Climate Change Interview 14: Elementary School Teacher - Madison, Wisconsin

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

Lily, Flower, Joe Lynde
Photo Joe Lynde

Live interview: Connie Colussy – Boomer – Madison, Wisconsin – Elementary teacher retired.

1. What are your thoughts about the claims that the climate is warming, the environment is being destroyed and that humans are the cause?

I feel depressed. I mean there are so many people around the world who are and will be suffering. The poor especially in countries affected by rising waters. Then there are the generations to come and their future is bleak. I don’t have a lot of hope for them. I’m glad I’m the age I am and that I’m not 20 years old. Even for our kids that are 30s and 40s, they are going to experience some horrific things.

Between that and all the garbage we don’t know what to do with. When we were growing up we didn’t have all this garbage because we didn’t have all the packaging. Our parents canned a lot of stuff and just used the jars over and over again. Now we buy stuff in a can and toss it out.

I was thinking about plastic wrap. We use a lot of it but we used to have those plastic covers that we would stretch over containers and reuse. They looked like shower caps. Now they are reselling those. The only thing we had decades ago was wax paper. That’s all we used. Now nothing is reusable.

I think about all the trash we throw out. When we were kids we didn’t have garbage and trash because we had a burn barrel. Everybody did. It was a 55 gallon barrel and you would fill it up and keep burning trash in it until it deteriorated and then get another one. That probably wasn’t the best thing either because it would burn and go into the atmosphere but it did cut down on all the waste.

We don’t seem to have the will to do what is necessary.

2. In your mind what are the driving forces of climate change and environmental degradation?

I think people are just not aware of what is happening. They haven’t been educated about how harmful climate change is. Others are just greedy and don’t want to make a change in their lives. There needs to be a lot more education.

I am shocked when we travel and go to all kinds of places where people just don’t recycle. When I see these high rise buildings and visit people who live there, all the trash just goes in one big dumpster. There are hundreds of people in these buildings and none of them recycle. It’s been so many years since recycling started and many people still aren’t doing it. When we lived in McFarland in the 80s there were recycling bins. It’s hard to believe we haven’t come further in 40 years.

3. Has your life been affected in any way? If so, how?

I think about things everyday. For example, we had to replace our microwave oven. I thought – where will the old one end up? It probably goes to a landfill. Everyone in this city has a microwave. Where do they all go? Maybe we shouldn’t even use a microwave. My mother didn’t and she managed to get by. Maybe we really don’t need those things.