Monday, February 4, 2008

Virtual Graduation Speech to the Tufts Class of 2099




Good afternoon, 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 this esteemed university on a hill in Boston, I wanted to leave you with a brief message -- from the past to the future -- about global warming and climate change.

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 Tufts experience but also your career expectations and personal anxieties as citizens living on a planet in the midst of a Long Emergency. I'm sure you've heard this term a lot these past four years -- "The Long Emergency" that writer James Howard Kunstler wrote about almost 100 years ago -- but you should know that in my days as a student here at Tufts we never used the phrase. We had not even heard of it yet!

Back then, we were still focused on terms such as The Cold War, nuclear winter, the war on poverty, racism, the oil shock, the Middle East situation, and later on, towards of our "three score and ten" on Earth newer terms such as 9-11, terrorism and global warming.

I'm not around now, but I hope you can read my message online and perhaps view it on a digital recording on the library. Before I continue, I just want to take a few moments here to wish you all the best of luck in your future life and the best of health to enjoy the luck that I am wishing for you. May all your dreams come true, 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 or Al Gore still ring a bell in your generation now, or have new faces and names replaced these far-seeing men? 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? Is that documentary from 2006, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, still in circulation? And what about Leonardo DiCaprio's THE ELEVENTH HOUR? Have you ever heard of the movie, or has it been all but forgotten in your day and age?

By the way, have you men and women of the Class of 2099 heard by now about such global warming adaptation strategies as sustainable population retreats in the northern regions, once referred to as "polar cities"? I coined the term back in 2006 and blogged about the concept for a couple of years, not with much success or public acceptance, before others took over from me and went even deeper into the concepts involved.

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!

[THE CLIMATE CLOCK]
http://climateclock350.blogspot.com (first created in 2008)

A speech from 2005, archived:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc
=========================================
Commencement 2009

Tufts' 153rd Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.



Tufts' 153rd Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 17th, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.

14 comments:

dan said...

1. A Tufts senior wrote:

"Hi, this all sounds very interesting. The Tufts Daily is always looking for news tips, so if you wrote them I suspect they would be very interested. I am also forwarding this e-mail to others on campus to see if anyone else may have ideas for you."

2. Another email said:

"I just had a chance to read your blog entry and it was very interesting how you wrote it in the tone of a message to future readers because that is the group of people who are really going to feel the impact of the decisions that we make today about climate change."

3. And another email from the Tufts community said:

"Thanks for sharing your speech with me. I read
it with interest. I especially liked the idea of writing such a speech
"from the grave," so to speak... You might also ask the graduates
how they are thinking about the contemporary challenges that their
generation face. Are they doing better than your generation did?"

dan said...

Jim Nollman, Class of 1970, wrote: "I like it. I’ll put a link to it in my next newsletter."

[Jim Nollman
author, field researcher, poet]
http://interspecies.com

dan said...

http://forums.treehugger.com/viewtopic.php?t=3859

dan said...

Poster greentea at treehugger says:

"Your class in 2099 wouldn't be sitting there listening to speeches because if we don't fix GW now, they'd be scrounging around for food and water."

dan said...

Tufts' 152nd Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.

dan said...

A reporter in Boston asks me:

"Very funny!!! Has anyone at Tufts picked up on this"?

dan said...

Good afternoon, 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 this esteemed university ,
-----------
I wanted to leave you with a brief message
---------------
- from the past to the future --
------------
about global warming and climate change.
----------------
ladies and gentleman
-------------------
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 college experience
----------------
but also your career expectations and personal anxieties as citizens
living on a planet

in the midst of a Long Emergency.

I'm sure you've heard this term a lot these past four years -- "The
Long Emergency"

that writer James Howard Kunstler wrote about almost 100 years ago --

but you should know that in my days as a student here at we never used
the phrase.

We had not even heard any so called Long Emergnecy

Back then, we were still focused on terms such as

The Cold War, nuclear winter, the war on poverty, racism, the oil
shock, the Middle East situation,

and later on, towards of our "three score and ten" on Earth newer terms such as

9-11, terrorism and global warming.

I'm not around now, but I hope you can read my message here and
perhaps view it on a digital recording on the library.

Before I continue, I just want to take a few moments here to wish you
all the best of luck in your future life and the best of health to
enjoy the luck that I am wishing for you.

May all your dreams come true, 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 or Al Gore still
ring a bell in your generation now,

or have new faces and names replaced these far-seeing men?

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?

Is that documentary from 2006, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, still in circulation?

And what about Leonardo DiCaprio's THE ELEVENTH HOUR? Have you ever
heard of the movie, or has it been all but forgotten in your day and
age?



By the way, have you men and women of the Class of 2099 heard by now
about such global warming adaptation strategies as sustainable
population retreats in the northern regions, once referred to as
"polar cities"?

I coined the term back in 2006 and blogged about the concept for a
couple of years, not with much success or public acceptance,

althought the new york times did blog about it once
(thank you Andrew REvkin)

before others took over from me and went even deeper into the concepts
of adaptation that were involved.



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!

dan said...

Wang Suya in Japan notes:

"it is nice speech. I hope the closs of 2099 students will read it and receive your message. What kind world is the 2099? Hope global warming already stop at 2099, our generation’s efforts make them will be living at happy, sustainable, well balanced ecosystem earth."

======================

Laurie D. in Boston notes:

Hello Danny,

In your address to the Tufts class 2099 you should acknowledge the work of the Tufts Climate Initiative, a campus wide effort to meet or beat Kyoto targets in university operations.

TCI is part of the Tufts Institute of the Environment also worthy of note. Then there is the Tufts Office of Sustainability, another campus wide environmental program.

Tufts is a leader in university efforts to reduce environmental impacts. As large institutions, universities can achieve environmental benefits at a large scale. And in the process they are educating ever-renewing cohorts of students who fan out into the world with the experience of sustainability in progress.

Through websites, public speaking, published research and other outreach efforts universities also educate the rest of us.

For a couple of years in the late 1990s I worked at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts.

GDAE is investigating new ways of thinking about economics in the context of human and ecological well-being.

What is done now to confront climate change and other environmental challenges will have a great impact on the prospects for the class of 2099.

Tufts students of that era can take pride in the heritage of Tufts efforts today to improve those prospects.


[Danny replies to Laurie: THANKS. Duly noted. Thanks for info.]

-- db

dan said...

2008 Schedule of Graduation Speeches:



Tis the season for 2008 commencement speeches, a time for a notable speaker to achieve wisdom-dispensing greatness.

The bar has been set high, however: Apple's own Steve Jobs' 2005 speech at Stanford University has been viewed by nearly 2 million people on YouTube

May 18, 2008

The Today Show co-host Meredith Vieira gave the commencement speech at Tufts University pn Sunday, May 18th.

MAY 19
Michael Bloomberg, the financial news mogul and New York City mayor, will deliver the address at the University of Pennsylvania.

MAY 20
Former New York Knicks player Allan Houston will give the commencement speech at Dowling College.

MAY 23
Oscar winner Jessica Lange will speak at Sarah Lawrence College’s commencement.

MAY 24
Author Dave Eggers will speak at Brown University.

MAY 30
Hearst Magazine president, Cathie Black will deliver the commencement speech at Wellesley College.

MAY 31
Furman University graduates will hear a speech from current president George W. Bush.

2004 democratic nominee, John Kerry will speak at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

JUNE 5
The creator of the Harry Potter books (BMY), J. K. Rowling, will speak at Harvard University’s commencement.

JUNE 8
Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will deliver Ohio State’s commencement speech.

JUNE 13
While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to duke it out for the democratic nomination, Bill Clinton will speak at UCLA.

JUNE 15
Talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey will speak at commencement at Stanford University.

dan said...

Nostalgia, anticipation grip graduates across Mass.
Boston Globe - United States
As church bells beckoned them to their graduation ceremony, groups of
black-robed seniors at Tufts University paused at the bottom of a sharp
rise to the ...

dan said...

Vieira to 2008 Tufts grads: You can’t figure it all out

Sunday, May 18, 2008


“Today” TV show star Meredith Vieira can relate to confused college seniors who are going out into the cold, cruel world this spring.

Because, as a senior at Tufts University in 1975, she had no clue what her future would hold.

“I really wanted to be a theater major, but my parents didn’t want me to, so I became a math major,” said Vieira, who will deliver the commencement address at her alma mater today at talk about global warming and how it might impact future grads in the year 2099.

“I didn’t like that, so I became a French major, then an astronomy major. Finally, someone at Tufts said to me, ‘Pick one,’ and I became an English major because it was the only thing I had enough credits in to graduate with the rest of my class.”

It was fate that put Vieira on the path to fame and fortune as a television journalist.

“I was a senior, and I took a course in broadcast journalism - it was pass/fail. I don’t know why I took it; I had no real interest and certainly didn’t see making a career out of it,” the East Providence, R.I., homegal told the Track.

For her final project, Meredith and a team of classmates did a story on redlining in Boston - the practice of steering house-hunting minorities to certain neighborhoods. Vieira narrated the piece.

The professor, Les Woodruff, who was a reporter for then-all-news radio station WEEI, invited his boss to critique the students’ finished projects. At the end of the class he called Meredith aside.

“He asked me what I was going to do after graduation, and I said I had no idea,” she recalled. “He said, ‘I do,’ and he offered me an internship. The rest is history.”

Vieira went on to do TV news in Providence, R.I., and New York, eventually making her way to the networks, and after a stint on ABC’s “The View,” landed the “Today” gig, replacing Katie Couric. During her speech today, Meredith plans to tell the class of 2008 about how global warming might impact Tufts grads in the year 2099. But will anyone be listening?

“I’m going to talk about global warming and polar cities. I find a lot of the time when we have interns here at NBC, they all want to know, what about polar cities for future survivors of global warming?
"

’ I’ll try to give them some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way that have served me well. But ultimately, I’m going to tell them that it is your own journey and it’s a lonely journey.”

Vieira said she’ll stress the “importance of facing global warming with reality and courage.”

“Don’t let others tell you what to do. Don’t go with the flow - you are the flow.”

And she will stress how lucky the Tufts 2008 grads are to have been given the gift of a great education. And how fragile life might be in 2099.

“It’s time to wake up,” she said.

dan said...

I am in the process of publishing a climate change "gift book" -- for
college and high school graduates on graduation day -- and it's titled
"Forget Sunscreen, Be Resourceful (Preparing for the Future of Global
Warming)" and it's subtitled "A Virtual Graduation Speech to the Class
of 2099".

See text here on one page: (http://Tufts2099.blogspot.com)

As you can guess, the 64-page book is intended as a graduation present
for the Class of 2009 and the Class of 2010....all the way up to the
Class of 2099. It's a visionary book, a serious and impassioned "cri
du coeur" from an old man with one foot in the grave to college
graduates from around the world -- high school graduates, too.

I wrote the text last year and so far it is received thousands of
"hits" online, where it is available now for your viewing pleasure,
free of charge. Feel free to pass the link on to people you know who
will be graduating soon from Brown, Tufts, Princeton, Middlebury,
Dartmouth, Standford, UMASS, Pomona and any other college or
university nationwide.

The "speech" write itself, and much of it was inspired by my daily
visits to the Dot Earth blog run by Andrew Revkin at the New York
Times. Both Revkin's posts and the good comments from readers around
the world have played a big part in my writing this speech, and as you
will see in one section, there is a particular reference to something
Dr Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University said on this blog. It's the speech, too. Go look! Seven
important words: "We must tighten the noose around coal".

Read the free, online edition here:
http://Tufts2099.blogspot.com

Comments welcome, of course, both
pro and con, and awaiting advice and suggestions from the Dot Earth
community as usual.

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