Dave’s birthday and climate change

Today is my dog Dave’s birthday. He’s two years old, and I’m hoping for leaps in maturity. No more diagonaling across streets and much less sniffing.
Dave’s birthday might have sparked a short conversation about my own aging and maturing, come to think of it. My husband and I were looking for upholsterers to repair for 3 leather kitchen stools we purchase 9 years ago. Bob made the point that we should consider possibly replacing them altogether with something that lasts longer.
As a joke, I asked, “Are you guaranteeing us more than 9 years of living?”
A pathetic joke, I know. Probably the humor sprang from last night’s dinner at friends’, friends who have devoted their retirement to saving the environment. At a recent climate change conference they learned that predictions now have Florida disappearing by the end of this century. The impact of climate change is expected to hit hardest, all of Latin America, sending thousands, if not millions of refugees north. We will face an even more staggering problem of how to care for each other than Europe is facing. I think, of course, of my children and grandchildren, but also of my students at Chatham, millennials all. Last Monday night they described themselves, the generation Yers, as “high maintenance” children of helicopter parents, and as “incessant consumers of everything and as wasteful as any generation preceding their own.” This characterization surprised me, since the students seem generally competent and caring and bright, people who are thinking not only about pleasure-seeking.
Living in any decade in any part of the world throughout history, people faced brutality, violence, and war, hardships of all kinds. But in this decade our globe is so much more threatened than it was when I was young. The conversation last evening, though depressing and overwhelming, was somehow inspiring, too. It moved me to think of how to help, since our religious beliefs and our fundamental ethics require us to sacrifice and learn how to try to conserve this incredible creation.


About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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