When Cassie was little, I was the ‘Guru of Garbage’. I taught ‘Designing with Garbage’ classes at Parsons School of Design, and co-taught Environmental Design classes at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC. I was on NYC’s Solid Waste Advisory Board and spoke at design schools, community boards, and the National Design Museum about recycling, reusing, and recreating materials from the waste stream. My work was exhibited in eco-tours and museums all over the world.
Everyone knows the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree”. I wasn’t sure whether that was a blessing or a curse in those days. At 3 years old, Cassie and I would walk down the streets of NYC and she’d be constantly picking up some scuzzy piece of trash from the sidewalk and handing it to me. “Here daddy”. I’d thank her and carry it to the nearest trashcan. The best part was when others noticed, they’d stoop to pick something up themselves and turn to smile at us as they dropped it in the can. Those moments made us proud. The worst part was that Cassie would worry too much about our planet. Too many little kids were anxious about the planet and their future. When Cassie was in fifth grade, she decided to take matters into her own hands and wrote a letter to the editor of a local east village newspaper. It was her first published writing. Here it is.
I’m a 5th grader at the earth school in the east village of Manhattan. A lot has been happening in the world and this is a paragraph to explain my point of view. I wrote it at home this afternoon and it is unedited and done completely by myself. I was wondering if you would be interested in publishing it in your newspaper. Sincerely, Cassie Seltman
We are deeply worrying about Saddam’s toxic and chemical weapons but what we are not realizing is that we are using just if not more as dangerous toxicants in our everyday life. Eventually at the rate we are going and the life style we are living we will kill ourselves off. The only difference with Saddam’s weapons is it will happen faster. Really all it takes to turn the world evil is one bad mind. We can easily find excuses to do certain uncalled for horrible things. What we need to do is think positive and constructive for our own benefit. We have to also be cautious about who we elect for president because that one bad mind could be his and make all the difference. We are being so concerned with Saddam Hussein but you should think about it like Saddam Hussein is one ant in a whole anthill. The only reason ants survive is because they work as a team to carry food and build that huge hill. Even without war we are still heading towards a bad future. If we continue to pollute our earth we are going to have nothing left. If we get good ideas and stop polluting right now we will still have a chance to save our earth and the people on it.
Cassie and her classmates also sent a personal letter to George W Bush. At the end of their letter they asked him to please not send them a signed picture of his head. Guess what they got. I altered the image to reveal the true nature of the beast.