Back in 1989 I was a senior studying civil engineering. That was nearly thirty years ago. Back then Georgia Tech did not differentiate between environmental and civil engineering. These days of aging infrastructure meeting climate change makes me think there was a reason to keep the two disciplines wedded.
So there I was surrounded by people (men mostly) eager to build. I wanted to protect the environment. I struggled through structures and design and transportation and concrete and steel classes. Finally as a senior I was free to take classes about water and waste and remediation. The most memorable class I took was an over arching class about society and the environment. Our professor said (1989) the time is now to reverse course on our emissions of greenhouse gasses. He despaired that the political will would never be there. He was right. Many think it is too late for mitigation. Our only hope is adaptation.
I left EPA after twenty years of trying to do the right thing. I saw politics beat science on all issues over and over again. Lead, fracking, asbestos, global warming. I became disheartened. Jaded. I was keenly aware of the role industry plays in twisting data and writing our rules. I had to leave.
So today I’ve surprised myself. I’m taking a course on how to communicate about climate change and what we can do. I’ve decided my knowledge in building and materials and roads and bridges might come in handy as we try to decide how to survive.
Please join me in thinking about what we can do. Our survival depends on it. Food shortages, water wars, mass migrations. It’s about to get a lot hotter and I’m not talking about the weather.
Fact for today: Eunice Foote first hypothesized about CO2’s effect on our atmosphere in the 1850s. She was correct.