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Twyla Neely-Streit
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To my potential children,

I’m eighteen right now. I’m irresponsible and argumentative and not the person who might someday create you just yet; but I’m getting there. I’m finishing my first year at college and as I’m sure I will have told you, it is quite a time in a person’s life. If you had asked me even a few months ago what my goals were, I would have laughed. Now I have a legitimate answer to that question—or the beginnings of one. I’m an environmental science major and as of now I am very certain that I will remain on this path. Who knows, maybe by the time you read this I’ll be a bonafide adult! An engineer or a scientist, an architect or an advocate? Who could say? But I hope it will be something that has made you proud, and I hope that it will be something that has made the Earth proud. There are no opinions I care about more.

I’ll be honest, honey, it could all turn out that way, but as for now I don’t have high hopes for the future. Currently Trump is president, sea levels are rising, and so are temperatures. There is little positivity, little compassion, little understanding. This is a time in which climate change equates guilt, anger, conflict, politics; things that as your mother I wish you never had to encounter, though I know you will. Because I can imagine a future in which these things continue and you are reading this letter from under your smog mask or inside your oxygenated apartment on the 50th floor in a super-city. A future in which people remain scared and no one takes responsibility. But these thoughts make me feel gross inside and this letter is not meant to be about fear or darkness. Because here I am, in my present, trying my best to take some responsibility. So maybe things will be better some day!

I can also picture you reading this under the shade of a birch tree at Honeyrock or in my childhood home. Breathing in clean air, touching plants, loving a dog just like I do. I will choose to hope for the second. I chose to hope that we will be there together! That young, lazy people like myself will get our acts together and become the innovators that the world needs. Wish me lucky honey. I will see you in a month for my grandson’s graduation. I am so proud of all of you, and love you with my entire being.

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More Messages to the Future

 

To My Grandchildren,

It’s my hope that the following will be helpful as you navigate your futures.  These are the confessions of a climate activist:

 

Dear son,

I want you to know that we tried our best to fix the mistakes of my parent’s generation.

 

Dear James,

More importantly, what are we doing to better our planet and everyone who lives in it?

 

Dear Isaiah,

I am grateful for your soul, for your creativity, for your empathy. All these are precious treasures that you have to offer the world. They will help. I thank you for being in this world right now, so that you can offer these gifts at a time of transition.

 

My dear Honeys,

I think every parent believes that their child’s future is worth protecting – because I know the power of this force in me and what I am willing to do.

 

Dear Lilly and Evelyn,

We must get outside ourselves and our conveniences to see the future through the eyes of your children, and your children’s children, and . . .

 

Dear parents,

I will continue to educate myself and do my part on healing the environment so when I bring in the next generation of our family, they will live in a planet that thrives.

 

Queridos amigos sobrevivientes.

Quiero pensar que ustedes serán la diferencia, que tomaran más actos sobre el asunto y no dejaran que nada los detenga.

 

Dear my grandchild,

There is a big forest fire in a small town called Paradise.

 

Filhota,

Espero de verdade saber contribuir para legá-la inteira para você, e que todos saibamos fazer isso em conjunto também.

 

Dear You Tomorrow,

What we failed to do, at least early on, was to see how important it was to put those solutions together. To combine into a way forward.

 

Dear future generation,

I believe climate change is the biggest global issue my generation is facing.

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