Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Virtual Graduation Speech for the 6th Grade Class of 2030 at Converse Street Elementary School: On Global Warming and Climate Change

Dear Readers and Teachers and Librarians and Professors and Researchers here,

I composed a "A Virtual Graduation Speech for the 6th Grade Graduates
of Converse
Street Elementary School -- the "Class of 2030" -- as an experiment.
Would love hear any comments, pro or con.
I am thinking of turning this into a children's book in the future,
but for now it's just a scribbled file in my notebook.
Take a look and comment please, pro or con, or in between, and any
memories you have of your own 6th grade graduation ceremony will be
interesting to read, too. Enjoy! (If that is the right word here, not
sure....) SIGH...

-- Danny Bloom, still alive but not long for this good Earth!

Good afternoon, Sixth Grade "Class of 2030" at Converse Street
Elementary School!

I can't be here in person to address you, since I passed into oblivion
a while back. But I once went to Converse Street Elementary School here in
Longmeadow when I was a young boy living just down the street from
here. I want to leave you with a brief message -- from the past to the
future -- about global warming and climate change, and even though you
are only ten years old, there are still many things you can do about
these issues. I am sure your teachers are giving you good ideas and
even better advice, since the future of our planet hangs in the

As the Converse Street Elementary School class of 2030, you will be
going on to middle school in just a few more months, and there and
later on at Longmeadow High School you will study more about the
climate and how humans must work hard to make things better here on

I'm not around now, but I hope you can read my message online at
public library on Longmeadow Street -- is it still there? -- or
perhaps view it on a digital recording at home. Before I continue, I
just want to take a few moments here to wish you all the best of luck
in middle school and the best of health to enjoy the luck that I am
wishing for you. May all your dreams come true, and then some! I loved
living in Longmeadow as a kid and I hope you are having the time of
your life, too. Long live Longmeadow! Long live Converse Street
Elementary School!

Members of the Converse Street Elementary School Class of 2030, 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, from coal to oil and gasoline.

I wonder: does the name Al Gore still ring a bell in your generation
now? He was a man who made a very important documentary called "An
Inconvenient Truth." Rememer that funny part about the frog who stayed
too long in the pot of boiling water? That was funny and also tragic,
as I am sure your teachers have explained to you.

Converse Street Elementary School Class of 2030, I want to leave you
with seven very simple and easy-to-remember words: "We must tighten
the noose around coal".

I think you what a noose is, right? You have played hangman's noose at
school, yes? And of course, you know what coal is.

Well, a teacher named Jesse Ausubel at a place called Rockefeller
University in New York wrote those words more than 100 years ago, and
they are really important. Has your world tightened the noose around
coal? Has your world started to tackle the problems of overpopulation,
climate change and the creation of a sustainable economy? I really
really hope so, my dear students here at Converse Street Elementary

I really hope your
generation finds a way to stop the burning of fossil fuels and also
finds ways to stop the impact of climate change on your future world.
There are many ways you can help make the climate better and do your part to stop global warming in its tracks. I am sure your teachers here have already told you some things you can do at home and at school and during summer vacation to do your part in the fight against climate change. Please listen to your teachers!

So, dear students in the Converse Street Elementary School Class of 2030, as you
graduate today and prepare for summer vacation and then middle school
next fall, I wish you the best of a very good childhood and may all
your days be filled with blessings and inspiration. Good luck
and God bless!

And God bless Mr Setian, too, my wonderful 6th grade teacher in 1959.

-- Danny Bloom (1949 - 2020)
Converse Street Elementary School Class of 1959


Anonymous said...

Says one concerned mom: "My sixth grader is 12, an age where she is bcoming aware of the world issues -- and very aware that she is not at a point in life to affect it very much. This final paragraph would scare her! Perhaps you can bolster the prior text with concrete steps to make a difference?"

Anonymous said...

Says another:

"Good luck on getting the kids to pay attention even now, in 2009, much less in 2099.

There is a time capsule languishing in a compartment in a show case in the high school where I work that was supposed to be opened several years ago. There used to be a little bronze plaque by it, to give people the heads up on the opening date (which has passed).

A student vandalized the showcase and removed the plaque. Since then we've had several changes in administration and I've brought this up on numerous occasions. I've received a lackluster response and can't get anyone to open the panel to look at the time capsule. This was a twenty five year capsule and in that small time frame, people have lost interest.

I can't imagine that your letter will generate interest much farther down the road, it's hard to tell when we'll actually be relevant.

It's nice that you try, though."

dan said...

Climate change 'worse than thought'

The melting of polar ice caps would lead to rising sea levels, potentially causing severe floods [AFP]

A group of scientists meeting in Copenhagen, the Danish capital, has called on the public to show a "stronger sense of urgency" in tackling climate change since global warming was "accelerating faster than previously expected".

The three-day conference that began on Tuesday, aims to update data on global warming from a United Nations report two years ago.

In early 2007 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming, if unchecked, would lead to severe flooding, drought, disease and the extinction of a large proportion of plant and animal species, by the end of this century.

But since then new research has shown the impact could be even worse, and will arrive sooner than expected.

"Certainly the message from the natural science side, the part of science that looks at how the climate system really works, isn't very good. There isn't any good news to be found there," Katherine Richardson, a scientist at the University of Copenhagen, which is hosting the talks, said.

Climate experts at the conference are expected to conclude that sea levels will rise at least a metre by 2100, more than double the IPCC estimate, if the melting of polar ice sheets continues.


John Ashton, Britain's top climate negotiator, said nations needed to take such findings more seriously

"We need a much stronger sense in our societies of urgency. We need to look at what is a 'reasonable worst case' in the lifetime of people alive today," he said.

"A sea level rise of one or two metres would not just be damaging for China, it would be an absolute catastrophe. And what is catastrophic for China is catastrophic for the world," he said.

Richardson said: "Most of us have been trained as scientists to not get our hands dirty by talking to politicians. But we now realise that what we are dealing with is so complicated and urgent that we have to help to make sure the results are understood."

She said the IPCC report was an invaluable document, but will be vastly out of date by the time policy makers convene in December to negotiate a global climate treaty.

Source: Agencies

Leinad said...

A very perceptive thinker says:

"Yes, very good idea, Danny, as this could be "given" to many different
age groups who are "graduating", but I think your original time frame, 2099, is
way too long. [ED NOTE:Changed to 2030 as per Steve's advice]

 As we've talked about, making this threat more immediate
in a not-too-threatening way is the key. Why don't you move the date up
to when these kids will hopefully be adults with some sort of power and
influence, say from 2020 or 2030 or 2040?"

Ed Note: Took Steve's advice and changed date of speech from 2099 to 2030.

Good advice.

Anonymous said...

As I observe the actions of our past and present from a future perspective, I know our actions in our busy daily lives have been without malice to the future of those who will come after us. They have been without malice to our own offspring, to those of our fellow man and other inhabitants of our shared planet, or even to the more fragile natural ecosystems on which we too depend for our own survival. However this daily illogical trudge of man is flawed by our own design fault. You and I cannot be sustained; and in the knowledge that our own demise is inevitable we have designed our redesign of natural processes to follow the same outcome. We have designed in demise to all our unconscious actions. We have selected a redesign to follow our own basic flaw. .
We teach our children simply “This is a book—say book! This is a cat. This is a dog.” They see it and understand. We teach them right from wrong. We teach them how to share, but to some extent, through our actions we teach them how not to. Inadvertently we have shown them the wrong way to value their worth instead of the right way. We have told them that the true measure of a person’s worth is what they contribute during their time on Earth, but we have taught them with our toil how important it is to amass as many material possessions as we can in the shortest possible time. We have shown them how to consume. We have told them not to be greedy and shown them how to be. We, you and I, learn through life the true value of life, but by the time some of us fully understand love, compassion, and caring for our fellow man, we have already imbedded in our children the same values we once held as our principal purpose, the accumulation of personal wealth.
So in reaching out to these children of the 6th grade graduation class we must first look to ourselves as their teachers. We must relearn our most basic of natural instincts that have been lost in time to most; caring first for those we hold most dear. If we then as self imperatives change our own behaviour, our children and theirs will learn not what we tell them, but how we show them. And the concerned mom will know her child can make a difference as she herself also has..
Bob Williamson
Greenhouse Neutral Foundation

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Bob!


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Precision Resistors said...

That was an amazing virtual speech!