Anna Paetkau is a junior studying biology and environmental science at Eastern Mennonite University. Originally from Goshen, Indiana, Anna has always loved nature, and hopes to become a marine biologist someday. Anna joined the triathlon team at EMU this year.
Climate change is on Anna’s mind a lot and they often ponder the systems that allow for climate change to happen. “The western way of life,” Anna said, “is a lot of consume, consume, and I think a lot of people, because it’s so ingrained in their minds, have accepted that as natural for humans.”
“It’s terrifying to think that it is,” they said, “because how do we change that? But I don’t think it is at all.” The realization that many harmful habits, like consumerism, aren’t actually human nature gives Anna hope because it means that change is possible.
Looking ahead at the bike trip, Anna is excited to learn from people with different experiences and views than their own. They believe this will help them relate with people from a wider range of backgrounds in their field of study. They also look forward to the confidence they will gain in their body. “being able to know that my body can transport me from coast to coast is a very amazing thing,” they said. Despite what society tells us, Anna said, “there is no ideal body. It’s just your body and it’s working for you, and that’s beautiful.”
“Obviously humans are to blame (for climate change), but we are working under the system that we were born into and have been taught to be compliant with. I think that a lot of people now are realizing that we don’t have to be compliant with the system that we were given. And we shouldn’t be because it doesn’t work for us. That realization… is really hopeful.”