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A Difficult Question and a Pensive Response

I was sharing dinner with friends last night when one of them asked for my thoughts about the kind of planet we were passing on to our children and grandchildren. The question was asked within the context of a presidential election primary season in which one federal senator had just described his political party and its party’s candidates as “bat sh*t crazy.”

I reviewed that, in 78 years, I remembered the end of WWII, the funerals of young men who were killed in Korea, my participation in anti-Vietnam war activities, marching in the first civil rights parade in Racine, WI (and threatening my teaching job thereby), the Army-McCarthy hearings, being under FBI watch for civil rights activities while a professor in Nebraska, the Watergate hearings, losing a teaching position in North Carolina due to threats from the AMA for publishing a physicians’ directory, being charged with heresy for writing and publishing an article on the role of women in the church….well you get the picture from these few of several “accomplishments!”

The point I was seeking to make is that over time people (both good and bad) make decisions (both good and bad) that affect the rest of us for better or worse. But tyrants die, bad leaders may not be re-elected, and justice occasionally brings about punishment for the guilty. It happens, keeps happening, and is happening in our day. But there is one ingredient in our day that seems to be coming to a frightening conclusion. A conclusion, should it occur, that will doom many of those who come after us.

That ingredient is summarized in the many decisions made since the industrial revolution to use fossil fuels to improve the quality of our lives. The byproduct of those many decisions, including our own, is the slow and continuing death of our planet. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is only a summary of overwhelming scientific evidence. Bad leaders come and go, but a dead planet cannot sustain life. Please consider again making only decisions that are “good for people and good for the planet.”