The fact that you are reading this means that you would know the answer to a question that has kept me up at night more often than I would like to admit: Did I make you proud?

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Joey Conway
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To My Future Child(ren),

The fact that you are reading this means that you would know the answer to a question that has kept me up at night more often than I would like to admit: Did I make you proud?

I was 10 years old when I first heard of the words “global warming”. These are words that are probably a part of everyday conversations for you (or not all because of a new normal), but when I first heard these words being outlined to me by former Vice President Al Gore, I was terrified. This terror and dread led me to commit my career to fighting this existential threat when I was 16 years old. I thought that by learning more about the science of climate change, talking to others about how to drive less, doing “Meatless Mondays”, and conducting international advocacy work that I could do my part to be a part of your better future. Now I want to make clear that these are all incredibly important steps considering the fact that we live in a world where you have to jump through hoops to not harm the planet. However, these actions weren’t enough were they?

Today is the day that I grapple with the reality of my situation, of our planet’s situation, and most of all, with your future. I’ve always been told that “happy people sail fast.” Fighting the slow threat of climate change shouldn’t be something that makes me sad and depressed. Yet, the idea that torments me the most is that I would have grown old, became a proud father, but did not do everything in my capacity to build the world that you, and everyone else on this planet, deserve to live on.

I’m writing this letter to you today to commit to find that balance. The balance between living a life that fills me with the same joy that I want you to be able to experience each day, as well as a life that builds the future you deserve to have. The balance between going out to discover the world in a way that reminds me of the beauty we all must protect, while also treading lightly to ensure that the same beauty can inspire you someday.

No longer will the bare minimum cut it. We know now that big structural change needs to happen to ensure that you are able to live in a safe, habitable world. We know now that our economy needs to be fundamentally reshaped so that you can have the chance to awe at the beauty of our natural world. We know now that those who have contributed most to this problem, people like me (well off consumers in the US), need to own up to our past actions so that you will get the chance to meet the billions of people that make this planet so special. Most of all, the fact that we know now what needs to be done to ensure that you and everyone else in your generation gets to live in a habitable world means that we must do exactly that and hold ourselves accountable.

Today, I am promising to you, and the world of tomorrow, that I will commit to the following to ensure that you have the same chance to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that I did.

I commit to:

• Reducing the consumption of animal products to a minimum (no more than once a week) and ensuring that as much of my food comes from regenerative, ethical, and local sources.
• Having the hard conversations and ensuring that I make this movement one that is inclusive, not divisive.
• Promoting gender equality in every aspect of my life and work.
• Voting climate, environmental justice, and equality up and down the ballot as well as with my dollar.
• Putting my money where my mouth is and my morals where my money is. Activism isn’t just donating, but also being a part of the movement and action.
• Continuing my work to develop equitable and sustainable development solutions for vulnerable communities around the world.
• Treading lightly on outdoor spaces to ensure that you can enjoy them in the same way.
• Minimizing travel time on my trips to the outdoors and new places and maximizing my stay to reduce unnecessary air travel.
• Being the happy warrior.
• Challenging myself to always improve, while never losing sight that this is a marathon, not a race.
• Encouraging others to join me in this mission.
• Challenging myself to always improve, while never losing sight that this is a marathon, not a race.
• Always remembering who I am doing this for.

You are the one who will determine whether I have fulfilled these promises and it is on that note that I promise to do everything I can to make sure that the answer to the original question in this letter is yes.

Love,

Your Dad- Joey Conway

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