What’s the best advice EphBlog has to offer? Listen to Brother Smartness and spend a summer in Williamstown.

One of my fondest memories of Williamstown, MA was the summer I spent up there in quasi-solitude. Besides the theatre festival and a few good friends, I had the trees and mountains to keep me company. Born and bred in New York City, New York’s capital of pollution, the Williamstown’s air that ran through my lungs afforded me a clarity of mind I had never known before.

Writing papers and attending meetings during the regular semester made it difficult to enjoy the beauty of those mountains that were then mine; mountains that no longer belong to me the same way they had while I was a student there. And though marriage and children are years away, a part of me can’t wait to reclaim those mountains by having my own son or daughter admitted to my alma mater.

Those years will go faster than you think.

What frightens me however, is that while those mountains will still be around in the next hundred years, there are other places I have yet to visit and fall in love with that my children will never get to see. Climate change has threatened species with extinction. The sea level is likely to continue climbing.

Blah, blah, blah. The silliness over global warming among very smart Ephs never ceases to amaze me. But it does provide an excuse for story telling.

In the 1985-1986 school year, I knew a senior, Chris, who was a leader of the campus environmentalists. I think that we were in the last class that Jim Burns ’39 taught at Williams. One evening Chris and I got into a lengthy argument over global warming, rising sea levels and the like. He sounded 20 years ago exactly the why environmentalists sound today. But I pushed him hard on the rising sea level part, pointing out that my grandfather lived near the beach in Naples, Florida. I argued that the evidence for rising sea levels couldn’t be very good since so many people lived in places, like Naples, that would be flooded.

He said, “Tell your grandfather to move.”

Needless to say, I didn’t. But I also missed a huge opportunity. If I had taken some modest savings, invested it in Naples real estate, and then borrowed and levered up for the last 20 years, I would be insanely rich today. Another blown opportunity!

Anyone who is certain that they know what sea levels are going to be in 20 years is an idiot.

Think Deeper.

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