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Climate Change Interview 5: Golf Course Owner (Kristin) - Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

Live Interview

Kristin Frederickson – Gen X – Golf Course Owner – Cottage Grove, Wisconsin - Wife and mother of two sons

1. What are your thoughts when you hear that the climate is warming, the environment is being destroyed and that humans are the cause?

Well, duh!  I would agree it is definitely happening.  I think that owning a business that has to do with the environment drives that home.  In a sense the weather dictates how we operate.  It’s very apparent that there is some stuff going on.  Even in the last three years we flood regularly.  It rains more than it ever did before and we keep track of that.  Last year, in 2018 we lost 44 whole days of business because of rain.  And if you think that a summer season is 100+ days, we lost a substantial number of days we need to make the whole year work.  

The total number of days was outrageously high compared to years past.  We used to lose a day or two, here and there but we never lost as many whole days.  Usually it would rain in the morning and someone could go out in the afternoon but in recent years we have had downpours the entire day and no one is able to go out at all.  

I’d have to look back but it was crazy.  I think it was about four times as many rain days as years past.  And then this year it snowed in October and we didn’t have our 60 degree Fall days that we usually have.  It went from warm weather to snow just like that.  Being in this business we definitely have a different perspective on the weather.  So, you hope you are in a cycle and that next year it can’t possibly rain as much.  This year we had lots of rain in the spring and lots of snow in the fall.  You definitely pay attention to the weather.  

Beyond the weather issues we have here, I also think about global problems.  I mean the oceans eliminating parts of the coast.  It is obvious that we are all doing things that are melting the polar ice caps.  

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

I’m definitely not as knowledgeable as other people about what is causing it.  However, if I were to say what I thought is causing all this it is a lack of urgency at all levels.  I guess really its at the higher levels where people are making the decisions that is the most important.  It’s those old white guys who are sitting in Congress and say that there is no such thing as climate change.  These are the guys who have the power to hold people to the fire if they wanted to.  

My sons say to me “OK, Boomer”.  I tell them if you are going to insult some one get it right.  I’m not a Boomer, I’m a Karen.  So get it right.  There are younger generations speaking out but you still have the old guys in charge who are going to destroy the planet.  I mean its been inaction for years but now if you have the inaction-people in power we’re screwed.

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

Well, we already talked about the weather affecting the golf course but it also affects people who work here and lose a day of pay.  It’s not just me personally that has to worry about making enough money this year its everyone who didn’t come to work for five days.  

My kids will certainly be affected down the road but they are not very… worldly.  I feel like they don’t really pay attention.  It seems like kids are either all in or not at all.  I think they could be educated more and should be.  I think get some stuff but I don’t think that they think about it at all.  

4. In your opinion, what needs to be done?

I think we need to vote people out of their place of power.  If you don’t believe in this you should not have a place in government.  I think there are enough young people who are after them but then you have a lot of people who seem to be afraid of aggressive young people.  Maybe its not fear but they don’t think young people know what they are talking about.  It’s almost like you have to get all the people in the middle on this involved. 

5. Do you consider yourself a part of the problem or a part of the solution?  Why?

I guess a little bit of both.  I mean, I recycle but we also use fertilizer that is probably not great for the environment.  I haven’t really looked into it to see if more environmentally friendly fertilizers are 10 times more to use or not.  I could look into it.  

There are stories about people who have died from all the chemicals used.  Not here but a young guy dove into a pond at another place of business and died from all the chemicals that had washed into the water.  I mean we have a pond here too.  It’s a worry.  

6. What do you think the long-term outcome of climate change and environmental degradation will be?

Well, that’s where I’m fearful…..  Yet, I’m kind of stuck.  I mean is it really only going to be 40 years.  It was always been this long time period before things got bad but not any more.  I guess I’m thinking we are doomed if we don’t do something – now.  However, I’m not sure what “doomed” means.  Maybe it means that there will be no more Florida and all those people will move up here.  It could mean lots of things.  Maybe there isn’t enough water and people are killing themselves over it.  Maybe humans will survive but what will it be like.  So, I don’t know if it will be the apocalypse or anything but it will definitely change a great many things.  Maybe you will have to become a vegan because there is no beef anymore due to drought or whatever.  

Then there are all these other issues we have dealt with before, right?  I think back to when we were in college and we were activists fighting AIDS, or gay rights, or whatever it was.  We have made progress against HIV and people probably have more rights like same sex marriage.  Whatever, that stuff didn’t exist before.  So we have solved some problems.

I think there will be enough happening in the next 10 to 15 years.  We will have to act. If we don’t I’ll be curled up in a ball.  I do worry about my children and their future.  


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