Austin Rutherford speaks with Emily Jenkins about the Sc3
EMILY JENKINS: Hi, I'm Emily Jenkins here with Austin Rutherford from Westchester, New York. We are at the Student Climate and Conservation Congress of 2010. It is July 30th, and we're here at the NCTC in Shepherdstown, West Virginia with the Fish & Wildlife Service.
What got you interested in the Climate Congress?
AUSTIN RUTHERFORD: I have been interested in environmental studies since I saw Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" back several years ago in theaters, and I ended up taking AP Environmental Science this year at my high school, and that got me very, very excited and passionate about becoming part of the movement, part of the green revolution that is really overtaking this country, and it's wonderful, and my teacher nominated me for this wonderful conference, and I came here and, I don't know, it's just been-- it's been a blast.
EMILY JENKINS: How exactly do you define the green movement?
AUSTIN RUTHERFORD: It takes a number of different aspects. I guess there's the movement towards renewable-- it's all about sustainability very clearly. We want to build an economy that can sustain itself, because oil, our biggest import, and pretty much the drive behind all the world's economy, is a nonrenewable resource, and eventually we won't be able to extract any more oil because it will cost about as much to take it out of the earth as you can get from profits.
So I think that the green movement, or the green revolution is about building a sustainable economy. It's about building a sustainable-- I've known as social sustainability, which comes in the form of local markets of food so that you don't have to have food that's being transported thousands of miles from where you live and creating an absolutely immense carbon footprint. You use locally grown food.
Best-case scenario, grass-fed beef, and you shop at local farmers markets. That's part of this green revolution that's really overtaking where I live. I mean, there's at least 10 more local farmers that are currently living in my county that were not there five years ago.
EMILY JENKINS: What's been your favorite event that's happened or just your favorite part of the conference so far?
AUSTIN RUTHERFORD: Well, I think it's-- I think the way this whole conference was put together was truly fantastic, because the speakers really inspire you in many different ways. Since I was never really interested in the biology of environmental science, I was sort of interested in the financial possibilities, the lucrative opportunities-- I don't want to seem like selfish, but I understand that there's a new market now for building a renewable source of energy, and it's very-- I think it's very, I would say, like morally good. It's something that you can be proud of in a way that you can't really be proud of oil when you see all the damage it's doing to the ecosystems around the world.
So these speakers really inspire me in ways I have not expected, and we break out into groups after we listen to speakers, and you sort of collaborate with your peers on the many issues. I was fortunate enough to have a group that wanted to deal with many of the same issues I have, which is alternative energy and creating a sustainable economy. I think that whether by chance or by truly understanding each student when they read the applications and putting them into groups that they saw the fit perfectly together. I think that's really incredible.
EMILY JENKINS: Is there anything that you learned here at the conference that you are looking forward to going home and immediately applying or anything that just
got you really pumped about helping the environment?
AUSTIN RUTHERFORD: Absolutely! I have to say after the second day I was ready to just go home and start doing new things, because I'm one of the few kids that is at this conference that is going to college next year, because most of these students are juniors becoming seniors, and this is a conference for high school students, so you don't see a lot of kids that are going to college because you can't really come back, and I saw an opportunity, I really did, to take the knowledge I've gained here and, one in particular for my community, which is called "community gardening," and creating a way to sustain my local food pantry which can provide that locally-grown food that I was talking about so that people can get this fresh food, higher in nutrition value than foods that you see in the supermarkets, because foods that are transported all the way from Costa Rica or China, they're picked before they're ripe. So not as many of the nutrients can reach the fruit before they're transported. I'm so excited to go back home and start building this community garden, and I know I'll have many followers who will help me with this, and that's evidenced by my environmental studies class that I took this past year. It was a very supportive community.
And in addition to all of this, a community garden is a replicable way to create a sustainable future. So I could bring this down to the university I'm attending, which is Elon University in North Carolina, and I'm just so excited for that.
In addition to that, I've heard speakers talk about redesigning cities, the founder of Terraform, which is a conceptual city builder because none of this -- because it hasn't actually rebuilt an entire city. He came and talked to us, and it was really inspiring that you can create an entire business that's so new and one-of-a-kind, a first of its kind, I suppose I should say, because I believe that many of these businesses are going to start popping up everywhere. So I'm just so excited to learn how to create a business of my own.
EMILY JENKINS: Of course, Mitchell Joachim of terraform.org is who he was referring to. He has a web site that explains most of the cities that were referred to.
Is there anything else you would like people out there to know about your future plans for conservation, about global warming, the issues, what you've learned, or future Sc3 attendees that just don't really know much about the process or the conference, anything else you would like to share?
AUSTIN RUTHERFORD: Yeah, I would say definitely whoever is listening, join it, tell your friends to join it, because it is something-- you may know many things about biology and environmental science and climate change, but that's-- that's something that you can take to the conference, and it doesn't matter how much-- how many facts you know or anything like that. It's just something that inspires you and it opens your mind to different possibilities, different ways to take your knowledge and apply it to pretty much any field. I've learned while I'm here there's a great need in this country for engineers and politicians who are thinking about a sustainable future, and the worst possible scenario is people not knowing, people who are great with interacting with other people, who are very charismatic, who can really effect change and just didn't get the right information. It's just imperative that this organization really becomes nationally known and recognized as a great, great place for students to meet other students and professionals who have really reached the pinnacle of their careers. I mean, it's just-- it's very inspirational and really opens your mind to everything.
EMILY JENKINS: Well, thank you very much. This was Austin Rutherford of Westchester County, New York.
AUSTIN RUTHERFORD: Thank you.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.