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Dear future self,

This has been an insane few years, both personally and globally. There have been Black Lives Matter movements, a riot on the capital, the disaster and racisms of the Trump administration, and the global COVID pandemic. Personally, you’ve been stretched thin in your job and its impact on your self-worth. You’ve had to fight for what is right at work, you’ve had to ask for help repeatedly, even though it never should have gotten to that point. Each day has been a challenge, but your family and relationships have gotten you through.

I hope that the future is less selfish and more empathetic. I hope that the well-being of the individual is valued as much as the collective good. I hope that the Earth heals itself and that people heal relationships. World peace is a myth, but we can each play a role in bringing a slice of peace to where we are, to the people we interact with, to the lives we lead.

I promise to be more conscious of my food and product choices. I promise to purchase an electric or hybrid car as my next vehicle. I promise to continue to stay up-to-date on the science of climate change and to teach my students that they can make a difference.

Climate change feels like an insurmountable challenge. When was the last time anyone ever agreed on anything, let alone the whole world collaborating for a cause that dictates an immense change in lifestyle and priorities. The “danger zone” is so much closer than we think; it’s not just 100 years in the future, or even 30, it is already a slippery slope and climate disaster is only 7-10 years away. The world needs to shift our lifestyles to include less meat and incorporate more local foods. We need to limit waste, create sustainable products, and implement clean energy sources. Money needs to take a back seat to the reality that our home is at serious risk; in fact, money shouldn’t even be in the metaphorical car. If we were able to make and distribute a global vaccine for a novel virus in less than a year, we should be able to come together to solve the issue of climate change.

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Dear Daughter,

Even when contemplating huge global-historical issues — especially then — it’s important to stay grounded in the present time and place, the specific here and now, and the minute affairs of everyday interpersonal relations.

 

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Dear future self,

I am writing this to keep myself accountable and push myself towards taking action towards a sustainable future. I hope children of the future can still appreciate the wonders that nature and all its beings have to offer, appreciate the beauty in the world around us.

 

Dear Future Self,

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 Afnan,

You should make a time machine and come back to past and solve all the problems.

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