James's Letter

To my children. And their children. And all that follow,

As I sit here, in a warm house, on an Autumnal morning in November 2022 - from my window I see the last golden leaves holding tightly to their increasingly skeletal parents, sodden grass from recent rain, the passing flight of a trio of blackbirds and a snapshot of a village, midday.......quiet.

What strikes me is it's all so quiet.

Behind each closed door a story. The world outside of my window ticks by. Times are hard. A post covid cost of living crisis rages, the world feels closer than it's ever felt before, yet it's never felt so divided. We have 24 hour rolling news. We are bombarded with information; some truths, some lies, and some truths that are stretched so thinly, that not everyone is able to hold their gaze long enough to see that really, you can see straight through them.

But in amongst all that voice. All that noise. It's all so quiet.

The natural world as we see it is peaceful. It's a place of mindfulness. Fields, woods and trees are a place of quiet contemplation. They don't ask of us. They don't berate us for our treatment of them.

In a world of endless noise, they're easy to ignore.

And that's what is happening right now. Money is doing the talking. In the face of utmost adversity, corporate greed continues to steer us. Record profits from energy producers, fossil fuel giants and big industry, whilst our world declines. We're told to do our bit. To play our part. Make sure that our recycling goes in the right bin. Cut down on our waste. To car share. Levels of meat consumption are dropping. But the reality is, we need the voices at the top to draw a line in the sand. We don't have the power, and those that do, do not speak for us......because that quiet world is easy to ignore.

If it could speak, it would scream.

The scene that I described in my opening paragraph lies in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. We've lost 50% of our biodiversity since the industrial revolution. Nature's calendar is in a mess. Blue tit chicks now hatch later than the caterpillars that they have evolved to feed on. We know all this. Our leaders know all of this. Yet conversations with the worst offenders - those contributing the most to climate change, to destroying the world in which we live, are about agreement. They are about compromise. They are about allowing priorities to include profitability and expansion. In your generation, and the generations of your children, will the bonuses of top executives and profits of our biggest companies in 2022 be of use or interest to you? I do not know how the world will look when you read this, but I do know the answer to that question.

I hope that our leaders, and the leaders of our companies decide to be the change that we need to see. My hope is that as generations move on to replace each other, our collective starting mentality changes. Growing up in the 90's no one was talking about climate change or the destruction we were doing to our planet. Recent generations are born into the conversation. People don't like doing what's difficult. They don't like change, especially when the changes make their lives less comfortable. Even changing mindsets on recycling has been difficult.....and the time that it takes to put waste in separate bins takes seconds, let alone scaling that reluctance up to levels of corporate process and procedure. I'm sorry that our generations let you down.

Yet despite a slow response, the conversation is happening now, and some companies are taking heed. My hope is that by the time our generation moves on, hopefully leaving foundations in place, by the time that your generation reaches the positions of power, you and your peers will face no opposition in agreeing to the big decisions that have to be made to save our planet. I just hope that by the time you get there, it's not too late.

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