Category: Citizens Climate Radio

Fashion, Poetry, and Climate Change: Ep 40 Citizens Climate Radio

In the most recent episode of Citizens Climate Radio, I chat with Tatiana Schlossberg. She is the author of the new book, Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have.  In it she highlights just how good we are at being bad when it comes to fossil fuel pollution. She exposes the pollution generated by four major industries–Fuel, Food, Internet, and Fashion. For our conversation we talked about fashion, which turns out to be a very dirty busy when it comes to pollution.

I love Tatiana’s laugh, which comes through a lot even though we are talking about such serious issues as pollution and climate change. There is something about her relaxed, friendly tone that signals hope and a belief that humans will do the right thing. When it comes to fashion, it will take a lot more than consumers making the “right choices” when they purchase clothing. We have so few choices. Large system changes are required.

Catherine Pierce

For the Art House segment, I spoke with poet Catherine Pierce. She describes the many steps took and decisions she made when crafting her poem, Anthropocene Pastoral.  In it she explores the significant of beautiful manifestations of climate change, like the California Super Bloom of 2017. She starts the poem:

In the beginning, the ending was beautiful.

In producing the segment I was heavily influenced by the podcast Song Exploder. They invite a musician to unpack a song and talk about almost every aspect of it and their creative process. In the Art House, Pierce does something similar for us with Anthropocene Pastoral. The poem first appeared in the American Poetry Review. It has a haunting beauty to it. I find it emotionally honest too and very moving. After describing the poem, Catherine reads it for us.

Listen to the end of the podcast and you will also hear answers to the puzzler question. Two college students give advice to a middle school student who is freaking out about climate change. We also hear from elementary students from River Valley Nature School. Their presentation at the recent Climate Strike in Lewisburg, PA was a big hit with the audience.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio. See the full show notes here.

Featured Photo by naeim jafari on Unsplash

Become a better communicator — talk about values first

Blair Bazarich in SF Zoo Mobile

As a public speaker and activist, I am always looking to learn more effective communication strategies. In the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio, I speak with skilled communicators who reveal proven techniques that they use in zoos, aquariums, and beyond.

Climate Communication experts Blair Bazdarich from the San Francisco Zoo and Hannah Pickard at Boston’s New England Aquarium share proven insider tips about effective communication strategies. They are both leaders at NNOCCI, the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. They train aquarium and zoo professionals how to speak about climate change. NNOCCI is a network of individuals and organizations in informal education, the social sciences, and climate sciences.They are currently working in 170 institutions in 38 states. NNOCCI members reach over 190 million people each year.
In this episode Hannah and Blair share the techniques they have been using, including a “values-first” approach. Through NNOCCI’s research, they identified two motivating values that prove highly effective in opening up conversations with members of the public. The first value is Protection—we feel a strong need to protect the people and places we love. And the second is Responsible Management. We value solving problems earlier before they become too big.
Sean Dague, leader for the Mid-Hudson South chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, leads us through a powerful exercise. He asks us, What does a decarbonized world look like? What does it smell like? What does it sound like?

Once you hear Sean’s vision of a successful future, we invite you to continue the exercise. Try some creative writing. Write a short story or a letter from the future about what you see, smell, and hear.  Maybe create visual art, a drawing or painting. If you can’t draw or paint, get images from magazines and on-line then create a collage. Write a song, create a map, choreograph a dance. Use art to capture a vision of a decarbonized world. Even if you do not see yourself as an artsy person, just try it.

Featured image  by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

Professional Athletes as Climate Action Figures

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

I continue to feel encouraged by the variety of people and niches of people that are seriously taking on climate change, talking about it, and pursuing solutions. In the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio I chat with Lew Blaustein of Green Sports Blog.

He outlines a growing movement among professional athletes, teams, and leagues to not only green the sporting world but to speak out about climate change.

Lew puts the challenges we face into perspective. He says, “Mike Trout of the Anaheim Angels—best player in baseball—recently signed a 400 plus million dollar twelve year contract extension. Twelve years is also what the IPCC said is the time frame that humanity has to reduce our carbon footprint by 45%—basically Mike Trout’s contract.” Lew believes sports fans can become instrumental in taking on climate change. “We need to get the masses of people who follow sports…to engage on positive climate action.”

liz gonzalez with Chaco!

He believes professional sports is an essential arena to make this happen. “We’re athletes. We know how to solve problems and overcome obstacles.”

In the Art House meet poet, liz gonzalez, writing about a rapidly changing semi-natural world in Southern California. She reads poetry and prose about the Santa Ana winds.

All this plus the monthly puzzler–What color or sound do you associate with climate change?

Check out Ep 38 of Citizens Climate Radio

Featured image credit: Alexander Redl on Unsplash

Pitching and Juggling and Climate Change

My favorite part of podcasting is that I get to meet cool people doing things well outside of my normal experience. That is very true with the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio. Brent Suter is a professional baseball player, a pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers. Eliana Dunlap is a circus artist who specializes in the German Wheel, (which I had never heard of before.)

Brent Suter

Brent Suter received a scholarship to play baseball at Harvard University, where he studied environmental science. He learned about the effects of climate change and what how we need to drastically reduce our pollution. At first that meant making individual lifestyle choices to lower his own personal carbon footprint, but he has been expanding his efforts. Through his Strike Out Waste initiative, he got professional baseball players to use reusable water bottles during spring training.

In a recent interview for the Green Sport Blog he said, “At this point in time, a carbon pricing program and higher incentives for clean energy are absolutely imperative towards the goal of stabilizing our climate and ensuring a healthy and viable future for our planet. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would not only help achieve these goals, but would give the funds raised back to the people, save countless lives, and create millions of jobs! A Green Revolution needs to happen fast, and this law, if passed, would play a vital role in helping solve the most important problem of our lives.”

The Art House

Eliana Dunlap

Eliana Dunlap was not born into a circus family; instead she learned circus arts at a circus school in Quebec. Her circus skill set is impressive and includes acrobatics, juggling, dance, and her speciality, the German Wheel. She has been performing circus arts in non-traditional spaces. She is also someone who is creatively responding to climate change. Through her podcast, Changing the World and Other Circus Related Things, she is connecting with other concerned circus artists. She is also one of the founding members of the Circus Action Network.

Eliana likens the high stakes world of circus arts to the challenges we face with climate change. She also sees examples from the circus world about how we can get people from various backgrounds to work together. This summer she and a friend will do street performances of a new circus art show called, High Stakes–What’s the Plan(t)? In addition to lots of juggling and acrobatics, the show features a live plant as part of the action.

In this fascinating interview, Eliana opens up about the world of circus and how she and other concerned artists are creating avenues for a deeper conversation about climate change.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on Apple Podcasts, please consider rating and reviewing us!

Gagging on Plastic and Listening to Grindcore

Nicole Chatterson

Plastics? Yuck!

Plastic is so naughty. These days plastic products are being vilified because they:

  1. are made from fossil fuels and release a bunch of greenhouse gases while being made.
  2. end up everywhere (including our bodies) except in recycling and landfills
  3. last for a very long time and then release even more greenhouse gases.

While I do a lot of work talking about mitigating and adapting to climate change, I haven’t spent that much time learning about plastic pollution. Thanks to Nicole Chatterson from the University of Hawaii and Dominic Scicchitano from Bucknell University, I know a lot more. Nicole has done research in the Pacific Ocean while Dominic looked into plastics in the Susquehanna River.

I wanted to include Dominic because I live on the banks of the Susquehanna, and I wanted a local perspective. They both appear in episode 35 of Citizens Climate Radio.

Dominic Scicchitano

They are both engaging speakers and told me a lot about micro-plastics, tiny plastics either designed that way for say skin care products, or broken down from larger pieces of plastic that did not get properly discarded. What I especially love is how they are looking at big solutions. Sure do what you can to use less single-use plastic in your own personal life, but they are looking for systems changes in packaging, production, and waste management.

The Art House

The other part of the show that came out really well is an interview with sustainability expert, Peter Buckland. He is a renaissance man–a poet, politician, musician, teacher, and more. He also loves heavy metal music. He told me all about Grindcore (which sounds like a new gay app or else a very gay workout regime) and Thrash Metal (which just sounds like it must be really loud.) These two sub-genres of metal take sources of negative energy, including greenhouse gas pollution.

For example there is the band Testament and their song, Greenhouse Effect.

If  you want to learn about the world, there are many ways of doing it. One of my favorites is host a podcast. It forces me to engage with people and ideas that fall well ourself of my experience and even comfort zone.

Check out Ep 35 for yourself and please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts

(Featured image: Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash)

Students Protesting and Rebellion Extinction

We have entered an age of fierce and essential protesting. The #BlackLivesMatter Movement demonstrated the power of organizing and demanding to be heard on-line, in the media, and on the streets. Now in regards to climate change, we are witnessing a global uprising of young people and adults insisting they need to be heard by the powers that be.

Robin Boardman of Extinction Rebellion

While to many people much of these uprisings seem totally spontaneous and the leaders appear to have come out of no where, often there has been a great deal of thought, care, and strategizing by people who have been seriously engaged with these issues for awhile.

Hope Clark

In my latest podcast episode, I speak with one of these people, Robin Boardman, a university student in Bristol, England, who has taken some time off from his studies to organize actions with the group Extinction Rebellion. He shares what it is like to shut down a major bridge in London. Robin also reveals the values and principles that ground the work he and his colleagues at XR do. Finally, he tells us about future major actions in the works.

You will also hear from Hope Clark, a dancer who as been honestly and vulnerably exploring the role addiction has in her life–particularly her addiction to cigarettes. She connects these to our shared addiction to fossil fuels. Through dance and words, she is trying to make sense of it as she works through the climate grieving process that many of us feel even if it is deeply hidden and distracted by various comforts.

Below is a one-minute trailer for the show and then a link to the entire podcast.

Citizens Climate Radio Ep 34 Extinction Rebellion trailer from Peterson Thomas Toscano on Vimeo.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.


Telling the story of one island in the Philippines

Gael Henry Carlut grew up in the Philippines on what was once a desert island. Gael’s father is from France and his mother is from Iloilo in the Philippines. They fell in love and in 1986 settled on Pandan Island.  Their goal was to protect the extraordinary coral reef that surrounds the island and then share it with others. Gael left the Philippines and settled in France to study environmental science and water treatment processes. He felt a strong pull though to return not only to the Philippines, but to this remote island. I recently visited Pandan Island and chatted with Gael about the island, climate change, and the pursuit of happiness.

Marissa Slaven talked to me about her novel, Code Blue, an eco-mystery. Drawing on her love of the coast in New England and even her background a palliative care physician, Marissa has created a near future world that is stressed by climate change in a society has chosen to respond creatively to it. She expertly weaves in various mysterious her main characters, Atlantic or Tic, a high school student, must solve. These mysterious are both personal and scientific. Her book is one you cannot easily put down once you start reading it.

What Does the Bible say about Global Warming?

At a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in rural central Pennsylvania, I brought the conversation to a sudden halt, when I mentioned I am a Bible scholar and lately I have been wondering what the Bible had to say about climate change. One woman at the table nearly lunged at me, “What does the Bible say about climate change?” She was genuinely curious as were the other people at the table.

I recently sat down with three Evangelical Christians, including a pastor in the rural town where I live. I asked them about the Bible and climate change. They shared Bible passages, stories, and testimony.

I pushed back a few times–Yeah, but you are always preaching about heaven. How can you care for the earth if you see it as your temporary home and you are just passing through to a God who will forgive you for any harm you have caused? They graciously shared their faith and how it leads them to care deeply about the earth and the people on it.

Hear Corina Newsome (pictured above with the fabulous owl!) Kyle Kyle Meyaard Schaap, National Organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, and Pastor Josh Gibson from Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church. Also, my character, Tony Buffusio, shares Joseph and the not so amazing climate adaptation story. PLUS a puzzler question: Climate Change–what’s faith got to do with it?

You can hear our conversation on SoundCloud or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just look for Citizens Climate Radio Ep 30 What Does the Bible Say About Climate Change?

Mental Health and Climate Change

Dr. Lise Van Susteren

Dr. Natasha DeJarnett

I try to look at climate change from multiple angles. A few years ago I began to read about how climate change affects our mental health, especially for people who experience extreme weather events. I also got to thinking about climate advocates like me who do this work day in and day out. How does it affect us emotionally and psychologically. Lucky for me I produce a monthly podcast, so I turned to experts as my guests.

Dr. Lise Van Susteren, a leading expert in looking at the psychological effects of climate change, and Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, a policy analysis in environmental health at the American Public Health Association, join show me for a thought-provoking and insightful conversation.

Fritz Horstman

Another feature of my show is the Art House. This episode I feature Fritz Horstman.

Artist Fritz Horstman talks about his trip to the Arctic Circle to take underwater photographs. The visual landscape of the frozen and thawing North captivated him, but the sounds really inspired him. He asked his fellow artists on the voyage to recreate the creaks and groans of the glaciers for his video, Ice Voices.

Here is a link to the episode or click the play icon.

Ice Voices from Fritz Horstman on Vimeo.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

Chatting with writer Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins

Ever since I partnered up with a writer, Glen Retief, my life has been enriched by the many writers that I meet. These days I attend readings with some pretty awesome folks sharing their work: Aminatta Forna, Karla Kelsey, Natalie Diaz, Lydia Davis, Claudia Rankin, Honor Moore, Carolyn Forché, and George Saunders.

I first met Claire Vaye Watkins and her partner, writer, Derek Palacio, when they lived nearby and worked at Bucknell University. It was only after they moved away, I learned Claire had been working on a climate changed-themed novel during her time at Bucknell. We never spoke about climate change at that time, but after hearing an interview of Claire on WNYC’s On the Media, I learned about her book, Gold Fame Citrus.

This past fall I sat down and chatted with Claire about the book and her musings around climate change. As a creative writer, she is  free to imagine all sorts of scenarios; she let’s her mind go to deliciously creative places and some tight scary spaces. What she shared with me is powerful, moving, at time hilarious, thought-provoking, and challenging. I am pleased to feature this interview in the latest episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!