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Shelby Jacobson
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Dear Tomorrow,

I write from a friend’s house in Lehigh Acres, Florida, with Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever produced by the Atlantic, swirling around me. They so generously offered us shelter in their home, as ours could very well be underwater once the storm surge hits. Barely two weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas, with stories and photographs coming from Houston and the surrounding areas making headlines across the globe. Behind Harvey and Irma come Jose in the Atlantic and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even more shocking than the quantity of hurricanes is their sheer, specifically those of Harvey and Irma. This is not normal. It is, however, a symptom of a sick planet, of climate change caused not by our planet’s natural cycles, but by humans who, for centuries, have been more concerned with splendor than sustainability. Humans that put convenience over conservation, and profit over people.

We’ve gotten better over time, as more and more begin to recognize how our actions have negatively affected the planet, we’ve developed new technologies and new methods through which to save our home. However, none of this matters if we can’t inspire a passion for Earth and in future generations. If we don’t do that, we have failed, regardless of any tangible progress we make towards a healthier home.

So, Tomorrow, I promise to do everything in my power to inspire you, to lead you, and to leave you an Earth that is healthier than it was when I first came into it. To paraphrase Terry Tempest Williams, what matters most is not what you’re willing to die for, but what you’re willing to live for. I am willing to live for the betterment of the planet I love so dearly, and I hope my life implores you to do the same.

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To my darling ones,

And it’s not that I don’t care. I care deeply. For you three, and the families I hope you will have one day; for the many beautiful places I have had the privilege to know, places which take my breath away, that fill my heart with a bursting joy and connectedness to something so much greater than I, places I know may be quite different when you are my age

 

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You can survive without the latest iPhone but you can’t survive on a warming planet.

 

To all the children of the future and those who love them,

While there is still breath in this body I will give of my soul and my time and energy to making the world a better place, for you, and all the beautiful living beings of this world.

 

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When you look at me with those big beautiful eyes and that innocent smile, you make me want to fight harder. And I do.

 

To my future self,

It is today on March 6th, 2017 that you have made the decision to make a difference in this world.

 

Hola Cariño,

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Dear future family and friends,

This is our house.

 

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.

 

To My Future Self,

This lead me to my final project, which focused on reforming the education system to incorporate sustainability classes into the current curriculum.

 

Dear Lucie,

Lucie, I love you more than you could ever know and I hope that my promises help contribute to a better world for you and inspire you to take action as well as you grow into the amazing adult I know you will be.

 

Dear sons,

I’ve been so busy since 2012 working towards getting a price on carbon.

 

Queridos nietas/nietos,

Creo que debo hacer más. Por ello, he decidido escribir esta breve carta para empezar un proceso en el que vaya escribiendo más cartas, conforme vaya teniendo más claridad de mis posibles contribuciones.

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