I write you this letter in early 2018, during a concerningly warm and mild Chicago winter. Throughout your last winter quarter, you decided to enroll in a sustainability class. Prior to taking the class, you were naive to the topic, but as the weeks went by, you began to understand how bad of a shape the planet is in. It made you question those in charge while also asking yourself, what more could I be doing? The class gave you a new perspective and showed you how much room there is for improvement.
Climate change is something that has drastically affected the world’s ecosystem. There is more carbon in the atmosphere now than there has been over the past three million years. The acidification of our oceans as a result of the dissolving atmospheric carbon is ruining oceanic plants and animals. Unfortunately, our coral reefs are struggling to remain under these harsh conditions and may be completely eliminated by the time you read this. The world is cutting down trees at an incredible rate, displacing species and ruining biodiversity. The planet is much warmer than it was decades ago and this is no coincidence. Our hunger for consumption has caused these problems and I am concerned if we will ever be able to fix the problems we have created.
I hope by the time you are reading this, the world has acknowledged and agreed to combat the issue of climate change. I know how much you enjoy the winter months and I hope you are still able to experience them to the extent you were able to in 2017. I hope skiing on natural snow is still a normality in your time because nothing can compete with an untouched trail covered in fresh powder. I hope you can still visit Florida when you want to escape the bitter Chicago cold for a few days because today I wonder if it will soon be submerged under higher ocean levels. I hope your summers are not too hot because I know how much you hate the heat. I hope the world has fixed its mistakes and the concerns you have now are eliminated.
I promise to never get caught up in the haves and have nots and instead focus on what more I could be doing. I promise to consume less and do more and I promise to never make a decision you will regret.