When a problem is complex, confusing, and overwhelming, I find that applying different lenses to it helps bring it into focus. Over on my radio show, Climate Stew, I constantly try to look at the tricky problem of global warming from a variety of perspectives, ones that people would not usually consider. Looking at queer responses to climate change has opened up my understanding of queer family values and our unique role in this time in history. Here is a short clip from the show (transcript below.) It is actually a broadcast from the future (150 years in the future to be exact). It looks at a series of events that led to one bisexual approach to climate change. There are plenty more that need to be discovered and explored. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts.
That Day in Climate History: Bisexual approach to climate change?
@p2son A bisexual approach to climate action might be not seeing solutions in terms of binary choices. 😉
— Ashley Wilcox (@ashleymwilcox) September 28, 2015
I am Timothy Meadows. It is Monday, October 14th in the year 2165 and time for That Day in Climate history. 150 years ago today groups of people, large and small gathered throughout North America for the People’s Climate Movement Day of Action. In addition to protests, teach-ins, demonstrations, and massive public art projects, many discussions took place that led to creative and powerful climate action.
One such discussion occurred in the little town of Sunbury, Pennsylvania. A small gathering of friends and family spent the day discussing climate change. One question led to an idea that led to an organization that led to effective climate action.
Unable to attend the gathering, writer James Fenimore popped in via videoconferencing. He asked a strange and provocative question: What is a bisexual response to climate change? He explained that as someone attracted to people of all genders he did not view the world in simple binary terms. So much climate action falls on a binary—liberal /conservative, pro-business/anti-capitalism, etc. A bisexual approach to climate action might be not seeing solutions in terms of binary choices.
This question, What is a bisexual response to climate change? inspired Marin Toscano, one of the people present that day. She later wrote about it in an academic paper. A student in Tomsø Norway, Anna Jørgenson, read the paper, shared it with friends, and then founded the group Bifile for en bedre jord or Bisexuals for a Better World.
This group broke away from the notion of polar opposites and focused instead on shared values and shared experiences. Bifile for en bedre jord created a successful discussion model that they first used in Norway and then throughout Europe and North America. This discussion approach helped bridge the gaps between groups that struggled to work together. It assisted individuals and groups in breaking away from a set of presupposed beliefs based on identities to instead embrace more complex ways of viewing the world and climate action. Coalitions formed that worked towards justice-minded market-driven approaches to reducing pollution. Groups successfully lobbied governments to enact fact-based initiatives that operated on harm-reduction models when considering the many different types of energy available. Real changes occurred. We benefit from those changes today. A question asked of a small group in a rural village echoed around the world. It contributed to bringing about climate action. On this day in 2165, we remember that day in climate history.
Climate History is brought you by Monsanto, working together with indigenous community leaders to provide ancient grains for a modern world.