“Suddenly we understood that our existence on earth was threatened. We became alarmed that there would be no safe future here to sustain our children - that the children who followed through years ahead would not know the beauty and splendor of the earth that we have known.”
Dear children of the future,
I want to tell you a story: It began in 1926 when I was born, and is near to being finished in 2015.
Once upon a time:
The world that I was born in was not a perfect world. Not everyone had all they needed for a good life, to raise their children and enjoy the bounty of this earth. But it was a grand world, beautiful and filled with resources for its people.
My parents emigrated to the United States, the land of opportunity where there were jobs in many industries, and good land to farm. The Industrial Revolution had begun, creating jobs building the machinery to provide a better future. Progress was the ultimate means to this future. My family aspired to this goal, working hard to get ahead, grateful for work and opportunities to prosper.
But families busy living their lives are often unaware of the workings of governments and powers that create conflicts to help keep the systems running. Most of us dutifully worked for whosoever provided means for a satisfying life.
Until one day, we saw the progress we supported was creating hazards that threatened our health; the health of the planet sustaining us was being weakened by exploitation of its fragile resources, creating wealth for the few through efforts of many working to exist.
Suddenly we understood that our existence on earth was threatened. We became alarmed that there would be no safe future here to sustain our children - that the children who followed through years ahead would not know the beauty and splendor of the earth that we have known.
I do not absolve myself or your forebears from blame if you have inherited an earth which may have become barren and unsafe. We were all to blame for exploiting the nurturing beauty of our earth. Surely there was greed, indifference, and blind denial to some degree in mostly everyone. And the few who had the wisdom to see what was happening were not listened to or believed.
With greatest regret, we send our humble wish for your forgiveness that we were not better stewards of the earth we left to you. We only hope you will be wiser, will learn from our mistakes, and do everything in your power to care for this wounded planet that holds you.
And may you always sleep safely.