It’s things like this that remind me how poorly a society function when no voices are raised on behalf of those who will follow us onto this earth.
Forget the seventh generation, how about the second generation?
The distortion of the human lifecycle– the massive adult fixation on the here and now– plays out in thousands of different way and yet remains, almost entirely, absent from public debate.
State and federal studies indicate that thousands of water and sewer systems may be too old to function properly.
For decades, these systems — some built around the time of the Civil War — have been ignored by politicians and residents accustomed to paying almost nothing for water delivery and sewage removal. And so each year, hundreds of thousands of ruptures damage streets and homes and cause dangerous pollutants to seep into drinking water supplies.
Mr. Hawkins’s answer to such problems will not please a lot of citizens. Like many of his counterparts in cities like Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta and elsewhere, his job is partly to persuade the public to accept higher water rates, so that the utility can replace more antiquated pipes.
“People pay more for their cellphones and cable television than for water,” said Mr. Hawkins, who before taking over Washington’s water system ran environmental groups and attended Princeton and Harvard, where he never thought he would end up running a sewer system.
“You can go a day without a phone or TV,” he added. “You can’t go a day without water.”