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A conversation with a 17-year-old Amateur Climatologist

Edgar McGregor is more than just a 17-year-old in the world, he offers hope to all of us as a self-proclaimed amateur climatologist. Unlike other environmentalists, he was first interested in exactly how climate change affected the world meteorologically but the magic that he fell in love with now threatens to hurt this planet. When…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/richcoca4/" target="_self">Richard Coca</a>

Richard Coca

March 9, 2018

Edgar McGregor is more than just a 17-year-old in the world, he offers hope to all of us as a self-proclaimed amateur climatologist. Unlike other environmentalists, he was first interested in exactly how climate change affected the world meteorologically but the magic that he fell in love with now threatens to hurt this planet.

When it comes to the love he has for nature and our planet, he had this to say:

“Just 24 hours ago, I stood on the edge of a lake without any head protection feeling the brisk 24 degrees, 30 mile-per-hour winds because it made me feel alive, and it made me feel connected with nature. I, however, also see it hurting. I have graphed the temperature and precipitation changes since 1909 in my hometown of Pasadena, Calif. My heart drops every time I look at my own discovery. I do not know how Los Angeles will operate in 2100 with the extreme heat it will face, or if it even will operate. I do not know how California will cope with the extreme century-long droughts we may be entering. All of this makes me feel hopeless, but there is no time for grieving and despair. I feel that I must do all I can to contribute to this issue, and I feel that I have to put my feelings and doubts aside for the children of tomorrow.”

In our minds, how high of a priority should climate change be?

This is a difficult question because not everybody is worried about the long-term future. As a species, climate change should be very high on the list of priorities, but not for everybody. Our attempt to solve climate change does not have a universal solution amongst politicians, environmentalists, or the average citizen. We all know what we need to do, and yet we have so many organizations all advocating for the same thing but refusing to work with each other. I do not know how we expect to get anything done when we are not united. This issue should be at the top of our priorities, but I know that it is not because we are not united on how to solve this.

What can be done to combat public apathy or rather complacency with climate change?

I think one thing that holds most Americans back from fighting climate change is the fear that solving it will hurt the economy, and I think that this is a misconception. We have the opportunity to create millions of jobs and several stable industries and economies by going green. By doing so, we can also live sustainably, and not have to worry about implications our civilization.

How can we all as individuals help fight climate change?

While I think it is important for the individual, especially the environmentalists, to fight climate change at home, I do not believe this will reward us highly. I do not think it is rational to expect every person on Earth to change the way they live to solve climate change. If we want to solve this issue, we have to change the way people are able to continue to consume by making their products differently. People do not like change. It will be too hard to remove mankind’s need for new things, more things, and better things. If an individual really wants to make a change, they need to show the people around them that they can live happily, healthfully, and successfully without using 20 tons of co2 per year.

Would you say that activism is no longer effective and why?

To me, activism no longer is very effective because the average American understands climate change is real and that it will take a lot to stop. Activism is never bad, but we need to stop telling people this is a serious issue and start telling them that solving this will not hurt the economy, the employment rate, or peoples lives. The only thing that is stopping the United States from solving this issue is that we have so many people, jobs, cities, families, and states that all depend on these CO2 producing industries financially. We have to not only tell people, as I said, that fighting this issue will not hurt the economy, but we also have to make sure that we are putting our money where our mouth is. We have to shift these jobs, wealth and economies from non-renewable energies to renewable energies. These cities depend on creating energy, they can just do it differently. This is what environmentalists need to advocate, and this is why their activism no longer has the effect that it once did.

How can the world of climate science manage to be more inclusive and how are you going to be a part of that change?

Climatologists, environmentalists, politicians, and citizens all need to be on the same page. Climatologists give the facts, environmentalists exaggerate them, politicians ignore them, and citizens doubt them. This lack of unity among the population is very bad, as people with pockets that they hope to line can break in and disrupt the system with ease. We all have to understand exactly whats going on, how to stop it, what not to do on our way to stop it, and how to keep anyone from being left behind. That is not whats happening today. We do not need hundreds of climate organization groups sending useless emails asking for money. We cannot have democrats running into places, regulating them, and patting themselves on the back as people become unemployed.

For our readers interested in climate science, what is one thing you would want them to take away from this interview?

For the readers reading this today, I hope you got three things out of this article. First, I hope you understand that this issue will one day soon be unsolvable, and what we are doing is not enough. We continue to emit more CO2 than ever before, year after year. While the rate has almost plateaued, this is not enough. Second, I hope you, the reader, understand that this issue is almost all about the economy. Too many economies, people, and families depend on these industries for their paychecks, so we must very very careful when we go in and dismantle our demand for C02 polluting products. Third, this is a humbling experience, and I love being a part of its solution. This will be hard to solve, no doubt, but it will impossible without you, especially if you are young like me. We will lead the world one day, so let’s start off on the right foot. Let’s protect our planet for our children, as our parents failed to do for us.

Scholar-athlete Cody Going: off to Division 1

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