Jayni Chase Headshot

Chip Comins: What is your climate passion?

Jayni Chase: It’s incredibly disturbing to me that humans are disrupting pretty much every single living system on the planet. Years ago, after I’d answered several questions from a group of teens, one of them asked how I could stay optimistic and keep on going. I answered that instead of getting sad, I get mad. Being mad is activating. Being sad can lead to hopelessness. I’m not hopeless. I’m very hopeful. As much as it’s awful to learn about all the greedy and selfish decisions that some people make, I know there are many more people who have good intentions.

CC: How are you leading/advocating solutions to climate change?

JC: Through education. In our K-12 schools. That’s been my focus for over twenty-six years. I believe that it’s vital for children and teens to be educated, to be given information to help them understand the impacts humans are having on our water, soil, and air. Without information, there can be no real understanding of the ramifications of our choices.

CC: How do you see imbalances in climate reflected in other realms of society, such as gender, governance, and race?

JC: The imbalances in the climate have been brought on by the incessant push for more and more immediate wealth. We have spent the better part of the last fifty years being inundated by advertising, being told that we will be happier if we get more stuff. But that’s been backfiring recently. The PBS documentary Happy unveils the truth: money and stuff aren’t what makes us happy. It’s strong connections within families and friends, communities of people that truly care about one another. Education, the free flow of information, is key for our personal and societal growth. It all comes back to education.

CC: What simple action can people take locally and globally to be effective on climate solution?

JC: Taking one step at a time so it’s not overwhelming is vital. There’s a long list of places to begin: energy use, transportation options, food choices, water use, purchasing choices, participating in elections, volunteering for nonprofits . . . and within each of these categories, each of us can learn to live a more conscious life.

CC: How can we grow the economy and improve the environment by addressing the climate crisis as we enter the “Great Transition”?

JC: We need to invest in clean energy technologies. We need to rush them to market while rebuilding our energy networks intelligently. And it’s imperative that we push toward a cultural shift away from energy waste to respectful conservation with fierce commitment that will carry us to the other side.

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