Interview 10: Alex Velazquez - High School Quarterback from Plano, Illinois - Loves music, plays guitar and piano in his spare time. Favorite artists are Queen and the Beatles.
1. What are your thoughts when you hear the claims that the earth is warming, the environment is being destroyed and that humans are the cause?
When it comes to humans, I automatically assume the rich are responsible because they could do more than anyone else. They have the most power and the most money to change the way of life. Even when it comes to things like eating. We know that vegetarians and vegans help the environment by the way they eat but the rich who can have anything, choose the excess. I mean, they are huge consumers buying the worst cars for the environment and building massive houses. They could set the example and use their power and money to turn things around.
I also think about the things I could be doing and haven’t. I could do a better job recycling. It’s kind of inconvenient and I’m kind of lazy. You know like, “I’ll do it later” kind of thing.
And when you talk to people It’s always the same answer. “What can we do about it.” We can do a lot, really, but no one seems to have the will to act.
2. In your mind, what are the driving forces of climate change and environmental degradation?
I think it’s pretty obvious that the government plays a big role. Money drives everything. People are greedy. The government does what the rich tell them to do. So really there is little we can do about it. I guess the best thing is not to put the wrong people in power.
And the people who are born now think that this is the way things are. They won’t know any better. So, we will keep consuming and consuming. They won’t know about the Amazon rainforests and the way nature used to be. They’ll think these deserts were always there. Even I have to look back at pictures and movies to see that things have changed. Everyone thinks this is the way things always were. It’s sad but true.
3. Has your life been affected in any way? If so, how?
Maybe the clothes I wear to school and stuff like that. It’s worse now. It’s colder in the Fall and really hot in the summer. I don’t see a lot of other effects. I mean, maybe when I’m working in some business that’s affected, I’ll see it more. I’m sure that a whole bunch of other people are suffering from this stuff. Just because I don’t really see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
4. In your opinion, what needs to be done?
We need better politicians and people in power. I mean, one person at the top can really make a difference. But it’s not just people in power either. We need better leadership but…. We all have to learn to say that we really don’t need 'that'…. We consume too much stuff and we have to make better use of all the things we do have.
5. Do you consider yourself part of the problem or part of the solution?
I’m part of the problem. I’m not the kind of person to lie about it. This isn’t easy and I’m going to fail but you really have to try. Like my sister Ana knows a lot about this stuff. She has kind of taught me to have a different outlook on all this. I guess I really need to change what I do. You really don’t know when the world, as we know it, will end. It’s not a great thought to have in your head. It’s kind of depressing.
6. What do you think the long term outcome of climate change and environmental degradation will be?
If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Maze Runner” that’s what’s going to happen. There will be this huge desert we live in and the government will take over everything. The world is dying very fast but people only believe what they see and if they don’t see it happening to them they don’t believe it. It’s not going to be good.
I also think there will be disease and cancer from the sun. It will be bad. I think it will be about 50 years and everything will crumble. They will be some people who will have all the technology, and money, and power and they will control everything.
That is like the worst-case scenario but if people would have that in their head and believe it maybe they would act. Maybe they would start to do the little things that add up.
Even in school the kids really aren’t talking about it. Maybe if someone like Ana were there to tell them…. Maybe we should be making more movies like Mad Max. Maybe that would scare people into action.