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Dear Chenoa,

Before you get any funny ideas about why I picked your over your sister, it’s only because you are younger. I’m writing this letter to you– I’m 82 years old if I haven’t died yet, and you’re 42. Back when you were 14, I wrote this letter. I would like to you be living in a world better than the one that I live in. One where there is winter in Vermont. Winter where there’s skiing in the winter. Where it snows in burlington and in the mountains. One were we can ski every month between November and April. I remember your sense of humor when you were a 9th grader. You told such a funny story about being trapped in the hallway with a rat at BHS. You said you called Maddie on your phone, and you were whispering, but you didn’t know why. I want you to grow up in a world where you can maintain that sense of humor. I want you to live in a world where there’s a wintertime– one that’s natural. Where people don’t have to leave their homes because their land has flooded. One where there isn’t so much wealth and power concentrated with so few. Did you know that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of all greenhouse gas emissions? We’re at a tipping point in society, and by the time we’re at 2050 I envision a society where maybe we’re less rich, but more happy– where we take delight in experiences more than things. We are traveling less, but enjoying life more.

The action that I’m taking to create this world is that I’m on the board of directors of 350 Vermont– a non-profit working for climate justice. Climate justice is that the people most affected by climate change are the ones who did the least to cause it. I’m also lobbying in Washington. And, by the time I’m 60, I’m planning to participate in an act of civil disobedience in support of reducing climate change.

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Dear Tomorrow,

I’m not allowed to talk about climate change around family; as my mom warned me, “climate change is not something that people think about in Mississippi.” But I’m worried for my family’s future.

 

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Dear Kiya,

Fighting for a system that rewards care for people and planet over profit.

 

Dear my future family,

I will promise to help climate change as much as I can.

 

To my sons,

I’m voting with climate change as a top priority. I’ve tried to teach you boys that we need to clean up after ourselves and take care of the earth. I promise to continue doing these actions and more, for your sake.

 

Dear Isaiah,

I am grateful for your soul, for your creativity, for your empathy. All these are precious treasures that you have to offer the world. They will help. I thank you for being in this world right now, so that you can offer these gifts at a time of transition.

 

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Sweetie, you deserve clean air, water and soil. You deserve to thrive in an environment that supports you.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

And, if this summer has taught me anything, I am content (because I have to be) living in this limbo, this seemingly endless waiting for the opportunity to change, when really the opportunity exists within our very selves all along.

 

Dear Kids,

I know it’s long past time to wake up. You deserve a future in which drought, famine, and war are not all your children ever know; the choices my generation makes now will determine your future.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

I promise to recycle and compost.

 

To the future generations,

I will stand on the streets, in the courts, and in the schools to encourage awareness and empathy for the earth.

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