Burlington Man Wishes Media Would Talk More About the Link Between the Economy and the Environment


Daniel Cmejla has lived in Vermont for seven years now, and he lives in Burlington. Cmejla, 24, works for a solar company.

“There are always things that every community could work on, but Vermont in general and Burlington have great values. I like it. There’s a sense of community and a sense of togetherness.”

To make the community stronger Cmejla said, “I feel like people could waste less electricity and talk more about Bernie Sanders. He’s so great. Yeah so people could just be more efficient, more considerate of others. Some times people these days, you know, “I’ve talked to a lot of farmers who have told me that some people these days care more about how much money they make at the farmer’s market versus whether or not their neighbors can eat. So I think looking a little bit around us is also very good for the community.”

“I love living in Vermont. It’s wonderful. I recently traveled outside of the country for six months, and if I wasn’t coming back to Vermont I don’t think I could come back at all.”

“I’d say there’s more stuff we could talk about [in the local media]…the synergy between economics and the environment. A lot of times in Vermont there are these two lines, you have people who care about the environment and then people who are focused on profit. I think the media could report a lot more about how the two are not mutually exclusive. They’re often together. Vermont could be doing so much more becoming energy independent. And then also supporting the politicians who can do that. I know that there’s a lot of talk about Bernie Sanders around here, but if we talked about Bernie as much as we did about Tom Brady then there would be more of a hope for our country. I think he’s great. He’s gonna do awesome.”

When asked who Cmejla sees as leaders, he said, “Well there are a lot of amazing non-profits and advocacy groups and leaders and I think a lot of them are leaders, but if I had to pick out two people I’d pick out Will Rapp the former, the creator of Gardener Supply and the Intervale, who played a huge role in the cooperative movement in Vermont, and I would also pick out Bernie Sanders just because that ethic is something that will potentially enable Vermont to spread its amazing community with the world and the country. The country really needs a little bit more Vermont.”

Cmejla does not know yet who he will support for the next governor of Vermont. “I’m not sure yet.”

Cmejla believes that children should be challenged in a bunch of ways: at school and outside. “Not enough people spend enough time outside and it used to be a part of the way the world is that you’d spend some time out there physically challenging yourself. I think Americans and children could travel more and experience a more diverse world.”

When asked if human instincts are as complex as animal instincts Cmejla said, “I don’t really know on that one. But I’d imagine that instincts are something that wouldn’t be specific to the human capacity for thought, so it’d be one of the things that united us most closely with other animals.”

Cmejla said in response to the question ‘are our emotions instincts?’ “Some of them. Emotions are great, so I’d hate to look at them just in terms of survival because they’re really what makes me happy, but I mean certainly some emotions are. There are some times where I think, and I’m feeling a certain emotuion, and I think this must be some sort of tribal remanence from when I wasn’t able to use a more sophisticated part of my mind, and it’s all about finding a balance between your instincts, you emotions and then reason. No one is perfect.”

“I think the drug war in general could be undertaken far more effectively. We have a huge prison overcrowding system. We need to look at the results of different policies that we’ve had and then use those results to base our policy in the future, which we don’t do often enough.”

Cmejla’s advice to youngsters would be, “Spend a lot of time outside and don’t take everything they teach you in school necessarily for granted, like we live in an economy based on the concept of endless growth and there are just assumptions like that every once and a while I find myself realizing something I assumed about the world is wrong.”

Cmejla said climate change is a serious threat. “Absolutely I think it’s a serious threat. In a bunch of ways some of which we’re already seeing, weather, all sorts of things. But another way it’s a threat is just the fact that there are so many complicated complex systems going on and if we think we understand them all as humans we’re kidding ourselves a little bit. We don’t know what we’re doing to our oceans, a third of our coral reeves have been destroyed, and then we’ve got large climactic situations we just don’t understand enough to say, ‘Hey let’s burn all this carbon and increase the temperature.’ We’re changing the geology of our planet. We can’t look to the past to say what’s worked in the past has worked. I think precautionary principle really had us take action on climate change. We can do that in Vermont. There are efforts to put a price on carbon pollution in Vermont right now which would make the state energy independent.”

Cmejla said he would support a carbon pollution tax. “I support a carbon pollution tax absolutely. It could make a ton of sense. In Vermont we could weatherize over 20,000 homes with it. There’s just a huge amount of progress we can have both for our economy and our environment. Vermont’s one of the few places that can actually lead this country.”

Cmejla said there are so many hidden gems in Vermont. “I’m not gonna say all of them though I don’t want to share them with everybody. But yeah Vermont is just amazing. There’s so many rivers and lakes and wonderful jumping spots and hiking spots. If anyone was thinking I’d say go up to the Northeast Kingdom, go to Parker Pie Pizza [in West Glover] and then around there you’ll see some of the most wonderful lakes and rock climbing and hiking that you can see anywhere in New England and perhaps the country and maybe even the world.”

Cmejla was asked if students should wear uniforms in school in an effort to reduce stress. “If it reduces stress then possibly but it’s a really complicated question. If it’s going to reduce people’s stress I support that. You go to school to learn. We should do whatever is going to optimize learning. But I mean measuring stress is such a difficult thing to do, and there are more complicated layers to it beyond just having to get up and dress in the morning, and there are a lot of different aspects of that, but as far as being an individual, that should be considered.”

6 thoughts on “Burlington Man Wishes Media Would Talk More About the Link Between the Economy and the Environment”

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