Some days you just hate to pick up the morning paper for all the disastrous news of the world.
We have a routine at our house. I put on my boots (this time of year), button my down jacket over my old red robe (ditto), pull the fuzzy black cap down over my ears and hike down the driveway to retrieve the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune from the edge of the street. He makes the coffee.
Back in our cozy chairs, I divvy up the parts. He gets the Sports and the Variety section (which he must read first so I can have the crossword after working my way through the Front, Local and Business). And then we trade. Except for the Sports.
As to the news of the world, today was a first, I believe. On the front page, four out of the five lead stories were cause to celebrate and the fifth wasn’t all bad. Of course, above the banner it proclaimed in bold type – “SNOW TURNS SPRING BACK INTO WHIMPER.” And the inner pages revealed – “Student goes on stabbing rampage” and “Iraq’s Al-Qaida joins fray in Syria” and even, “Magazine posts secret tape of McConnell mocking Ashley Judd.” That can’t be nice. But how many times can you remember that you chuckled or sighed appreciatively over the front page?
The right lead story, reprinted from Justin Gillis in the New York Times, proclaimed that a new guideline entitled The Next Generation Science Standards plans to include a focus on teaching climate change and evolution in public schools. Be still my heart.
This new tact suggests “introducing climate science into the curriculum starting in middle school, and teaching high school students in detail about the effects of human activity on climate.” And it goes on to state that the guidelines were devised to “combat widespread scientific ignorance, standardize teaching among disparate states and raise the number of high school graduates who choose scientific and technical majors in college, a critical issue for the country’s economic welfare.”
Is it just possible that there is hope for the planet? That it’s not too late to redirect our focus towards solving the energy crisis and saving the planet through a younger generation who will embrace the smart and economical “greening” of the earth? Not only because they are less set in the ways of diesel fuel and coal production, but because they will have actually been schooled in scientific and “economic welfare?”
The story just below the one on climate, places more hope in the arms of our youth. It begins with the headline – “Mohamed joins Olivia, Mason in state’s top 100 baby names.” The article explains that – “From 2000 to 2010, the number of residents of color grew 55 percent, and Minnesota’s fast-growing Somali population is the largest in the United States.” Move over Ole and Lena. I personally think that diversity makes us strong. If we could just move away from the “us and them” mentality … And yes, I know I’m an idealist.
The other front page news included an emphasis by some politicians who warned against “budget savings that might shift costs to our seniors, or parents raising children with disabilities,” (thank you for that) and some hopeful thoughts about a shift in the intractability of a gun control debate. Two positive points out of Washington.
What a good day.
Now about that snow and spring and whimpering …