John Stott's Letter

Dear Future,

When you read history or maybe I should say, if you are there to read history (because I can see that you may not be), I hope you will see that quite a lot of us really wanted you to be there to read this. But at the time of writing, there were also quite a lot who said they agreed with us but somehow couldn’t bring themselves to do the right thing.

We kept telling them the facts; the bad scenarios were already happening and would get seriously worse if things didn’t change. The things that needed changing were to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels, to insulate lots of homes, to reduce the amount of meat we eat, to cut back on consuming the earths resources, to make things repairable. In short not to treat the earth, our only home, as disposable. We could see why the decision makers tended to ignore what we told them. Many of them were influenced by those who didn’t care and just wanted to preserve the status quo. This was a sad state of affairs because there were lots of things that could be done but weren’t done. For example, one of the cheapest ways of making electricity was to put up on-shore wind turbines, but those who wanted to preserve the status quo influenced the decision makers to make planning guidelines that made it all but impossible, so more fossil fuels were burned. Despite advice from energy experts (the IEA) to the effect that it was not necessary to seek more fossil fuels, new exploration licences were granted. We said licences should not be allowed, but the decision makers allowed it so that more fossil fuels could be extracted. Introducing a carbon tax would favour low carbon buying but they haven’t implemented it. The decision makers wanted to expand air travel and said it would be OK to do this because they had plans to create low carbon flight technologies. We said this is a risky strategy because if the low carbon technologies didn’t work, we’d continue to have lots of high carbon air travel. We couldn’t see the sense in all this, especially since the decision makers said they understood that fossil fuels were really bad for the future of civilisation. I could go on dear future but I hope you get the picture. We did try to convince the decision makers but, despite strong and disruptive protests by some of us, they only pretended to listen. We called their behaviour greenwash.

So dear Future, if you are reading this then maybe our efforts were were not in vain.

Yours sincerely


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