How screwy climate problems may have brought Trump's grandfather to America.

Since the 18th century, over 7 million Germans have moved to North America, gifting countries like the United States with their language and culture.

Participants in New York City's annual German-American Steuben Parade back in 2002. Photo by Graham Morrison/Getty Images.

We can still see their influence in our love of Oktoberfest, the accordions found in Tejano music, and the many people who bear German names. For instance, the Pfizer pharmaceutical company that makes Advil was founded by a German immigrant, and the grandson of another is now the president of the United States.


The conventional story behind why so many Germans came to North America is that back in the 1800s, Germany — and all of Europe, really — was going through a pretty tumultuous time. Revolutions, wars, the birth of empires: Back then, Europe was a complicated place to try and make a living.

But a new study suggests that's not the whole picture. Because the weather itself may have also been conspiring against them.

"Overall, we found that climate indirectly explains up to 20% to 30% of migration from Southwest Germany to North America in the 19th century," said Rüdiger Glaser, a professor at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

Using a complicated analysis of 1800s population numbers, weather data, and food prices, Glaser and his colleagues were able to illuminate how a changing climate played a hand in bringing immigrants from southwestern Germany to America.

Those food prices were really the heart of the problem. At the time, German farmers depended on stable, reliable weather to grow their crops. But as droughts, cold snaps, and floods wracked the region, stable weather could be in short supply.

"The chain of effects is clearly visible: Poor climate conditions lead to low crop yields, rising cereal prices and finally emigration," said Glaser.

Glaser and his team were even able to pinpoint specific events and changes. For instance, they saw a big wave of emigration right after the bitterly cold and rainy Year Without a Summer in 1816. A series of droughts caused another wave around the mid-1840s.

The changing weather patterns don't explain everything about migration — there were still wars, still revolutions, after all — but they did appear to play a role.

Today, we're seeing our climate and weather patterns change again.

While the events that caused immigration back in the 1800s were not necessarily the same type of climate change we're seeing today (the Year Without a Summer was due to a volcano, after all, not carbon emissions), rising sea levels and more extreme weather events are still forcing people to move. In fact, the U.N. estimated that in 2008, climate change displaced 20 million people worldwide.

Glaser's team hopes that by looking to the past, we can better understand the connection between human migration and our climate.

So if your last name happens to be Schmidt or Weber or Fischer, it might be worth double-checking when your grandparents or great-grandparents arrived in the United States. You might be in for a surprise.

Glaser and his colleagues' paper appeared in the scientific journal Climate of the Past.

Heroes
Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube


A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - Official Trailer (HD) www.youtube.com

As a child, I spent countless hours with Mister Rogers. I sang along as he put on his cardigan and sneakers, watched him feed his fish, and followed his trolley into the Land of Make Believe. His show was a like a calm respite from the craziness of the world, a beautiful place where kindness always ruled. Even now, thinking about the gentle, genuine way he spoke to me as a child is enough to wash away the angst of my adult heart.

Fred Rogers was goodness personified. He dedicated his life not just to the education of children, but to their emotional well-being. His show didn't teach us letters and figures—he taught about love and feelings. He showed us what community looks like, what accepting and including different people looks like, and what kindness and compassion look like. He saw everyone he met as a new friend, and when he looked into the camera and said, "Hello, neighbor," he was sincerely speaking to every person watching.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via ManWhoHasItAll

Recently, Upworthy shared a tweet thread by author A.R. Moxon who created a brilliant metaphor to help men understand the constant anxiety that potential sexual abuse causes women.

He did so by equating sexual assault to something that men have a deep-seeded fear of: being kicked in the testicles.

HBO didn't submit 'Brienne' from Game of Thrones for an Emmy. So, she did it herself.

An anonymous man in England who goes by the Twitter handle @manwhohasitall has found a brillintly simple way of illustrating how we condescend to women by speaking to men the same way.

Keep Reading Show less
"Why is Dad So Mad"

Army veteran Seth Kastle had everything going for him when he came home from serving 16 years overseas. That's why it was so confusing to him when his life began to fall apart.

He had a job, a loving wife, family, and friends. He knew things would be different when he moved back to Kansas, but he didn't think they'd be that different. But he felt an extreme anger building up inside, a fire inside his chest that he couldn't explain or get rid of.

Kastle was unknowingly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event — like war.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Verizon

If you're a Game of Thrones fan, then Gwendoline Christie aka Brienne of Tarth needs no introduction. While there was disappointment surrounding the finale, and the last season in general, Christie's character was one of the few to remain near and dear to the hearts of fans throughout it all.

Fans wept when they finally witnessed Ser Brienne of Tarth get knighted after six seasons of being one of the most honorable and integrity filled characters to grace the Game of Thrones screen.

Similarly, Brienne of Tarth's final tribute to Jaime Lannister left people both misty-eyed and eager to dedicate countless memes to the moment.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture