Tom Kostigen

Thomas Kostigen has traveled the world– exploring environmentally significant places on Earth and explaining how everyday actions matter. His new book, You Are Here: The Surprising Link Between What We Do and What That Does to the Planet, draws from his world travels to demonstrate the impact of our actions on the planet. As an advocate for corporate social responsibility and environmental awareness, Kositgen aims to raise social and environmental awareness.

1. What’s your favorite political movie?

PRIMARY COLORS. I felt was smart and just lampoonish enough to be completely accurate in its portrayal of politicians.

2. What role do you feel art plays in politics?

Art plays a HUGE role in politics. Going all the way back to Plato, you can see how expression and philosophy weave together to create culture as we know it. Of course, that is a very highbrow way of thinking today, gosh darn it. But I think intellectual curiosity is the hallmark of both art and (should be) politics to promulgate society’s evolution. You betcha I do.

3. What do you think is the biggest issue for the next generation of Americans?

The biggest issue for the next generation of Americans is going to be balancing population growth with limited natural resources.

4. Who was the first political candidate you were excited to vote for and why?

Well, I went to college in the early 80s. So Ronald Reagan actually got me excited. He gave us at least a sense of purpose as a nation and philosophy – even if I completely disagreed with him.

5. What factors are important to you in choosing a president?

A president should be presidential. By that I mean intellectually curious, accessible to the masses, and stalwart in principles.

6. What issues would you like to see politicians focus more on?

Of course I would like to see more emphasis on natural resources. Everything stems from the basics. And we are eyeing a water crisis, food crisis, and pollution crisis. Those are things pretty low on the pyramid (the lowest) and we need to give them the attention they deserve.

7. Which issues would you like to see politicians focus less on?

I think immigration is an issue that is blown way out of proportion. And I think Social Security is an issue that will take care of itself (check the S.S. web site; we aren’t going to run out of funding any time soon).

8. Which candidate’s initiatives do you feel better address environmental concerns?

I actually think both candidates’ environmental policies are equally vague.

9. This is your soapbox – shout it out! What do you need to get off your chest?

Water! A child under the age of five dies every 12 seconds because of a lack of access to fresh water. We need to increase the amount of fresh water on the planet by 20% over the next decade to meet needs. Yet, almost the exact same amount of water has existed on the planet since dinosaurs roamed. Think about that. Thirty-six states will face droughts over the next five years, according to the Bush Administration. The Great Lakes, which service 10% of the US population, are at their lowest point in 80 years. Ninety cities still dump sewage into the Great Lakes. We haven’t updated the Clean Water Act since 1972. It’s going to cost at least $3 trillion to update the water systems in the US. It’s a huge story and crisis. But it’s so scary no one much speaks about it.

10. Do you have any recommended links, books or movies so people can learn more about the issues you care about?

Of course, go to []. That’s the site for my book, You Are Here, and my columns and blogs. Also, here’s one not many may have read: []. Great stuff.

Extra Credit: Fill in the blank. _________ for change.