To my dearest Gabriel,
Climate change always seemed so far away. Then, two years ago, you were born. I remember in those first weeks or months that someone told me to enjoy every day, every moment. They said, “The days are long, but the years pass quickly.” In the two short years since you were born, I know this to be true. When I look at you and think about your future, I can see the time passing quickly, faster than I ever could have imagined.
In just five short years from now, the year will be 2020. These years will be pivotal for the climate. Are we mobilizing people fast enough? Are we developing the right technologies? When I think about 2020 as a number, it still seems so far away. But then I imagine you as a seven year old and I know these days are quickly approaching.
Scientists say that by 2050 we will need to reduce our emissions by at least 80 percent. In 2050, you will be 37 years old, just one year younger than I am now. Perhaps you will have your own family by then. I hope you will be happy.
But when you are the age that I am now, will we have taken the crucial steps to bring our emissions close to zero? Will there be inexpensive, clean energy sources in countries all over the world? I don’t know the answers. But I do have a vivid memory that gives me hope.
When I was about seven years old, I thought the world was complete, perfect. I felt so lucky to have been born after radio, televisions, and telephones. I thought everything that was needed in the world had been invented. But then came the tech revolution and suddenly some of the most crucial aspects of our daily life came into existence. After I thought everything had already been invented, the world was completely transformed by the Internet, computers, and cell phones.
You were born before the next great change, perhaps the greatest of all—a societal transformation from a dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy powering a low carbon economy.
What gives me hope is what is yet to come, what you will experience in your lifetime. I don’t know what this will look like; I can’t even imagine it. What I do know, however, is that it will be amazing and full of opportunity. And I promise to you that I will help make it happen.
I love you.