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Episode Twenty Four — Not Our First Rodeo: HIV and Climate Change

Joining us for episode 24 of Climate Stew is Rev. Nancy Wilson. At the Creating Change Conference Nancy took part in a workshop, A Queer Response to Climate Change, and she makes powerful connections between the 1980’s HIV/AIDS Crisis and our current climate change crisis. Tony Buffusio also joins us with some New York City news and a direct plea to Mayor De Blasio. That Day in Climate History looks at resiliency in the face of some dangerous pests. Climate Stew is available on  iTunes,  StitcherSoundCloud, or Listen here  on our site.





Pensive Peterson Toscano

Pensive Peterson Toscano

Hello this is Peterson Toscano with episode 24 of Climate Stew. Is this the penultimate episode of this jaunty climate change program? Hmmmm, you will have to check in with us next week. But first we have a whole episode for you. Last month at the Creating Change conference Denver Colorado I co-presented a workshop called A Queer Response to Climate Change. In front of all the workshop participants I interviewed Rev. Nancy Wilson, the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church. She’s like their pope but doesn’t discriminate against transgender people. She has been on the front-lines of caring for people since the 1970s and shares with us connections she draws between addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s with climate change today.

Timothy Meadows reports from the year 2165 about how we might deal with some pests (and you learn about a new future TV program). But first welcome Climate Stew news correspondent Tony Buffusio.

News (sea level rise in NYC)

Thank you Peterson this is Tony Buffusio in the Bronx. Remember Super Storm Sandy back in 2012? I do and I don’t. I was in Florida with my girlfriend slash fiancee, Tina, so we missed it, then got stuck there and by the time we got home the drama was over. They said Anderson Cooper was in our neighborhood. Still it was a mess. Turns out it is just a preview of what is yet to come.

A new report from the New York City Panel on Climate Change warns of growing climate change threats to NYC. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

A new report from the New York City Panel on Climate Change warns of growing climate change threats to NYC. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change, NY, NY “is expected to see more frequent heat waves and extreme precipitation events.” In fact, it’s been hotter and wetter in NYC since the year 1900. Average temperatures rose by 3.5 degree Fahrenheit and sea levels rose over one foot, about 1.2 inches per decade. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much to you, but scientists and public officials are freaking out.

Ok, so I’m 28 years old, by 2050, when I’m 63, not even retired, sea level rise is projected to between a foot to almost two feet. And there is no escape to Florida where it’s gonna be worse. By 2100 NY Harbor could rise as much as 6 feet. Goodbye Wall Street unless they build a serious wall Yikes! Same holds true for DC and Boston, with the only upside being the Red Socks may get flooded out. Go Yankees.

But forget about the future. We got problems right now. With the current sea level rise when the storms come, they will bash the city with serious flooding. Right now over 400,000 people live in a NYC flood zone, making it the most populous flood zone in the USA, even worse than New Orleans. Sometimes its not so hot being number one.

City planners are talking about mitigation, fancy word for saying ‘Stop for the fossil fuel pollution already! and adaptation, fancy word for saying break out of the sandbags, build flood walls or relocate NYC to the Catskills.

You know i hear about these island nations like Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Maldives and how they are going underwater like a modern day Atlantis sunk because of carbon pollution. But I never imagined that the greatest islands in the world—Manhattan Island Long Island, City Island in the Bronx where you can get some kick butt oysters, are gonna drown. We need to cut out all the carbon polluting crap and like the Netherlands, NYC must protect itself. Mayor Deblasio, you know what we need? A big, strong, powerful dyke to save us all. Mr. Deblasio, build that flood wall. Back to you Peterson.

Main Nancy Wilson: Connections between HIV/AIDS Crisis and our current Climate Crisis


Rev. Nancy Wilson

Rev. Nancy Wilson

Thanks Tony,

Today’s guest is Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, the global leader of Metropolitan Community
Churches (MCC), which has churches and ministries in over 40 countries. Nancy was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979. She was appointed by President Obama to the White House
Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2011 and recently finished serving with that council. Nancy Wilson has been a spiritual activist for 40 years as a pastor and a lesbian. She was on the front lines during the early HIV/AIDS crisis. I asked what that was like and lessons she learned that we can apply to our current climate crisis.

That Day in Climate History

I am Timothy Meadows. It is Saturday, March 2nd, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History. During the 21st Century, along with the relentless rising temperatures, mosquito populations throughout the world grew at an alarming rate. Earlier springs and hotter summers proved ideal conditions for flying pests.

As their territories expanded ever northward, so did the rapid spread of West Nile Virus.
Fortunately only one in five people infected with West Nile Virus exhibit symptoms. These include “a fever” along with “headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.” Still with the growing number of cases, so did the risk to public safety.

WNVflyerFirst discovered in Uganda in 1937, major outbreaks of West Nile Virus occurred in Algeria in 1994 then in Romania in 1996. The first reported American case was in Queens, NYC in 1999. By the year 2005 over 600,000 people from every US state except for Hawaii and Alaska contracted West Nile Virus resulting in over 750 deaths. 20 years later in 2025 the number of reported cases exploded to over 3 million.

While there is still no cure or vaccine for any of the nine different strains of West Nile Virus, rates of infections dropped dramatically after 2025 with the introduction of community-based initiatives aimed at educating the public on how to reduce mosquitos’ access to standing water where they most often breed. With the use of creative and even humorous advertisements and posters, an entire generation learned personal protection measures to avoid mosquito bites. These have been passed down through the years and have become standard practice in most households and schools today. In addition, privately and publicly funded projects sprung up to aid the poor in the installation of screens on windows and doors, and to provide solar powered fans in doorways to keep mosquitos from entering.

Through vigilance and discipline along with the controversial use of chemical pesticides, most people today do not suffer from West Nile Virus. On this day in 2165 we remember that day in climate history.


Extreme Survivor Teenagers!

Extreme Survivor Teenagers!

Climate History is brought to you by Extreme Survivor Teenagers. Learn how twelve high school students survive one of America’s harshest climates, and see for yourself how they create a fully sustainable food co-op in the middle of the shark-infested malarian costal swamps of Westchester County.


I think I need to invest in a mosquito net for my bedroom. It always looks so romantic, right? We love to hear from you. Please leave comments over at Climate Stew dot com or email me Check out our website for blog posts, a transcript of much of today’s shows, links, and full music credits. Our opening music is by Mark Chadwick. Closing music by Poldore. Segment music by Baaskat. Special thanks to Rev. Nancy Wilson, Prescott Allen Hazelton, oh, and Joe G my very favorite pest of all.

Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

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

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