#3 Vermont Climate Change Rundown

I think when you think of a social issue, you think of something about discrimination or acceptance into a society. I first thought of a race or gender or religion being accepted. But I think that you can deny or accept other things in a society as well. You can deny fact, like the fact that climate change is affecting us now and we need to do something. But you can also accept that climate change is here, but think of it as something out of your hands, too big for the individual to affect.  When people deny climate change or accept it without doing anything, we can’t work together to change the outcome of something terrible. Effects are getting worse while people sit back and enjoy their comforts at the expense of others. Just this year we have seen three huge hurricanes, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and then Maria, all three bringing devastation to the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas. There have also been giant wildfires in West America and earthquakes in Mexico. These are all results of climate change and the change of ocean and air currents due to global temperature rising.

Here in Vermont, we have been lucky not to have been hit by any of these natural disasters. But we still have to worry. According to the State of Vermont Climate Change website, we can expect a rise in average temperatures, shorter winters, more rainfall, less snow, and more intense storms. Things will get worse if we don’t unite completely and the only way to do that is to understand the other side so we can empathize with them. People who deny climate change aren’t all doing it because of money, like many people believe, they are scared too. Brian Merchant, a writer for The Outline, thinks that people who deny climate change should be charged. This attitude towards deniers lacks humanity and empathy, key elements for coming to a conclusion. We can’t all jump the gun and think that someone who disagrees with us is wrong, that they can’t be understandable because they believe one thing and you believe another. We can’t continue to point fingers and blame each other for a mess that is everyone’s fault. We are divided when we ask if climate change is real and we are divided when people say the individual can make the biggest difference. So we need to unite around the things that everyone agrees with. Climate change is something our country is debating and we need to act now.

Trump and his administration hasn’t said much after Trump’s election around the topic of climate change, but during the race they made it pretty clear where they stood. Trump thought climate change was a hoax. But even under an administration that is weath driven, Vermont is still a very progressive state. The state makes carbon emission goals that they require residents and companies meet and have town committees that help communities reduce their energy use and save money. Time said polls showed that the majority of Americans believe that climate change is real and is human caused, to what degree, that’s up for debate. These are some hopeful statistics and I wonder how many Vermonters believe the same thing?

I went to a workshop with teachers, program directors, and a couple other students on Saturday. There I met a man named Fred who’s life work was about climate change. He expressed his concern that we are destroying ourselves because we can’t face the terrifying reality and we would rather bury our heads in the sand then try to change something we can’t even imagine is coming. If we can’t work together, then we won’t be able to fix climate change. Fred told me our best shot was the young people who could startle others into listening. I am ready to surprise people and to help others understand the supposed confused. I wonder how can I help people listen to each other and why do people deny climate change? What are their thoughts on our current administration and the Paris Accord? I hope to be able to met Fred’s expectations and make a difference in Vermont.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

“Climate Change in Vermont.” Climate Change in Vermont | Climate Change in Vermont, State of Vermont, 2017, climatechange.vermont.gov/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

“Does Donald Trump Still Think Climate Change is a Hoax?” Time, Time, 27 Sept. 2017, time.com/4959233/donald-trump-climate-change-hoax-question/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Featured Image by Tom Geser

Merchant, Brian. “Climate change denial should be a crime.” The Outline, The Outline, 31 Aug. 2017, theoutline.com/post/2202/climate-change-denial-should-be-a-crime. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Elsa Lindenmeyr

3 Responses to “#3 Vermont Climate Change Rundown

  • Elsa I can’t wait to hear more about this topic! You are so passionate and interested, and this is such an important time to be talking about climate change both for political reasons (as you mentioned Trump and his administrations inability or unwillingness to accept the environmental changes happening around us) and also from just a regular environmental standpoint because of all the terrible natural disasters our country and the whole world has experienced the past month. It’s a giant topic to tackle, but as you continue to narrow it down I think it will be exactly what you’re going for: startling to many, and hopefully moving (to get people to actually do things to help instead of shrug their shoulders and hope that these environmental catastrophes will just go away on their own.

  • Laurie Hickey
    3 years ago

    Hey Elsa.

    I think Fred has a point. As a young person, you may have more credibility to say ” you are messing with my future and with my children’s future.” I think you are also on to something about some people are deniers because it is inconceivable to think of say – Camel’s Hump in January with no snow – and other people are not denying but they are either too busy or feel not empowered to make change real.
    I think it’s important to bear in mind about people’s available time to invest in changing habits around climate change. If you are a person working two jobs and you have a family, easy may make sense (taking your car rather than riding a bus) just as a function of time. In thinking about climate change we somehow must de politicize it and also make sure doing something about it is not class related. I’d point you in the direction of Miro Weinberger’s recent press conference around electric cars in Burlington.

    ” The state makes carbon emission goals that they require residents and companies meet and have town committees that help communities reduce their energy use and save money.” I like this quote – how is this being communicated to regular old Vermonters? Now that’s a good question.

    Thanks for a post that made me think.

    Laurie

  • Elsa, I agree with Caroline and Ms. Hickey (my L.A. teacher) that you are really ready and empowered to do something about this topic. I noticed that you mentioned the three major hurricanes we had this year, and wondered if you knew that there have been even worse years for hurricanes as of this point, such as 2005. I agree that is worrying about how people in power are not acknowledging the challenge our planet is facing. You said that the State of Vermont Climate Change website predicts that there will be less snow, but there had been a surprising increase in snow from two years ago to last year. I also hear that this winter is supposed to be another snowy winter, similar to the 2010 to 2011 winter. Do you think that they are partially meaning that the climate either will be hot or cold, but not in between. I myself went to a sustainability oriented elementary school, so I also have done some work regarding climate change.
    Thanks for your thoughtful post,
    Theo

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