The White Walkers are Climate Change

For the past couple of years, I have created a theory that Game of Thrones is an allegory for the Climate Change problem that our world must face, and that each of the characters (or group of characters) have real-life representatives.  I’ve talked about my theory with close friends, but I never expected to talk about it in public. I dismissed my theory as a buzz-kill that lets my fascination with Climate Change and how people react to it (or not) overtake my ability to simply have fun with an escapism television show.

So last week, I was surprised to see that Vanity Fair published an article about how many people have noticed the parallels between Game of Thrones and our Climate Change problem, and then the author proceeded to name which real-life person in our Climate Change reality matched up with Game of Thrones characters.  I feel so validated.

But beyond the satisfaction of validation, I disagree with most of the matchups in the article. Furthermore, with only a handful of exceptions, I see many of the individual characters as representatives of groups of people in the Climate Change story, not necessarily individuals. I don’t have a perfect Game of Thrones/Climate Change matchup for every character (and I am no Game of Thrones expert; I watched the show once and never read the books), but this connection between fiction and real-life is a beautiful, unintentional phenomenon resulting from George R. R. Martin’s masterful storytelling skills. I believe in the power of story to change minds and hearts, and I am grateful to witness it happening in one of my favorite tales.

So allow me to explain how I interpret the Game of Thrones characters, and the connections I make between them and their real-life representatives that are involved in humanity’s challenge to survive Climate Change (whether they are aware of it or not).

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Meet Climate Activist David Kowalski

The first website I created is called FedGreen, where I used to publish a weekly report on important environmental updates from the Federal Register. It was a worthwhile project, but ultimately, I wanted to do something more creative with my free time, which is why I switched over to creating this website and my Keeping Things Alive Podcast.

Before I decided to do a podcast, however, I started interviewing environmental activists in Buffalo, New York. My first interview-turned-article was with David Kowalski, a retired scientist who now spends his time working on his website Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo and giving educational lectures about climate change throughout Western New York.

In an effort to simplify my life, I’m going to be closing down FedGreen in the near future, so I wanted to move the article I wrote about David to this website instead. Here it goes, enjoy!

For my first Buffalo interview, I spoke with David Kowalski, PhD, a retired research scientist. He’s currently an environmental advocate and serves on the planning committee of the Climate Justice Coalition. David is a member of the Buffalo-Niagara Sierra Club’s Executive Committee, where he is involved in communications and social media. He enthusiastically told me that he “loves Millennials” (he has three millennial-age sons) and has embraced technology as an effective way to connect with other environmentalists around the country. Outside of Sierra Club, David runs the blog Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo, where he posts information about environmental events happening around Western New York and articles about environmental issues. His blog formerly focused on the harmful effects of hydraulic fracturing, but is now devoted to climate change action. David also volunteers his time by giving talks to interested groups and organizations about fracking and climate change.

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