â€œOur promise is to honor the pastâ€¦by repeating its best lessons. Learning from our predecessors is an essential tool for teaching our descendants. It is this intersection where all rails join.â€~Jack Costantino. Pres., TFU~
The Morris Canal:
Sometimes history should repeat itself.
If there is a single development in the history of progress for our local area as well as the nation, it must be our network of transportation and the commerce it serves. After reviewing its extraordinary accountâ€¦ the expertise, inventiveness and sheer hard work of that process is starkly evident in the example of the 100 year history of New Jerseyâ€™s Morris Canal. (Circa 1820-1920).
â€œHow do you plan to utilize and respect this site while intruding a structure on its slopes and plainsâ€¦removing soil and trees and rocks to suit your purpose? Will you simply design a building of sticks and bricks or incorporate an element which speaks to the existing space in a harmonic collaboration which takes its place and becomes a piece of the artwork of nature weâ€™re enjoying on this beautiful day?â€~Prof. Harry Fleischer~
As a Freshman High School architecture/engineering student going back almost 55 years, I remember my instructor and early mentor Professor Harry Fleischerâ€™s knowing smile as we unfolded our leather bound pencil and pen holders on our first day in his class. The pencils were blue plastic with a shiny knurled metal spot at the bottom for better grip and had a button on top for dispensing graduated lengths of lead from a 3â€ stick inserted in the shaft.
“…if we bring them the message at virtually any age, children will not only understand it, but put it in to practice. The generation of future adults currently in elementary school will become the deciders for future policy on environmental issues.”~Jack Costantino, Pres., TFU~
I believe eco-literacy cannot begin early enough. Even five year olds can reach a light switch. As this story will illustrate, if we bring them the message at virtually any age, children will not only understand it, but put it in to practice. The generation of future adults currently in elementary school will become the deciders for future policy on environmental issues.
“…I didnâ€™t think of myself as dumb. Unfortunately, the school system decided otherwise. When I expressed my feelings of isolation and revealed some resulting low self-esteem, Aunt Henri would tilt her head and smile..and say in her long accentuated Greta Garbo style ‘Dahhhhling…life is all in the doing! Find what it is you love to doâ€¦and just do it. All the rest will fall into place.'”~Jack Costantino, Pres., TFU~
My Aunt Henrietta, who recently passed away at age 92 was my pal. We were as close as bees and hives. She was a talented and successful, virtually self taught New York artist whose work was hung and mounted in galleries and art museums in and out of the US; including prestigious wall space in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC.
“We have failed to protect our children and their children’s children. As of this moment we cannot provide a guarantee that they will grow up on a healthy planet. If there is anything which will ever be too big to failâ€¦this is it. Car makers, insurance companies and banks pale by comparison.”~Jack Costantino, Pres., TFU~
As a budding senior citizen (67) with 50 years in the knuckle gnarling world of carpentry who can still climb a ladder with one hand on the side rail while carrying a wooden beam on my shoulder, you may think that memories of elementary school are so deeply embedded in a hidden recess of my dwindling mind that little could bring those images to the surface. Not so.
“Even a five year old can reach a light switch. Should we commit to providing our youth with the essential tools for conservation from Kindergarten-up and expose them to Clean Energy alternatives as they travel the learning road, we will raise future generations who will raise their children based on a legacy we can provide.”~Jack Costantino, Pres., TFU~
As we continue to launch the future of broad based eco-awareness (a daunting task to say the least) itâ€™s possible that the most durable resistance will come not from oil lobbyâ€™s and other anticipated forces opposed to changing the status quo; but from the entrenched behavior of current society itself. Our addiction to fossil fuels may be of minor consequence compared to our addiction to convenience. As a consumer society we are the stuff of legend. Our homes, cars and office buildings have been designed for opulent aesthetics with an eye toward impression rather then eco-common sense.