Climate Reality Leader encourages students to become involved in STEM careers

Gary Leabman Hermann, Mo.

I am writing to students to encourage them to study hard and seek careers in the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

I’m sorry I didn’t do more as a Baby Boomer to prevent the Climate Crisis the world is facing. I humbly apologize to the younger generation who have to deal with a rapidly changing climate, much more rapid than at any time in human history. Although I drive a hybrid Prius and use geothermal energy to heat and cool my house  — I could have done more.

Now I understand the truth about the burning of fossil fuels that enable us to produce electricity for our homes, schools, and businesses and to power our transportation systems. I love all the modern conveniences. However, we’re poisoning our atmosphere with greenhouse gases resulting in record-breaking heat each year of this century.

I’ve done a little to help slow Climate Change in my 69 years…but I could’ve done more.

Now I’m doing more.

In March of this year I went to Mexico City at my own expense to learn from two Nobel prize winners regarding the truth about the climate crisis and its rapid acceleration in my lifetime. I learned to be a Climate Reality Leader and now I’m giving free multimedia presentations to schools and libraries, social groups, religious organizations, and business groups to reach as many people as possible.

I’m encouraging students, especially those of you who have a chance to go to college, please study the STEM categories because that’s where the best jobs will be for your generation. 

STEM occupations are forecast to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs in Missouri. Maybe you will be on the research team that discovers how to capture and sequester carbon, not just the 110 million tons that we put into the atmosphere EVERY DAY by burning fossil fuels but ALL 1.8 trillion tons of it that’s been accumulating since the Industrial Revolution began 250 years ago. 

Or maybe you’ll help continue to lower the price of solar, wind, or geothermal energy. Maybe you’ll come up with a breakthrough which we can’t yet imagine. Great opportunities are ahead.

In rural communities, the people who dig wells for farmers are now putting in wells like the six that are under my front yard bringing 5 tons of air-conditioning into my home…that’s right, it’s like practically free energy and it can be done in every state in the country.

Geothermal reduces our heat energy consumption and hot water energy consumption, too.

Maybe you’ll be involved in the engineering that helps protect and save many of our great cities like New York, New Orleans, Miami, and Houston from the rising seas that threaten them. Your team may design and build sea walls the scale of which have never been built before.

The world doesn’t need another video game designer as much as it needs STEM graduates focused on helping the world out of the Climate Crisis. I’m sorry my generation has left it for you to solve. Please accept my apology, but please embrace the opportunities which education can provide.