Richard Michael Blaber's Letter

To all my great-nephews and great-nieces,

You are all very young, and so not at all to blame for the damage that my generation, and later ones, has done to the climate and to nature. We have poured our waste and pollution into the seas and oceans, into the lakes and rivers, into the soil, and into the air we all breathe. We have killed off species after species of animals and plants, chopped down and burned down whole forests of trees.

Probably the most damaging thing we've done, however, is that we have gone on burning coal, oil, natural gas, wood, peat and other sources of carbon dioxide, when we knew we should stop doing so. We knew that doing this was harmful, and that the more of this gas there was in our atmosphere, the warmer it would get, and the more extreme the weather events that would result. We also carried on putting other gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride, even more potent that carbon dioxide, but in smaller quantities, into the atmosphere, too, when we knew we should stop doing that - but we carried on regardless, in the name of maintaining our comfortable material lifestyles, and ensuring our economic system would go on functioning smoothly, churning out ever-increasing profits for companies and their shareholders year after year.

I don't know, as yet, if any of this will have changed by the time you're all adults - I hope it will, most sincerely, or your futures will be very bleak indeed. It is up to us to make sure your future is better than ours, not far worse, and I promise you that I will do whatever I can to make that happen. I'm only one person, however, and my best efforts may not be good enough. The forces working against our best hopes are formidable indeed, and prepared to sacrifice your futures - and the futures of all our children and young people - for the sake of short-term gain. It's called "discounting the future", and puts a zero value on it. I wonder if the people who do that have any children, or grandchildren, of their own, and if so, what they will say to them when they are grown-up.

I only wish I could leave you with a sunnier and more optimistic message, but I must speak the truth as I see it.

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