Arlene Williams
Portland, Oregon, United States

Dear Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren,

“Only when too many people have died will something begin to happen, but by then it will be too late.”

I hope you are alive. I have to admit that you may not survive. Every day that we warm this Earth without changing our technology, your chances are getting slimmer. If you are alive, I fear that the conditions you have to live in will be horrific. And it is all because some greedy men, yes mostly it is men, have spent their riches to destroy the future.

I don’t understand these rich men. Do they think their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be immune? Do they believe their wealth will protect them? Don’t they understand that the power of their money will dissolve when the global economy succumbs to endless weather catastrophes, which will destabilize regions, create masses of climate refugees, fuel wars, bring on famine, and increase the likelihood of pandemics. Even the Pentagon understands these risks, yet the rich oil and coal barons have used lies, propaganda, and corruption to stall progress. These men will be pariahs to history, but they don’t care. What kind of a man would create a future hell for everyone? Not a real man. Not a hero.

A few rich men are trying to do something. Those are the real men of power. They are fighting for you. The others buy politicians and distort the political process to protect their assets so that governments don’t do anything that will ultimately save you. Only when too many people have died will something begin to happen, but by then it will be too late.

So what do I do? Do I tell my children not to have children because I can’t stand the thought of what you will have to live through or the thought of how you may die so needlessly? We have the technology right now to turn things around. It is only the political will that we lack to save you.

I learned about global warming in the early 70s in college. I have always lived simply and tried to conserve my energy use. I even got involved with politics when I thought there might be a chance to stop this. Now I don’t know what to do. I don’t see how to fight them.

We have come so far as humans, but all our progress may be lost because of a few rich men. Shame on us. Shame on the human race for throwing your wonderful lives away.