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Episode 38 — Speaking with Halldór Björnsson, a hopeful climate scientist

Climate Stew host Peterson Toscano on a recent trip to Iceland

Climate Stew host Peterson Toscano on a recent trip to Iceland

Climate Stew host Peterson Toscano traveled to Iceland and met one of the most hopeful climate scientists around. He shares a jaunty interview with Halldór Björnsson of the Icelandic Met Office.  We also welcome new Climate Stew partners, Yale Climate Connections with a story about Thomas Mode, a hunter and fisherman who sees firsthand the effects of a changing planet. Finally, we bring you Timothy Meadow and his very last broadcast from the future. Say it isn’t so!

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 lots of weird stuff, so feel free to follow and jump into the conversation. And don’t forget to share Climate Stew with your friends. Peterson is on tour in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Check out his schedule here.

Iceland. yeah, just wow.








Iceland is a land of volcanoes

Hello, i am Peterson Toscano. welcome to today’s program. I just arrived in Dallas Texas from Tromsø, Norway. Talk about climate changes.

Lots of exciting things are happening in the climate stew world. I am thrilled to announce a new partnership with a group of creative and smart folks over at Yale University. The Yale Climate Connections group is now providing climate stew with news stories. Today they introduce us to Thomas Mode, an avid outdoorsman who sees firsthand the effects of a changing planet.

Yale Climate Connections will contribute to many future episodes, but Don’t worry I will make sure that Tony Buffusio, Yuri and others will also join me for our own special Climate Stew news stories.

And while we are saying hello to a new partner, in this episode we also say good-bye to a long time contributor—Timothy Meadows, who sends us reports from 150 years in the future. We have just learned that it is time for him to sign off. I know! I love That Day in Climate History. But the series is over and Meadows is moving on. You will hear his final transmission at the end of today’s show. And then you will learn about what special new segment will take Meadow’s place but could never ever fill his shoes.

And in this episode you will hear an interview I had with Dr. Halldór Björnsson who studies weather and climate change in Iceland. While there have been recent stories about climate scientists, depressed over the state of the world, Dr. Bjornsson is brimming with hope in humanity. But first let’s hear about Yale Climate Connections


And to introduce Yale them to us is our very own roving correspondant, Tony Buffusio. Hi Tony, what can you tell us about our newest partner.

Thank you Peterson. Hi this is Tony Buffusio from the Bronx. This is what I learned. Yale Climate Connections aims to help citizens and institutions understand how the changing climate is already affecting our lives. It seeks to help individuals, corporations, media, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, academics, artists, and many others learn from each other about constructive “solutions” so many are undertaking to reduce climate-related risks and wasteful energy practices.

Through articles, radio stories, videos, and webinars, whatever that is, the folks at Climate Connections “connect the dots” between climate change and energy, extreme weather, public health, food and water, jobs and the economy, national security, the creative arts, and religious and moral values, among other themes. Peterson, They’re a perfect fit for Climate Stew.

Thomas Mode

I agree Tony and I am thrilled and honored that they have partnered with us. Today’s news story was researched and written by Sara Peach.(segment)

MODE: “I’m 66 years old and I don’t ever remember not hunting and fishing.”

That’s Richard Mode, an avid duck hunter and trout fisherman in North Carolina. He’s seen the impacts of the changing climate first-hand. He says ducks are migrating later and later, often not even showing up until after the hunting season ends. The fishing has also changed.

MODE: “Trout require cold, clear, clean water. Places that I’ve trout fished in the past that used to hold lots of fish are warming, and the fish just aren’t there like they used to be. It makes me very, very sad. There’s a sense of loss there that I cannot fully describe to you verbally.”

Mode hopes these changes can be slowed or reversed before more trout habitat is lost, but more importantly . . .

MODE: “Climate change is a national security issue, it’s a health issue, it’s not just sportsmen wanting to catch more fish. There are many, many reasons why we need to move away, as much as possible, from a carbon based energy policy.”

Otherwise, Mode fears that the hunting and fishing he grew up with and loves will disappear.

  1. Main: climate scientist Halldór Björnsson



Halldór Björnsson

My guest today is Halldór Björnsson, no, not the famous Icelandic soccer player. The Halldór Björnsson on our show is even more important. He works on weather and climate change in Iceland. Since 2012 he has served as the Head of the Atmospheric Research Group at Veðurstofa Island—the Icelandic Meteorological Office in Reykjavik.    He sees firsthand the affects of a changing climate. He is concerned, and he has hope.

That Day in Climate History:

IMG_1605I am Timothy Meadows, It is Saturday November 2nd, 2165 and time for the conclusion of this special historical series, That Day in Climate History. For over a year we have looked back in time to consider the amazing people of the climate generation. We highlighted their many successes in taking on fossil fuel pollution and the challenges of a dramatically changing climate. Digging into history as early as the 1970’s up through the 2030’s we focused our attention on people, institutions, and movements that contributed to the peace and stability we enjoy today in the 22nd Century.

What have I learned about our ancestors and their responses to global warming? Initially they were relatively slow to act. The emotional shock of the climate crisis with all of its devastating threats to human civilization, paralyzed many people into what became known as Climate Denial Syndrome. Yet even those who acknowledged the fact that the burning of greenhouse gases changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere leading to global warming, at first even they did nothing to address the climate problems and their causes.

But as we have often seen throughout history, once humans understand the threats they face, they respond robustly leading to bold action, inspired innovation, personal and collective sacrifices, and essential community building. And that is exactly what our ancestors did.

IMG_1673In researching the climate generation, I now better understand how global climate change endangered every aspect of life. It affected our ancestor’s food production, water security, coastal cities, and homeless populations. It magnified existing political conflicts leading to mass migrations, war, and human rights abuses. The threat and reality of a changing climate increased suffering in the world, mental illness, substance abuse, and insect borne diseases. And it touched everything in some way including simple pleasures like partaking in a game of golf, playing in the snow or enjoying a cup of coffee.

The problems loomed so large they nearly crushed our ancestors. But they discovered inner resources and collective courage to stand up to the myriad challenges. Perhaps their greatest accomplishment was to change their energy supplies from dirty to clean resources. The Great Transition came about through citizens who put pressure on leaders to change energy policy. It resulted in a period of great innovation and challenges. People had to live new lives on a new planet. For a time they made significant sacrifices when not enough clean energy was yet available. They moved in together, shared meals, grew their own food in every possible nook and cranny. They worked together to look after each other during the Great Transition and during the many extreme weather events that grew in frequency and intensity.

As I researched the history, watched archival videos, listened to their podcasts, reviewed their social media, and analyzed their news stories, I admit at times I was moved to tears as I relived the perilous times our our great great grandparent’s faced. I marvel at the many ways they remained human, sought justice, and resolved to make the world a better place. On this day in 2165, we remember That Day in Climate History.


Climate History is brought to you by Amazon offering beautiful handcrafted pieces of art delivered directly to your 3D printer.


Meet the real life Timothy Meadows, the man who inspired the series. He is a pastor living in Liverpool England and has served as a muse and inspiration for Peterson’s creative work.

Ah the comings and goings and the growing of the Climate Stew podcast. I am sad to see Timothy Meadows leave, although I have a feeling he will pop up from time to time. I am thrilled about Yale Climate Connections and about a new regular feature that will now appear starting next week. What is it? I’ll let the presenter speak for himself.

MARVIN: Hi everyone my name is Marvin, Marvin Bloom and this is your Marvin with Marvin. Yeah, I’ll have my segment of my very own at the end of the show to share my musings about what’s happening in the world, about my parnter Tristian and me and who knows what. Peterson thought i might have something to contribute, and I didn’t want to disappoint, so join us next time for, Your Moment with Marvin.

You can get show notes, links including a video of Thomas Mode in his natural hunting and fishing habitat, music credits and more over at Climate Stew dot com. Special thanks to Halldór Björnsson, Melissa Pfeffer, and other fine scientists at the Icelandic Met Office. And thanks to our new partner Yale Climate Connections. Oh and of course thanks to Joe G whose legendary volcanic eruptions in staff meetings using leads to a deep and significant period of cooling. come back soon for more climate stew.

Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

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

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