“I live in what you may call The Age of Wasted Cheap Energy, although I'm sure you have nastier terms to describe our lack of concern for the future.”
To Our Descendants,
I'll make this short, because you are probably busy getting ready for the winter. I live in what you may call The Age of Wasted Cheap Energy, although I'm sure you have nastier terms to describe our lack of concern for the future. I teach a course called Conservation Ecology, in which we talk a great deal about the future. Most students start with unbounded faith in technology's ability to fix all the problems we are causing: resource shortage, climate change, ocean acidification, species extinctions, habitat destruction, etc. I try to explain why many scientists no longer have this faith in high-tech -- why complex technology now seems to be at the point where it causes more problems than it fixes. Accepting this view, there are students who have chosen not to be depressed. Rather, they have embraced the challenge to make the world better by tested, low-tech methods: by organic farming, by teaching children to understand the environment, by forming groups to develop and promote low-impact ways of living, here and around the world. If your world is more sustainable than ours, and I hope it is, you have these generous, hard-working, exceptional people to thank.