For those who come after us,
I’m not sure if I’ll have children of my own, so this isn’t for them. This is for the countless children I already see suffering the impact of climate change around the world, and the generations to follow. I have been fortunate enough to live in a place and at a time when I have easy access to things like clean water and consistent food sources. Although climate change has already begun to be an obstacle to these things, lives in the developed world have remained relatively unaffected. We have rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy and still water our lawns despite droughts in places like California. Unfortunately, that’s not the same story everywhere.
In East Africa, droughts are causing famines, which impoverished nations are unable to remedy. In Asia, tsunamis are striking unexpectedly and harming women and children most. Around the world, people are already suffering.
But where I live, we ignore the roots of the problem. We send aid and create superficial solutions, but fail to end the cycles of devastation as we continue to exploit the environment. With a sense of utter disregard, my country and other elite nations consume a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources. We simply do not realize the impact we are having on less privileged communities globally, and the devastating legacy we are leaving to you.
I live in a world where the most powerful nations neglect the welfare of others. It is a world of vast inequality. But by the time you read this, things may be different. All nations may be suffering in severe and possibly irreparable ways. I fear it is only then, that our global leaders will recognize the consequences of our selfishness.
Yet, despite these negative statements, I remain hopeful. I see growing awareness to this issue. We now have global policies trying to reverse environmental decay and technology has spread information that has become difficult to ignore. We are also more frequently paying attention to individual impact. People are down-sizing their cars and opting for clothes lines instead of dryers. Personally, I have committed to eating food with limited environmental impact. I have stopped eating meat and individually packaged items. My kitchen trash can is the size of a small bucket to ensure I am paying attention to my own waste. Through people adopting this growing consciousness we can provide a better world for you to live in.
I sincerely hope that when you look to my generation, you can respect us for setting a precedent of care… care for each other, future generations, and a world that is itself, a living and beautiful organism.