Hello and welcome to Episode Thirty Four of Page Turn: the Largo Public Library Podcast. I’m your host, Hannah!
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The English Language Transcript can be found below
But as always we start with Reader’s Advisory!
The Reader’s Advisory for Episode Thirty Four is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. If you like Braiding Sweetgrass you should also check out: As Long As Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker, All We Can Save edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Keeble Wilkinson, and Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake.
My personal favorite Goodreads list Braiding Sweetgrass is on is Ecosocialism & Degrowth.
Happy Reading Everyone
Today’s Library Tidbit is on Climate Change.
Let’s start at the beginning, what is climate change? According to NASA climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional, and global climates. Global warming is the long-term heating of the Earth caused by human activity since the Industrial Revolution. The burning of fossil fuels has added unprecedented levels of CO2 to the atmosphere which is causing rapid global warming.
The Earth has gone through several periods of climate change during it’s history. It is believed, based on geological records, that 2,400 -2,100 million years ago, during the Paleoproterozoic era, that the Earth’s surface froze over in response to the atmosphere and the ocean’s experiencing a rise in oxygen. This is referred to the Huronian glaciation. Fun note here our ocean’s are currently rising in temperature as more CO2 and methane are added to them. The event that is believed to have caused the Huronian glaciation is referred to by a few different things but most often the Great Oxidation Event or GOE.
The rise in oxygen in the atmosphere over the next hundred of millions of years caused several different glaciation periods and mass extinction events. The differences between them being uninteresting unless you’re studying prehistoric geology or paleontology. Note paleontologists do not just study dinosaurs but all fossilized animal, plant, bacteria, and virus
Around 251 million years ago the Great Dying or the Permian-Triassic extinction event occured. This event saw the most extreme mass extinction ever to occur on Earth to date with the extinction of an estimated 83% of all genera. Genera is the plural of genus which if you remember way back to biology is the rank above species in the taxonomic rank. Reasons for this mass extinction event are unknown but models using the available data say that it would have been caused by ocean acidification. The reason for this acidification is unknown.
At about 199 million years ago the Triassic period ends and the Jurassic period begins. The Jurassic period is also the Age of the Dinosaurs. Scientists widely believe that the cause of the mass extinction that ended the Triassic period was increased volcanic activity in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. This volcanic activity released large amounts of CO2 in to the atmosphere raising the overall temperature of the Earth and causing ocean acidification. In general times of extreme cooling of the Earth have been caused by raised oxygen levels in the atmosphere and the oceans and times of extreme warming have been caused by raised CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the oceans.
At about 66 million years ago the Cretaceous period ended and the Paleogene period began. This also marks the end of the Mesozoic era and the beginning of the Cenozoic era. This is also the event that caused the extinction of all dinosaurs but birds. There are a few theories behind this mass extinction event. One is a meteorite impact at the Chicxulub crater which is large enough to impact the climate of the planet and lead to potential extinction. Two the Deccan Traps in India, a large range of volcanic activity, started erupting around this same time period and could have lead to a climate change large enough to cause mass extinction. Three a combination of meteorite impact and volcanic activity could have lead to the climate change and mass extinction.
The mass extinction would have been caused by both an impact winter and by the resulting rise in CO2. The impact or volcanic activity would have caused an inability for photosynthesis. As the winter started dissipating the lack of oxygen and the rise of CO2 caused a green house effect. There’s a pattern to these mass extinctions.
Throughout known and guessed at in unknown history there have been glacial periods, also known as ice ages. There are many believed causes for glacial periods. One such is the change in ocean currents due to a warming Earth. When Earth hits a certain temperature any ice melts and runs into the ocean. This raises the temperature of the ocean which effects the circulation cells or wind. The wind at the equator is what pulls warm temperatures from the equator much farther north, like the Gulf Stream. This was briefly explained in Episode 30’s tidbit on the movement of hurricanes. (still hoping a meteorologist will explain that to me fyi). Other factors that cause glacial periods are the shifting of continents and how high continents are. Changes in geography effect wind patterns as well. The final believed cause of glacial periods is the amount of CO2 that is in the atmosphere. The major way that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere is through burial of matter, such as when tectonic plates collide.
The most recent major climate change that has lead to mass extinctions is global warming. Global warming is a human made effect. It started during the Industrial Revolution. As human industry has grown we have released more and more CO2 into the atmosphere. We are seeing the acidification of the oceans. This acidification leads to organisms being unable to form protective shells. This leads to less oxygen being released from the ocean. This is called a positive effect. Less oxygen leads to more CO2 which leads to less oxygen and so forth. Global warming is also causing the ice caps to melt raising not only the overall depth of the ocean but also the temperature of the oceans. As the oceans raise in temperature the frozen methane gas found in its depths thaws. Methane is another gas that causes a positive feedback loop and leads to global warming.
We are currently living in the Holocene extinction event, also referred to the Sixth Mass Extinction. Unlike prior extinction events which were caused by natural forces, such as meteors or volcanic events or the oxygenation of our atmosphere, this extinction event is being cause solely by humans. Some of this extinction was caused by over hunting, over fishing, and other poor resource management by humans. Other extinctions have been caused by loss of animal habitats caused by humans with poor resource management. However, we are now seeing the threat of extinction caused solely from human created global warming. If we do not change things soon the oceans will acidify which will cause mass extinctions of oceanic life and also lead to deoxygenation. Humans have roughly a decade to reverse or stop global warming before it is completely out of our hands and so far the people who may be able to enact that on a scale large enough to work have done nothing.
We are already seeing the effects of global warming. Pacific Island nations are quite literally drowning. The governments of some of these nations have purchased land in other nations so that their people will have a place to live once their islands have been completely overtaken by the rising sea. Kiribati and Tuvalu are among the first ocean dwelling nations that are threatened with becoming climate refugees. However, flooding in Bangladesh and desertification, both exacerbated by global warming, will force more climate refugees.
I grew up near the Cuyahoga river. Some people know this but that river caught on fire in 1969. This was one of 13 times that particular river caught on fire. It was so polluted that the river itself, not the surrounding areas, not boats or crafts on the river, no the river ignited. This fired helped to push through the Clean Water Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It took until 2019 for fish caught in the river to be declared safe to eat by the government.
I mention this because it took 50 years for one river, polluted by humans, to be made clean again. We have a decade to show extreme reversal of CO2 output if we want a clean planet to live on. The only way that we will get there is if everyone, in an equitable way, reduces the planet’s CO2 output. This needs to be done at the micro or personal level, as well as at the macro or governmental/industrial level. Developed countries especially need to be moving on this. To learn more about what our government can be doing everyone should read up on the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is the international agreement formed to address global warming.
As Floridians we should be extra concerned and vocal about reversing global warming. Much of Florida will be under the Ocean or the Gulf if the polar ice melts. Additionally rising ocean temperatures has meant more and stronger hurricanes. The last few season of hurricanes have seen unprecedented amounts of storms and has seen storms that have strengthened far beyond predictions. Storm predictions are based on past knowledge, but rising temperatures make that data incomplete. Additionally the acidification of the oceans will lead to mass extinctions of marine life, which is something that a lot of Floridians rely on for food and for employment.
Climate change has happened throughout the history of our planet, but global warming is human made climate change and therefore, unlike nature caused changes like meteors and volcanoes, could be averted. To learn more about what we can do check out “All We Can Save” edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson.
And now it’s time for Book Traveler, with Victor:
Intro: Welcome back to Book Travel. In this episode I am going to be talking about a new book that we have in the collection in Spanish called Mundo Cruel by Luis Negrón.
Synopsis: Luis Negrón’s debut collection reveals the intimate world of a small community in Puerto Rico joined together by its transgressive sexuality. The writing straddles the shifting line between pure, unadorned storytelling and satire, exploring the sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking nature of survival in a decidedly cruel world. Mundo Cruel was translated into English by Jill Levine and won the Lambda Award for general gay fiction.
Opinion: Mundo Cruel is a series of nine stories about the gay experience in Puerto Rico. These stories are, at first glance, a series of sarcastic voices and outlandish personalities, but as you read, you learn about life and sexual events that occur in a small community in Puerto Rico, a place where homosexuality, or anything sexually deviating from the heterosexual standard is met with doubt, fear, revulsion, and in many cases violence.
There is sex in the stories, quite a bit, but these are not erotic stories, nor are they about sex. The stories also have laughter, irony, sadness and beauty. The reader knows the longing of marginalized people. We share their dark secrets in the setting of a cool Puerto Rican night. We watch in amazement or horror as the characters portray their unique everyday lives. They don’t know they are unique, and their passions, failures, and triumphs are revealed only because the author took the time to explore their stories.
Without giving too much away, one of my favorite stories is “The Vampire of Moca,” a story of unrequited love, and perceived masculinity. Not all endings are happy but the voices in this collection of stories are authentic and hard to forget. And that is why we should read this book. It is highly recommended.
Outro: It’s all for today. Until the next edition of Book Traveler. Bye!
For everyone interested our intro music is by Break the Bans and the outro music is by Jahzzar, both artists can be found on Free Music Archive.