helmets. You need to wear your helmets.

While there is still a long way to go before most people get their energy from clean exclusively from renewable sources, particularly with opposition to nuclear power, an energy trend points to a fossil-fuel free future one day. But the real energy that is needed to bring this about though is political will.

Main

Interview with Steve Famligetti

That Day in Climate History

I am Timothy Meadows, it is Saturday June 29th 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History.

By the early 21st Century the effects of climate change were already being felt globally. Still not everyone experienced extreme weather events equally. Some were only temporarily inconvenienced by severe storms. Others in the very same communities faced real dangers in their homes.

In particular disabled people found that the challenges they already faced on a daily basis only magnified with bigger and more robust storms.

As a result, groups organized, often led by the disabled, to address the needs of disabled people in a time of climate change.

Saritsa Foundation Training

Saritsa Foundation Training

For example, The Saritsa Foundation in India created a mobile university with the aim to empower communities. They reached out to children, women, disabled, and poor citizens who had little access to education. Through mobile university workshops Saritsa trainers helped these citizens cope with manmade and natural disasters, including climate change. Many of the instructors were physically challenged themselves. They taught their peers techniques and strategies needed to survive flash floods, extreme heat, and earthquakes. Saritsa Foundation also developed specific workshops for visually impaired women, a group often overlooked at that at time.

In the United States a volunteer group formed to address the specific needs of disabled people in their homes. During times of extreme heat,  many disabled people were trapped and faced life-threatening conditions because of respiratory ailments.  Similarly with more and more power outages due to extreme weather, those who needed electricity for medical equipment and devices suffered greatly. State and federal government provide no assistance in meeting these needs. As a result, in 2017, a group of disabled people and their friends, created the Light and Power Intervention Team. They provided disabled people with air conditioning units, safe portable energy generators, and backup batteries. They also partnered with local faith communities that offered meals, transportation, and 10154464924_c43766f29c_ztemporary shelter for disabled people during times of extreme weather.  By 2025 the Light and Power Intervention Team banded together with a group of transgender eco-builders known as the Transition Building Team. Together they aided disabled people in converting their homes to cleaner, cheaper energy sources during the Great Transition.

The Climate Generation learned early on that in order to face the climate crisis that was upon them, they needed to consider the needs of the most vulnerable among them and work with them to develop practical strategies to look after each other. The goal quickly grew beyond the need to simply avert a climate catastrophe. Instead they endeavored and ultimately succeeded in creating a better world for all.

On this day in 2165 we remember that day in climate history

Advert

Climate History is brought to you by Sony Electronics, makers of waterproof, solar powered video and audio devices implanted directly into your skull.

Closing

Thank you for spending a little time with me. You can easily share climate stew with your friends. Just post links from our SoundCloud page—search for climate stew. Or link to Climate Stew dot com.

I want to start something new. People want to know, ‘what can i do to address climate change?’ so at the end of each show I’ll give you an idea or an assignment. Just listening to climate stew you are doing something, learning. And in sharing the podcast with others, you are stirring up a climate conversation. But beyond that, what can you do this week? I want you to think of one of your passions or interests. It might be coffee (that is a passion of mine) or cotton or a concern for homeless people or animal welfare. Identify one thing that means a lot to you. Then spend 10 minutes researching how climate change might effect that thing. It might take some creativity. There might not yet be anything written about the connection between say skydiving and climate change, but do a little digging and see what happens. Share with us what you discover. leave comments at the show notes at climate stew dot com or email me info at climate stew dot com that’s info at climate stew dot com.

Special thanks to Steve Famligetti, Patty Clark, oh, and Joe G who’s passion for snarky comments has been shown to magnify with extreme weather.

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Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

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

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