Memorial Day was on Jim Irwin’s mind as he reminded us of the beautiful physical features of America and the service of our military personnel. He and Tom Strode then led us in singing America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Our Speaker’s topic was anticipated with an inspirational quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson about the devastating effects of climate change.
President Greg thanked the people who make the meeting run smoothly and announced birthdays. He announced Memorial Services for Ingrid Deininger and Art Holst on Saturday, May 25. We were all glad to hear that Andy Dahlmann is home and doing well.
Social Committee announced a potluck picnic celebrating the Rotary Universal Access Park on June 23. Details will follow.
Walt Hancock was honored by three very elegant ladies, Bev Sieford, Millie Danielson, and Anne Glendon. Walt’s family was there: wife Charlene, son Rob and son-in-law Fred Boyd. Bev talked about Walt’s life, military service and career. Millie remembered the long and happy friendship she and Lee had with the Hancocks, including the day Walt told Lee it was time to surrender the car keys. Anne talked about the long and detailed explanations Walt would give in response to the most mundane questions. It was memorial with many smiles.
Four Junior Rotarians wowed us with their dignity an accomplishments. Pioneer was represented by Yasine Baccouche, Lena Lee and Sampoorna Ravikanth. Huron was represented by Sampath Etay. Huron students Abdul Kizito and Nihar Joshi were unable to attend. Committee Chairman Mary Jean Raab and sidekick Meghan Gupta thanked the members of the Junior Rotarian Committee and mentors for their work during the year.
Notes from the Speaker
Paul Glendon introduced our Speaker, Henry Pollack. Dr. Pollack is Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the University of Michigan and and a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. His 2009 book, A World Without Ice, focuses on the crucial relationship between people and ice.
Dr. Pollack began his remarks acknowledging our singing to America’s beautiful landscapes. He talked about the alarming disappearance of summer ice in the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland, also noting the thawing of permafrost and the increase in number and intensity of extreme weather events. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2014 concluded that climate change is caused by humans’ use of fossil fuels and extensive deforestation. Dr. Pollack contrasted previous cycles of climate change that occurred slowly and from which nature was able to recover with the present one, noting that the new players in the cycle – humans – are causing the changes to happen rapidly and with greater intensity. The response to the IPCC report was the Paris Climate Accord, which produced voluntary commitments from the 195 participants that would reduce fossil fuel emissions by only one-third of what is required to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. The United States was withdrawn from the Accord on 2018.
Professor Pollack is actually optimistic about the outlook. He notes that 21 states and more than 100 cities and towns are adopting conservation and green energy projects. He notes that the private sector, too, is coming to understand the financial costs of fossil fuel power generation and is looking to conservation and efficiency as well as solar and wind power generation to save money. Even the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is using solar power!
Dr. Pollack is optimistic that transitions in technological and sociall change will happen fast enough to slow or even reverse climate change. He points to the astonishingly rapid adoption of cell phones between 1980 and 2000 and the rapid acceptance of same sex marriage between 2008 and 2014 as reason to believe that individuals are coming to understand the dangers of climate change and are beginning to take action.