Alarmed and Amused: How pasta got me off my ass


That magic revelation moment

img_1991For many people who are engaged in activism of any sort, there are many factors and experiences and relationships that get us to act. For some of us too, there is a single moment when something clicks, and suddenly we see the world with new eyes.

The Biblical word for it is Apocalypse. ἀποκάλυψις or apokálypsis. We translate it into English as revelation, but that word has been weakened in English. OMG, I just had a revelation–coffee cake doesn’t taste anything like coffee. Weird, right?

No, the sense of the word, as I first learned from Bible scholar and Book of Revelation scholar, Dr. Lynn Huber, is that Apocalypse is a REVELATIONas if a curtain has been pulled back and one sees what is hidden from sight. That visions jars that one awake. This is a soul shaking, life-altering seeing. We probably can only handle two or at most three Apocalypses in our life times.

Shaken AND stirred by global warming

This is what happened to me in regards to climate change. I was not in any doubt about climate change, and in some part of my mind I was concerned, but I was not at all engaged. I wasn’t curious or seeking more knowledge. I did not consider that I had a role in addressing climate change. I felt I had bigger fish to fry–namely LGBTQ human rights and queer Bible scholarship.


This man is responsible for my apocalypse — meet Glen Retief

One day my husband, Glen Retief, had an apocalypse about climate change. The science that came out in the fall of 2012 revealed that things were worse than scientist first imagined and the things were happening faster than they feared. Glen had an existential crisis–how can I teach creative writing and work on a novel when there is this huge crisis happening in the world and few people are talking about it?

Save the Ravioli! 

types-of-pastaHis immediate revelation was not contagious. Sure I was concerned he was concerned, but still I had other work to do. But I did begin to read about climate change. I learned how a warmer planet will change what has been mostly stable–particularly growing of crops. This ultimately led me to a major soul-shaking, life-changing revelation. There will be lots of endangered species and lots of crop failures, including the potential failures in wheat production (I am blissfully gluten tolerant). This in turn could lead to possible global shortages in pasta. 

And that is when I got hooked. That was my moment, my foothold. I am glad to say that I didn’t stay there, mourning the possible loss of pasta as I stockpiled spaghetti and rigatoni. I began to see loads of connections to climate change and the things I find most precious–LGBTQ human rights, women’s rights, and racial justice. This led me to pursue comedy and storytelling to engage the world around me to hear and see these days in which we live and our potential roles on a new planet.

Finding a wider audience

In 90 seconds, the radio segment, Climate Connections, tells my odd odyssey. I have loved this show and even included it at times in my own Climate Stew show. What a thrilled to be featured in it. They did a super job of saying a lot in a short period of time.

You can listen here: The end of pasta? Not funny!

And if you want to tell your own climate story: Submit to Yale Climate Connections


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