Posts Tagged Graduation

Solving Insoluble Problems

Earth Grad Cap

It’s that time of year again:  graduation season.  Like many of you out there, I spent last weekend attending a college graduation.  My little sister graduated from Smith College yesterday, with high honors might I add, and the whole family convened in Northampton, Massachusetts to see her receive her diploma and step into the next exciting chapter in her life.

The Smith College commencement speaker was Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and her speech was both entertaining and inspiring.  Tammy spoke about the challenge of seemingly insoluble problems, and the importance of working away at them, continually pushing the boundaries of our knowledge until one day, these problems will be insoluble no longer.

One example she mentioned was that of climate change, a seemingly insoluble problem that faces our world today.  In her speech Tammy called upon the graduating class and its generation to lead the world in the fight against climate change and to remember that “our greatest obligation isn’t to each other. It is to the generations of Americans and people all around the world who haven’t been born yet — the ones who will inhabit this planet long after we’re gone.”

Tammy then quoted a call to action from poet Drew Dellinger, which I found particularly moving:

“it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
once
you
knew?”

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