Climate Change Interview 17: Immigrant - Plano, Illinois

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Photo - Harry Strharsky

Live interview: Leo Velazquez – Gen X - Plano, Illinois - Principal Systems Engineer at AT&T Chicago, Illinois

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

To me its very interesting when I hear that. I do believe there is a change. I hear it everywhere. I don’t have the personal experience because I grew up in Mexico so half my life is there and half here. When I came to the United States I found the weather similar although the seasons seemed to have moved. The weather here is more extreme so it is difficult to know what is happening in Mexico.

However, in Mexico I hear there are changes. For the first time you see snow near Mexico City and you see snow in the northern areas. Maybe it is a warning. I see the snow in photos from my friends on social media. While that doesn’t seem like global warming it is an indication of extreme weather that comes with climate change. You think you can handle storms but now they are really bad and you worry when you know they are coming.

It is interesting to listen to people like you who lived when it was really cold you couldn’t even go out. Now you have these extremes here. Last year in Chicago we had one of the coldest days ever and they closed everything. That was kind of the first time that you realize that weather is affecting your personal life.

In Mexico, unlike here, when it was raining you just didn’t go anywhere but here you just go on with your daily life. We have the technology and the resources to take care of the weather and you can just go on with your daily life. You just go to practice or take the kids here and there.

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

I think we are using up all the resources of the earth to fast and nature can’t recover. We are consuming way too fast. We are taking more than we are giving back. We have so many more people so we need more resources, more food, more gas, more trees and don’t realize its all getting away from us. More people want more things.

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

That’s a great question. I think my daughter has a big influence on me. She is seeing what’s happening. As for me, I really don’t see those changes. It doesn’t seem to be having a direct impact on me. Life seems to be moving faster and faster. I just keep going, work full time, I’m involved in all these activities and it doesn’t seem to impact me but I have an awareness of it. I don’t use plastic bags and avoid straws and I feel shame if I told them I didn’t want a bag or a straw.

Now, however, I’ve changed. I know what is happening. I don’t have a problem with it. Let’s get this done. You know, in Mexico they don’t give you plastic bags. They are banned there. You cannot drive your car one day a week. They are into extreme measures.

I grew up in Mexico City where there was way more pollution and they