Myron has been a Rotarian for more than half his life. He credits Bill Dehn with bringing him into Rotary in 1975 and Louis Badzinski with bringing him back after a health related sabbatical. Myron is a Past-President of Noon Rotary, served as Assistant District Governor for six years, and is a nine time Paul Harris Fellow! His particular interest is International Service. Myron & Teresa have three daughters & five grandchildren. One daughter is Chief of Staff for the Hilton Corporation, another is a clinical psychologist, and the third is the director of Levitt Pavilions. Before retirement, Myron was an architect & Teresa was a medical doctor. They now spend the winter months in Delray Beach, Florida.
See previous Rotarians of the Week
Global Warming Humanitarian Crisis: A Call to Service
Karen Kendrick-Hands is a member of the Rotary Club of Madison where she is co-chair of the "Going Green Felloship." She reminded us that Rotarians identify humanitarian problems & provide solutions six areas of focus: Promoting peace; fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers & children, supporting education, and growing local economies. But, she says, “Global warming could undo much of the good work Rotary has done for decades.” She believes Rotary and other service organizations must be leaders in finding solutions to global warming. Global warming could end civilization as we know it, she said, and constitutes a humanitarian crisis. Addressing the problem is no more political than eradicating polio.
She believes a revenue neutral carbon tax can simply and effectively reduce CO2 emissions enough to mitigate global warming. She noted that the ten warmest years since 1880 have occurred after 1997. Average CO2 levels were at a historical high in 2013, about 141% of the pre-industrial level. CO2 comes from burning coal, oil, natural gas, and wood. Looking back 800,000 years, the level of CO2 emissions fluctuates but were always below 300 parts per million until the industrial age. We are now at 400 ppm and will probably never fall below that again. But if nothing is done, the concentration will continue to climb. If we act now, we might be able to stop the increase at 550 ppm. If nothing is done, by 2115 the concentration level will reach 900 ppm.
Karen listed 10 signs that climate change is already happening, including Greenland and Antarctica losing ice at an accelerating rate, the ocean warming and acidifying, and the sea level rising. She noted that after Hurricane Sandy, insurance companies began redlining property in Manhattan within seven blocks of the ocean. “We humans did it. This time...it’s us,” Karen said. As the industrial age began, as we began cutting down forests, as we stopped lubricating with oil and starting burning it, CO2 concentrations have soared and temperatures have risen.
To make a difference, we must reduce carbon emissions by 80%. This means 80% of known reserves of fossil fuels must stay in the ground forever and we must stop exploring for more. To illustrate her point, Karen used “The tragedy of the commons,” an economics theory that holds that individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self-interest, behave contrary to the whole group’s long-term best interests by depleting some common resource. Be sure to Google it.