It’s getting past peak foliage and that means the temperatures are dropping. Vermont Gossip is going to stay indoors for the winter season. We’ll go skiing and riding a few times probably. Thanks for checking out this site. Come back next April for more from our word on the street interviews.
Meg Wood, 18, has lived in Vermont her whole life. She lives in Poultney.
When asked if the community of Poultney is strong, Wood said, “Yes. Yeah I do. It’s almost like a small town in a book actually which is kind of sweet. The community is really tight knit. It’s one of those everyone knows everyone, but even if you don’t it’s just really helpful. Sometimes it’s kind of weird like everyone is family, but it’s still just really sweet and homey.”
When asked if she likes Vermont, Wood said, “Yeah, it’s a little cold for me and I’m ready to get out and see other things, but I do like it here.”
When asked if the average five year move rate and the practice of leaving home for college had the effect of ripping communities apart, Wood said, “No. I think it’s natural for people to move away and find other places, you know, there are a lot of really nice places but not all of them can be home. And especially with younger generations, they need to find where they belong. That doesn’t mean the community is falling apart. There can be new people coming in and out. I believe the culture and dynamic can stay the same.”
When asked who she saw as community leaders, Wood said, “I’ve looked up a lot to, he’s a local director does a lot with the parade as well as his own business stuff. He does a lot of things with the community here and just a lot of um he’s very personal with the people he works with as well. He’s a great guy.”
When asked if elementary school students should be taught how to grow food, Wood said, “Not necessarily need to. I don’t believe it should be something per se required, but I think they would enjoy it and it’s definitely beneficial, I’m not opposed to it.”
Wood believes that our human instincts are as complex as other animals and believes that emotions are instincts that were selected by nature for our survival.
When asked if human instincts should be taught to elementary school students and students should be taught to follow their good instincts, Wood said, “To a certain degree perhaps. I think at least a basic level of psychology could be beneficial to anyone, but again I don’t know about as far as requirements in balance with other things. But basic psychology stuff, yeah.”
Wood’s favorite Vermont band is Grace Potter.
When asked if courting rituals were alive and well or if they had died out, Wood said, “A lot of that has died out and courtesy in general kind of has, it’s hard to find. Which I guess makes it more valuable, but I don’t think it should be dying out especially as quickly as it has.”
Wood is on Facebook and she is interested in networking with fellow Vermonters to become the most networked state in the nation.
When asked if human instincts are to be good or to be selfish, Wood said, “Our natural instincts are selfish.”
She does not support legalizing pot in Vermont.
For hobbies and recreation Wood said, “A lot of theater. I’m involved in the visual arts. Equestrian sport.”
When asked if we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together, Wood said, “I think they go hand in hand. I think we do need to adjust the focus a little bit so they’re more balanced but not necessarily too much.”
Wood’s advice to youngsters is, “Whenever you’re given an opportunity, whatever it may be, don’t pass that up. Too many times that that has slipped by me and especially while you’re still living at home you’ve got so much time to jump on that and it would benefit you so much. Any opportunities especially around here, just get on board with it.”
When asked what was the most pressing issue of our time Wood said, “Hopelessness. There’s a lot of selfishness, a lot of dying classical morals and values, and a lot of hopelessness. I think that people need to see the value not only in themselves, but in each other.”
When asked if she thought climate change was a serious threat, Wood said, “I’m not sure on that one, actually. Not sure.”
When asked if she thought most Americans make a livable wage, Wood said, “Probably not after taxes. No. Not in recent years.”
When asked if there were any hidden gems in Vermont, Wood said, “Off the top of my head it’s hard to think of, but there are so many just going by gorgeous gorgeous things, just in the environment around here.”
Her favorite restaurant is the Coffee Exchange.
She does not believe that high school students should wear uniforms in an effort to reduce cliques. “I think that one’s physical appearance is part of how they, or at least can be part of how they express themselves. The cliquiness is kind of human instinct, but I don’t think we should suppress people’s creativity in order to try to diminish social stuff. There are other things that can be done.”
Aaron Alger, 21, has lived in Vermont since January. He lives in Rutland and works at Mother Clucker’s. He likes living in Vermont. “It’s pretty.”
When asked if the community of Rutland was strong, Alger said, “Not at all. There’s way too many drugs in this community that’s tearing it apart.”
When asked what could be done to improve the community, Alger said, “Start locking people up for doing drugs and not just put them on probation.”
When asked if there was anything being under reported in the local news, Alger said, “The drug use in Vermont.”
When asked if the average five year move rate and the practice of moving away after high school for college had the effect of ripping communities apart, Alger said, “No because everybody’s gonna move eventually. No one’s gonna stay in one spot.”
When asked who he saw as leaders in Rutland, Alger said, “Drug dealers. They seem to run this place.”
Alger does believe elementary school students should learn how to grow food in a hands on environment.
Alger does believe our human instincts are as complex as other animals. “Yeah, to some aspects yes.”
Alger does believe that emotions are instincts that were selected by nature for survival.
Alger is on Facebook and he is interested in networking with fellow Vermonters to make Vermont the most networked state in the nation.
When asked if humans are more selfish or more good, Alger said, “Selfish. Well our instincts as a human are selfish cause you’re supposed to think about protecting yourself, but I wish there would be a focus more on everybody else and yourself, than just yourself.”
Alger does support legalizing weed in Vermont.
For hobbies and recreation Alger likes to, “Read, watch movies, do random art projects.”
When asked if we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together, Alger said, “Yes. Everything is about money.”
Alger’s advice to youngsters is “Put your phone down and go out and do something.”
Alger said the most pressing issue is “Politics in general, how corrupt our government really is.”
Alger does believe that climate change is a serious threat and he would support a revenue neutral carbon tax to push us away from fossil fuels.
Alger does not believe most Americans make a livable wage. “I don’t and I’m an American.”
Alger’s favorite restaurant is Friendly’s.
Crystalanne Nolte, 23, has lived in Vermont since January 2015. She’s from Rochester New York and she lives in Rutland now. She has a four month old and she is engaged.
When asked if Rutland was a strong community, Nolte said, “It’s not bad.”
When asked what could be done to make the community stronger, Nolte said, “More community programs.”
Nolte likes to make bracelets and artwork. She can be found on Facebook and she is interested in networking with fellow Vermonters to make Vermont the most networked state in the nation.
When asked if there was anything the local media wasn’t covering, Nolte said, “The drug use in Rutland is pretty high and it’s a problem here. It’s pretty pathetic actually. It’s pretty bad how many people are using drugs and it’s rough.”
When asked if the average five month move rate for the American and the practice of leaving home for college ripped communities apart, Nolte said, “It can. It can rip more families apart than the community, but I guess ripping families apart does effect communities in the long term.”
When asked if she thought elementary students should learn how to grow food in a hands on environment, Nolte said, “Yes, I do. I was raised as a farmer. My family came over from Germany, we were raised as farmers. That’s how we made our future, as farmers, it’s really good to be hands on with farming.”
When asked if she believes our human instincts are as complex as other animals, Nolte said, “We used to be more complex with our human instincts, but we’re starting to stray from our instincts because of technology it’s kind of warping our minds.”
Nolte does believe that emotions are instincts that nature selected for survival and she does support the schools teaching children about their instincts and teaching them to follow their good instincts.
When asked if she thinks courting rituals are dead or if they are still alive and well, Nolte said, “I think we’ve lost a lot of them. I don’t really think it’s progress. We’re losing touch with humanity, we really are.”
When asked if she thought our instincts are more to be good people or selfish people, Nolte said, “I would like to believe that our instincts are more to be good people, but a lot of people aren’t following their instincts for good morals. You know, people are becoming rude and disrespectful toward others. They’re not complimenting each other, which we should be. When you see somebody you should hold a door, you should compliment them on their clothes, you should be thanking them for doing something kind, and we’re not doing that anymore. Today’s society is straying away from that and it’s pretty sad that we’re coming to the point where we’re not kind to each other anymore.”
When asked what she thought causes this, Nolte said, “Honestly, a lot of things. Technology is a huge cause of that. We’re all into our phones. We’re not looking up. We’re not enjoying nature. We’re not enjoying each other’s company. We’re secluded to video games. We’re not getting out into the community as much. There’s not as much community networks anymore. We’re not activity knit. There should be gardening, there should be field trips more in schools to get the children out. Now we’re bringing laptops into the schools. We’re not teaching cursive anymore. That was huge when I was growing up and it’s not anymore, and that’s coming from someone who’s born in 1992. Come on. What is the world turning into. It’s sad. It really is.”
When asked if she supported legalizing weed, Nolte said, “For some aspects it can be helpful. For medical purposes sometimes it can be helpful, for seizures it can be helpful for cancer, but for recreational use, no I do not.”
When asked what she does for hobbies and recreation, Nolte said, “I’m huge into art, scrap-booking. I believe in gardening, flowers, vegetables. I read for fun. I’m not one for sitting on the computer. I don’t do video games. I once and a while sit down and enjoy a movie but I’m always scrap-booking or doing something hands on.”
When asked if we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together, Nolte said, “Yes I do. Like I said before we splitting apart, we’re not joining together to be united.”
Nolte’s advice to youngsters is, “Respect. Learn to respect each other. Respect your elders. Respect yourselves.”
When asked what the most pressing issue of our time, Notle said, “I’m big on respect. I really am. That’s something we need to focus on, and that’s a huge issue in the world, is that we’re lacking respect, for everybody.”
When asked if she thought climate change was a serious threat, Nolte said, “It could be, because of what we’re putting into our earth. I also believe in nature, mother nature, and we’re neglecting her too.”
Nolte doesn’t have an opinion on whether or not Vermont should pass a revenue neutral carbon tax.
When asked if she thought most Americans make a livable wage, Nolte said, “No. I don’t. There’s people who are starving out there, and we’re not caring enough. We make the rich get richer and the middle class they just sit there and the poor get poorer.”
Nolte’s favorite restaurant, “I would have to say Friendly’s. It would have to be. It’s a small little family restaurant and they have great food there.”
“I believe in a higher power. I’m not quite sure what it is, but something up there helped us somewhere.”
by Dean Powers
The heroin epidemic continues to be highlighted by Vermont Gossip interviewees as the problem that Vermont needs to confront. Vermont is such a small state that we should know everybody who comes and goes and we should be able to track down the importers of the drugs that are destroying the social fabric of our state.
Police should reach out to youth in the state to foster relationships that will bring new information to police in the future. Pairing youth with police might also retain more Vermont youths in a state that is one of the oldest in the nation.
Youth tend to be out in the community more for their age and see more and are exposed to peers who are experimenting with drugs. These informants can bring the police information to intervene early in a youth’s development and get the sick into treatment.
Drug addiction is above all else a mental illness. The sick are trying to medicate themselves to adjust to peer pressure and social norms among their peers. I speak as someone who tried drugs in high school and college. I didn’t have a strong connection to the community and my peers were using drugs, so I used drugs, too, to fit in.
Drug users isolate themselves from the rest of the community to partake in using drugs. This type of behavior does not lend itself well to a community that is supposed to be everybody joining together to make changes and keep a solid economy. This is what respondents say will make their communities stronger in their responses to Vermont Gossip.
In addition, there should be programs that are offered to drug dealers to get them out of an illicit enterprise and get them involved in the community. We could crowd source revenue to start second hand stores in Vermont, which will be the wave of the future in a resource strapped economy. Former drug dealers can run these enterprises and pay back the money invested to start them up. It would be up to the drug dealers to turn themselves into police and report who they are getting their drugs from. In exchange they would be protected from charges and offered an opportunity for a fresh start in Vermont.
More than anything, the elders in Vermont should make more of an effort to connect with youth. It is the responsibility of the elders to create the atmosphere of community in Vermont. They have the power, the money and the time to invest in youth programs and youth activities. If they see youth as a nuisance as at least one teen Vermont Gossip interviewed felt they do, then there is no hope for our collective future as a species and our survival on this harsh planet.
Dean Powers is a former community organizer who fought for health care reform and now reporter for the Vermont Gossip.
Meadow Squier, 25, has lived in Vermont for her entire life. She moved away for three years during college. She comes from a long line of Rutland area Vermonters. Squier currently lives in Tinmouth. She is a farmer with her husband, and she also runs the after school program at the Tinmouth elementary school.
When asked if she thought her community was strong, Squier said, “Yeah. I do. We have a very strong community of older people and younger people. We have a very small school. We have 45 kids in it total. But the climate within the school is really a microcosm of how a community should work, where everyone has to work together. Kids are encouraged…they have to work with kids that are maybe different than them or they don’t always like or get along with because it’s such a small school that they don’t have the opportunity to pick and choose who they want to interact with they have to learn to interact with everybody, and I think that plays into our larger community as a whole. We have such a strong community. There was a farm that had their barn burned down, I think this was last year or two years ago and we built him a new barn, a nicer barn than he had before. It’s one of those things where your barn burns down and you lose a bunch of cows in a fire you maybe aren’t so ready to go back into business. Especially the dairy industry, but with a brand new barn, closer to the road more accessible for a milk truck. He’s still producing. He’s got four cows he’s doing really well. We just had a dairy farmer got run over by a cow, she broke her foot, she was laid up, and people figured out what they needed and they needed a dish washer so they bought them a brand new dish washer, and got that put into their house. It’s just that kind of thing where everyone really kind of knows what’s going on with everybody else and what they need and kind of is paying attention. I think that’s really important. It’s important to me. It’s why I moved back here. And Rutland County, as a farmer it’s like, there’s such a big network of farmers that are my age here, that it’s nice to be able to go talk to Scott and Lindsay at Alchemy Gardens about a lifestyle that’s very similar to mine. So like I can relate to people here, and I can interact with people who are older and get experience from them.”
“I do like living in Vermont. I also like it for the weather. I like the extremes. I think I’d get really bored if I lived too close to the equator where it was just the same temperature, the same daylight all the time. I like that I have to want a season, like right now I’m almost wanting winter which seems weird, but farming makes me really tired and worn out so the idea of having a blanket of snow on all my fields and not being able to do anything is kind of appealing to me right now.”
“I think that we should be paying more attention to the farmer’s market over there, the Vermont Farmer’s Food Center, I think that they’re doing a lot of really cool things. I am biased. I am on the board of that organization. But I think that they are doing amazing things, and I think that should be covered. I think that Rutland, I want it to be perceived more as a positive place to live. I think there’s a lot of coverage of all the negatives of Rutland, and least from what I see, I know there’s a lot of positive coverage as well. I know there’s a terrible heroin epidemic and all this stuff. People just seem to kind of shit all over Rutland a lot, and I think that it’s actually a pretty awesome city. It’s a beautiful city. We have this amazing architecture, but nobody really is appreciating it I feel like. We have this really cool place, but everyone’s just like, ‘Oh it’s Rutland, it’s a shit hole.'”
When asked if the average move rate of five years and the practice of moving away after high school had the effect of ripping communities apart, Squier said, “I mean, I think that it’s…it could go either way. I think that it’s a natural occurrence that people would move away for college and then become a part of another community. I think it’s the role of the community to create good community citizens, so that when they go to another community they know how to be engaged and be good community citizens. And just hoping that other communities are doing the same thing so that everyone is creating good community active people so that when we all move between each other’s communities we’re all very aware and good cooperative working people. Obviously that system can break down when crappy people move in or really awesome people move away and then there’s a hole in the community but I think there’s always the opportunity for it to be filled by someone else who is great.”
When asked who she saw as leaders in the state, Squier said, “Bernie Sanders at the moment. He’s a pretty hot topic person. Right here I think Greg Cox is an amazing leader that we have. He’s a huge inspiration to me and I think he’s got great vision for how this community can be a real agricultural hub and we can be known and grow and produce a lot more food here in this region, and I think he’s an incredible person.”
When asked if she thought elementary students should learn how to farm in a hands on environment, Squier said, “Yeah, for sure. I run a garden club at my school and it’s like the most popular after school program. I did a 30 activity survey of all of my students being like, ‘These are all the activities which ones are your favorite?’ trying to figure out what ones to provide, and garden club still tops the list. It’s pretty cool. I think if kids are given the opportunity to really love growing food instead of it being a chore they have to do at home, I mean a lot of the kids around here do have gardens at home, but it’s often something their mom makes them do or weeding is always this arduous task, or they hear their parents talk about it in maybe a negative way. So making it become something that’s really positive and making kids see that there’s young coolish people doing agricultural things and it’s not something to look down on I think is really important. I know when I was in high school it was like if you were going to be a farmer it’s like, ‘Ah, what?’ You’re signing yourself up for a life of hardships and not having any money, which, I did sign myself for that, but it’s worth it. I think that we need more role models for kids. Having them really experience the fact that it’s hard work to grow food and they should appreciate it, but also understand the difference between good food and processed food and how it effects their bodies because there’s growing food and then there’s really appreciating it for why you want to grow food. I think that lesson’s also really important.
“I think that our instincts, we’re probably not as aware of them maybe as other animals, or we use them differently. I raise a lot of animals myself and I feel like sometimes they’re smarter than I am, but I don’t know. I feel like there’s a lot more potential for us, but because of how we live we don’t need to use them in the same way. So maybe we’re using them just in different ways.”
When asked if she thought emotions are instincts that nature selected for survival, Squier said, “I don’t know I’ve never thought about that. It would make sense it seems possible. Yeah I think that’s a possibility.”
Robert Brown, 45, has lived in Vermont for four weeks. He used to live in Burlington in the 90s. He is originally from Atlanta Georgia. “I said I was gonna come back when I got older.” He has three children. He works part time in janitorial services.
When asked if the community of Rutland is strong, Brown said, “Yes I do. It’s beautiful and strong. History and everything.”
When asked what could be done to make the community stronger, Brown said, “Everybody works together and all type of races. Police everybody works together. I don’t go by race. Everybody works together.”
When asked if there was anything the local media isn’t covering, Brown said, “I don’t think anything covered behind the doors closed. Maybe I’m reading wrong.”
When asked if the average five year move rate and the tradition of high school students moving away for college had the effect of ripping communities apart, Brown said, “No. I can’t say that because everybody has to go to school and learn some college.”
Brown believes elementary school students should be taught how to grow food. “I learned when I was with H-H-H so 4 H-H when I was young. I was born in the country.”
When asked if human instincts were as complex as other animals, Brown said, “No. I really can’t answer that but I don’t think so.”
Brown does believe that emotions are instincts that nature selected for survival.
Brown does believe school students should be taught about instincts and taught to follow our good instincts. “I was told young about instincts. It’s a different society now. When I was brought up I was taught everything.”
Brown is on Facebook and he is interested in networking to help Vermont become the most networked state in the nation.
When asked if people tended more to be good or selfish, Brown said, “We got selfish and good people. It’s mostly between both.”
Brown says he doesn’t care if Vermont legalizes weed or not.
When asked what he does for hobbies and recreation, Brown said, “Football, baseball, soccer, you name it I do it, dodgeball.”
When asked if we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together, Brown said, “Yeah. Basically mostly focus on the economy. We should be surviving together. It should be equal fair share you know in the United States period.”
Brown’s advice to youngsters is “Stay in school. Obey your parents. Finish school and college. Play sports. Positive.”
When asked what the most pressing issue of our time is, Brown said, “Honestly violence all over America. Mostly negative really. Everything should be positive, you know. I believe in positive always. There’s a lot of negative. We all should be together. Grow together.”
Brown doesn’t know enough about climate change to know if it’s a serious threat. He doesn’t know if he would support a carbon tax.
Jim McCoy, 64, has lived in Vermont 45 years. McCoy lives in Castleton. He is married and has two kids who live in Oklahoma because they couldn’t afford to live in Vermont.
When asked if Castleton had a strong community, McCoy said, “Yeah, it’s not a bad community.”
When asked what could be done to make the community stronger, McCoy said, “I think their working on most of the point just activities, that sort of thing. Trying to bring the community together.”
When asked if he likes living in Vermont, McCoy said, “I have so far. It’s getting a little expensive to live here in Vermont, but the quality of life, absolutely.”
When asked if there was anything unreported in the news, McCoy said, “A lot of it’s covered, but I don’t know about the spectrum of unbiased opinion. So a lot of the opinions of what are media is bias because I work for this company and this is what we cover. And a lot of it’s covered but not all by the same people.”
When asked if the average move rate for the American of five years and the common practice of moving away for college had the effect of ripping communities apart, McCoy said, “Oh yeah definitely when they have to go some place then a lot of times they’ll end up moving or living in that area. Doesn’t mean it’s bad. That’s how we’ve, you know, we move different places and start different things. Nothing’s like, you’re born here, you live here, you die here. People just go to different places now. They have more of an opportunity to go different places now.”
When asked who he saw as leaders in the state, McCoy said, “The best leaders that I can see in Vermont are the people that just put the time into teach. For other people to learn. Not necessarily schools or anything like that, but just people who are interested and care enough to teach, expand people’s opportunities.”
When asked if he thought elementary students should be taught how to grow food in a hands on environment, McCoy said, “Absolutely. Everybody should know how to take care of themselves. How to feed. Grow. Whatever it might be. There it’s all in the teachings, but not necessarily through the schools.”
When asked if human instincts were as complex as other animals, McCoy said, “Yeah, probably. We have different types of what we have to learn and know, so the complexity is more so for the humans.”
When asked if emotions were instincts selected by nature for survival, McCoy said, “Yeah, that’s gotta be something that’s just into our…into us, that for the emotions you speak of because I don’t think animals have all those emotions. I think it’s just being the human and of course emotions have a big factor on how people think and therefore what they end up doing with it.”
When asked if students should be taught about instincts and taught to follow their good instincts, McCoy said, “Yes. We should be able to be exposed to whatever the people want to be exposed to.”
When asked if he lamented that courting rituals were gone or if they were still alive and well, McCoy said, “No a lot of that has changed. I think it’s longer than what it used to be. It used to be a courting ritual few months and that’s it.”
McCoy isn’t on Facebook.
“I think it’s getting to be more good than selfish. There are always the people who think about no one but themselves, but I think a lot of that’s changing. Especially you get into the type of atmosphere, people looking more to help each other rather than help themselves from each other so you’re not taking you’re giving.”
McCoy does support legalizing pot in Vermont.
“I really don’t do a lot. I’m self-employed and most of my time is spent working. All my hobbies are all part of work.”
When asked if he gets to town meetings, McCoy said, “Some of them. Unfortunately I end up with a biased opinion. A lot of the times people that are in the towns, running the towns came from other places and they just wanted something to do so they become involved in the town while everybody else is working to try to make a living and don’t have time to go to the town. A lot of the towns are being run by people who aren’t even from there. For one instance in Castleton they had a town manager, they have a new manager every couple of years in Castleton, and one of the managers, I asked him where he lived and he said, Oh, I’m renting a place in Benson because I can’t afford to live in Castleton. But yet he was the town manager of Castleton. That was a few managers ago.”
When asked if he thought we focus too much on the economy and not enough on surviving together, McCoy said, “Well the economy is part of us trying to survive here. Vermont has turned into more of a tourism state. I’ve seen them shy away from a lot of manufacturings over the past few decades, and so yeah, they focus more on the economy than the people.”
Sharon MacFarlane lives in South Burlington. She has lived in Vermont her entire life. She works at a travel company.
When asked if the community of South Burlington was strong, MacFarlane said, “No. There is no real community in South Burlington, but in the Burlington area there is definitely community.”
When asked what could be done to strengthen the community of South Burlington, she said, “It’s definitely more of a commercial area, so maybe less commercial and more of a residential or a center meeting location.”
When asked if there was anything lacking in the local news, she said, “I think it would be nice to hear more of the humanity stories in Vermont. What people are doing to help other people and for the environment and the good things people are doing not just all the bad stuff that happens.”
When asked if the average move rate of five years and high school students moving away for college had the effect of ripping communities apart, MacFarlane said, “No. In the Burlington community I know there’s a lot of people who are not locals and there’s definitely a great community of people who have moved here from out of state.”
MacFarlane believes elementary school students should be taught how to grow food in a hands on environment. “I think that would be a good skill for everyone to have.”
When asked if she thought human instincts were as complex as animal instincts, she said, “I think if your in touch with that part of yourself, yes, but I think animals are better at knowing instinctively what they should be doing, but humans I think we use our brain too much to dull out that part.”
MacFarlane does believe that emotions are instincts that nature selected for survival.
When asked if she lamented that courting rituals are dead, she said, “I don’t think they are still alive and no I don’t miss them.”
MacFarlane is on Facebook.
She believes humans are more instinctively good than selfish. She also supports legalizing pot. “Everyone can do what they want to do.”
“I spend a lot of time in the woods hiking. I read. Do crafts. I do a fair amount of yoga.”
MacFarlane’s advice to youngsters would be, “To listen to yourself. Follow what you know is right for yourself. Not to always be concerned about what society thinks is the correct thing for you to do. Cause I think we all deep down know what we’re supposed to be doing in life, but we let the distractions of society kind of dictate what we think we should be doing.”
When asked what the most pressing issue of our time was, MacFarlane said, “Just general human rights. That not everyone has health care or a livable fair wages. People decide that we need to make legislation to tell women if they can or can’t have abortions. I think that’s pretty pressing. It would be nice if everyone could make their own decisions and also live in a fair community.”
MacFarlane does believe that climate change is a serious threat and she would support a revenue neutral carbon tax to push us away from fossil fuels.
“Definitely the people are amazing. The natural terrain of the state, just finding those great little hiking trails that you can kind of get away from the business of the small cities in the state and just spend time in nature. There’s definitely a lot of those around.”
Former Vice President Al Gore spoke in Vermont this past Tuesday at UVM. He highlighted the storms in recent times and compared the strength of these storms to a baseball player who uses steroids. He said that scientists used to say that no single event could be tied to climate change but that this is no longer the case.
Scientists say that all of the storms and draughts that are hitting the world are strengthened by climate change. Climate change began during the industrial revolution of the late 1800s according to Al Gore. “After World War II it really started taking off,” Gore said.
“The cumulative amount of man made global warming pollution now traps as much extra heat in the atmosphere as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima class atomic bombs going off every day,” Gore said.
More destruction is coming, and it’s time we start planning. Gore said last year was the 38th year in a row warmer than the 20th century average. Fourteen of the last fifteen years were the hottest on record with 2015 on course to being the hottest year ever recorded.
Gore said much of the heat is being absorbed by the ocean and this is creating fiercer storms. “When you had super typhoon Haiyan a little over a year ago. That typhoon crossed ocean areas that were much warmer than normal. It became the most destructive typhoon ever to make land fall. Thousands of people killed, 4 million homeless refugees as a result. Some of them still not back into homes.”
Gore said the water cycle is profoundly disrupted. “We all learned as kids that the water vapor comes off the oceans and gets in the air and then it falls as precipitation onto the land and rushes back to the sea through the creeks and streams and river. As the heat in the ocean increases the amount of water vapor going into the sky increases significantly. We now have between four and five percent extra humidity world wide because of global warming. And the warmer air holds more water and that means when the storm conditions release the moisture there is much more that comes down.”
“Not all of the moisture that falls to the ground originates in the part of the sky directly above where it falls. These storms reach out often 2000 kilometers and funnel the moisture to the point where the storm releases it.”
This is what happened in South Carolina. It happened in Houston Texas. It happened in Utah. The events are adding up. Vermont will some day be faced with a refugee crisis and how will we respond?
I propose that we be prepared to welcome up to 100,000 refugees. It is up to our government leaders and business leaders to decide how to prepare. Every day we’re putting 110 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
“There are longer intervals between the downpours making the droughts even worse, and during those intervals, the same heat that puts the water vapor from the oceans into the sky also sucks the soil moisture out of the land,” Gore said.
There is hope, but we must act quickly to curb the amount of carbon dioxide we are releasing into the atmosphere. The weatherpeople don’t talk about climate change every time they forecast warmer than average temperatures. This, too, should change.