Live from New York, it’s the end of the world!

By Thomas Gaulkin, October 17, 2018

climate change weekend update saturday night live Michael che

“Saturday Night Live” cast members Colin Jost and Michael Che got some notice for taking up the recent IPCC report on climate change during their regular “Weekend Update” segment this week.

Excerpts from the YouTube clip:

Colin Jost: “We don’t really worry about climate change because it’s too overwhelming, and we’re already in too deep. It’s like if you owe your bookie $1,000, you’re like, ‘oh yeah, I gotta pay this dude back.’ But if you owe your bookie $1 million, you’re like, ‘I guess I’m just gonna die.’”

Michael Che: “I keep asking myself why don’t I care about this? Don’t get me wrong, I 100 percent believe in climate change, yet I’m willing to do absolutely nothing about it… I think it’s because they keep telling us we’re gonna lose everything, and nobody cares about everything, people only care about some things. Like, if Fox News reported that in 2030 climate change was going to take away all the Confederate statues, there’d be recycling bins outside every Cracker Barrel and Dick’s Sporting Goods. … You want white women to care about the environment? Tell them if they don’t do something about climate change, we’re going lose all the yarn. White women love yarn. No more hats, no more scarves, no more of those ridiculous socks you knit for your dog.”

The SNL bit got plenty of laughs. But what if we took this seriously for a minute? How realistic are Che’s examples? Let’s consider a couple:

With conditions getting hotter and drier, long-term damage from climate change around the southeastern United States will exacerbate the already undeniable impacts of hurricanes and flooding. Here’s a quick GIF cycling between an ABC map of confederate monuments and a New York Times map of predicted climate damage through the year 2100:

climate change confederate monuments maps
Most confederate monuments remain in southern states directly in the path of the worst US climate change impacts. (GIF: Bulletin via ABCNews/NYTimes)

Wool, cotton, and other natural textile fibers are also all vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Cotton needs a lot of water to grow, which makes drought a real threat. Wool requires keeping sheep happy on pastures that may not be sustainable with rising temperatures. (Some clothing companies are beginning to use “climate beneficial” wool.)

So maybe SNL’s Che is on to something. Global warming will affect lots of other comforts Americans take for granted too. Coffee is already known to be at risk from drought, diseases and the death of insect pollinators. And a study published this week in Nature Plants forecasts barley shortages will likely leave US beer lovers drinking four billion fewer pints over the next 100 years if current emissions trends continue.

That’s definitely worth thinking about over a cold one.


Publication Name: Saturday Night Live
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