DearTomorrow,

I hope you realize that things won’t make you happy, but people and experiences will.

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Dear My Future Child,

I don’t know you yet, and you don’t know me, but I already need to apologize. I’m sorry for the way my generation and generations before me have contaminated your world. In a few short years, we were allowed to consume and destroy what was yours and it’s not at all fair.

It’s not at all fair that when I was your age my friends and I ran around the neighborhood, through the ravines, climbing trees, and swimming in the lake. Yes, humans were at one point allowed to swim in the lakes. Before we polluted, before we turned it into another landfill. We climbed trees, they had leaves that changed colors and different types of birds could build nests and lay their eggs in any tree they thought was safe. So many animals used to live the trees, forests, and rivers and lakes and oceans, you would never believe it. They used to graze through the wilderness, in the jungle or rainforest or savannah or desert or coral reefs. Even in my generation, stories of many of these animals became legends.

But trees and rivers and lakes and oceans and animals could make a couple of important people a lot of money. Trees provided wood and paper and we need to drink water to survive and, believe it or not, when I was growing up people depended on animals to eat their flesh in almost every single meal. And all of this was created, was forced into our lives, so a few people could own nearly all of our country’s wealth.

I don’t know what will change on our planet during your lifetime, but I can only hope that all of your smart, brave, and talented people will speak up about what matters, as your generation could be humanity’s last. Don’t be afraid to shout for what you believe in, I hope that there are more of you now than there were in my time. We would get ridiculed for caring about environmental matters, some of the smartest scientists even received death threats for publishing the truth about climate change. I hope humanity as you are experiencing it thinks differently. I hope your reality cares more about people than money, and more about the planet than about themselves. I hope you realize that things won’t make you happy, but people and experiences will. Do not make our mistakes, and the mistakes of generations before my own. Fight the temptation to remain ignorant because I know passion comes with pain and doubt and trial and error and harder work than unawareness, but it will all be worth it. The world needs more people like you; don’t live in fear, but let the fear drive you to live with a purpose.

Much love,
Grace C.

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