Markus Lattner developed a love for nature early in life while growing up in Austria. Now an agricultural improvement manager in Pennsylvania, Markus Lattner still has a special interest in our planet. For this reason, Markus Lattner strives to protect the environment. Recently, Markus Lattner spoke to Oceans 2003 about the work he’s done over the years to help various environmental causes.
Oceans 2003: As an agricultural specialist, you spend quite a bit of time outdoors.
Markus Lattner: Yes, and I love it. I can’t imagine being cooped up in an office all day.
Oceans 2003: Tell our readers about your childhood in Austria.
Markus Lattner: I was very outdoorsy, from the time I was very young and even into my teens. I developed an interest in raptors and my hobby was studying them.
Oceans 2003: It was that interest that led you to become a young environmental activist…
Markus Lattner: Yes, I heard that a waste company was building a plant on a nearby marshland. This marshland was home to a bird that was on the “near threatened species” list. Working with my cousin and his father, we fought the plant and eventually won.
Oceans 2003: The waste plant was located somewhere else?
Markus Lattner: It was relocated to a different area and the World Wildlife Federation marked the land as protected.
Oceans 2003: Did this make a bigger impact on Austria’s environmental fight?
Markus Lattner: At the time, there really wasn’t great awareness of the environment in Austria. That changed in the years that came later. I can’t take credit for that, really, but I like to think of us as pioneers.
Oceans 2003: I do know that Austria is one of the leading recyclers in the world.
Markus Lattner: Yes, we have a rate of 60% of waste products recycling.
Oceans 2003: Very impressive. Now that you’re in America, you’re making a difference here, as well.
Markus Lattner: I do my best. I look at today’s processes and try to pinpoint ways in which we can make them more efficient and safer for the environment.
Oceans 2003: You’re definitely in the right career for that. What’s one area in which you think America can make a difference?
Markus Lattner: I think decentralizing energy generation would make a big impact on the environment. Unfortunately, it’s a plan that’s hard to implement, since big interest groups stand to lose money because of it. But those of us who are environmentally minded have to keep trying, keep pushing.