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Episode Five–It’s About the Children, Stupid! Or Is It?

In episode five of Climate Stew we playfully challenge a Climate Change action talking point and imagine a role transgender people may play in addressing global warming and justice. Listen here or on  iTunes, and Stitcher. Please rate and review. Comments are always welcome.

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Music Credits

 

Transcript

Intro: Hi everyone my name Marvin, Marvin Bloom from the Long Island Chapter of the Citizens Climate Brigade. Peterson will be with you in a moment, but he invited me to guest host today’s program, well after I complained that I was not getting enough airtime.

The only known photo of Marvin Bloom

The only known photo of Marvin Bloom

 

Welcome to Episode Five of Climate Stew, the global warming podcast that is a little queer, and I mean that in the good way. On today’s program Peterson tears up a major climate change talking point, you know the one that says we need to save the planet for future generations. Yeah that one. Also, Timothy Meadows brings us an inspiring report from the future looking at the past about how we might just deal with climate change in the present. But first the news.

News: Drought Anniversary

From the news studios at Climate Stew, we bring you this special climate news report.

Ok so most times anniversaries are good things. My partner, Tristan and I are about to celebrate our one-year legally married anniversary, which was three years after we were civilly unionized and five years after our religious institution committed us to each other. But there is one anniversary that no one is celebrating—the four year anniversary of the devastating extreme drought in California.

According to HuffPost Green: quote “The state ended its third driest year on record and entered a fourth consecutive year of drought, as the U.S. Geological Survey’s water calendar year came to a close. (Wait, they have a water calendar? Is this like a fundraiser where they have naked scientists pose each month with just a bunsen burner and evaporating dishes covering their privates? Oh, I want it)  Amid a rare autumn heat wave bringing triple-digit temperatures to the state, officials are warning Californians to prepare for the near certainty that the coming months will do little to relieve the parched state.”

And don’t expect relief from El Niño, or what KQED media refers to “The Pip-squeak” Turns out El Niño will be less potent than hoped for and will likely bring little rain to the region.  An agriculturally-rich state, farmers are relying on ground water to help them with their crops which is only effective in the short-term. If it were a poorer part of the world like Bangladesh or Mississippi, no doubt this drought would be even more deeply felt without the means to temporally adapt. So happy anniversary California drought—here’s hoping for a quick and easy rain-soaked divorce.

Main Segment: It’s about the children

Music: For the Thrills of Nuptials fade at 55 sec.

For far too long environmentalists have attempted to move people to climate action by pointing to future generations; “Think of the children. We need to act so that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren do not inherit a broken planet.” While this talking point may deepen the commitment from already eco-conscious parents and grandparents, to me it falls flat.

crying child image: shutter stock

crying child image: shutter stock

Lots of parents are struggling right now simply to meet the needs of their children today, and have little left to think about the future. Added to this is the reality that a lot of people like me do not even have children or grandchildren. I mean I have nothing against kids, but when it comes to talking about climate, I literally have no personal DNA in the game.

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But there is a bigger problem with “doing it for the children and grandchildren” those little tikes who will one day inherit the earth. It gives the impression that climate change still hasn’t happened, but will eventually raise its ugly head some time down the road.

In highlighting the problem of CO2 in our atmosphere one US leader has said: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”  This clear pronouncement was followed up with a chilling statement from the National Research Council: “We now understand that industrial wastes, such as carbon dioxide released during the burning of fossil fuels, can have consequences for climate that pose a considerable threat to future society…The scientific problems are formidable, the technical problems, unprecedented, and the potential economic and social impacts, ominous.”

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That sounds to me like a call to immediate action, to provide stability for earthlings present and future alike. And if those statements just sound like more of the same global warming jibber-jabber you read every day in the news, here’s something that will put it in perspective: That US leader I quoted who raised the climate change alarm was actually President Lyndon B. Johnson speaking in 1965. The National Research Council then took it a step further in 1971 with that follow-up statement released during the Nixon Administration.  If climate change was apparent then, it’s undoubtedly beginning to hammer us now.

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So exactly who are these children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who are doomed to inherit a dysfunctional earth and atmosphere? Yeah, that would be us. Welcome to the new planet earth where the effects of global warming are already being felt—droughts, superstorms, floods, crop failures, migration, and more are no longer predictions for the future, but a present reality, disproportionately affecting people living in the Global South Oh sure it can get much worse. These are the birth pangs of  a new age of a climate change-driven world bequeathed to us by our ancestors.

The challenges we face today though are not insurmountable. Many of us have already overcome potential disasters handed down to us from our parents and grandparents. Plenty of us inherited all sorts of things we would rather do without: Debt comes to mind or a genetic disposition to develop heart disease, diabetes, or even alcoholism. And some of us have even survived abusive and neglectful caregivers. In response, we have developed strategies to adapt and thrive. In other words, this is not our first rodeo, but it is the biggest one we will likely ever have to address, one that we cannot take on alone.

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And while we have inherited this nasty climate catastrophe from our ancestors, we also come from a people that have proven themselves over and over again to rise to the challenges of their times, and to act with purpose, creativity, and determination. During the 1920s, 30’s, and 40’s our ancestors faced regional drought, global financial collapse, and devastating world war. More recently, in the 1980s certain groups of people were devastated by HIV/AIDS, while having to contend with a government that was unwilling to acknowledge the problem and a president who refused to even call the disease by its name.  Throughout the past 200 years people of color, indigenous people, and women have endured severe and relentless oppression, yet they continued to speak out, organize, and demand a better world for themselves and their children. Today we are in troubled times that call on us to dig deep inside ourselves to find the courage to face the reality of climate change, to educate ourselves, and to discover what our roles might be on this new planet. The ball is now in our hands.

That Day in Climate History: The Trans Eco Builders

I am Timothy Meadows, It is Saturday October 13, 2164 and time for “That Day in Climate History.” While it is hard for us today to imagine society enforcing a strict gender binary, those living in the early 21st century faced relentless gender oppression. People were assigned a gender at birth and when later in life they questioned that gender, and began living as another, they often experienced discrimination and even violence.

What began as a project to provide safe and affordable housing for people who were then known as transgender, became one of the most successful eco-construction movements in North America. In 2018 Ovid Gabriel convened a group of trans* identified leaders including Ethan St. Pierre, Autumn Sandeen, Abby Louise Jensen, and Lavern Cox who all met up at a transgender conference. They reflected on many of their own transition experiences, where they held onto visions of themselves that at first only they could see. In spite of opposition from friends and family, they pursued these deeply felt identities, and often at great costs, saw these inner realities come to life. After witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence that destroyed much of New Jersey and nearly wiped out Philadelphia, they then applied this same determination to building and retrofitting homes to make them fully sustainable, homes that could produce their own energy, still a novel concept at the time.

They called themselves the Transition Building Team and through grants from queer organizations and gender queer centers, they expanded their efforts. Over the next ten years the Transition Building Team helped tens of thousands of other transgender people, queer seniors, people of color, and many others who needed assistance during the Great Transition from dirty to clean energy. Their ingenuity and community-based efforts served as a model for hundreds of other similar projects during the first half of the 21st Century. On this day in 2164 as we celebrate the creativity and drive of the Transition Building Team, we remember that day in Climate History.

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Closing

And that ends episode five of Climate Stew Podcast. You can see show notes, music credits, and a full transcript at climatestew.com. If you want to see Peterson live and in person check out the upcoming North American tour schedule at petersontoscano.com. You will also see me on stage in his play, Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat? Special thanks to Marvin Bloom, oh that’s me, your welcome Peterson, Prescott Allen Hazelton, oh, and Joe G, oh my God do I really have to thank Joe G. Why is he getting all this attention anyway? Alright, and Joe G for his generous and thoughtful feedback, oh, please Joe G is the poster child of the It Gets Bitter campaign. Oh and In our next episode a scientist tries to straighten Peterson out. This should be fun

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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