Echoes of James Lovelock and Lifeboat Britain!
February 9, 2009
'Virtual Graduation Speech' to College Classes of 2099 Pleads: "Tighten the Noose Around Coal'
by staff writer
NEW YORK (RUSHPRNEWS)02/09/09
-- A "virtual graduation speech to the graduating classes of 2099 in the distant future pleads with students to tighten the noose around coal, if the world has not done so already. Echoing the words of Dr Jessie Ausubel of Rockefeller University in New York, who in 1988 wrote in an academic paper that "we must tighten the noose around coal" in order to lessen the impact of carbon dioxide in regard to climate change and global warming, the graduation speech exists only online as a "virtual" text, according to the team of American and Canadian writers who put the speech together as a group effort.
Posting the speech online for free at http://tufts2099.blogspot.com
, the team told RushPRnews that they hope the virtual speech "will be read this year and next and for the next 90 years as well, in hopes of trying to put a stop to the world's addiction to fossil fuels before it is too late."
"There is no single author of this text," team members told this reporter. "It was written by a group of climate activists on four continents, each contributing his or her feelings and ideas to the speech. We decided to put the date "Class of 2099" on the speech in order to draw attention to the fact that time is running out in terms of fighting the very real problems posed by climate change and global warming."
"Hopefully, the world will have ceased using fossil fuels for its energy needs by 2099, and hopefully even long before, maybe even by 2050, and other energy systems will be in use, such as wind power, solar power and tidal powers," the team told RushPRnews in a recent email.
Titled "Forget Sunscreen, Be Resourceful," the graduation speech is said to be intended for the class of 2099 at Columbia University in New York City.
"The graduation speech
intended for the eyes and ears of college graduates in the year 2099, but also for students graduating in 2009 and 2010 as well," the speechwriters said.
The speech begins like this: "Good afternoon, members of the class of 2099. I can't be here in person to address you, since I passed into oblivion long ago. But as a member of the graduating class of 1971 at Columbia University, I wanted to leave you with a brief message -- from the past to the future -- about global warming and climate change."
The speech continues: "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 climate crisis. I'm sure you've heard this term a lot in the past four years -- 'climate crisis' -- but you should know that in my days as a student at Columbia, we never used the phrase. Back then, we had not even heard of the term yet!"
The speaker adds: "I'm not around now, but I hope you can read my message online and perhaps view it on a digital recording in a public library."
The speech notes: "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."
The speaker says: "I wonder: do the names James Lovelock or James Hansen or Al Gore still ring a bell in your generation now, or have new faces and names replaced these far-seeing men? Is that documentary from 2006, "An Inconvenient Truth", still in circulation? And what about Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour"? Have you ever heard of the movie, or has it been all but forgotten in your day and age?"
The speaker emphasizes: "Class of 2099, I want to leave you with seven
words: "We must tighten the noose around coal". Dr. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University wrote those words more than 100 years ago, and they were prophetic. Has your world tightened the noose around coal? Has your world started to tackle the vexing problems of overpopulation, climate change and the creation of a sustainable economy? Is global warming something that will shape your future, or are the denialists out there still complaining that it is a hoax?"
"Whatever your own personal views are about global warming, pro or con, or just sitting on the fence in the middle of the debate, 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 on your future world. I just said that "there is not much time left". Maybe I should have said "time is running out". Or maybe I should have said: "Time has run out." Whatever. Class of 2099, go out and help create your world. Good luck and God bless!"
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