#3 Interview For Information

My first interview was with my mom, Gwen, an active member on the Weybridge Energy Committee, and an advocate for the earth.

When I asked first how she felt about climate change, and she answered that she feels overwhelmed, and hopeless, despairing, because these are big problems and it may be too late. But, more optimistically she said, we can’t stop it, but we can slow it down. Switching to using solely renewable energy rather than fossil fuels would be a very big and progressive step. There are many reasons that fossil fuels are bad to be using, yet they continue to be extracted from the earth. I then asked her, what to do about the expenses of these renewable energies. Her answer was that the government should subsidize renewable energy sources in order to cheapen it and make it universally accessible.

She noted that the best way to get the ball rolling is to start in your sphere of influence. A member of the Weybridge Energy Committee, she has experienced the benefits of neighbor to neighbor interactions about this daunting topic. One project the Energy Committee has undertaken is trying to get people to weatherize their homes, which means air sealing and insulation (to prevent heat loss). This is a way to save money, and the environment. She also mentioned energy efficient cars help save money and gas. Also, with experience working in an architecture firm, she has learned about retrofitting homes and old buildings to save the energy you are using. As an environmental group has just started up at my school, we have been looking for ideas to help our school become energy saving, and one important thing my mom stated was that these projects (weatherization) save the homeowners, or business money in the long run, because less fuel is escaping rather than warming your house. I will take the suggestions she made to help that club make changes for the betterment of the environment.

My second interview was with my younger sister, Rachael (age 10), she goes to Weybridge elementary school. When I asked her the first thing that came to mind when she thought of climate change she said: melting ice caps, water rising, wrecking animals’ homes and bad for the environment. She mentions that if people don’t pollute, compost more, and eat less packaged foods would be some ways that people positively affect the environment. When I asked her what she personally could do she told me that turning off lights, composting, taking short showers and eating organically are ways that she could help fight climate change. She mentioned something really interesting to me that her school does Green Up, composts, but she doesn’t feel that the teachers are talking too much about climate change. Rachael said that she would very much like to have a whole unit, or year long learning project that connected to climate change, and what kids like her could do. Her comment made me think that kids will do something, if there is a achievable goal. So instead of stop climate change, a plausible goal could be plant a garden with your family, or learn about the effects of climate change and present findings to a class. Talking with Rachael, made me think of a topic idea: how climate education is taught in schools, and how can that be a better learning experience for kids. It is so important to get them excited and ready with the tools they need to fix this problem their generation will face in the upcoming years and throughout their lives. Rachael also brought to light the idea of how our food choices effect the environment and fossil fuel usage and this might be a narrower topic I would be very interested in exploring.

My third interview was with my friend Romy, an 11th grader at Middlebury Union High School. Her approach to this question was more governmental. It worries her that the current administration isn’t doing anything to address this very relevant topic. Phil Scott, our state governor was invited to a convention about climate change, but he declined, saying there were more relevant problems that needed to be dealt with. Also, she notes that there are national protocols that the United States is not a part of. These protocols are real ways that different countries can come together to work on this issue. I had not thought too much about the governmental side to this topic, and I was glad she brought this up. Also, her family farms bees, and they notice climate change’s effects on their bees. Bees are crucial for the environment as pollinators. To end our discussion, she said, basically we need to (as a world) take a look at our lifestyle and start making some changes (big or small), and if everyone works cooperatively it is an issue we can face as a team. She helped me to understand this issue is very much political, and that it is important that world leaders are making an effort to make some changes along with everyone else.

Overall, the interviews were very helpful and I learned a lot.

Mary Nagy-Benson

4 Responses to “#3 Interview For Information

  • What a broad range of information you gathered in three interviews! The aspects covered include local projects like neighbors winterizing their homes, educational opportunities in schools, and government policy – amazing and accessible approaches for considering climate change.

    This morning I woke up to a report by U.N. scientists saying that this issue is even more urgent than they previously thought, that temperatures are rising at a rate that could cause devastating, widespread consequences as early as 2040. It’s going to take a lot of political willpower to turn this ship around. While each of us can take small personal steps, we are also going to need to act collectively in order to prevent – or at least mitigate – a crisis.

    As you explore this topic more, it would be interesting to talk to a climate change denier as well. What would it take to shift their opinion so that they could embrace the difficult – and sometimes costly – steps that will be required to combat this problem? How have we managed to shift people’s opinions in the past when a pressing need demanded it?

  • Hello from Germany, again! It seems like your choice of interviewees was really good from the standpoint of getting perspectives from multiple generations. It would be really cool if schools could create (some probably have) interdisciplinary projects that were meant to educate and activate students. This could happen at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, especially if a community of learners (teachers and administrators) worked cooperatively, crossing lines that don’t always get crossed because of distinct subject based curricula. I also like what your mom said about the government subsidizing initiatives that promote renewables. I know there are certain energy providers out there who offer incentives for their customers to change over to solar, and that wind is a great energy source providing you can transport the electricity from its source to users. While these tend to be expensive initiatives, more effort needs to be made. If you heard on the news just today that there is a new UN report that says the whole business of climate change and its effects is pretty urgent, that we have twelve years, or until 2030 before it’s effects are irreversible. You might want to read up on the contents of that report, newly issued and much in the press today. There have been lots of international efforts. I’m sure you are aware that the current administration in DC has bowed out of the Paris Accord, which is a landmark initiative of huge proportions. But it’s all about cooperation and it’s all about moving forward, innovating, and there’s a lot of economic growth that could come from research and development. But this administration is all about fossil fuels and finite resources. So it’s important to communicate to community, state and national leaders the urgency at hand. Attending meetings, hearings, writing letters, demonstrating, all ways of coming together as a force for change. This is a huge topic in terms of the future of the world as we know it or as we would like it to be. And individual efforts can make a difference, as well as, systemic or community based efforts. Eating habits, public transportation, smaller and more fuel efficient automobiles, no more plastic shopping bags or ridiculous food packaging…

    In general, as a young person with a vested interest in this topic and your future, you have some power. Exert pressure on your state and national elected representatives. Exert some influence at a school board meeting…

    Looking forward to your next post.

  • Elijah Hawkes
    6 years ago

    Dear Mary,

    Some compelling points made by your interviewees. Some that stood out to me:

    “we can’t stop it, but we can slow it down”

    “the best way to get the ball rolling is to start in your sphere of influence”

    “melting ice caps, water rising, wrecking animals’ homes and bad for the environment.”

    “kids will do something, if there is a achievable goal”

    “this issue is very much political”

  • I like how you talked local as well as global. For example, you mentioned how Phil Scott declined an invitation to a convention on climate change, saying that there were more relevant problems that needed to be dealt with. I could not disagree with Phil Scott more. I agree with you that climate change is a very big issue and I believe that everybody should be doing their part in trying to preventing big changes like flooding and killing bees. You also talked about how your younger sister said that she isn’t taught that much about climate change. I believe we need to do something about that. Since climate change is such a big issue, you talk about it in a global way too. You talk about switching to renewable energy sources. This is something that is global. This affects everyone, from farmers to government officials. What is something you can do that would notify more politicians, like Phil Scott, of how important slowing down climate change is?

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