May 24th -- The Climate Clock is Ticking
In recognition of Memorial Day, songmaster Gary Blume played for us a song called “American Soldier,” written and recorded by country singer Toby Keith. Although few of us knew the lyrics, we appreciated the sentiment behind the song, and we remember those brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this country.
Lt. Governor Doug Beckham, and Lt. Governor-Elect Al Demoran, both from the Kearny Mesa Kiwanis Club, stopped by for a visit. Doug announced that attorney Craig Bratlien of the La Jolla Kiwanis Club has been elected to serve as Division 21 Lt. Governor for the 2019-20 term. After a brief period of uncertainty, we are glad to hear that our division will continue to have leadership in the future!
We also welcomed PHHS Vice Principal Jennifer Pacofsky, who introduced us to Patrick Henry High School’s Student of the Month for May, Clinton Allen. Clinton and his family joined us for breakfast and they seemed to fit right in with the rest of our group, even answering trivia questions from our Kiwanian of the Day! Clinton, bound for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo this fall, was selected as Student of the Month due to his positive attitude, humor, and optimism.
Clinton is an assistant captain for the school’s roller hockey team, and he plays disc golf and lacrosse as well. His efforts earned him the honor of being named Patrick Henry’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year for 2017-18. Outside of sports, Clinton also participates in National Comedy Theatre, where he practices improv comedy, and he helps with the school’s Link Crew, helping new students feel welcome on campus. Ms. Pacofsky describes Clinton as “a good presence in the classroom,” and notes that PHHS will miss him upon his graduation.
Up next was Mary Haas, our Kiwanian of the Day. Mary used her time to drive the “Cash Cab,” borrowing trivia questions from the popular Discovery Channel game show of the same name. She even donned a vintage 1940’s Yellow Cab hat so that she would look the part! We all enjoyed her off-the-wall questions on any number of topics. Club President George Butterstein put in a couple of happy dollars in honor of his son, currently rated the world’s #1 wedding photographer, and his grandson, who at age 15 has already made his school’s varsity tennis team.
Today’s guest speaker, Tom Lettington, came to us from the Climate Reality Project, an organization that promotes the documented scientific evidence of climate change, and the need for immediate action.
After serving for 25 years in the United States Navy, Lettington turned his attention to the very real issue of climate change (also widely known as “global warming,” though that is a bit of a misnomer). Having read the book “Storms of My Grandchildren” by Dr. James Hansen, Lettington dedicated himself to protecting “the blue marble,” our shared planet, for future generations. “We have to change what we’re doing to the Earth,” he declared, “in order to provide a livable Earth.”
Lettington cited twelve different and unique types of observable scientific data supporting the certainty of ongoing climate change, now accelerated by the widespread use of fossil fuels. “Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is being released into our atmosphere at a faster rate today than at any time in the last 66 million years,” he stated. He also noted that seventeen of the eighteen hottest years on record have occurred since the turn of the 21st Century.
Openly expressing his frustration with climate change deniers and with politicians who refuse to acknowledge the situation, Lettington cited some frightening projections for the future, which includes catastrophic losses for low-lying coastal metropolitan areas like Miami and Mumbai (India). “Under the worst-case scenario,” he warned, “the entire state of Florida disappears.”
As the earth’s climate warms year after year, the evidence will only become more observable. It’s conceivable, for example, that Glacier National Park in Montana may have no glaciers left by the year 2050. With the ocean rising to overtake coastal lands, displaced “climate refugees” will seek new homes, adding to the already-congested immigration issues of today. Lettington did leave us with some sense of optimism, though, noting that both solar and wind power technology have progressed far beyond their originally estimated levels of productivity.
PHHS Vice Principal Jen Pacofsky introduced Student of the Month Clinton Allen (second from right), along with his father Stacey, brother Ruben, and mother Rebecca. At right, hosting the presentation, is Dr. Doug Grosmark of the Grantville-Allied Gardens Kiwanis Club.
Kiwanian of the Day Mary Haas introduced us to Tom Lettington of the Climate Reality Project, who hopes to see climate change awareness overcome the skeptics… before it’s too late.
Our Kiwanian of the Day, Mary Haas, sported an authentic 1940s Yellow Cab company hat while she gave us "Cash Cab" trivia questions!