Parents & kids, then & now
The news story “Pitt gathering for Salk focuses on global sustainability, climate change” about the 100th-birthday symposium honoring Dr. Jonas Salk raised powerful memories for me. My father, a doctor, spent a year of his Navy tour of duty giving the American public Salk’s polio vaccine. I was very proud he had done this lifesaving work.
A few years later, we stood in line at a school building, waiting for our polio vaccines so we wouldn’t get the polio virus. Even we kids all knew it had put President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a wheelchair. It was an amazing event from my kid perspective. The whole town went to school after dinner to get a sugar cube with Dr. Albert Sabin’s vaccine on it. I particularly remember a collection basket full of dollar bills, voluntary contributions from grateful people.
Imagine if parents today listened to scientists’ warnings about climate change, feared for their children and felt gratitude that they were warned before it’s too late to fix. Would parents only vote for candidates who promise to enact climate legislation? A University of Texas poll found that 56 percent of younger consumers are willing to pay higher prices to reduce emissions and protect the environment, but only 20 percent of older respondents are willing to do so.
What happened to respect, gratitude, altruism and concern for our children?
The writer is a member of Citizens Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org).