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To my unborn children,

You know…it’s a difficult thing…trying to connect with an audience that you know nothing about. Yet, here am I trying to pen a letter to my future children. As of right now, you only exist in the abstract sense – theoretical constructs that may or may not come into being. All the same, I worry about you. I worry about the type of world you will inherit. More importantly than that, I want to do my part to empower you – to provide guidance and perspective as you approach an uncertain future.

Where to begin though? I start by reflecting on my life up until this point — asking certain questions:

What do I have to offer in terms of insight?

What have I gleaned from my experiences thus far?

How can I distill everything down into something meaningful?

I sit and ponder for a while – frequently looking out the nearby window. It’s an unseasonably warm night in November and I have the window open. I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy the unusual weather, but I do so with an understanding of what it portends. Change isn’t on the horizon, it’s already upon us. In fact, the world is changing so rapidly that it is hard to imagine the state of things a few years from now. It is even more difficult to imagine life in 2030 or further down the line in 2050. What will life be like for you? Or for your children?

As it stands right now, Earth is transitioning into a new epoch – one brought on by the last few generations of human activity. There is SO much to contend with – ocean acidification, deforestation, desertification, biodiversity loss, rise in ocean levels, shortages of fresh water and food, and on and on. Things look bleak, but there are encouraging signs. Climate change is finally being acknowledged on an international scale and strategies are being developed to counteract, reverse and/or adapt to the transformation of the Earth’s environment. This will be the next great challenge for humanity – for your generation specifically.

It seems unfair to lay this at your feet – to expect you to be accountable for this mess, but you’ve got to do better than those that came before you. These are the best ways I know how.

– Be thoughtful and forward thinking.
– Have the strength and discipline to persevere through hard times.
– Resist the temptation to be short sighted in your decision making.
– Be one to set a good example. It is said that we commonly judge ourselves based on our own intentions while judging other based on their actions. Don’t simply intend on doing good – effect change.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It does not make you weak. Knowing your own limitations is a strength. (I struggled with this for a long, long time.)
– Be honest.
– Be flexible.
– Make an effort to be compassionate every day.
– Take time to listen to and learn from others.
– Continually educate yourself.

You’ll notice that none of the suggestions above mention carbon capture, desalination of seawater, nature reserves or alternative energy sources. While I plan on pursuing a career in the field of biology, you don’t have to be on the front lines to make a difference in the struggles that will come with climate change. The key to tackling this world threatening problem is not rooted in technology, but in a sense of solidarity that engenders cooperation between people from all backgrounds and professions.

I want you to prioritize a sustainable lifestyle, but above all else, conduct yourself with integrity. Have respect for yourself, others and the world around you. I’ll see you soon.

-dad

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