Foresights and Hindsights From Harry View All Posts

About Foresights and Hindsights From Harry

In May 2015, a year after longtime Montgomery County resident Harry Zubkoff passed away, daughter Elaine Blackman relaunched the blog her dad began at age 88. She posts newfound essays, musings, historical notes, and excerpts from published and unpublished stories, novels, and poems, all mined from his computer and voluminous... Read more

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Opinion: We Must Repair the Environment

Discovering gems my parents left behind have caused a surge in my imagination of a bygone era. The essay on this page is one of the “opinion” writings I found in my dad’s files after he passed away in 2014. I also found the photos of our family cross-country road-trip in 1965. I wonder if the photos inspired my dad to write about the environment — certainly his sentiments ring true today. The shots above show Yosemite, Yellowstone and The Badlands. In the photo below, Harry (right) and his nephew examine the beach during our stop in Carmel, CA.

There is a great deal of concern being expressed these days about the dangers of nuclear proliferation and the inevitability, in a nuclear-armed world, of a catastrophic war. Whether it is triggered deliberately or accidentally, such a war, it is argued, could conceivably end man’s tenure on this planet and even, perhaps, make the earth inimical to all forms of life forever. I do not mean to derogate this danger, although I do think it is highly exaggerated, but I submit that there is a far greater danger to mankind present – one about which there seems to be too little concern expressed. I refer to the proliferation of man himself.

Harry Zubkoff and nephewIt has been calculated that 90 percent of all the people who ever lived are alive today, but if you think we’re crowded now, just wait another generation. By the year 2,000, the population of this planet will have doubled and the drain on the world’s natural resources will be incalculable. And though we are marginally conscious that many species of life – including fish, fowl, animal and insect – are endangered, we do not seem to realize that man himself may be threatened with extinction. Indeed, the problems posed by our exploding population are not limited to laying waste our soil, leveling our forests, or upsetting the ecological balance. Pollution, the most urgent of all our problems, is causing the two vital elements to man’s existence – water and air – to become major health hazards.

Man and man alone is responsible for the systematic destruction of his environment. In our frenzied and ill-conceived efforts to cope with the growing population, we are tampering with our environment and redirecting the forces of nature, with almost no regard for the future consequences. In our efforts to create more facilities for human habitation, we are rendering more and more of our planet uninhabitable.

I do not know if it is yet too late to correct the evils we are perpetrating on our environment, but we must certainly try. The decisions we must take, the actions we must take, will not be easy, but we must try. We must move in the direction of repairing that damage which is still reparable. Above all, we must plan, now, on how to make the wisest use of our natural resources without destroying them – and ourselves – in the process.

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Elaine Blackman

About Elaine Blackman

Elaine Blackman lives in Burtonsville and retired last year from her writing and editing career in the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services. Her intention for the blog website ( is to strengthen connections with family and friends. Writers and others in media and public affairs also may be interested in Harry’s variety of writings. In addition, retirees or people who are grieving might like the idea of creating a similar project. And, best of all, the blog may encourage people to write down their reflections for future generations to enjoy. Read more of Elaine's blog Foresights and Hindsights from Harry on MyMCMedia.


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