Before this issue, I can’t say I’ve ever been frightened by an article that has appeared in a magazine I’ve edited. By the time I was reading the third paragraph of what would become “Trend Alert”, I was scared. Robert Nieminen, retrofit’s editor at large, tackled the pressing issue of water conservation and he begins the article by referring to research reports about our planet’s dwindling water supply. I actually had to walk away from his article halfway through so I could steel myself to take another stab at it.
As a good writer should, Nieminen left me thinking about my own water use and the false sense of security I had lulled myself into the past few years. Five years ago, I was editing a nationally circulated green-building magazine. During my six-year tenure at that magazine, I thought about my environmental footprint every day.
I was always deeply concerned about my energy and water use—to a point where I think I was driving my friends and family a little nuts. I attribute my cognizance to the fact that I was constantly reading and learning about the many problems on our planet. Therefore, being a conservationist was at the forefront of my mind. However, I’m ashamed to say, since leaving the green magazine, I’ve lost some of my awareness and have become a bit wasteful. There’s obviously truth to the adage “out of sight, out of mind”. I wasn’t reading about water scarcity daily so it didn’t seem like such a pressing issue anymore. How many of you will admit to the same thing? Nieminen’s article was just what I needed to pull myself out of my state of bliss (ignorance) and back to reality. I hope it does the same for you.
It’s sometimes difficult to comprehend that Earth has water struggles when oceans cover 71 percent of the planet. For centuries, industry has been built next to waterways from which factories could draw valuable power or easily ship goods. In 1930, Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. built an assembly plant in Richmond, Calif., overlooking San Francisco Bay for these reasons. When World War II began, the plant mobilized to build tanks, jeeps and armored vehicles for the Pacific theater. Many of the workers building these vehicles were women, famously garnering the nickname “Rosie the Riveter”.
More than 70 years after the U.S. entered WWII, Rosie is taking her place in history, earning a national monument and her own Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center in a dedicated building that actually once held the fuel to power Richmond’s Ford plant. I can’t help but see the correlation between Rosie powering the war effort on the home front—blazing a trail for all working women today—and being celebrated in a former Oil House that literally powered one of the largest factories of the 1930s and ’40s. Read about the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center, which is our cover story. I for one am happy to see Rosie is no longer “out of sight, out of mind”.
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