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Thoughts After Hearing From Our student Climate Activists by Marilyn Podesta

Many of our members, like myself, are products of parents who struggled to make ends meet during the depression and World War II. I spent eight of the ten years of the ‘50’s decade in high school and college. Ike, a war hero, had been elected President in 1952; the Korean War ended shortly thereafter. During the Eisenhower administration, a national system of inter-state highways was established, thus making it easier for drivers to navigate the United States.


An unprecedented boom during the decade in technology, manufacturing, job growth, and education here in the United States was evident in many ways: big, noisy gas-guzzling cars were the norm and gasoline was cheap when I was in high school (19 cents a gallon). Nineteen cent hamburgers at drive-in restaurants throughout the nation, delivered by “car-hops” on roller skates, were also the “norm” in many communities. Eating animal products every day seemed the “norm” back then!


In college, I remember getting “extra credit” for being on the roof of one of the science buildings at SJSC with my physical science class, watching “Sputnik” in the night skies. Returning veterans of both WWII and the Korean conflict flooded my undergraduate classes, taking advantage of the GI Bill. When a new, young, forward thinking President John Kennedy came to the White House in 1960, another era of “boom” in technology and research in space exploration moved forward, using the earth’s resources to an even greater capacity.


Yes, we started the trend of being big “users” in the decade of the ‘50’s, and now, nearly three generations later, our youth are reminding us that it may be too late to “undo” what we have done. Thank you, Hailey, Maia and Kaydance, for reminding us again, that it is perhaps not too late to do “our part” so their adult lives in the future here on this planet are worth living!!



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