#3 Can my parents agree on anything?

Still unsure of my topic, I decided to conduct my interview about something that I think about often, climate change and global warming. My parents both have very opposing views on social issues, so I thought it would be interesting to ask my mom, a democrat, and my dad, a republican, about global warming, a controversial issue facing our government today. I started off by asking my mom if she believed in global warming, and she replied with, “Yes, how could you not?” Next I asked why she thought some politicians hesitate to believe in climate change. She answered with her hands thrown up in the air in bewilderment. “They think it’s a hoax, I guess.” She went on to say that with “all of the crazy natural disasters” she didn’t know how they could ignore it. I then asked her what she thinks we could do to improve the conditions of the planet, “recycle!” she said. “It costs money to be ‘green’”, with finger quotations around the word ‘green’. My mom elaborated and said that “big businesses” knew that they would lose money if they went green. She believed money was a factor in the controversy. When I asked about what she thought would happen to the issue of global warming under our new president she replied that he thought it was, “all a big joke, he doesn’t take it seriously”. Although she believes it is a pressing issue for our world, my mom made it clear she believed that climate change was not as urgent as war, like the current conflict with North Korea.

Next, I called up my dad and asked him the same questions, to best see the similarities and differences in their answers. Differences started to emerge right away. When asked if he believed in global warming, he hesitated before saying that he “believed something was going on”, he did not want to call it global warming. He brought up rising temperatures and rising oceans. He thinks people hesitate to believe in global warming because “Earth is billions of years old, and this might’ve happened before”. Does he think each person contributes to global warming? “Sure”. Carbon footprints were then brought up and recycling, which my mom also suggested! Maybe we can bring the two political parties together through the power of recycling! But he also said that most people can’t afford clean cars, and that this was “a socioeconomic issue”. He believes Vermonters are already doing their part by being a leader in solar energy, and according to cleantechnica.com, Vermont has the sixth most solar energy per capita in the United States, behind California. I knew that when I asked my dad about Trump things would get interesting. I asked him what he thought would happen to the issue of global warming under Trump, he replied, “I don’t think it’s a main concern of his administration”. When it came to money he thought that “too much money had been thrown at global warming”. Clearly, he thought it was not a pressing issue and not worth any more money. He said that Trump should be much more concerned with “helping Vietnam vets”, “the homeless”, and “mental health”. American issues are at the forefront of my dad’s mind, he believes our people should come first. My dad’s answer to the last question of the interview was quite revealing. I asked him why people hesitate to make global warming the most important issue in our world. He responded, “The sky hasn’t gone dark and the sun hasn’t fallen out of the sky yet. When that happens, it will be a big issue.” From this I learned something that is true of humanity, we wait to resolve problems until it is imminent.

To sum up, my parents both believe that global warming is not the most pressing issue in our world at this moment and that people have not tried as hard as they can to resolve it because it costs a lot of money. There is a strong correlation between money and politics. In politics, all things are possible through money, and at this point we just don’t have the money to fix our planet, or we just don’t want to risk putting money into it. Also, recycling is important to everyone. Will this planet become desolate because we are not prepared for the treacherous future we may have created? We will just have to wait and see…

MacDonald, Joanne L. “Climate Change.” 26 Sept. 2017.

Macdonald, Daniel N. “Climate Change.” 26 Sept. 2017.

Shannon MacDonald

2 Responses to “#3 Can my parents agree on anything?

  • An interesting piece and it is interesting to see the divergent opinions of your parents.

    So did you find that you were more or less interested in pursuing the topic after your conversations with your parents? Why?

    Do you think that there is a story, project around the fact that your parents probably represent a sizable part of a population who don’t feel that it is a top-level issue right now? Do you disagree with that? If you do, perhaps there is a project around ‘How do we get people to see that this IS an important issue right now?’ What is it going to take? How do we de-politicize it? How do separate fact from fiction, dire predictions from the reality of now?

    What is the impact of the constant drum beat of the media, ‘OMG Harvey is a result of global warming. OMG Irma is the result of global warming. OMG Maria is the result of global warming.” Does that “analysis” actually do harm to people’s perceptions, knowledge because, well, it’s hard to prove and it causes them to tire of the topic?

    If you are still interested in this topic… you might also want to check in with 350.org and read Bill McKibben’s writing. Since he’s a Middlebury resident, he might be someone you could approach.


  • Avery Murray-Gurney
    5 years ago

    What you’re saying about how we tend to wait to fix issues until they’re too big to fix is really fascinating. It makes me wonder what would have to happen to convince people before it’s too late. I’m excited to see what you come up with.

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