Why Won’t This Cat Answer My Questions About Climate Change?

Mayor Stubbs relaxes outside of West Rib Pub & Grille in Talkeetna, AK.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12247055@N00/186866983/">the queen of subtle</a>/Flickr

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When I visited Alaska last week, much of the state was still reeling from June’s stunning heat wave, featuring numerous record temperatures. That includes 96 degrees in Talkeetna, a bustling tourist town near the base of 20,320-foot-high Mount McKinley (or Denali), featuring gift shops overflowing with moose and bear paraphernalia, restaurants overflowing with salmon and King crabs…and one feline elected official, longtime incumbent @MayorStubbs, who has gotten more than his share of media attention.

Despite the fact that their state is suffering from extreme climate change—Alaska has warmed twice as fast as the lower 48, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency—Alaska politicians haven’t always led on this matter. Sarah Palin, for instance, is a notorious climate change denier. But I hoped Mayor Stubbs might be different. After all, he’s extremely outspoken on Twitter, e.g.:

So naturally, as my fiancée and I drove south through scenic Alaska on our way to Anchorage, and neared Talkeetna, I figured I’d try the Mayor out on the subject of climate change. After all, 96 degrees in his hometown might be considered rather worrisome. First, I tried flattery:

At the West Rib Pub & Grille, my fiancée learns about Mayor Stubbs.

Alas, this Tweet didn’t garner a quick reply.

What’s more, when we stopped at the restaurant that serves as one of the Mayor’s haunts—West Rib Pub & Grille—the feline official was nowhere to be found, though documentation of his existence was plentiful (see image). Our friendly waitress explained that Mayor Stubbs was the owner’s cat, but the owner wasn’t in at the moment.

Thus instead of an interview, all I got was a cut finger from being far too careless with some King crab legs. (“Deadliest Catch” indeed.)

Later that night, however, came a coy Tweet from the Mayor:

This was not exactly a “yes” to my request. Next, I appealed to the Mayor’s sense of civic duty:

This didn’t work either:

This left me scratching my head, and wondering whether hot, sunny days might actually be good for Talkeetna, which is chilly much of the year:

One can only conclude, then, that perhaps the Mayor has bigger fish to fry. Or eat.

Or eat before they’re fried by climate change.

UPDATE: Mayor Stubbs responds!

And again:

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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