Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

I knew who Marjory Stoneman Douglas was! Did you?!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/03/24

photo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas from the State Archives of Florida As a (long ago) graduate of a (different) high school in the Broward County Public School System, while I was traveling in California and then after returning to my current home in Pennsylvania, since mid-February I’ve been asking people, “Do you know who Marjory Stoneman Douglas was?”

Answers have ranged from, “No,” to “Oh, I just assumed she was some local philanthropist who gave a lot of money to that school in Florida.”

And I’ve been saying, “Well, no, and you really should check her out! She was an environmentalist and a journalist. Here’s one place you could start! (Though that’s from Florida International University, where they’ve had their own problems lately…) In her 90s she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for that amazing combination. Especially in SW PA, where Rachel Carson is so well known (whether via praise or condemnation!) for her work in the 60s, you should take note of what MSD started doing decades earlier, and continued for a much longer lifetime!”

Not even one person in my personal circle that I’ve asked recently has had any clue. The answers of my generally intellectually curious and politically savvy friends didn’t surprise me in the first few days after February 14, but as I’ve continued to ask that question in subsequent weeks, I’ve actually been surprised that not even one of them seems to have made any effort to find out, that none have seemed to have registered the occasional reference to her that has been slipped into media coverage. (And neither do they seem to remember the second-season episode of The Simpsons that referenced her! Though I’ll admit that even I had (a) seen and then (b) completely forgotten that one until I went looking for something like that “place to start” link above…) In this era where people pull out their “phones” to look up anything, are my dear friends suddenly so distracted that they cannot take a minute to question who she was? I have been truly baffled.

So, despite all the complaints circulating these days about how challenging it’s become to talk about so many topics, maybe this quotation from MSD (that I have noticed circulating online recently) will help inspire some curiosity, and some action(s):

“Be a nuisance when it counts. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, & disappointed at failure & the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption & bad politics — but never give up.” —Marjory Stoneman Douglas

If you have any thoughts on MSD, please feel free to share them in the comments for this post.

Be well.

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