Sometimes you just need a good escapist story! This week we’re diving into two unlikely climate tales that say more about our current situation than you might suspect.
First, Olivia explains why 2020 has nothing on 536 as the worst year in human history. Yearlong fogs, snow in August, the first plague pandemic… and not without a healthy dose of medieval drama and gluttony.
Then, Elise takes on tumbleweeds, an iconic staple of the American Southwest that is actually from halfway across the world. Add “house buried by tumbleweeds” to your list of disasters to avoid.
Plus, we talk rebranding Elise’s vintage shop, a new podcast for the cocktail enthusiast, and our new favorite word.
Story #1: 536, The Worst Year in Human History (Olivia)
Year 536 Was the Worst Year to Be Alive – What Happened?, Weird History, March 11 2020
Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive,’ Science.org, November 15 2018
The Worst Time in History to Be Alive, According to Science, History, December 3 2018
Cooling and societal change during the Late Antique Little Ice Age from 536 to around 660 AD. Büntgen, U., Myglan, V., Ljungqvist, F. et al. for Nature Geoscience
Alpine ice-core evidence for the transformation of the European monetary system, AD 640–670, Antiquity
Wikipedia: Justinian I, Bubonic plague
Story #2: Tumbleweed Invasion (Elise)
Tumbleweed: Russian Thistle, DesertUSA
Giant tumbleweeds are causing giant headaches for this California town, CNN, April 2018
Russian Thistle, UC Riverside Center For Invasive Species
Massive Tumbleweeds Invaded a California Town, Trapping Residents in Their Homes, Mental Floss, April 2018
Howling wind and tumbleweeds wreak havoc in Victorville, Los Angeles Times, April 2018
‘Houses Disappeared’ When Tumbleweeds Rolled Into This California City, NPR, April 2018
How a Ukraine Conflict Could Reshape Europe’s Reliance on Russia, New York Times, Feb 2022
Additional Resources on Ukraine
Razom for Ukraine compiled a robust list of resources for how to help Ukraine – both ways to contact your reps and ways to donate directly. They are providing urgently needed medical supplies and amplifying the voices of Ukrainians on the ground.
Since we recorded the episode last week, climate journalists and experts have been working hard to get the connection between war and fossil fuels into mainstream media. And some places like Germany have been taking real action to speed the shift to renewable energy.
Some media examples include:
Fossil fuel companies are trying to exploit this war for their gain. We can’t let them, Jamie Henn for The Guardian
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has left a hole in the global energy market, Grist
Germany to speed renewables push due to Ukraine crisis, Reuters
Germany turns to renewables after Russian invasion of Ukraine, The Independent
The Wrong Way for the U.S. to Counter Russia’s Actions, Slate (about fracking)
We talk more about fracking and natural gas in Episode 14 – Fracking and the Deception Dossiers.
We’ve been watching Euphoria, Sex Lives of College Girls, and Abbott Elementary.
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Thanks for listening!