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Episode Twenty Two — Climate Crazy and Pets of the Future

On episode 22 of Climate Stew, Marvin Bloom explains how he went from climate change apathy to jumping on-board the global warming action bandwagon: warning–sappy love story ahead. We also hear good news out of Latin America about a rapidly growing solar market. From the future we learn all about pets on a changing planet. Some will be pettable and edible. Yikes. We also learn about the most popular and unlikely celebrities in the future. Climate Stew is available on  iTunes,  StitcherSoundCloud, or Listen here  on our site.

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Opening

Hello, this is Peterson Toscano with Episode 22 of Climate Stew. Glad you made it. I’m coming to you all the way from Grand Junction, Colorado where I am presenting. (check out my performance schedule.) Oh, and it’s my birthday this week, so leave me a nice birthday greeting over at Climate Stew dot com (There is no level I won’t stoop to to get a comment out of you.) Marvin Bloom is BACK. He reveals how he got tangled up in climate action. Aw, what love will do. From Timothy Meadows we learn about pets of the future through our regular segment, That Day in Climate History. But first, the news.

Climate Stew Host, Peterson Toscano

Climate Stew Host, Peterson Toscano

News—Solar Energy in Latin America

Our Climate News story today looks at why Latin America is suddenly a hotbed of solar growth. Travis Hoium writing for The Motley Fool reports, quote:

“If you’re a company looking to grow in the solar industry you have to have an eye on Latin America. It’s sunny, energy prices are high, and countries are desperate for investment in new energy infrastructure.”

SunEdison's Chile power plant, which was once the largest merchant solar plant in the world. Image source: SunEdison

SunEdison’s Chile power plant, which was once the largest merchant solar plant in the world. Image source: SunEdison

He goes on to explain:

“That’s a perfect combination of factors for the solar industry and it’s why some of the industry’s largest players see Latin America as a key to the industry’s future. Interestingly, solar energy’s growth won’t be dampened by low oil or coal prices because those energy sources supplied just 14% and 6% of electricity according to a 2010 report from The World Bank. Instead, it’s hydro power that supplies most of the region’s energy and it’s under pressure from environmental groups because of its impact on Latin America’s ecosystem. As a result, countries are turning to solar energy for new electricity production and the boom is just getting started.” end quote

While the solar power growth in Latin America is still modest, it is projected to increase significantly over the next 10 years, and that’s without government subsidies on solar energy. With advances in energy storage, who know? In a decade Mexico may turn out to be a solar energy exporter.

Main—Marvin Bloom : Why I am Climate Crazy

Hi, my name is Marvin, Marvin Bloom. My partner Tristan and I are the co-leaders of the Long Island chapter of the Citizens Climate Brigade. After hearing Peterson on last week’s climate stew talking about why he is all into this climate stuff, I thought I’d tell you a little of my own story. My family and friends are all confused that I’m suddenly concerned about the planet. They’re like, “What’s wrong with you?” I feel like I’m coming out all over again, this time coming out for climate.

Honestly though in our home Tristan is the real environmentalist. I mean I like nature, you know Central Park with a thick picnic blanket and without a lot of bugs. But Tristan, he is very passionate about clean air, hiking, birds. He’s very green. Even so he wasn’t really into climate change until about two years ago.

The only known photo of Marvin Bloom

The only known photo of Marvin Bloom

One day I came home from work exhausted. I walked into the apartment and knew immediately Tristan was home because his bike was blocking the hallway. Don’t get me started. So I’m like, “Tristan, I’m home.” Nothing. I walk through the apartment and find him in the bedroom, face down on the bed, weeping. And I immediately said to myself, “Who died? I know someone must have died.” And then I thought no maybe someone was mean to Tristan. He’s very open about being transgender and people say and ask stupid things, and if they were mean, I’ll break their legs. But then I thought, he’s tough and can take care of himself, so I ask, “Tristan, Baby, what’s the matter?” And he’s weeping and weezing and heaving and I dont understand a word he’s saying. So he points to the New Yorker magazine open on the bed. And you know he’s a writer, he gets choked up over writing all the time. For all I know they could have used a semi-colon the wrong way or something. Writers. I pick up the article and start reading.

It was all about climate change and how new studies revealed that things were worse than feared, that things are happening faster and we may have hit a tipping point we can’t stop global warming and now we need to figure out how to adapt or even do geoengineering where they gerrymander or gerry rig the atmosphere by pumping sulfur into the air so we have 70 years of gray skies. And the whole time I’m reading Tristan is weeping and heaving. What do you do? What do you say? I really didn’t know.

Geoengineering holds out the promise of artificially reversing recent climate trends, but it entails enormous risks. CREDIT NISHANT CHOKSI New Yorker Magazine

Geoengineering holds out the promise of artificially reversing recent climate trends, but it entails enormous risks.
CREDIT NISHANT CHOKSI New Yorker Magazine

So I crawled next to him and held him close and said, “Hey, hey, hey, I’m here with you. Yeah, this sounds so scary, alarming, but you know you’re smart and this isn’t the only article about this. We can learn more. Figure out what we can do. Get involve. Start a group. Listen I’m here with you.” I mean what do you say when the person you love is hurting and afraid? I mean I felt bad about the whole climate change thing but not like Tristan. But when someone you love is passionate about something, well, so you go along, you let it move you. So we started this group and here we are.

And what a weird time in history. Seriously I keep asking myself, Marvin? What are doing on the planet at this time in history? I mean of all times. Because if things go bad, we are looking at the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it and even the possible extinction of humans. Which sounds so science fiction, okay. But here I am and I need to do something.

So I find myself thinking about Queen Esther. I’m Jewish and my favorite holiday growing up was Purim, when Haddasah, a Jewish teenager in exile in Persia with the help of some clever eunuchs becomes Queen Esther. There’s a whole makeover in the story and everything. But then all hell breaks loose when some official of the court wants to utterly destroy all the Jews. Esther is stuck in the harem, but after talking it over with her kinsman, Mordecai and the eunuch, Hegai, she thinks, well, maybe for such a time as this I have this position as queen. Maybe I can talk to the king, which is dicey, because if you go to the king and he isn’ in the mood, he’ll chop off your head. But she does it and the king is in the a good mood and she saves her people. So I’m thinking, maybe for such a time as this I am on this planet because somehow I have something to contribute.

I may be wrong, but in my gut, I feel like there are going to be hard times ahead but still I guess I am an Apocalyoptimist, in that I know the shit is gonna hit the fan, but somehow things will be okay. And its not like I have a lot of faith in the government or businesses to do the right things, not completely. I guess what I’m saying is that I want to put my faith in you and you can put your faith in me, that no matter what happens, we are going to look after each other.

Of course Tristan tells me that behind all my religious beliefs I’m just a big old sappy humanist, but that’s another other story.

That Day in Climate History—Pets of the Future

I am Timothy Meadows, it is Saturday February 16, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History.

By the year 2026 the human population exceeded 8 billion people. Dog and cat populations also exploded.  In the US alone the number of dog and cat pets reached over 200 million, many of these overfed and dangerously overweight. With the growing droughts and disruption in grain and meat production in the 2020’s the cost of pet care grew dramatically. While pets provided companionship and entertainment, more and more people found they simply could not afford to keep a dog or cat in their homes.

As a result, pets got smaller. Large dogs consumed too much, so for a time smaller breeds became popular. Also, people began to opt for more practical pets, ones that also provided food. Chickens, who can be surprisingly friendly and social, became the rage in suburbs and even in cities where their owners benefited from the eggs the chickens produced. Guinea pigs, a delicacy in Ecuador and Peru, became popular in North America as an inexpensive pet that could provide a meal in a pinch.

By 2035 pet sharing became much more common. Much like communities share vehicles through services like Zip Cars and Communicar, pet sharing services abounded  in North America, Australia, and Europe. Animal lovers could spend time with a dog or a cat for a few hours a week while sharing in the luxury of pet ownership.

By 2075 historians note a dramatic decrease in the public interest in pets. With closer knit communities, more social cohesion, active friendly collections, and more people living in community with some shared spaces, people found their need for companionship met through friendship with other humans.  On this day in 2165, we remember that day in Climate History.

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Closing

Thank you for listening to episode 22 of Climate Stew. We are committed to producing 25 episodes, so if you want more, do NOT send us your money, just a note to say you are listening and that you want more stew. Leave a comment at Climate Stew dot com or email me info@ climatestew.com that’s info@ climatestew.com Our opening music is by Mark Chadwick, closing music by Poldoore, segment music by ProleteR. Special thanks to Prescott Allen Hazelton, Lori Kershner, Oh, and Joe Gee, who with his closet full of furry costumes now can be leased out as an adorable pet.

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Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

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

This post has 12 Comments

  1. Andrea on February 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm Reply

    Another great episode and Happy Birthday!!!

    • Peterson Toscano
      Peterson Toscano on February 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm Reply

      Thanks! Next week, we will talk about mothers and climate change.

  2. Rachel on February 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm Reply

    I love Climate Stew and you. That’s a poem I wrote in celebration of your birthday.

    • Peterson Toscano
      Peterson Toscano on February 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm Reply

      Wow, I am inspiring art. 🙂 Thank you!

  3. Carridine on February 18, 2015 at 9:41 am Reply

    Happy Birthday Peterson!

    I enjoyed the Marvin Segment especially!

    70 years of Grey Skies! Definitely makes me want to lie face down on the bed and cry — and do something!
    Did they mention a sulphurous stink to go with the grey sky?

    K

    • Peterson Toscano
      Peterson Toscano on February 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm Reply

      Ew, I didn’t even think of the stink. Likely it would be too high in the atmosphere, but then again, who knows It is all experimental.

  4. Tania T on February 20, 2015 at 11:48 am Reply

    No more cats? 🙁 I know a few friends who have chickens, but it’s only feasible if you have a decent size garden which unfortunately rules out a lot of less affluent people in the UK. Also, the startup costs (chickens, coop, feed, vet…) seem quite high to me, which is true of many ways of saving money or becoming more self-sufficient. Perhaps we need some sort of low/no interest loans, combined with training for people who want to start producing their own food.

    • Peterson Toscano
      Peterson Toscano on February 23, 2015 at 10:45 am Reply

      And we can do poultry shares! Have two or three families go in together on it. Rabbits may be easier. They require less space and are cheaper to maintain. Crickets are easier still 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  5. Michelle Matsumoto on March 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm Reply

    GREAT Show! Happy Birthday!

    • Peterson Toscano
      Peterson Toscano on March 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm Reply

      Hey thank you!

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