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Episode 33 — Unlikely Climate Lobbyists

Climate action is coming from all sorts of places–likely and unlikely. This episode of Climate Stew Peterson Toscano chats with an 18 year old recent high school graduate who is spending a year lobbying congress to act on climate. He shares his climate action history (he first became aware in second grade,) shares solutions, and explains why he has hope. In the news Marvin Bloom tells us about a drought in Guatemala. Timothy Meadows transmitting from 150 years in the future tells us about the bizarre connection between Conservative Christian missionaries and climate action. Climate Stew Logo

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 want to hear your ideas. Peterson tweets about climate change, LGBTQ concerns, faith, and placentas (he’s weird that way), so feel free to follow and jump into the conversation. And don’t forget to share Climate Stew with your friends. Peterson is also taking off to England, Ireland, and Iceland. Check out his schedule here.

Peterson Toscano with a friend, Abigail, at a recent prevention in Connecticut

Peterson Toscano with a friend, Abigail, at a recent prevention in Connecticut

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Transcript

Opening

Hello, this is Peterson Toscano, and I love it when an episode comes together so that a theme emerges. In this episode of Climate Stew you will hear a thread about the people affected by climate change and people concerned about those people. I also interview an 18 year old lobbyist, a recent high school graduate who is taking a year off before college to engage in climate action. Not really an environmentalist in the traditional sense, Peter Yarker-Sellers shares why he does climate work and where he finds hope. From the future we will learn about the vital role Bible Churches and Evangelical Churches will take on in addressing the climate crisis. But first out of Guatemala we have Marvin Bloom and the news.

News: Epic Drought in Guatemala

A man picks up oranges at the garbage dump of the La Terminal food centre, one of the largest food markets in Guatemala City February 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

A man picks up oranges at the garbage dump of the La Terminal food centre, one of the largest food markets in Guatemala City February 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

Thank you Peterson. This is Marvin, Marvin Bloom with this Climate News story. Drought Drought Drought. That’s all I am hearing about these days. Well, except for the floods in some places, but mostly drought. No doubt you have heard of the drought that is sucking the life out of California, where we get 40% of our agriculture. Yeah, California but I only just learned that the Central American country of Guatemala has been in a severe drought for the past three years. They say that up to one million people face a severe food emergency. And thanks to that nasty brat, El Nino, the dry spell is not expected to ease up anytime soon.

Now I I have a personal relationship with the country of Guatemala. About 10 years ago I took a weird turn in my life where I tried to de-gay myself with the help of a church in Long Island, or as my pastor at the time called it, The Lord’s Island. It’s a long story but I’m okay now and happily gay married. But during my time in the church I was exposed to an on-going church mission project right outside of Guatemala City. I even went for a short trip myself in 2006. For like 25 years the church has sent short-term missionaries to help with medical needs and building projects (although to be honest most of the schools the teens in our church youth group helped construct ended up collapsing. Thank God no one was hurt.) Anyway in addition to hearing a lot about Jesus and my sinful lifestyle, I also picked up of information about Guatemala and developed a soft spot for this country and the Guatemalans I’ve met. 15 million people live in Guatemala and half of those live in poverty. They have the world’s fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition, affecting mostly children under five. And now this drought.

Coffee Leaf Rust not affects coffee lovers AND coffee growers.

Coffee Leaf Rust affects coffee lovers AND coffee growers.

It’s bad. I mean the El Nino weather pattern comes around in cycles, but because of climate change it’s stronger than ever. But also because of the warming temperatures in the mountainous coffee growing regions of Central America, there’s an awful fungus spreading like wild fire, attacking coffee plants. Even part time many Guatemalans work in the coffee industry. But because of coffee leaf rust there are few shifts and they are getting paid only 3 to 4 dollars a day, half of what they got last year. And then there is the corn, a staple in Guatemala. We we learned from Yuri in episode 32 of Climate Stew, corn production, or maize, is threatened by drought. Most farming families in Guatemala will loss half or even all of their corn production this year. Because of the poverty and now the drought many indigenous families are only eating one or at the most only two meals a day.

The drought in California is awful, no question. but since it is a rich place, globally speaking, they can adapt, irrigate, even take the salt out of seawater in a pinch. But I think of Alma and Jose Flores, there in Guatemala and their children, Ana, Carlos, Maria, and little Sebastian. I think of the amazing spicy hen stew Alma made and the night we sat around the table talking. Si halblo un poco de Espanol. I wonder, How are they coping? They were living on the edge then, what about now? Because for me this isn’t just about a drought or poverty in Guatemala, it’s about people I know who might be suffering right now. Alright I’m going to find out. Back to you Peterson

Main: Interview w/ Peter Jarka-Sellers

Peter Parka-Sellers goes to Capitol Hill with Citizens Climate Lobby

Peter Parka-Sellers goes to Capitol Hill with Citizens Climate Lobby

That Day in Climate History: Evangelical and Bible Churches engage in climate action as part of their missionary work.

I am Timothy Meadows. It is Saturday August 24th, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History. As I study the amazing accomplishments of the climate generation so long ago, I discover unlikely players taking on new roles on a new planet. One such group of people were Conservative and Evangelical Christians in North America and Europe. For a short time Leaders and members of independent Bible churches, Conservative Christian denominations, and non-denominational Evangelical churches initially refused to believe that the world faced a serious climate crisis. Some argued, surely God is in control, so we need not worry.

Their theology also taught that harmful actions resulted in negative consequences. Still during the early 21st Century many in these churches did not apply this teaching to air pollution and the disastrous results of greenhouse gases stockpiling in the atmosphere.

As part of their regular practice, these Conservative churches financially supported missionaries, people from their churches who travelled to distance places in order to share their faith and to do good works. Since as early as the 1860’s the churches in North America and the United Kingdom received regular reports of the progress of the mission work. They also got to know about the daily lives of the local people the missionaries served. By the late 20th Century they began to send small delegations from the church to visit mission stations and assist in building projects. But by early 2016 though troubling reports from mission stations in many places including the Philippines, Malawi, Guatemala, and Indonesia reached the churches in North America and Europe. The missionaries shared eyewitness accounts of severe droughts, floods in places that never experienced flooding before, food shortages, women and children walking farther and farther for water, mass migrations, and political instability.

Pat speaks climateThese reports moved congregations to rethink their earlier attitudes about global warming. While they did not suddenly identify with the beliefs, practices, and values of the secular environmentalist movement or the earth care movement in more liberal churches, these traditional believers found a way into the crisis through their longterm commitment to support their missionaries abroad and the people they served. They increased their giving to help communities far and wide. They also tapped into their political power. By the year 2020 they proved to be a powerful force in lobbying Conservative Republican leaders. They demanded that aid be released to help countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, to help nations adapt to the dangerous effects of climate change. And they began to speak out to a public needing moral direction. In 2021 at age 91 the Reverend Pat Robertson, a well known Christian broadcaster and former presidential candidate, called on Christians in industrialized nations to repent of relying on dirty greenhouse gases. In his influential public address he said, “Folks, I believe in a God of new beginnings, and today God is doing a new thing. He’s giving us new understand. It is time we purify ourselves, stop polluting God’s creation, make amends with those who are suffering today and generations to come. We have the power in our hands to continue the curse or to instead to bless. I say this is the day we choose life and a new course for America and the world.”

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

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Closing

And that my friends is the end of this episode of Climate Stew. Thank you for listening. I am heading off to England, Ireland, and Iceland. If you are in those places, check out Climate Stew dot com to see my presentation schedule as I do climate comedy and much more. You can read a transcript of today’s program at Climate Stew dot com. The show is available on iTunes, Stitcher and we have lots of excerpts over at SoundCloud. Special thanks to Peter Yarka-Sellers, the Citizens Climate Lobby, the future version of Pat Robertson, oh and Joe G, who in a former life served as a Pentecostal Holiness missionary to Southern France. Nice work if you can get it. Stay tune for more stew soon!

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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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