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Judy Ling Wong's Letter
I love people! That has been and remains my singular passion, driving all that I do in relation to people and planet. My background of continual displacement made me into a 21st Century nowhere person, and forged me into a global citizen. All the peoples of the different cultures of the world are my people and I claim all the living beings and landscapes of our wonderful planet as my own.
Right now, as I write, my mind is filled with images of devastation from the impact of climate change now, accelerating consequences that are overtaking the predictions of scientists. I am filled with fear in anticipation of all our tomorrows….
Pakistan is one-third under water, with a scale of devastation and suffering none of us foresaw. Million acre wildfires are burning old growth forests in North America, reducing beloved ancient trees and landscapes to smouldering ashes. Drought and hunger ravage communities in the Horn of Africa. And this summer, in my own city, London, we had wildfires and homes destroyed. This letter to tomorrow is now a desperate cry to do what should have been done yesterday, last month, last year, for the people that I love, here and across the world.
The time to act is now. Actions on a grand scale now from governments collaborating across the world, and from every single person taking individual actions can make the difference that is needed.
As I hope, I look into the future and I grieve for what is already lost. I grieve now as my present and future merge.
Too late too late
The forests burn The earth burns
And so I burn
My rage and grief waxing and waning
With the leap of flame
The fragrance of endless pine
The clean scent of power oak
The majesty of sequoia giants
Burst unbidden from my memory
I follow the flickering
Leave pointless trails of tears
I reach for the hot earth
Smear the grits of cinders upon my skin
To join with what I once knew as green
I stand in the silence
Of the stilled songs of trees
Unique beings that once bid me
To join in dance with the joyful wind
Clothed with the black grit of endings
This grief feeds the passion to do more. We can all do more.
Children continue to come into the world. A friend just sent me a photo of her latest grandchild - another beautiful little being to love. My hope for all the people that I love, here and across the world lies in action to avert the catastrophe unfolding now. I already cry “Too late, too late” for too many people, animals and landscapes. But it is not impossible to avert climate change and build a sustainable green future if we all come together to act. Human beings are gifted with ingenuity.
I want the possibility of a secure and abundant life for everyone, but especially for the little newborns, and for young people embarking onto their own visions of a good life. I want to see nature protected, flourish and embrace all of us in beauty and in security.
I hope because I must. I want all of us to be able to look into the eyes of our children and say we are doing our best. We can do what is needed if we come together to push for effective action for future generations now. We can and must do this for all our tomorrows.
Judy Ling Wong CBE
The Great Big Green Week is the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change. Find out how you can get involved.