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Frank O.A. Heintz

In his own words (below)
By June Heintz and Members of Elihu ’66 (click to view)

Died: January 24, 2018
Charlottesville, VA

With the passage of time I feel ever more gratitude and appreciation for so much about life: June’s and my 50-year marriage; wonderful children and grandchildren; good health; rewarding career; increasing inner peace and ease; and, a quickening spiritual awareness.

We of Yale ’66 may be among the luckiest cohort in the long history of humankind. Although the world was not without challenges and dangers, yet in the scale of human experience our American generation won the lottery of time and place! We have had plenty of food, clothing and shelter; high employment rates; broadly available labor saving technology; energy abundance; a voice in our government; surroundings of safety and security; bounty of wealth and leisure.

Nowadays my greatest concern is for future generations and the quality of life for our children, grandchildren and all creatures around the globe. In the half century following our Yale ’66 graduation, we humans have plundered the Earth’s soil, air and water on an unprecedented scale. We have been heedlessly destroying the gifts of nature upon which we depend.

Our generation’s emphasis on material wealth has been depleting nature’s bounty of rich soil, clean air and water, abundant sea life, diversity of species, and the delicate interwoven web of life in the biosphere. I fear for our children and grandchildren, who will suffer the consequences of our profligate consumption of fossil fuels, forests, wetlands, aquifers, land and soil.

We learned a lot at Yale, but I wish we had absorbed the deep wisdom of the Native Americans:

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” — Iroquois maxim (circa 1700-1800)

“I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.” — Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” — Chief Seattle, 1854

“Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents; it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” — Ancient Indian Proverb

As Pope Francis emphasizes in his 2015 Encyclical Letter about climate change, it is urgent that we “care for our common home.” In our remaining years may we, the Yalies of 1966, act for the benefit of our grandchildren by protecting and healing Mother Earth.