“And, dear God, even as the temperatures rose and the crops died and the glaciers in the Himalayas melted with a flood that drowned 700 million Chinese and Indians in a single week, we couldn't agree that human behavior caused the problem and human behavior needed to change.”
My dear great-granddaughter, I wish my bequest to you could be the childhood I had, lazy afternoons playing baseball or hopscotch in the sunshine, long walks through fields filled with butterflies and birds. Instead, you live indoors, breathing air that tired old filters are hard-pressed to scrub clean of radiation, coal dust, and the molds that grow a hundred feet underground.
When your grandmother, my daughter, bought the condo in the old missile silo, I wouldn't join her: the thought of living underground with a hundred other survivalists turned my stomach.
By then the average daily temperature in Chicago was 127 in the summer, 101 in winter. We were all scrambling for ways to avoid the killing heat, but I was too old to give up life above ground.
We couldn't keep up with the daily dead and bulldozed them into pits, where we didn't dare burn them.
I wish I could bequeath you the wonderful fruits and vegetables we used to eat, which I used to carelessly overbuy and discard. Now I wonder how long the water will last to grow enough cabbage to feed your little commune—cabbage being nutrient rich and easy to grow even in hydroponic tanks. I hope somewhere a few birds found shelter, so that if the earth ever recovers, you will hear birdsong.
And, dear God, even as the temperatures rose and the crops died and the glaciers in the Himalayas melted with a flood that drowned 700 million Chinese and Indians in a single week, we couldn't agree that human behavior caused the problem and human behavior needed to change. Our American billionaires and their sycophants in pulpit and state house kept claiming human responsibility for climate change was a myth; they blocked any acts that could have reversed the damage in time.
As the heat rose, and the death tolls, blame and furious accusations rose with them: it was the Jews, the capitalists, the infidels, the Muslims, the communists. We'll never know who dropped the first bomb, but little was left to sustain life by the time the last one fell.
I don't ask your forgiveness—my generation doesn't deserve it. I ask you not to lose faith or hope that you can solve these problems. I ask you to do the hard work we never did. I ask you to remember poets and music to sustain your spirit.
Your loving grieving great-granny, Sara