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David Butt's Letter
To my future self ,
Greetings Future David of year 2223,
I am a previous incarnation of you.
I was born in 1945, Before climate change began to be noticeable. Living at the end of the pre- climate-change era and the start of the 6th mass extinction. I feel that I need to apologize very profoundly for the world that I handed down to you.
I wonder what your historians will tell you about the world that I lived in.
I wonder if they tell you, that throughout much of my lifetime, scientists knew what would happen.
Really, yes they did. They tried to explain how the ice caps would melt and all life on earth would change forever, if we kept on burning fossil fuels and cutting down our forests.
Sadly they weren't able to convince enough people. The problem was that seemingly intelligent people were unable to accept that rapid change was really essential, many entered a strange state of denial, they found all sorts of other things to do, rather than face the immense social changes that would have been necessary in order to keep global warming from passing the climate tipping point.
I hope you can understand how difficult the task was. Global businesses spent huge amounts of time, money and energy and managed to convince some people that climate change was a hoax, just so they could continue to make huge profits. The politicians, many of whom were tied up with large businesses, would tell us frequently how much that they were doing, and claimed that we were global leaders. They sought to reassure us because they didn't want to cause panic. but in reality the politicians were, sadly, useless. They encouraged drilling for more and more oil and gas and building more roads, and building more houses and cars until it was much, much to late. And then we entered what came to be called the panic years, when radical action taken far to late caused great civil unrest but it was already clear that it was much to late, the cycle of melting had begun, the permafrost was releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all human activity put together, it couldn't be stopped.
To you, looking back at us, we must seem very stupid. We had all been preoccupied with what we called growth. Growth was what was causing all the problems all along. Before the time of growth and even as late as the 20th century Earth was a pretty wonderful place, so bursting with wildlife, flowers, insects and amazing creatures. In school we used to sing to our God about all the wonders of our planet in a hymn called "All things bright and beautiful", you might be able to find an old recording. Do you still have faith that God will look after things?
I'm sorry, it might be painful for you to listen to all the words, to sad. My scientists tell me there won't be much of it left for you to enjoy.
I'm told that flooding, and starvation will have wiped most humans out. But you are one of the few survivors. take courage, I'm told that eventually, after a few million years the diversity of life such as we had, may once again return, and that plants and animals will evolve to be able to live in a world with high levels of carbon dioxide, there will be creatures that can cope well with the violent weather, and the heat, perhaps even butterflies.
So I would like to give you all our best wishes, and ask you please not to reproach us to much for what we did and did not do. And to pass down our history so your descendants don't make the same mistakes.
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