Jim Woster

Jim Woster

It has been a spell since I wrote about my granddaughter, LuLu, who is now a senior at Edison High School in North Minneapolis. Some may remember her many difficulties with health over the years but I’ll tell you what, she and her parents hit each situation head on, succeeded as few believed they would, and oh my is that little lady something!

Friday, Sept. 20, was the date of some type of climate protest – the nature of which I am not certain, but the intended purpose was that if a youngster felt strongly about the subject or simply wanted a day out of the classroom, many schools allowed them to miss class for the day. This was a world- wide effort, and if the reporting is accurate some 2 million kids did just that. One might ask, why not protest on Saturday, but what do I know?

LuLu’s role that day, at least in part, involved using the television tools available through the school, and the outcome was a five-minute video, which was, if a proud Grandpa might say, very well done and she was a star. Her comments, the accompanying video and suggestions were simple, practical, easy to apply and can truly make a difference.

One suggestion dated back to Hank Woster’s “Hey, turn off the light in the kitchen!” Cut back on the use of plastic and whenever possible, recycle. There were others, and all were designed to impact the environment. What she and her classmates did not do was lecture the generations prior to hers as to how badly we have performed. That role was left up to a brilliant 16-year-old girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who was the featured speaker at something called the UN Climate Action Summit. Her message was much tougher and pointed.

Now, keep in mind the review in this column are the thoughts of an old cattle guy who has been no further away from home than the mailbox. Keep in mind also that she did come from Sweden on a sailboat rather than one of the multitudes of Gulf Stream jets that lined the runways of the New York City airports. I suspect she was the star of the varied receptions and dinners featuring $500 bottles of wine and $250 meals. Hey, if you can’t splurge in the Big Apple, why go? Oh, did I mention that most anything that happens at the United Nations in Midtown Manhattan is paid for in part – about 60% in part – by the U.S. Have fun folks, it’s pretty much a freebie for you. Did I further mention that this 16-year-old has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? Who knows, she might just win!

Do I sound a bit bitter? I suppose, but I tire of people who castigate my dad and grandpa because they were so dumb and left the world in such sad shape. I suspect they did their best to keep the slop bucket clean and the outhouse fumigated, but they had bigger things on their minds – not the least of which was doing everything possible to feed and clothe a family.

I was told that one of the Lyman County residents, in 1934, in an effort to protest the record setting summer heat and winter cold that year, may have attempted a protest by blocking the main street traffic in Kennebec, but too little avail. Legend has it that he was doing okay until Sunday morning when the community headed off for their various denominations and it was “get off the street or get run over.” Ah, how times have changed!

Is there something happening with weather? You bet! That has been the case for thousands of years and will continue to be. That having been said, this country has been pounding away to make it better – especially the folks who live on the farms and ranches. In fact, carbon emissions around the nation are now back to levels seen in the mid-1980s, and farm families are producing twice as many bushel of corn on about half of the inputs for each of those bushels. These are but two examples, and there are many more.

The young people are the future, and that includes our climate. I just ask that they remember all that was done by those who came before them to make their life all that it is and can be. When I think about the young people in my life, I have little doubt that they will succeed at both.

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Jim is associate editor of Tri-State Neighbor and also works with the SDSU Alumni Foundation.