More than getting through a global pandemic that has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, our true feat is even larger: to secure our long-term health and the health of the ecosystems upon which we depend for life. To do that, we have to cut our emissions in half in the next ten years, and continue to reduce it beyond that. And to succeed in that, we need to fundamentally shift the way we do EVERYTHING.

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Alicia Richins
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Dear Future Self,

If you’re reading this, it’s 2050 and 60 isn’t so far away, the way 30 is increasingly staring me in the face.

We’re in the middle of an historic US election battle, in the midst of a pandemic, the same week that the global superpower has officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. Even here in Toronto, the air is tense. People are glued to the 24-hour news cycle with bated breath and heightened, anxious energy.

I’m focused more on you, on 2050, and on the future of humanity. Whoever wins, we have an immense task ahead of us. More than getting through a global pandemic that has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, our true feat is even larger: to secure our long-term health and the health of the ecosystems upon which we depend for life.

To do that, we have to cut our emissions in half in the next ten years, and continue to reduce it beyond that. And to succeed in that, we need to fundamentally shift the way we do EVERYTHING.

Dear future self, I want to be able say that I did everything I could to make it happen. That in the time between 2020 and 2050, I did everything in my power firstly to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals & those of the Paris Climate Agreement. And beyond that, to advocate for the societal transformations required to live in alignment with our planetary cycles, systems and boundaries.

I’ve really only now begun to raise my voice, supporting organizations on their own paths to sustainability and positive social impact, and developing common standards for social impact measurement across sectors. Hopefully, I’m also beginning to inspire others to raise their own voices and join in the cause in their own unique ways. We will not succeed if we do not work together.

Future me, I can’t wait to see what we do with our career, life, and contribution to society over the next 30 years. As bleak at the current moment feels, and as large as the task ahead of looms, I am truly excited. Wary, cautiously optimistic, and hopeful.

In the words of James Baldwin, “I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive.”

And I certainly hope that you are alive and well, rocking a slowly greying mini-afro with grace. And I hope that you are surrounded by love in the pursuit of your passions, and as you respond to your emerging calling.

Above all, I wish you calm blue skies & lush, green forests;

I wish you clean water, and healthy, local food;

I wish you equitable, sustainable housing and low-carbon, electric transportation;

I hope your access to the Internet is as free and universal as your education;

I wish you relative climate stability and resilient and robust disaster and emergency management systems that allow our island home of Trinidad and Tobago to retain most of its land mass;

and I hope basic income allows you to take care of your needs, and rest when you need it.

I know you probably won’t “retire” on time, but I hope that post-salary living is vibrant and provided for with care by your community. I hope you continue to be an optimist, striving to make the world a better place for all.

All I ask is that you be brave, bold and resilient, and carry the torch for those coming along with you. (Gen Z’s are AWESOME, I can’t imagine the next generation!)

Be persistent and creative, and continue to act out of love.

And I’ll do my darndest to make my end of the deal a reality.

With love and gratitude,
(You)
Alicia 2020

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More Messages to the Future

 

Dear Elliot and Alana,

But being truthful, I know we are not yet on the path that will lead to the change that is needed; but it is visible.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

I promise to never use a plastic straw.

 

Dear Tomorrow

I will teach my children about a greener earth.

 

Dear June and Colin,

I’m sad and angry that collectively more has not been done to this date. And that still with such dire warnings, obvious impacts, those in power are acting far too slowly.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

I am so sorry we didn’t realize this predicament sooner.

 

Dear Owen and Vivian,

Here’s the biggest secret: I KNOW it will have. We may not realize how, but we have changed the world.

 

Dear A and C,

You are growing up in a time of immense change. In the last two years alone, we’ve learned so much about big and important issues including climate change and the systemic racism that runs through our institutions.

 

Dear Logan,

I am working every second of my life, with every ounce of my being, to ensure that I am leaving you and your brother a planet that is safe and secure.

 

Dear future me,

I’m doing this work because I see it as the best way to save and improve as many lives as possible. I’m doing it so you, 2050 Ryan, can look at yourself in the mirror. And so you can tell your kids and grandkids someday that you did everything you could.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

I promise my next vehicle will be an EV.

 

To My Fellow Two-Spirits,

Thank you — Thank you — without you, I would not hear butterflies singing, without you, I would not understand black bear humor, or the creativity of jays planning their breakfast, without you, I would not feel flora whispers of long-lived wisdom on the back of my neck while sitting in Padmasana.

 

We will look back on our time here and ask, “What did I do?”

If we truly live our present moment, maybe you’ll have a future.

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