Awakening to wipe sweat from my forehead at three A.M on December 28, 2015 I thought immediately of two men who were “ecologists” without perhaps even knowing the word. Wade Judice (1932-2008) lived near John Wayne St. and walked in our area daily. Since moving to Lafayette in 1995 I heard Mr. Judice say, “The seasons are surely getting warmer.” Mr. Judice was a trained electrician who did not hold a university degree. He had a “masters” in gardening and communications with neighbors.

My father, V.J. Hummert (1898-1971) finished high school in Quincy, IL then worked in the business world for over fifty years in Breese, Illinois. He spoke of travelling to St. Louis, MO during the early 20th century. James Eads built the first bridge across the Mississippi in 1895. Residents from Illinois who wanted to enter St. Louis, the growing commercial center on the river did not wait to cross over on the new bridge to the booming Missouri city. To my disbelief, V.J. said, “In cold weather people from Illinois would just walk or even drive their cars across the frozen Mississippi.”

Late in January 1936 was the last recorded time for the Mississippi to freeze. Riding the Greyhound bus during high school from St. Louis (1952-1955) into Illinois I saw only floating chunks of ice coming down from Minnesota, but never did the river freeze solid.

For twenty years in Lafayette, it was always a pleasure by phone to hear: “This is Dr. Griff Blakewood, director of the Department of Renewable Resources.” Sadly, Griff died in May 2014. With his departure, the futuristic department he brought about melted into oblivion. How is it possible in a world of climate change for university officials to withhold renewable energy as a historical certainty from thousands of students?

Friday, December 25th heat records were broken across the nation and “weather events” occurred globally. THE DAILY ADVERTISER headline was: “LA COULD BECOME ENERGY ‘EPICENTER.’”

Would Louisiana ever become a leader in pursuit of renewable energy? Our global future depends upon this gradual transition.

While some university degree holders and elected officials deny what Mr. Judice and my father sensed as students of nature, these two non-degreed men by simply observing drastic natural changes had “Masters in Earth’s misery.” plus PhD’s in nature’s poverty.