Peterson Toscano of Pennsylvania is a theologian, gay activist, and comedian. For more than a decade, his performances have dealt with religion, gender, and social justice issues – not global warming.

Peterson Toscano
Peterson Toscano

Toscano: “It just never was my jam, you know, to be involved with environmental stuff.”

That changed after Toscano found his husband weeping over an article about climate change. So he did some research, and came across an article that changed his life.

Toscano: “There was this one section that totally gripped my heart. It said on a warmer planet where there’s more drought, there will be more crop failure, including potentially, failures of wheat production, leading to shortages of pasta. I was like, wait, what?”

An ardent pasta lover, Toscano describes this moment as an apocalypse, when a curtain is pulled back to reveal what was hidden. After that, he saw connections to climate change everywhere – including the issues he was already passionate about.

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Now Toscano uses his comedy to engage others. He tells stories, writes plays, and gives talks that make links between climate change and human rights, faith, even his identity as a gay man – all thanks to his “apastalypse”.

Reporting credit: Lauren Smith/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Sara Peach is the editor-in-chief of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist,...