Direct from the Twin Cities, Peterson serves up the latest episode of Climate Stew with a look at your breakfast and how climate change is already affecting it. In our news section we look at environmental justice and the inequity Americans experience when it comes to pollution–your class and race may shield you or expose you to dirty air and a host of health problems. We also have news from the year 2164 about the demise of some of our favorite animals.
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Intro: Thank you for joining me for Episode 7 of Climate Stew. Although I am crossing North America on tour, I am glad for a few moments to spend with you. This week we take a look at your breakfast. We’ll have the results from our Climate Stew breakfast survey where over 100 of you revealed your breakfast habits. We also get some painful but important news from the year 2164 and as always we begin with the news.
News: Shocking New Research Shows Pollution Inequality in America Even Worse Than Income Inequality
From the Climate Stew news center we bring you this special global warming news report. Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth, and according to one new study, if they live in the USA they will also inherit a host of health problems as a direct result of exposure to excessive levels of pollution. This leads to more sick days at school and work. Turns out America’s pollution inequality is even worse than economic inequality.
A new study took a look at the differences of exposure to industrial air pollution among poor and non-poor Americans as well as whites and non-whites. The lead researcher, James K. Boyce, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst expected to find a disparity based on class and even race but was shocked at how big of a difference they uncovered in the nationwide study. The poor and people of color, poor or not, are sucking in far worse air in most congressional districts than richer and whiter citizens throughout the USA.
As a result, these poor folks and people of color, poor or not, experience more illness, which leads to missing work and school, more medical bills, and lower property values in their neighborhoods.
In an interview with Alternet, Dr. Boyce talked about the data and how to change the inequity. He points to the successes of the environmental justice movements started in the 1980s by people of color in Harlem and elsewhere. Environmental Justice groups have raised awareness and pressed government officials to act. Boyce suggests more of this type of activism and organizing is needed.
What are the Three US states with the highest pollution inequity ratings? — Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. See our show notes for links to the interview, the study, and ratings by Congressional district. And for those who listen to this podcast from outside of the US, let us know where you are, and we will share news stories closer to home.
Main Section: Climate Change and Breakfast
I can confidently say that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I like it so much that I often have two breakfasts. I may be part Hobbit. Recently Climate Stew conducted a breakfast survey to find out what listeners are eating. 100 respondents from seven different countries, reported on what they like to eat and drink for breakfast. 60% of the respondents were from the USA who tended to favor cold cereal for breakfast, but once folks in the UK (there were 16 of them) and Sweden (we had 10 Swedes) began to respond, well, cold cereal got pushed out. Helping me look at the data and talk about breakfast food is Yuri Ivanovitch from Brighton Beach NY and the owner of Dasha Deli. Hello Yuri.
Yuri: No, hello Peterson. Ok let’s see what you people are eating for breakfast.
The top 7 breakfast food items are
at number 7: Yoghurt
followed by Pancakes, Waffles or Crepes and I imagine Blintz.
at number 5 we have hot cereal
then toast followed by fruit
number 2 was cold cereal which got knocked out of first place by eggs.
People also liked their bagels and leftovers a lot but few like marmite or even beef stew for breakfast.
Peterson: which was a staple of my odd childhood growing up in a restaurant.
In the Other category people typed in that their favorite breakfasts included pumpkin pie, green smoothies, and salami and Muenster cheese with a deli – style dill pickle spear. 9% ate nothing at all and wanted to just be left alone in the morning.
Coffee at number one, then tea, followed by orange juice were the top three beverages people drank at breakfast time. The Other category included Hot Chocolate, Diet Coke, and something that will remain unmentionable or else I will have to mark this podcast episode as explicit. Use your imagination.
At Climate Stew we care about your breakfast and your access to your favorite foods, so we have done some research to find out if your breakfast is endangered on a warmer planet. Hold onto your English Muffins, folks, there is some unsettling morning food news.
Yuri: Let’s start with Cereal, hot and cold: Many studies warn that international grain prices will rise over the next 50 years. In an Oxfam international study looking at food availability and climate change, researchers predict that grains will be harder to grow and that within the next 15 years cereals will cost 20 to 30 percent more than they do today. That also means that pasta is endangered—now that is alarming!
Peterson: Ok, Eggs and a tangentially Polar Bear the poster mammal for global warming. Polar bears, whose habitats and hunting habits are hindered by climate change, have resorted to gorging on seabird eggs, oh and garbage. Researchers in Canada have seen a growing trend among polar bears who are eating more wild bird eggs than ever before, in some cases with a single bear raiding over 300 duck nests in 48 hours.
Yuri. Unlike these polar bears in Canada though most people in the United Kingdom do not eat wild bird eggs, but researchers and bird watchers there have noticed a serious decline in bird populations. This may be because birds are laying their eggs earlier in the season than previously observed. This results in their bird young being born before caterpillars, their favorite breakfast and primary food source, make their annual appearance.
Peterson yes, But what about the people who eat eggs from chickens? Well, the poultry industry is concerned about the ability to produce their products, although traditionally they’ve not been that concerned about the humane conditions for the chickens in their care. In order to protect cooped up chickens from rising temperatures, scientists are scrambling to breed heat-tolerant poultry.
Oh, Meat Lovers be warned, soy sausage and tempe bacon (or even grasshopper breakfast links) may well be in your future.
Yuri, that’s right Peterson. As corn and soy prices rise because of droughts and floods, so will the prices for livestock that feed on these grains. Britain’s National Pig Association is warning of an inevitable bacon shortage. I know for some of you that is quite a blow.
You may have also noticed a steady increase in orange juice prices. That’s because a devastating plague is destroying orange groves worldwide. Huanglongbing — more commonly known as HLB or “citrus greening” has been sweeping through commercial citrus farms in the Philippines, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and China and has begun to take its toll on the Florida orange growing industry.
Peterson Trees get infected with HLB and in less than two years begin to produce oranges with green patches that do not ripen and that deliver a bitter, nasty tasting flavor. The only known solution so far is to isolate infected plants and to house orange groves indoors. That or create an HLB resistant orange tree.
Yuri: HLB has now spread to all of Florida’s 32 citrus producing counties resulting in the tripling of wholesale prices and forcing thousands of farmers out of business. While HLB has not been directly linked to global warming, scientists for over three decades have warned that agricultural pests and diseases will increase as greenhouse gases warm the planet.
Peterson: Perhaps the most disturbing news of all is that coffee, our favorite morning beverage (well at least according to our study) is under serious threat because of coffee leaf rust.
Yuri:As the earth warms, the delicate mountainous regions where coffee has thrived no longer provide the optimum environment; coffee crop yields are dropping dramatically.
Peterson: While there is a type of coffee that is naturally resistant to coffee leaf rust, it apparently tastes like crap.
We have provided links to several stories that look at the effects of climate change on our favorite foods. Check out the show notes at Climate Stew dot com. And thank you Yuri for joining us.
Yuri, No it is a pleasure.
That Day in Climate History
I am Timothy Meadows, It is Saturday October 27, 2164 and time for “That Day in Climate History.”
While we endeavor to focus on the many hopeful stories of the positive steps that people from the Climate Generation had taken during the Great Transition, we also recognize our ancestors and our earth home suffered great loses and casualties because of global warming.
By 2014 alarming reports began to surface that the planet lost half of its wildlife in a 40 year span. The only species that continued to grow were humans taking up more and more space and resources contributing further to the climate crisis.
Climate Change was not the only culprit leading to the animals’ demise: exploitation, and degradation and loss of habitat also contributed. So many animal and plant species are lost to us now. These include the Koala bear, an animal that favored eucalyptus leaves in its diet, a tree that lost more and more of its nutrients as carbon dioxide filled the atmosphere. Gremlin, the last known living Koala bear died in captivity at the Beruit Zoo in 2074.
The Arctic fox, the Empire Penguin, and the Ringed Seal now only live in captivity. The world also lost two of it favorite animals—first the flamingo, a tall, bright pink elegant bird that once thrived in semi-tropical wetlands but were wiped out by droughts and diseases. And perhaps even more devastating to humans was the extinction of the salmon. This large fish that lived in cool waters and was a favored food among our ancestors has not been since for nearly 80 years. The last wild salmon was captured in 2085 off the coast of Alaska. Though efforts at farming salmon were popular and successful for a time, the conditions also encouraged the rapid spread of Bacterial Kidney Disease.
While we now enjoy a stable planet, peace, and much hope, we also mourn the loss of those animals that did not survive the Great Transition. On this day in 2164 we remember that day in climate history
Climate History is brought to you by Merck, more than Pharmaceuticals, we have been creating food in labs for over 100 years.
How wonderful to spend a little time with you. Thank you for listening and thanks for sharing this podcast with your friends This week of October 27th 2014 I am in the Twin Cities then I chug along on Amtrak and arrive next week in Vancouver, BC then present throughout in the Pacific NW. You can see my whole schedule at Climate Stew dot Com under the About menu option. Please keep your messages coming and leave comments at Climate Stew dot com. Special thanks to Dr. Jennifer O’Brien, Prescott Allen Hazelton, oh, and Joe G, who with all those tuffs of hair coming out of his ears, makes me wonder if Italian Americans and Hobbits are genetically related.