Live Interview: Jan Huber – Boomer - Sixth grade teacher (retired) from Muskego WI., Lake Denoon Middle School, now living in Minneapolis.
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?
My thoughts are for my poor grandchildren and the generations to come. That’s where my thoughts go. What will their lives be like and what problems will they face.
2. In your mind, what are the driving forces of climate change and environmental degradation?
The way we have been consumers has contributed to climate change but hopefully we have learned from our mistakes. We should be a little smarter now and we should be educating our children and others about the environment. It's not too late to set an example and we have to do a much better job of protecting our earth.
Our current administration in Washington is certainly not leading the way. Private citizens are doing a better job as well as state and local governments but we need a president and people at the top to be strong in their commitment to environmental issues. I still have hope that we will turn this thing around. I think we have to have hope or we will stop trying to solve the problems. We have to have hope.
3. Has your life been affected in any way? If so, how?
Sure. There are a lot of ways my life is affected. One example is composting. Minneapolis has composting available. It is picked up with our garbage. When we moved to an apartment composting bins were not available. After being in the habit of composting we felt guilty throwing away coffee grounds or a banana peel or other compostable items so we take our compost to our daughter's a couple times a week. It's a little more effort but also a small thing we can do as consumers.
4. In your opinion, what needs to be done?
I think there are many things that need to be done. you have to zero in things where you can make a difference. Obviously voting for people who'll make changes is huge. As a former teacher I am interested in programs that teach our children about nature and how to protect our world. An NPR story on this topic interested me. There is an entire genre of CliSci literature for kids. You could buys books like these for your local libraries or elementary and middle schools to make sure kids are learning about it. They are going to need this information and information is usually accepted better through stories. It's a good way to learn.
5. Do you consider yourself part of the problem or part of the solution?
I think, being our age, we have definitely been the problem. I am slowly beginning to do the little things that are part of the solution but we have been consumers that’s all there is to it. We like air conditioning in the summer and to nice and warm in the winter and so on. That was just our life.
This first step, of course, is always acknowledgement. I mean we did it. We were there when it happened. Then you go from there.
6. What do you think the long term outcome of climate change and environmental degradation will be?
I think its going to get worse before it gets better. It’s hard to stop the ball…. But I do believe people are waking up and are going to demand some action. It is really hard to imagine what it will be like in 2085. I think it could go one of two ways. It could either be the end and there is nothing left of this planet or we change our leadership and the direction we are going in.
I like to believe there are enough good people to change things. If not back to the way things were, at least enough so that we are not killing each other for water.