John's Letter

To my son, Elwood,

I am writing you this letter even though you can’t read just yet. Would I let you read it if you could? I don’t know. Children shouldn’t have to worry about climate change, if you should worry about anything it should be limited to missing toys, making friends, and learning new things. You shouldn’t have to worry about polluted oceans, burning rainforests, species extinction…. And yet, you’ll likely have to deal with all these things and many more I can’t predict, many I don’t want to consider.

If you read this letter in the future, if you were to find it one day, how will it sound to you as an adult? As a confession? Things were looking bad, and I didn’t do enough. As an acknowledgment? These problems will be left to you, because, again, I didn’t do enough. As an apology? As a warning? As a future not realised, a bullet dodged.

You don’t like change, you like things to stay the same, change can be scary which is understandable. You are 3. Change can be scary, but change is inevitable, and in the face of a climate crisis change is unavoidable.

We are always telling our children to tidy up after themselves, to put away their toys, to be gentle, to be kind, to be caring, which whiffs a bit of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

Grown-ups must lead by example; grown-ups must be brave. Grown-ups in Government must be brave, must lead, must be nimble, must be proactive, must take action to safeguard the future. Your future.

If we can make some big changes now, perhaps they will seem like little changes to you by the time you read this letter.


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