Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Forget Sunscreen, Be Resourceful: A Virtual Graduation Speech to the 'Class of 2099'

by D.H. Bloom

View a 4 minute video of this speech here:

"An excellent commencement speech -- better than almost all the ones I've ever heard."
-- Bill McKibben. 
[page 1]

Good afternoon, Class of 2099...

[page 2]

I can't be here in person to address you, since I passed into oblivion
long ago. But I wanted to leave you with a brief
message -- from the past to the future --

-- about global warming and
climate change, and the need to tighten the noose around coal and oil as soon as possible...


before it's too late!


As the class of 2099, you are about to enter the 22nd Century in a few
more months

and you will bring with you not only your university
experience, but also your career expectations and personal anxieties as
citizens living on a planet in the midst of a major climate crisis.
I hope you can read my message or view it online.

I want to take a few moments here to wish
you all the
best of luck and good health in your future lives.

May all your dreams come true in the world of
2099, and
then some!
Members of the Class of 2099, you are living in a very crucial time in
the history of humankind.

==========Your world stands at the threshold of a
period of human history when very important decisions will have to be
made about the use of fossil fuels and the "consume! slash! burn!"
lifestyle that you have come to expect.


I wonder: do the names James Lovelock or James Hansen still
ring a bell in your generation now, or have new faces and names
replaced them?

Is that book by Mark Lynas, titled "Six
Degrees", still in print, or has a new besteller on climate change
become the must-read of your generation?

And what about
Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour"? Have you ever heard of that documentary,
or has it been all but forgotten in your day and age?

Let me recommend a very good novel from the early part of this century, written by Hamish MacDonald, and titled "Finitude." It is something you should read before you graduate! It's that important!

Class of 2099, I want to leave you with nine words: "We must tighten
the noose around coal and oil".
Dr. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University in New York wrote those
words more than 100 years ago, and they were prophetic. Has your world
tightened the noose around coal? And around oil?

Has your world started to tackle the
vexing problems of overpopulation, climate change and the creation of
a sustainable economy?


Whatever your own personal views are about global warming, you should
know this: there is not much time left.

I hope your generation finds a
way to stop the burning of fossil fuels and also finds ways to
mitigate the impact of climate change.

I just

said that "there is not much time left". Maybe I should have said
"time is running out".
Class of 2099, good luck and do your best
to stop global warming before it gets out of hand!

Persist. Persevere. Never give up. The very future of humankind is at stake!

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