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To my grandchildren,
Firstly, I hope there's still a workable environment left, and one that is based on 'nature' as we understand it now.
When I was a kid, fifty or so years ago, it was impossible to go out on a summer's day without being surrounded by multitudes of different insects, all going about their useful and necessary lives. But now, it's an event to see a bee or two, a couple of peacock butterflies, the odd wasp or hoverfly or beetle or even ants outside in the summer. Where have they all gone? We've killed them with our chemicals, our cars, our ridiculous ambitions to live germ-free, whitewashed, unnatural and consumerist lives, to de-nature ourselves.
And of course it's not just insects that we've done away with, but creatures of all kinds. We've destroyed their habitats, poisoned the rivers, over-fished the seas. Nature has become nothing more than a carefully-curated spectacle mediated on our screens by figurehead presenters, rather than something we actually engage with personally and appreciate on a daily basis.
Our governments have done very little about this. But now things must be done, and done quickly: pollution of our riverways must be stopped immediately. Organic farming must be heavily subsidised since it is good for humans, wildlife and all environmental systems. And politicians must give careful thought to how to substitute the current capitalist system, reliant as it is on ever growing consumption, to something more sustainable, something that will slow, then halt, then reverse the dreadful trend of our trashing and vandalising of Planet Earth.
I hope too that individuals have done everything possible to re-invigorate nature, not just by keeping politicians on task, but by personal action. By switching to environmentally-friendly options for everything from fuel to food to transport (no, electric cars are not the answer). By learning about and valuing wildlife. By digging up their own tarmac drives and planting gardens there instead. By strewing wildflowers across their lawns to feed the insects. By giving up fast fashion in favour of slow.
If I sound angry and desperate, I am.
I hope you're in a better position in ten years' time than we are now. And I hope I did my bit to facilitate that.
If not, then this is my apology to you. And I know it's worth nothing at all.
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