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Episode 34 Migration, Fast Cars, and Food

Climate Stew Host, Peterson Toscano

Climate Stew Host, Peterson Toscano

In this episode of Climate Stew Peterson interviews Elizabeth Szatkowski a director of a mental health center in Portland, Maine. She also works with recent immigrates . Many of these came from Africa and the Middle East to a new world with new climate. And it was climate in part that displaced them. The interview gives excellent background, but also provides practical ideas of how you can support migrants who have moved into your community. Keeping with that theme we learn about a Solidarity Refrigerator in Spain, a creative community project to address food waste in the midst of a massive economic crisis. In That Day in Climate History we learn about the very real steps car racing has already taken to address pollution and climate change.

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Portland, ME welcomes immigrants from around the world. Global Portland

Portland, ME welcomes immigrants from around the world. Global Portland


Hello and welcome to episode 34 of Climate Stew. The audio magazine that finds a climate connection in the strangest of places. Well, some not so surprising. Today I share an interview with Elizabeth Szatkowski  from Portland, Maine. Her life is filled with people from around the world, particularly migrants who landed in Maine in search of a safe haven. She shares how they are adapting on a changing planet and the role community members are taking in helping with the transition to a new life. From the future Timothy Meadows once again dives into he world of sports to find an unlikely crew of climate action figures. But first, the news.

Joining me in the news room today is Tony Buffusio from the Bronx.

Isabel Carrasco Granado resting at her apartment in Zaragoza. She found a part-time job earlier this year in a nursing home, where she was asked to work unpaid overtime. Credit Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

Isabel Carrasco Granado resting at her apartment in Zaragoza. She found a part-time job earlier this year in a nursing home, where she was asked to work unpaid overtime. Credit Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

“Thank you Peterson. I love a story about people coming together to meet a need, especially when food’s invovled. And here’s a great example. You probably heard that Spain has been in the grips of one of the worst economic crises in decades. Peterson, just how bad is it in Spain?

Peterson: Well, Tony, according to the New York Times: “Spain lost about 16 percent of its jobs, more than any other eurozone country. The official unemployment rate sat above 22 percent at the end of the last quarter, with more than 5.15 million people out of work (2.7 million of them unemployed for more than a year). Many of them no longer qualify for any benefits and have family members who are already overextended trying to help.

Issam Massaoudi, an unemployed Moroccan immigrant, checks out what's inside the Solidarity Fridge. Massaoudi says money is tight for him, and it's "amazing" to be able to help himself to healthy food from Galdakao's communal refrigerator. Lauren Frayer for NPR

Issam Massaoudi, an unemployed Moroccan immigrant, checks out what’s inside the Solidarity Fridge. Massaoudi says money is tight for him, and it’s “amazing” to be able to help himself to healthy food from Galdakao’s communal refrigerator.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Tony: Yeah, its been hard. And some people for the first time in their lives are struggling to put food on the table. But one community in Basque Country has come up with a solution. They installed what they call a Solidarity Fridge. It’s the brainchild of Alvero Saiz. He used to run a food bank for low income residents in the city. His latest move is this communal fridge.

Different food products inside a refrigerator

Different food products inside a refrigerator

Peterson: According to the Guardian Newspaper: Saiz’ goal isn’t actually to feed people in need. “This isn’t charity. It’s about making use of food that would otherwise end up in the bin. It doesn’t matter who takes it – Julio Iglesias could stop by and take the food – at the end of the day it’s about recovering the value of food products and fighting against waste.”

Tony: Yeah, Peterson, but people can’t just put in any only old food..

Peterson: That’s right, there are some rules: no raw animal products and no out of date meals. Much of the food comes from local restaurants. Instead of throwing out leftover tapas and such, they stock the fridge. The town granted the solidarity fridge a special independent legal status, so that the city can’t be sued if someone gets sick.”

Tony: But besides restaurants, people have begun preparing food in their homes to share though the community refrigerator. I love the thought of these Spanish grandmothers and grandfathers cooking a little extra to place in the fridge.

Peterson: In just the first seven weeks, Saiz estimated to the Guardian that between 440 and 660 pounds of food was saved from the garbage thanks to the fridge. The idea is catching on, too: a second solidarity fridge sprang up in the city of Murcia, Spain.

Tony: Yeah, I think it’s pronounce Murcia.

Really? Murcia. Saiz said people throughout the world who are interested in starting something similar in their communities have been in contact with him.

Tony: Peterson this is a great idea. And really who doesn’t like leftovers? Did your grandmother ever make for you fried spaghetti?

Peterson: Tony, please, don’t get me started. I LOVE that. But we need to get on with the show.

Main: Interview with Elizabeth Szatkowski. Talking Migration and Climate


Elizabeth Szatkowski with some c0-workers

Winter in Portland, Maine

Winter in Portland, Maine

That Day in Climate History

Racing Gone Green

Racing Gone Green

I am Timothy Meadows. It is Saturday, September 7, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History. In the early 21st Century, one of the most popular sports was car racing. (race car sounds)

America’s National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or NASCAR and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile with its Forumla One Series captivated the public with fast cars, flashy drivers, and great a deal of petroleum products.

Aware of the negative impact their sport had on the planet, both NASCAR and Forumla 1 made the necessary changes to clean up the sport. They also strove to raise awareness among their many fans about the need to take responsibility for pollution.

Starting in 2008 NASCAR Green inaugurated eco-friendly programs. They turned to solar energy in some of their biggest tracks including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They also launched the largest Waste Diversion program of any professional sport. Instead of dumping tires in landfills, they recycled over 120,000 them every year. In addition, they also recycled and re-refined motor oil. In order to offset their massive carbon footprint, NASCAR Green began a tree planting campaign. For each car in the NASCAR series, they planted a tree. NASCAR Green also launched a digital tree planting efforts giving fans the opportunity to donate a tree in an area of need across the USA. According to NASCAR’s records, in just 2014 300,000 trees were planted. In order to transition the sport to cleaner energy while maintaining the thrilling speed fans expected, NASCAR partnered with innovators to introduce new technology including biofuels, fuel cells, and electric cars.

Formula E Electric Race Car

Formula E Electric Race Car

In 2014 Forumla One held the first ever fully-electric international car racing series. Significantly quieter than other race cars, these first generation electric automobiles accelerated from 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 225 km/h. The creation of the Formula E series helped drive innovation. It also proved to fans that fast cars did not need to pollute.

On this day in 2165, we remember That Day in Climate History

Climate History is brought to you by Ford Motors proud maker of 100% carbon-neutral automobiles, trucks, and scooters for over 135 years.


If you were wondering, I can confirm that everything mentioned in That Day in Climate History already happened. Now while some of what I read over at the NASCAR Green website sounds a lot like greenwashing—recycling tires and re-refining oil has become industry standard because it saves money. Still it warms my heart to know that the groundwork is laid for further action. Thank you for listening to this episode of Climate Stew. If you like what you hear, please tell your friends about the program. Listenership is growing and media is beginning to take notice. Thank you for getting the word out. You can listen to Climate Stew on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and as always at Climate Stew dot com where you can also read a transcript of much of today’s show, see music credits, and links to learn more. Special thanks to Elizabeth Szatkowski, the New England Religious Society of Friends, Oh, and Joe G, who as a wee lad mastered the art of ice dancer in ski pants. Come back for more stew soon.

Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

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

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