Sherry and Fred Thurston met fifteen years ago through an eBay ad for a unique fountain pen that Fred purchased from Sherry. The pen led to a correspondence, and eventual meeting. Sherry, who is from Western New York, and Fred, who’s lived in South Dakota for years, cycled the West Coast on recumbent bicycles. “If we could survive that, we decided we could be married.” Sherry recalls. Sherry moved to Rapid City, where Fred has been a successful architect and illustrator. Now they are both retired, though Fred still does occasional projects for favored clients. Sherry and Fred were my warmshowers hosts in Rapid City. After Sherry went to bed, Fred and I discussed tomorrow.
“I oriented most of my career about being able to live tomorrow. I have intelligent clients who do not believe in global warming. They don’t believe we are doing any harm. But I do.
“Tomorrow for me is one hundred years from now. We need to keep this planet for the next generations. We are seeing changes in the weather that we are responsible for. We may not see the consequences, but our children and grandchildren will.
“I do a lot of historic renovation. One argument is preservation as a link to our past, but the other argument is resource preservation. A number of my projects follow LEED criteria. LEED is not a panacea, but it is a good thing. It is pointing in the right direction.
“I can’t control what China will do; I can only do what I can do, in my projects, in my own live, with my staff and with my clients. We don’t have a lawn – the largest single use of domestic water. I drive a Prius. I use low-flow toilets. It is not much, but it is what I can do. I want people to know that I drive a Prius. It makes a statement, especially in South Dakota.
“Tomorrow scares me a little bit because I don’t think we know enough about what we are doing. Why are we fracking, which increases the propensity for earthquakes? Why not use solar and wind on some combination instead? I use a wood stove. It is more work than turning on the furnace, but I want to show people that I care about our present and our future.
“I did a seventy mile ride this weekend. Around mile fifty my legs started cramping. I started to talk to myself. I talked to my mother, who told me so much without using words. She got up every morning and did Jack LaLanne. She told me, in that activity, that we have to care for ourselves. She made an example that I have followed. I want to leave that lesson to my own children, through my own actions.