Hastings has lost a powerful advocate and friend — Ron Cascone. We, current and former members of the Hastings Conservation Commission and Energy Working Group, write together to note his passing and acknowledge his many contributions. Ron was a member of the Conservation Commission for close to two decades, and over that time he was a steady contributor and thought leader. Trained as a chemical engineer, Ron had broad expertise in environmental issues, which he brought to bear on the pressing challenges of climate change and environmental preservation. A big-picture thinker, Ron understood the complexities in every aspect of what we have worked on over the years to protect our local environment and to be responsible world citizens.
Ron also knew the details and could go deep into the weeds when needed. We had complete confidence in his views, knowing that in his professional work all over the globe he was widely respected. During intense public discussion about how to restore Reynolds Field, Ron was a critical source of expertise on the remote possibility of recycling the proposed plastic turf material at the end of its useful life.
Ron was an unflinching critic of some of our cherished ideas, always offering his analysis without seeming to worry about making us think a bit harder. We wanted to promote electric vehicles and Ron would remind us to consider where the electricity was generated to be sure we would really be reducing greenhouse gases. He pushed us to adopt leading-edge technology, avoiding middle ground — encouraging the purchase of battery-only EVs, not plug-in hybrids. And he reminded us frequently that every email has a carbon footprint.
Ron would often have a bemused look that seemed to say, “Just wait until you hear what I have to say next,” and you knew it would be worth hearing. He liked to recall the line of a song to summarize a thought as we worked together. During the debate about synthetic turf at Reynolds Field, an ad in the Enterprise, quoted Joni Mitchell, “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” and if Ron didn’t suggest that quote, he could have.
Thank you, Ron, for all you offered to us over so many years. You will be deeply missed.