It is my hope to inspire all of us, both young and old, to work together towards a better and cleaner environment.
I have always wondered.
That deep sense of awe is at the heart of my interest in the world around me, especially the natural world: bugs, flowers, birds, snakes, biology, evolution…climate change.
I grew up along the banks of the Mississippi River in the Driftless Region of the Upper Midwest. It is a special place with so much natural diversity and abundance of various ecosystems to explore. I have always loved being "in" the outside. It makes me feel connected. I can feel my stress levels decrease whenever I venture into the woods, prairies, valleys, rivers, or other wild places. It feels like home.
My respect and admiration for our natural systems of life grew as I aged. By my elementary school years in the '70s, the environmental movement and Earth Day became things. People started to grow more and more "into" the natural world and working to protect and study it. I grew more and more interested in the impacts we humans were having on the other life forms we share this Earth with. I started to read and do school projects on the plants and animals around me.
These interests continued to deepen and develop as I grew older. I became more and more concerned about climate change and its impacts and started working more with movements that tried to protect the natural world. These movements fought against the harms of mining and other actions that were taking from the Earth and never replenishing any of the resources we “harvest.” This type of consuming without responsibility does great harm to the very biological systems that help sustain life on this little rock hurling through space.
Once I became a father, I grew even more concerned about Earth's ecosystems and its biological diversity. I suddenly cared very much about the world my daughter and son would grow up in, and began working hard to instill a respect and sense of wonder in our children. Both my wife and I began to consciously model to our children a level of respect for the other life forms around us and for the natural world.
As all of this was happening, I began a career as a middle school educator and have taught classes in environmental education and awareness to over 1,000 young people.
These young people in my life have been a source of hope and a rekindling of my passion for climate change mitigation. I am more and more hopeful as I witness their real desire to stop this problem and work towards a better understanding of how life works together on this planet.
But I worry that our daughter and other young people will have to deal with the consequences of climate change, though they did not have much of anything to do with its devastation. We have created this potentially catastrophic problem, and I fear it will be left to them to solve.
It is my hope to inspire all of us, both young and old, to work together towards a better and cleaner environment. Climate change is the most important issue we face as a species on this plant. We all need to work together to mitigate it and end it if possible. We need to do so now.