Written submission: Judy Kihslinger - Boomer - Adult Educator (retired) Waukesha Technical College - Married with 3 children and seven grandchildren
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?
I believe in science. There is indisputable evidence that our planet is in serious trouble and that the human race is the primary cause.
2. In your mind, what are the driving forces of climate change and environmental degradation?
Fossil fuel, factory farming, population growth, throw away mentality, over consumption of everything.
3. Has your life been affected in any way? If so, how?
Certainly not a direct effect like California fires or hurricane ravaged areas. But many areas even here in Midwest have faced flooding problems. Dane County has experienced substantial flooding problems. I have chosen to make my life a little inconvenient to try and make a difference. We have eliminated paper napkins and towels. We try to consider our environmental footprint when making shopping decisions which sometimes makes life just a little less convenient.
4. In your opinion, what needs to be done?
Everyone needs to do what they can from very easy things like reusable grocery bags to things that make life a little less convenient. Most importantly, we need leadership that recognizes the seriousness of climate change and the willingness to use the resources needed to give this planet a fighting chance. This leadership will not just happen unless we vote for candidates at all levels, local, state and federal with well thoughtout environmental plans. So for me the most important action is to become a well informed citizen and then take action: vote, go to meetings, write letters, protest. WE need to be outraged at leadership that doesn't have climate change as one of the top priorities.
5. Do you consider yourself part of the problem or part of the solution?
In many little ways we have tried to be part of the solution: driving hybrid car, using as little plastic as possible, composting, rain barrels, water usage, electrical use, reusable bags for all shopping, reduction in meat consumption, responsible voting. However in so many major ways we are still very much a part of the problem. We still fly and at least I way to frequently give in to convenience. It is a constant battle.
6. What do you think the long term outcome of climate change and environmental degradation will be?
I want to have hope but feel if we do not make wise choices in this next election we will be in serious trouble.We simply can not afford to have a President that is a climate change denier. Climate change should be a litmus test for any candidate running for any election, local, state, or federal. So I worry every day for the future of my grandkids, but I haven't given up hope that we will wake up to our responsibility to protect the future of all grandkids worldwide.