We wondered about how we might be able to eliminate plastics from our day to day routines, and recycled literally everything. We were amazing, you should have seen us. Now and again though, we wondered if these were the right questions.

Sent on by
Ben Carpenter
Send Your Own Message

To my brother’s children,

Your father and I did the best we could with what we had. I was living in Kansas City at the time, and he was in DC. He made videos, I facilitated online arguments between strangers.

Mitigation became a word we used a lot, because that’s all that can be done with the inevitabilities handed to a person. Mitigation is also all that the moral paralysis of a representative democracy allows, and I’m not just pointing fingers at the denialists.

We mitigated our personal carbon footprints by foregoing meat and riding bicycles to work. We wondered about how we might be able to eliminate plastics from our day to day routines, and recycled literally everything.

We were amazing, you should have seen us.

Now and again though, we wondered if these were the right questions to be asking. To ride a bike for political reasons, however fun and correct, still seemed like a privileged position compared to those we saw at daybreak, pedaling down the sidewalks on cheap bikes, ball caps pulled low over puffy eyes; or even compared to the beat-to-hell Saturns from the far eastern neighborhoods. Farmers markets, CFL light bulbs and reusable shopping bags became symbols dripping with class and racial tension. But it was hard to have those conversations; conversations about webs we’re all caught in as dense and old as empire. Maybe it is true we have to mitigate our political goals, the Dems have to win in 2018 midterms after all. So we mitigate our carbon footprints, and your father plans to install solar panels on Mom and John’s home in Hunt, where we’ll live someday. Way out there, we can remove ourselves from complicity with the impending destruction of the planet as best we can.  Maybe you’re reading this on their porch. How’s the garden?

I still feel that if our hands are clean, our feet are still wet. The work is not done, and what is done will never be sufficient. This is a condition of honest self reflection. There is no end to the webs you, my brother’s children, are tangled in. Power never goes away, it just changes. Figure out our blind spots and start there.

Enjoy the sunsets,

Uncle Ben

Share on:
 
Send Your Own Message

More Messages to the Future

 

My dearest children Ameilia and Alivia, 

I want you to hear the whispers of the seasons changing. The rustling of leaves as they gracefully cascade down from their limbs in the fall, birds singing in spring, and frogs that serenade the summer night.

 

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 sons,

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

 

Dear future me,

If we don’t stop cutting down trees for agriculture and to build houses then the future generations will not think about trees when they hear the word Earth.

 

To my children,

I hope that the fervor that is building continues to build and spread and that the world has made progress to minimize the effects of our past actions.

 

To my daughters,

In order for you two be happy and healthy, we all need to work hard to prevent climate change.

 

To my child,

For the pale blue dot we live on, a precious beauty, I try to help.

 

Dear Future Afnan,

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

 

Dear Evie of 2050,

I can feel the change happening — many people are working to transform the world.

 

Dear Eleanor,

It seems silly to saddle yourself with guilt for something that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t want to do that. As of today, I don’t really feel guilty. I guess I just want to make sure I keep doing more, so that when you read this, and ask what I’ve done since then, I can still feel good about my efforts.

 

Dear Tomorrow,

I promise to become more educated on the global issues that face populations I can’t see

 

Dear ACS, LG, CM, MCD, AH, MS, AS, GL, and ERD,

I commit to demanding that politicians that want my vote, my time, my substantial help and expertise are people who seek to address climate change seriously and talk about it boldly.

View All Messages

Send Your Own Message