Nick Nuttgens's Letter

My nieces, nephews and godchildren,

Dear all,

I'm really hoping that by 2030 there will have been a significant cultural shift, not only in the UK but across the world. Because if there hasn't been, and greenhouse gas emissions haven't been radically reduced, I'm afraid you'll be looking at some major challenges ahead. I may not be around by then but I hope I have set an example in my life and have made you aware of how important these issues are without being heavy or hectoring. The key thing I want to say to you is that you can make a huge difference even if (as it were) you can only make a small difference. What I mean is, even if your life is such that you can only do small things, they will all add up to shifting the culture, providing enough people like you do them.

But maybe you want to play a more prominent role? How would it be if you decided to put all of your passion, energy, critical thinking and skills into being one of the great generation of 21st Century leaders who are stepping up to the exciting opportunity of transforming the economy into a sustainable one, which meets the needs of the world's peoples but within the limits of the planet? I can't think of a more thrilling challenge. And I'm really hoping that by 2030, the people who really get it and are up for this challenge are finally running this country and other countries across the world. Because far too many of the current generation of leaders, in 2022, seem to think that the most glorious thing they can do in life is to ensure that wealthy corporations and individuals can keep getting richer and richer, even if that means the death of human civilisation. What a crap aspiration to have! I imagine those people sitting next to their steaming, evaporating swimming pools in the mountains in New Zealand wondering what they're going to eat for lunch and who will prepare it now that all of their servants have gone.

I suppose I could be wrong; perhaps they will be living happily in air-conditioned houses on the moon or on Mars, swigging champagne that they brought up with them before all the vines died on Planet Earth. Have you watched "Don't Look Up? If you haven't, it's on Netflix and it's absolutely fantastic; look out for the twist at the end of the credits.

Margaret Klein Salomon is an inspiring climate campaigner who issues some stark challenges. The thing that I have found most challenging that she has said is the idea that the climate and nature emergencies are so serious that they must take top priority, which may very well mean for you as individuals that you may need to rethink your life goals. I'd like to encourage you to do something that helps to make that cultural shift happen; I know there is a lot of eco-anxiety around nowadays. Experience suggests that when you get involved in something, no matter how small, working alongside other people who care as you do, it is both reassuring and it gives you a sense of purpose.

Be resilient. Be positive. Think critically. Challenge the deniers and delayers. Make a new and better world happen. You can do it!



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