Friday, October 10, 2014

"Idaho or Bust:" Straight Couples Flee Gay Marriage!

The good people of Idaho woke up recently to a humanitarian crisis on their borders. Refugees clamored for entrance to the state. Were they fleeing Ebola? After all, one right-wing thinker had made it clear she believed President Obama was plotting to spread the disease in this country. Or were the U. N. boys at last on the march? Had the men in blue helmets come for America's guns?

No. These were straight couples fleeing the “gay agenda,” desperately hoping to save their own marriages.

Liberals would probably refer to the “gay agenda”as the “Bill of Rights.” But right-wing thinkers today don't care much for:

a) facts
b) logic
c) dictionary definitions of actual words (freedom; equality; etc.

In recent months, the right had watched the right of gays to marry spreading. Then: a bright ray of hope!

On October 8, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy granted Idaho a stay of a lower court ruling that would have allowed gays to marry immediately in Boise and Pocatello. The wedding cake industry was safe for now, but only in Idaho! 

Two days earlier the full Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings granting gays the right to marry in five more states.

This brought to 26, the total where straight marriages were somehow, some way doomed. Not to mention the District of Columbia. John Boehner reportedly studied his wife over the breakfast table one morning, and told her he was thinking of calling it quits (maritally that is). Meanwhile, legal action to destroy traditional marriage had cleared a route straight down the church aisle in eight other states.

Now it was "Idaho or Bust." Right-wingers knew traditional marriage remained safe only in the land of potatoes and a few remote corners of this great land. South Carolina lawmakers lawmakers promised to keep up the battle for freedom. After all, the Palmetto State has been fighting the good fight since 1860. That’s when the freedom to own slaves came under attack!

(Those South Carolinian do love their freedom!)

Across America, right-wing married couples listened to the drumbeat of bad news. Divorce lawyers geared up for booming business in Indiana, where gay marriage was now legal. Straight engaged couples in Minnesota canceled florist orders. Bridal shops laid off employees in Massachusetts. Tuxedo rentals plummeted in New Mexico. What’s the point of marrying—or staying married—now?

In Idaho, Republican Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter tried to calm rattled nerves. Gays were within steps of the altar when a U. S. Supreme Court justice raised a hand and said, “Stop the Wedding March!”

“I’m pleased,” Otter informed reporters Wednesday, “that Justice Kennedy has given us the opportunity to make our case in a way that helps avoid the confusion some other states have faced.”

Here in Ohio my all-time favorite governor (cough, cough) , John Kasich, insisted that he has nothing against gay people. He just doesn’t think some citizens of his state, covered by the Bill of Rights, should marry. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine promised to keep spending tax dollars, no matter how many tax dollars it takes, to save traditional marriage.

(Also: DeWine was carefully combing the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution for clauses that excluded gays from the equal protection of the law.)

Still, for right-wingers, the future looked bleak. West Virginia capitulated, admitting its ban on gay-marriage was no longer defensible. Colorado began issuing wedding licenses to gay couples this week. Even red state Utah had started the process. And so the exodus began. Straight married couples began fleeing to Idaho.

Rush Limbaugh is rumored to have discussed flight with his fourth wife. If gays can marry, he knows traditional marriage is finished. Gay marriage, he once said, isn’t about freedom. It’s about “hedonism.”

That man should know.

So: the refugees fly for Idaho, like Okies driven off their land during the Dust Bowl. There’s a great story to be written here, only awaiting some right-wing John Steinbeck. How straight right-wingers piled their wedding albums and their guns and ammo in the backs of giant pickup trucks and fled north. North. Always north. To safety. To Idaho! The mecca of traditional marriage. 

(Okay, not mecca. Bad choice of words.)

This morning, right-wing couples in every corner of America awoke to a harsh reality. What choice did they have? Sarah lin knew. And Michele Bachmann knew. If you can’t cure them, if you can’t “pray away the gay,” you must join them. Governor Nicki Haley knew. And Mrs. John Kasich, here in Ohio knew, too.

If gays could marry, their marriages were finished. Over. Kaput. Love could not save them. No. If a gay couple wed, well, in some strange way, a straight couple’s love was suddenly, somehow wiped out.

And a dark cloud settled over the right-wing land.

Love where you visit; just be careful who you love.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Tree Hugger Primer for Conservatives: It's More than Just the Newts

I’m a liberal; but as Sarah Palin might put it: I “pal around” with conservatives. This past weekend Rudy, my conservative friend, and I headed for the bar. Talk eventually turned from Bengals’ chances to ever win a playoff game to Rudy’s favorite trifecta of topics. Guns, girls and the “hoax” of climate change.

After downing a seventh beer, Rudy pointed out that last winter in Cincinnati was one of the coldest ever.

“That’s true,” I began….

“People who believe weather is changing don’t have a clue,” he added, kind of slurring his words into his (now) eighth Budweiser. “Bunch of tree huggers. Don’t care about nothin’ but a bunch of newts.”

“I don’t know,” I tried again. “Scientists say that 2013, globally, may have been the seventh hottest year….”

“I nearly froze my tits off on my birthday,” Rudy interrupted. His birthday is January 30. And if there was snow on the ground on his birthday, that clinched the deal. Global warming ouldn’t possibly be real.

I like Rudy, but never make much headway talking to him. He believes President Obama is lurking in the bushes, waiting to grab his guns. I once pointed out that 21,000,000 pistols, rifles and shotguns were sold in the United States in 2013.

Rudy still thinks Obama plans to grab them.

Evnetually, I helped Rudy stagger home and wished him good night. But I couldn’t get our conversation out of my mind. I think “tree huggers” care about more than just the newts. You know, people, too, like Rudy—and Rudy’s children—and Rudy’s grandchildren. I tossed and turned and finally decided I had to try.

Yosemite National Park: It's more than just the newts.

Voltaire once said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” Let’s begin with that.

According to Merriam-Webster “tree hugger” was first used as a pejorative in 1965. The definition: “Someone who is regarded as foolish or annoying because of being too concerned about protecting trees, animals, and other parts of the natural world from pollution and other threats.”

So: the first question to resolve is obvious. Are we foolish if we worry about the future of the earth’s environment? Here’s a little evidence.

Tree Hugger Primer for Conservatives

1871-1873: Americans get a 19th Century wakeup call. Hunters wipe out 9,000,000 bison in just three years. By 1884 only 300 remain.

March 1, 1872: Congress creates Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Park Improvement Company soon has a monopoly on concessions and accomodations in the park. Company president “Uncle” Rufus Hatch explains how it’s done. He brags that he can buy a U. S. senator’s vote for $5,000. The Northern Pacific Railroad is already working on a plan to run a rail line smack through the middle of the park.

(The U. S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled that corporations are people, with food cravings and prostate problems.)

Yellowstone N. P. Wouldn't a railroad line look nice?

In 1890, John Muir convinces the U. S. government to create Yosemite National Park. Theodore Roosevelt visits in 1903. Teddy comes away infected with what Glenn Beck scornfully calls “progressive ideas.” Such as: We ought to protect the beauties of this country for generations yet to come.

John D. Rockefeller reads about President Roosevelt’s visit. “WTF, screw future generations. #Robber Barons,” he tweets.

1914: Martha, the last passenger pigeon, dies. Once there were five billion of these birds. Conservatives insist that there’s nothing to worry about. Why? We still have plenty of crows!

1930s: Dust Bowl proves that protecting the environment might not be a bad idea. Large chunks of Texas, Oklahoma and assorted western states blow away.

1940s/50s: Glory days for U. S. chemical industry. New pesticides, like DDT, wipe out mosquitoes. New synthetics offer promise of a better life. Look, Ma! No-iron pants!

Silent Spring is published (1962). Maybe all the chemicals aren’t so great. Rachel Carson warns that spraying DDT to kill insects also decimates bird populations. Pesticides threaten the bald eagle with extinction.

A spokesperson for the chemical companies claims that DDT won’t hurt anyone, not even if you mix it in grape jelly and spread it on your toast.

Vietnam War (1964-1973): American military dumps Agent Orange all over Southeast Asia. The plan: make it hard for enemy troops to hide. The powerful defoliant works just great! It kills the leaves. It kills the trees. Also fish.

Wildlife, too.

(Thousands of U. S. servicemen exposed; they later develop a cornucopia of biological and neurological disorders.)

1968: Polychlorinated biphenyls are in the news. PCB’s (normally used in coolants) get mixed in Japanese cooking oil by mistake. Symptoms of what becomes known as the “Yusho disease” develop. These include skin eruptions, oily eye discharge and numb extremities. Three hundred people die.

1969: The massively-polluted Cuyahoga River catches fire. Conservative radio talk show hosts blame Barack Obama, then eight.

April 22, 1970: First Earth Day. Good day for newts! Environmental Protection Agency created in December.

1971: Oregon requires a deposit on all bottles and cans. Conservatives claim this will mean an end to beer drinking as we know it.

1972: EPA reports that PCBs are found in every major U. S. river system.

1973: Endangered Species Act enacted. Conservatives claim all tree huggers care about are spotted owls.

1974: Scientists issue first warning about thinning ozone layer. CFC’s (chlorine-fluorine-carbon molecules) are used in hairspray, deodorants and air conditioning. The breakdown of the ozone allows rising levels of UV rays to reach the planet’s surface. National Geographic notes that increased UV rays “can cause skin cancer and cataracts in humans.” Other signs of trouble include “reproductive problems in fish, crabs, [and] frogs.”

Acid rain becomes a concern (1970s). New England sugar maples die. Conservatives posit the idea that trees commit suicide. Lakes in the Adirondacks turn into what one scientist calls “a witches’ brew of low pH waters.” The fish die. Various fish-eating bird species are pushed to the brink of extinction. National Geographic reports that fish in 100,000 Scandinavian lakes have been wiped out. Rush Limbaugh, then in the process of flunking out of college, tells classmates to quit crying and eat some fish sticks.

1976: Dioxin—now proven to be a dangerous carcinogen—is banned in the United States. 

Red Dye #2, commonly used in food coloring (including M & M’s) also found to be a carcinogen.

If you produce hazardous wastes you have to dispose of them. Many companies decide to bury them underground. If you can’t see toxic waste, it can’t hurt you, right? Unwitting home builders put up lovely homes, sometimes right on top of dumps. In 1977 chemicals begin seeping to the surface in Love Canal, New York. Levels of toxins prove so high the area has to be fenced off and the town condemned. Nine hundred families lose their homes. Residents, including small children, develop cancer.

1979: The nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island nearly melts down—which would have left a large part of Pennsylvania glowing in the dark.

August 24, 1979: Chem-Dyne plant in Hamilton, Ohio explodes. For years the company has operated a waste disposal facility at the site; but the business model is flawed. Disposing of dangerous chemicals is time-consuming. Also expensive. What to do? Hey, let’s dump barrels of wastes in the canal behind the plant. (The canal runs into the Great Miami River.) What kinds of materials? Taste-tempting pesticides. All kinds of industrial solvents. Some “waste oils, plastics, resins, PCBs, acids, caustics, metal and cyanide sludges and lab waste.” Good stuff! Five fish kills in the river and two fires on-site are signs of trouble.

Chem-Dyne goes out of business (1980). The facility becomes a Superfund cleanup site. How many of these sites are there today? Alabama has 14, Alaska 6. California has 93—none of which you’d want to live downwind from if you had a choice.

January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan sworn in as president. James Watt, his new Secretary of the Interior, explains his vision for the future of all public lands: “We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber.” Watt also makes it clear he despises tree huggers. “If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box,” he tells reporters, “perhaps the cartridge box should be used.”

February 1983: Studies reveal that soil in Times Beach, Missouri is polluted beyond hope. The U. S. government buys the town. Cost: $33 million. A study by the Center for Disease Control is ordered. In nearby Imperial, Missouri, 112 of 130 residents show “abnormalities in blood, liver or kidney function.”

On March 16, 1983, the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that acting EPA chief, John Hernandez, has found some great new friends. Hernandez likes them so much he allows representatives of Dow Chemical to edit agency reports. One draft warns that Dow has been dumping dioxin into rivers and lakes. Someone suggests that the report should read: “Dow is the coolest corporation ever!” EPA officials and chemical company boys share a laugh. (Government regulations aren’t so bad if you circumvent them!)

1984: A Maine ban on roadside billboards goes into effect. The last of the signs come down in November.

December 3: Forty tons of methyl isocyanate gas (used in pesticides) leak from a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India; 3,800 die.

April 26, 1986: The nuclear reactor at Chernobyl melts down. Half a million people are exposed to extreme levels of radiation. A large part of the Ukraine becomes uninhabitable for…oh…the next ten thousand years.

1987: Americans producing 400,000 tons of garbage daily.

March 24, 1989: The oil tanker Exxon Valdez strikes a reef in Prince William Sound. Eleven million gallons of crude oil spill into pristine Alaskan waters. (Somewhere in Wasilla, Sarah Palin practices her famous war whoop, “Drill, baby, drill!”)

October 1989: Baltimore dispatches the “poo poo choo choo.” Carrying 5,000 tons of sewage sludge the train heads for South Carolina. Officials there refuse the malodorous gift. Mississippi also declines. The choo choo chugs back to Baltimore filled with noxious poo poo.

July 16, 1991: Cincinnati Health Department issues warning. Untreated sewage has contaminated the Ohio River. Human beings should avoid all “bodily contact” with the water.

1992: Los Angeles air rated “unhealthful” 124 days in one year. Meanwhile, the Atlantic cod fish stock collapses. Over-fishing is the cause.

Growing evidence indicates dioxin is a threat to bird, animal and human reproduction. A 1993 study reveals that birds in heavily contaminated Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts have reproductive tract abnormalities. These include ovarian cells in male terns. Conservatives express relief. At least the terns aren’t turning gay!

1997: Julia Hill builds a 6 x 8 foot platform in the branches of a giant redwood tree. She hopes to stop Pacific Lumber from cutting it down. Hill remains at her post, 180 feet above, for two years. Another tree hugger, David Chain, is killed in 1998 when workers cut down the tree he’s in by mistake.

Global warming: 1998 proves to be the hottest year ever recorded. The next nine in order: 2010, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2009, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2001.

Senator James Inhofe insists that God is “still up there.” So climate change can’t be happening.

Rush Limbaugh tells listeners to go to their freezers, look inside, and see if they have ice cubes. If they do global warming is a hoax.

In 2004 scientists report that elevated levels of toxins have been found in the fatty tissues of the Inuit people. Even humans in the Arctic aren’t safe from spread of harmful toxins.

March 2008: The Scientific America warns about effects of fertilizer runoff from Midwestern farms. Nitrates in fertilizer seep into rivers and streams. Algae thrive on nitrates; so the algae really bloom. Oxygen in the water is depleted. Follow the flow to the Gulf of Mexico and what do you find? An area “the size of New Jersey” where no fish can survive.

CBS reports in March that birth control residue and traces of antibiotics and tranquilizers are turning up in drinking water. Forty-one million Americans may be affected. Ann Coulter finds this news oddly...relaxing.

Disappearing rainforest: Scientists warn that 700,000 square kilometers of the Amazon have been cleared since 1970. That’s an area the size of Texas. Native peoples in the Amazon Basin protest. Ranchers, who absolutely, positively need land for grazing, kind of solve the dispute by shooting them.

December 22, 2008: Roane County, Tennessee residents get an early Christmas present. A retaining wall at the Kingston Fossil Plant collapses. A huge pond of wet coal ash breaks free. More than five million cubic yards of sludge escape. Hundreds of acres of farmland and assorted farmers are buried in goo.

Representatives of the island nation of Tuvalu make headlines in 2009. They warn that within fifty years their island chain will be swallowed by rising seas. “Climate change is real to us. It’s happening now. It’s a threat to our existence.”

April 20, 2010: The Deep Water Horizon drilling rig blows up. Five million barrels of oil spew into the Gulf of Mexico. Investigators find safety regulations have routinely been ignored. Employees of British Petroleum are charged with obstruction of justice. BP and other corporations are socked for $50 billion in fines/damages. On his show that evening Sean Hannity says he favors waterboarding tree huggers.

October 2010: Glaciers across the Andes are melting. By 2020 people in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador will “lose a major source of fresh water.” Similar problems exist in Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean basin.

(In Montana, scientists predict that Glacier National Park will see the disappearance of its last glacier by 2030.)

You can still hike to Grinnell Glacier in Montana; but you might haveto hurry.

March 10, 2011: U. S. Senator Rand Paul speaks up for the right of all Americans to sit on the toilet of their choice. During a Senate hearing he launches into a diatribe about regulation. Lord, that man hates regulation! He fumes that federal agencies are trying to force people to buy energy efficient light bulbs. And by the way, the low-flow toilets in his house don’t work! He’s mad as hell and not going to take it.

March 11: An earthquake and tsunami slam Fukushima, Japan. Fuel rods in three nuclear reactors begin to melt. Don’t worry, company executives tell everyone, we have this under control! They actually don’t. More than 80,000 people evacuate their homes. Three years later few have been able to return.

The grey wolf is removed from the Endangered Species List (2011). Conservatives love this news because they own so many guns. Hunting season is open! As for the list, they hate if from A to Z. “N’ is the worst! Damn newts!

March 2012: California Academy of Science reports that 70% of the world’s fish stocks are overfished, depleted, or extinct as a resource. On Fox News, Megyn Kelly denies there’s trouble. Her pet goldfish are fine.

May 16: One of the great articles in tree hugging history is published. “What’s Inside Those Breasts?” The author is nursing a baby. She decides to send a milk sample to a lab. What exactly is inside those breasts? Traces of pesticides. Dioxin. Jet fuel residue. And flame retardant chemicals! 

Drink up kid.

August 26: NASA satellite images show the Arctic ice cap has shrunk to its smallest extent ever recorded.

Recognizing changes in the Arctic due to climate change, the Canadian government decides to invest in more patrol boats and outlines a comprehensive strategy to develop resources never accessible before.

October 28: The Wall Street Journal reports that heavy use has depleted the Ogallala Aquifer, “one of the world's largest such subterranean water sources.” The U. S. government warns that within two decades water supplies for irrigation in large parts of Kansas and Texas will be gone.

In December scientists report that male sperm counts are declining worldwide. The drop since 1989 is one-third. Scientists suspect toxins in the environment. Some conservatives wonder if the cause might be too-tight underwear.

July 2013: GOP Congresswoman Martha Blackburn rallies the nuts. On the House floor she rails against government regulation. Energy efficient appliances are apparently a threat! “First they came for our health care,” she howls. “Then they took away our light bulbs…now they are coming after our ceiling fans.” (Really, she said all that.)

Beemagedon: Scientists warn that the honeybee population is in collapse. According to experts the problem relates to “common agricultural chemicals.” Between 2007 and 2013 ten million beehives are wiped out. Tree huggers take a moment to point out that more than one hundred U. S. crops rely on honeybees for pollination.

2000-to-present: All kinds of products show up on U. S. shelves carrying “Made in China” labels. These include GE energy efficient light bulbs. (No joke.) Why? The Chinese don’t slap “unnecessary regulations” on business!

Of course, there are glitches if you do not bother to regulate. Like when thousands of dead pigs turn up in a river that supplies drinking water to Shanghai.

Um...and the fact that eight million acres of Chinese farmland are now too polluted with heavy metals and chemicals to be used to raise food crops.

Well...and the fact that even the Chinese government has to admit that 60% of its groundwater is now polluted.

Also when air quality in Beijing sets an all-time record for pollution. A reading of 100 means air is harmful for people with respiratory conditions. A reading of 400 means air is harmful for…well…everyone. 

Beijing air hits 755!

Scientists discover powerful winds are blowing air pollution from China across the Pacific. Where does it land? On the western United States! One pollutant, black carbon, does not wash out of the atmosphere. “Black carbon, the New York Times notes, “is linked to asthma, cancer, emphysema, and heart and lung disease.” 

One out of every seven kids in America now suffers from asthma.

Other glitches related to unregulated Chinese business practices: toxic lead paint on toys marketed in the U. S.

Not to mention: melamine in Chinese dog and cat food sold here which led to the death of thousands of American cats and dogs!

As 2013 draws to a close the Solar Energy Industries Association announces a banner year. For the first time the U. S. installs more solar panels than Germany. Cumulative solar electricity capacity in the U. S. is enough to supply 1.7 million homes. Fox News does a hundred stories about the failed solar company, Solyndra.

January 9, 2014: Chemical spill in the Elk River leaves 300,000 people in West Virginia without safe drinking water.

January 16: Fox News decides it’s time to divert loyal viewers from all the bad news. Forget that chemical spill. Look! Shiny objects! President Obama has declared war on coal!

February 2: Another huge spill, this one at a Duke Energy facility in North Carolina, leaves seventy miles of the Dan River coated in toxic coal ash sludge. (Tree huggers find this ironic, since the North Carolina legislature is dominated conservatives.)

March 21: Regulators in North Carolina suddenly realize that even conservatives don’t want coal sludge in their drinking water. Duke is busted for illegally pumping 61,000,000 gallons of contaminated water from another ash pit into the Cape Fear River.

June 2014: A new study finds a possible link between increased air pollution and  the rise in autism.

Today, September 16: The Australian government announces a plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The reef (almost as large as Japan), has lost half its coral in a quarter century. At least three-fourths of reefs worldwide are also at severe risk.

So: there you have it. I don’t know if writing this will help; and I could have included even more examples. But this is the type of evidence I’d like Rudy and my other conservative friends to at least consider.

We’re all riding along on the same blue planet. We are all in this predicament together.

It's not about the newts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Part of the trail to Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park.

The question for today: Can you fire students with an interest in the world around them? And if you do, will that show up on a standardized test?

When I was teaching American history, I used to use a number of slides taken on vacation to illustrate important points. 

One slide that never failed:

Sequioa National Park in California.

I always put this slide up first for the day. Then I asked students, “How many of you think that’s a big tree?” 

Most agreed it was.

Then I added: “That’s just a sequoia tree limb.” I explained that a ranger told my first wife and me that the limb was 150 feet long when it snapped and fell to the ground, shattering into several giant pieces.

This simple trick captured student attention and got us started on an excellent lesson about John Muir and early efforts to protect the environment.

I used a variety of slides over the years: scenes from Custer's Last Stand, pictures of terrible Indian reservation lands, buffalo in Yellowstone and many more. Pictures from Bodie, California, a ghost town high up in the Sierras, helped students do a writing assignment centered on the gold rush era.

Bodie once had a population of almost 10,000. By 1932, the town had been abandoned.

Often, I liked to tell my seventh and eighth graders that if they never listened to another word I said (not that what I said was ever boring!), they should drive across the United States once in their lives, to see what a beautiful country we have. 

I remember when Laura Barlett stopped by to see me one day after school. She was probably twenty years old at the time; and I had already headed home. So Laura left a note, saying with excitement that she had finally followed my advice and visited Yellowstone and other great parks out West.

When I read that note, I knew I had done my job as a teacher.

Suppose I was teaching today. Lets say: I was teaching health. 

I’d build a lesson plan around a trip I just took to Glacier National Park. I’d focus on the idea that all of us can get into better shape and focus on the benefits of walking more, or in this case hiking a little. Maybe I’d throw in a few pictures from my two bicycle rides across the United States. I believe, after all, that you can plant important seeds in the minds of the young. I’d like to plant seeds that might lead kids to develop an interest in getting into better shape and staying that way.

After all, I met a 78-year-old women on one of the harder trails in Glacier and she was going strong.

Of course, nothing like this is ever going to be on any standardized test. I’m retired now; but as a former teacher, that makes me profoundly sad.

No dedicated teacher I ever met wanted to be locked in by a rigid, narrow curriculum. Dedicated teachers want to fire the young with passion for learning—and an abiding interest in the world arround them.

I’d tell my students today, “If you don’t listen to anything else I say this year, go hiking in Glacier National Park someday.”

If one young person eventually did, I’d have earned my pay.

Buffalo road block in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park.

Hiking the trail down from Piegan Pass, Glacier National Park.
My wife is 62; and I'm even older than that!


My two youngest daughters at the top of Piegan Pass.

Mountain goat near the trail to Hidden Lake.

That line you see is Going to the Sun Highway, a spectacular engineering feat.

Grinnell Glacier: by 2030 all glaciers may be gone.
That tells us something about climate change.

Hidden Valley Lake.

The Highline Trail is supposed to be the most spectacular in Glacier.
I didn't have time to do this one myself.

Overlook above Grinnell Lake.

Looking down from Piegan Pass.

Moose dead ahead on the trail.

Also: bighorn ram on the trail.
If I was still teaching I'd show students this picture of Monticello.
Jefferson's home.
If you want students to know what the people on wagon trains faced
this picture works. Not far from South Pass in Wyoming.
I'd try to convince students they could do more, physically than they think.
I used to try to convince them they could do more mentally, too.
Tioga Pass in California.
Lake at the top of Tioga Pass.
Beartooth Highway near Cooke City, Montana.
Hiking the Highline Trail in the clouds.
You can always sit around; or you can go and hike.
Highline Trail: I'd try to teach students to step out of their comfort zone.
You know: challenge themselves.

More photos from Glacier National Park follow:

My wife Anne took a spill on the Loop Trail.

Action shot of goat (second from right) defecating!

Stopping along the Going to the Sun Highway.

Trail to Grinnell Glacier.

Grinnell Lake.

View from the trail near Logan Pass Visitors' Center.

I may be on Medicare now; but I can still go hiking in Glacier.

Start of the Highline Trail.

Heading up to Piegan Pass.

My daughters, Emily and Sarah, at Piegan Pass.

Lake scene near Many Glaciers Lodge.

Nature sculpts the stone.
Son-in-law, Alex Donaldson, on the Loop Trail.

Anne at Grinnell Glacier.

Mountain meadow near Logan Pass.

Hikers on the trail coming back from Grinnell Glacier.

Hiking in the Two Medicine region, southern part of the park.

Swimming in Avalanche Lake: approximate water temperature: 45 degrees.

Stream along the Trail of Cedars path.
Above the clouds at Logan Pass.

Bear grass near the summit of the Loop Trail.

Flowers along the Loop Trail.

Overlook on the Going to the Sun Highway.