Sept. 6, 2012: CHS reunion; global warming
Recent CHS reunion a joyous occasion
My wife, Barbara Braun, is Class of '62 from Charleston High School. With her fellow classmates and dedicated committee members, they organized a recent reunion celebration that covered four days of events. Two events took place at the Marriott. One was a "Night at the Ball Park," which Barbara and Bertie Heath organized.
But as a sendoff on Sunday, an elaborate brunch was held at our wee house in Kanawha City, which Bertie and her husband Richard Heath's co-workers at Kanawha Manufacturing helped to make a roaring success.
To welcome the 80-plus CHS alums, I reached back 50 years into my early engineering drawing days, and with a power washer, washed off the coal dust to create this welcome sign on our sidewalk. You see, I am Class of 1961 at Michigan, and in my undergraduate engineering in Ann Arbor, we were required to pass several engineering drawing classes, learning the skills for drawing with pencil on transparency, blue printable paper and even in ink on linen! My senior design thesis required a full set of manufacturing drawings for a machine that I designed! I think it took a lot more concentration, style and skill than the computerized CAD/CAM systems we wrestle with today, but what do I know? I still use my slide rule. (But, no, I don't carry it on my belt anymore!)
My drawing instructor would probably not give me a very good grade for the sidewalk lettering. It was uneven and a wee bit wobbly in places. ("But Professor, I've never drawn with a power washer before!")
Barbara's fellow alumnae friends got a kick out of it. It added to the many smiles of the delightful weekend. It was a time of joy, celebration and energy among old CHS friends of 50-plus years on yet another day of anguish.
We must act now on global warming
Just suppose one night you are hurtling down a highway when you see a fallen tree in your headlights. Do you slam down on the accelerator or the brakes?
We've just experienced the hottest July and hottest 12-month period in our history. Daily heat records continue to be shattered with such regularity that we hardly notice anymore. We are enduring a drought of historic proportions and still cleaning up from one of the most remarkable storms the East has ever seen. It no longer matters if we agree on what is causing climate change; what matters is that we take immediate action to mitigate it.
So, how about if we stop supporting head-in-the-sand candidates who not only refuse to address the issue, but even refuse to acknowledge that it exists. Candidates who want to drill for more oil and gas, squeeze oil out of tar sands and mine coal until our very last mountain is blasted to bits are not only failing to hit the brakes but insisting on hitting the gas. I don't want to be a passenger in that car.
We can argue about the budget, Medicare, and health-care reform until the cows come home, averting our eyes from the massive trunk lying across the road. Or, we can recognize the biggest threat to our survival for what it is: real and immediate. We can demand that our leaders take action, pushing technologies and innovations that make our energy use more efficient and conservative, simultaneously giving a unified green light to renewable energy resources. We can plant trees and install solar panels by the millions, creating jobs.
Maybe it's too late to avoid hitting that tree; we are going to get some dings and dents. But by electing people who are able to see it and willing to slow the car, we can greatly increase the odds that we and our children will survive the impact.