Kids Vs. Adults
JEFFREY S. HALL
August 01, 2008
It’s August, and almost time for the kids to go back to school.
It’s a shame today’s kids are growing up in such a scary time, but I have faith in this next generation. They do an awful lot right.
I remember the original Earth Day back in 1970 (and the Santa Barbara oil spill that led up to it). We talked a good game back then about all we were going to do to save the planet. Today’s kids are actually taking action.
Alas, the oil shortage of the 1970s wasn’t painful enough to force us to become serious. Now that the pain is exquisite, we’re finally ready to do something.
One necessary action is to pass the half-cent sales tax that will fund transportation improvements across Los Angeles. We should have done something like this long ago.
Al Gore’s recent “let’s put a man on the moon in 10 years” speech about completely getting off fossil fuels was inspirational. And I’m intrigued by the ads by T. Boone Pickens, the oil billionaire who is now touting solar, wind power and natural gas. At least someone has a plan, and almost any plan may be better than none at all.
My late father, a brilliant nuclear physics-type, said back in the 1970s (during the first gasoline shortage) that hydrogen power would be the ultimate answer. Hydrogen comes from water. Its emission is water. Water covers most of our planet. How simple is that?
Simple enough, it seems. Shell has just opened a hydrogen gas station in West L.A., and General Motors is rolling out a fleet of experimental cars that run on hydrogen. I was lucky enough to take a spin in one as part of a recent press briefing.
My dad was pretty wonky and it was easy to pass him off as a gadfly. But I was proud to see his dream come true the other day when I tooled around in GM’s new offering.
For some reason, history isn’t kind to those who come up with an idea first. Everyone laughed at Jimmy Carter and Jerry Brown back in the 1970s, as some of us will recall. Their folly? Calling for turning down the thermostat and getting serious about exploring alternative fuels.
But it’s the new ideas that will move us forward. We need to be open to them all. I am putting my hopes on today’s kids. They are smart, eager to dig in and they know time is running out.
Good luck in school this fall, kids. The planet needs you to be as smart as you possibly can be. And though we live in serious times, try to have a little fun along the way.
Special thanks to all our summer interns who have been terrific: Cathleen McCaffery, Julia Gromis, Brooke Reagan, Laylee Salek and Taylor Thompson of Marlborough School, and Alexa Velasquez and Aziza Barnes of the Brentwood School.
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