Solarpunk Presents


50 Million Years of Climate Change

Season 2, Ep. 8

Have you ever thought about how dinosaurs lived on a warm, swampy Earth and how we live on one that’s cold enough to keep pretty much the entirety of Greenland and Antarctica buried under kilometers-thick sheets of solid ice and wondered, hmm, how did we get from there to here? The short answer is that it took 50 million years of declining atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and dropping temperatures, not to mention building an ice sheet or two. For the longer story of the last 50 million years of climate change, including some of the reasons why, catch this episode of our podcast with Dr De La Rocha! You’ll hear about plate tectonics and continental drift, silicate weathering, carbonate sedimentation, and the spectacular effects the growth of Earth’s ice sheets have had on Earth’s climate. There are also lessons here for where anthropogenic global warming is going and whether or not its effects have permanently disrupted the climate system. Fun fact: the total amount of climate change between 50 million years ago and now dwarfs what we’re driving by burning fossil fuels, and yet, what we’re doing is more terrifying, in that it’s unfolding millions of times faster.


Bonus content: If you want to see sketches and plots of the data discussed in this episode, you can find them here.

!!Nerd alert!! 

If you're interested in the primary scientific literature on the subject, these four papers are a great place to start.

Dutkiewicz et al (2019) Sequestration and subduction of deep-sea carbonate in the global ocean since the Early Cretaceous. Geology 47:91-94.

Müller et al (2022) Evolution of Earth’s plate tectonic conveyor belt. Nature 605:629–639.

Rae et al (2021) Atmospheric CO2 over the last 66 million years from marine archives. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 49:609-641.

Westerfeld et al (2020) An astronomically dated record of Earth’s climate and its predictability over the last 66 million years. Science 369: 1383–1387.

More Episodes

Monday, May 8, 2023

Reframing Narratives With Ecocriticism, With Dr Jenny Kerber

Season 2, Ep. 9
In this episode, Ariel discusses the topic of ecocriticism with Dr Jenny Kerber, Associate Professor of English at Wilfrid Laurier University.What is ecocriticism? Why is it important, especially for environmental activists and solarpunks, as a narrative reframing device? Solarpunks work very closely with speculation and imagination and as architects of the narratives by which we live our lives, it helps to have tools like ecocriticism at our disposal. Join Ariel and Dr. Kerber to think through terms like “wilderness” and “nature” and “the Anthropocene”. How do we hold on to hope, despite critical engagement with the dark side of our environmental narratives?  References:●     A bit more about the WLU Land Acknowledgement●     Dr Kerber’s profile at Wilfrid Laurier U●     “The Trouble with Wilderness” by William Cronon●     Elizabeth May●     Kerber, Jenny. "Tracing One Warm Line: Climate Stories and Silences in Northwest Passage Tourism." Journal of Canadian Studies 55.4 (July 2022): 271-303.●     Timothy Clark, The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment●     Kate Soper, What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human ●     David Huebert's Chemical Valley ●     Lord Byron's "Darkness"●     Don McKay, Vis à Vis: Field Notes on Poetry and Wilderness ●     Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable●     Nicole Seymour, Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age●     Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland, Almanac for the Anthropocene: A Compendium of Solarpunk Futures  
Monday, April 10, 2023

Science and Christianity: Is There a Conflict? With Norm Nelson

Season 2, Ep. 7
Although the battle lines have shifted down through the years from heliocentrism to evolution (and let’s not get started on the age of the Earth), it feels like there’s a fundamental conflict between science and religion, especially with respect to the Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam. I (Christina), the host of this podcast episode, as a scientist and atheist who tends to assume all scientists are atheists—because how could they not be?—am definitely guilty of thinking this.Yet, there is a long tradition of curiosity, inquiry, and, yes, science within the Abrahamic religions and no shortage of devout scientists working hard to this day to understand the workings of the world and cosmos. I decided that it was time to confront my assumptions by talking to one of my religious colleagues. Thank you in advance to Dr Norm Nelson—an oceanographer whose Christianity is a core part of his life—for discussing whether or not there is a conflict between science and Christianity, and where the roots of that conflict might lie.Don’t forget, dear listener, we need your support! So, recommend us to a friend and/or sign up for our Patreon!Connect with Solarpunk Presents Podcast on Twitter, Mastodon, or at our blog.Connect with Ariel at her blog, on Twitter at @arielletje, and on Mastodon.Connect with Christina at her blog, on Twitter, and on Mastodon Support the show on Patreon or make a one-time donation via PayPal.