Monday, February 14, 2011

Interview with Dana Powell

Golly Gosh Gee! I'm a celebrity! Someone asked me for an interview. Here it is:

February 14, 2011 (yup, Valentine’s day…)

In this week of interviewing I tried to get an international perspective on climate change. Canada technically counts. My boyfriend, Ishai, is originally from Toronto. He has his BA in Contemporary Studies. He composts, bikes, and recycles here…all actions that were easier when he lived in Toronto or Halifax.

Dana: So what do you think about climate change?
Ishai: Until something happens it seems impossible, and then it seems like it was always possible. Life is difficult and complicated enough on an individual scale that it is very difficult to care about or minister to the horrible things we’re doing that have not yet had a horrible effect.

Dana: What’s it like dating an environmental scientist who studies climate change?
Ishai: It’s a bit like recycling. In that it’s an easy, even pleasurable thing to do that provides moral currency far greater than the effort required.

Dana: What’s it like being a Canadian in the southeast US, in terms of the environment?
Ishai: It’s like going back in time with the intention of awing the pharaoh with the fact that the earth is round, only to realize that I am the weirdo from the future, and there’s way more Egyptians than there are of me, and they’re all likely to glance at each other and thus gain reassurance that the world is indeed flat.

Dana: It sounds like you don’t see Americans as paying much attention to climate change now. Do you think there would be a way to awe them with any sort of comprehensive mitigation plan in the next, say, 10 years, given that economists say it will be much cheaper to do something sooner rather than later?
Ishai: The economic impact of the 10 plagues was devastating, but the pharaoh wasn’t awed by God’s plan until his own son’s blood was on his hands. We humans, it seems, have lost the ability to conceptualize and act upon future pain. The American dogma of individual freedom makes it especially hard to act towards the good of the collective, nevermind the good of the future collective. If something is going to be done to mitigate climate change before it becomes explicitly painful, then it is going to be the work of future-minded individuals in power.

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