“I knew you would want to know how the future turned out. You got so anxious about climate change as we grew older.  By coming back, I thought I could help you with that.”

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Curt Spalding
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Dear Future,

Last spring I wrote this very short vignette for the Public’s Radio here in Rhode Island.  It aligns well with the spirit of Dear Tomorrow.

Curt Spalding, Professor of the Practice, IBES, Brown University 

 

Several times a week Callie and I turn the corner onto Narragansett Boulevard and head to a park on Stillhouse Cove.  The smells from the marsh excite her dog’s brain. 

Approaching the Cove I see an old man on a bench.  A parent can always recognize their children.  Is that Henry? 

“Hi, Dad”. 

 “What!!  Have I collapsed with a heart attack?  Is this my death dream?” 

“No Dad you’re not dead.  It’s time travel.   I came back from 2100.  It cost a bit but I knew you would want to know how the future turned out. You got so anxious about climate change as we grew older.  By coming back, I thought I could help you with that.”

“Well, what happened to Narragansett Bay?  I spent my best years saving it.”  

“The Bay is much warmer and much higher and full of Redfish and Spotted Trout instead of Flounder and Tautog. The fishing is incredible.  People migrated away from the Bay.  Thousands of acres of stream, rivers, and marshes re-emerged after the people left.”  

“Why did everyone decide to leave the shore?”

“You know that book you read back in 2012, ‘Rising: Dispatches from the American Shore’ by Elizabeth Rush?”  She foreshadowed what happened in her chapter about Oakwood Beach on Staten Island after Hurricane Sandy.  That whole community decided to recruit a buyout.   After several hurricanes hit the Bay, neighborhoods all around the Bay wanted to leave.  The water kept rising and the Bay reclaimed the shore.  Our technology helped.  Super sensor networks and advanced green engineering improved ecological restoration work and the shore was transformed. “ 

“Where did everyone go?”

“Oh, Dad, the experience changed everything.  Notions that we can control nature with massive engineering structures are now absurd.   The pandemics and accelerating climate change were hard to deal with, but we now understand what you were talking about when you went on about socio-ecological resilience.  Resilience thinking drives how we sustain the economy and communities.  Technologies you cannot imagine give us unlimited climate-safe power.  With it, we stabilized the climate by extracting carbon and developed an architecture that is continually adaptive by design and use.  People wanted to leave what was old and threatened – for what’s new and healthier for themselves and their families.” 

“Wow, did dealing with climate change makes the world better?”

“Yes, it did.  By valuing resilience a new level of personal security and equity defines life around the Bay and everywhere else.  Universal health care, sufficient nutrition, and income were all seen as necessary to build the level of resilience necessary to adapt to rapid climate change.”   

“It sounds like the Bay is in good shape.”

“That’s right.  With most of the houses gone, it is accessible to everyone for fishing, swimming, and sailing like the Tribes and Rhode Islanders centuries ago.   We know how to sustain the Bay and our communities without degrading the quality of one for the other.” 

“Henry, this still feels like a death dream.”

“Dad you are not dead!  You have to keep working on building resilience.”

“Ok Henry, I will keep at it”

“Times up Dad. I have to go.  The Time Travel Authority gives us just a few minutes so we don’t have time to screw up the future.”

“Will I see you again?”

“Probably not.  The waitlist for time travel is over ten years.”

“Your visit is a wonderful gift.  I love you, Henry.” 

 

“Love you too Dad.”  

  

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More Messages to the Future

 

Dear Daughter,

I want you to be prepared for the world that the generations before you are creating for you. I love you Lucienne, and I will not give up. I will push you and teach you not to give up, either, even if others around you do.

 

Dear Brothers & Sisters All Across Mother Earth,

I promise to wholeheartedly live my life with an awareness of my personal impact on our communities and our planet.

 

Dear Me of 2050,

I promise that I will plant more trees in places where there are none.

 

Dear Evie of 2050,

I can feel the change happening — many people are working to transform the world.

 

AMORI MIEI EMMA DOMINGA E MAMMA AURELIE

Mamma e Papà cercano insieme sempre di darti il meglio però anche tu dovrai fare la tua parte nel mondo.

 

Dear Beloved Children,

As time progresses, there is hope that value will be placed on all living organisms, including humans, plants, and animals. Life will move at a slower pace, and being on your own time and moving at your individual pace will be the typical way of life. I consider this way of life good living, and I hope that future generations will live on this earth as it was once intended to live in peace and harmony.

 

Dear Future Me: Only open after March 4th, 2050

I don’t regret my past ventures, nor do I believe I will regret my future ventures, but I’ve learned that I’ve needed to manifest these experiences into actions of sustainable development and conservation and protection of our environment.

 

To my dear son,

Last year most of the world’s reefs turned white at some point, but because it was underwater you and your friends didn’t see.

 

Caro me stesso,

Non so dove e con chi sarò nel 2050, spero che sia un anno migliore di quello appena passato .

 

I promise to help people! Become more aware!

 

I want to tell you a story. Yes, another one.

Mankind has always been able to deal with the greatest challenges it’s faced and this will not be the exception. My message to you is: find that passion and give it your all. ‘Till your legs give out.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

I will aim to lower my carbon footprint!

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