Name: Pauline E. Dunnet-Binns
Role: Mother, English Teacher
What first triggered your interest in environmental issues?
My father talked to me about John Muir, a 19th century naturalist, explorer and conservationist. His love and respect of the natural world helped me see how all living things are inter-connected and the importance of respecting this balance'. Reading about the deforestation of the rainforests contrasted starkly with this. Poverty pushes locals to destroy a fine resource which we all need in order to keep our planet healthy. Since then, I've noticed that some political leaders focus on national industrial growth at the expense of negative environmental impact. Politicians 'values' seem to run counter to what is good for our world.
What are you working on, concerned by, or motivated by at the moment?
We continue to sort our garbage, teach the kids to turn off lights when they leave a room, value water by making sure taps are turned off. We watched Yann Arthus-Bertrand's movie 'Home' (about us and our planet) as a family and will introduce them soon to the idea of environmental 'restoration' projects run by John Liu and his team.
As a family we take the Metro here in Paris and only use the car on weekends to get out of the city to the countryside.
More difficult to accomplish though is a change to only eating things grown locally. City dwellers are so used to having a vast selection of foods from around the planet. It would make more sense though to eat only seasonal fruits and vegetables from France rather than grapes flown in from Chili etc.
More easy to accomplish would be to keep our heating lower and wear more sweaters. Donating to a tree planting organisation.
What motivates me at the moment is to learn more and start a more fundamental change programme. For example, cutting down on purchasing 'produced' goods such as clothes and shoes. Making do with what I have, repairing things.
What do you anticipate working on, or thinking about, in relation to environmental issues over the next 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years?
environmental issues over the next 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years? In the immediate future I'd like to incorporate a range of materials on environmental issues and solutions into my teaching of the English language. Podcasts and films, texts, web-sites which require English written contributions. This way my students can improve their English listening, speaking, reading and writing skills using a global concern as theme. More longer term goals include :
Learning from friends how to grow my own vegetables so that I can move to the country and be more self-sufficient.
Reading more on the subject of restoration of over-used, eroded areas of the planet.
Would it be possible to start a city composting programme? Residents could sort their organic waste and put it in a closed compost bin. Instead of being mixed up with the general rubbish and wasted it could feed public gardens.
How optimistic or pessimistic are you as you look at where we might be in 2020, and why?
It's hard to say what people value most. Living in a city we have a particular view on this involving many many cars still on the peripherique around Paris - many with just one driver inside. The supermarkets are filled with an incredible amount of different food stuffs which all take energy to produce and more energy to recycle their wrappings. While famine exists in many places in the world, we can carry on without any obligation to change our lifestyle to something more sensible.
On the other hand the French television have been putting on excellent programmes and discussions ... Finding out about this site and being able to contribute makes me feel more optimistic.
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