Suzanne Smith's Letter

Dear Grandad,

Thank you for gifting me the love of nature and for opening my eyes to notice and see all the beautiful things around me.
I have never forgotten all those wonderful walks you took me on as a child through the Welsh countryside after you'd finished a tiring days work. I still remember all the names of the birds, insects and plants around us, that you taught me. I have loved the natural world ever since.
Your passion became my passion.

I have missed you ever since the day you waved farewell to me in 1970, when I was just 11 years old. But it was only a year later that I was almost relieved to know that you could not be made sad by the programme I watched on the television one evening. I think it was on Horizon and was called A Bulldozer Through Heaven (?), which was about the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest. I was so shocked by the scale and statistics of habitat destruction on a daily basis, and horrified at the effect it was having on the decimation of species and the climate, I went on to become a supporter of Friends of the Earth and later Greenpeace. I know you would have done the same.
Yet, here I am, over fifty years on, at the age of 64, and having lived five years longer than you, still campaigning for the protection of our beautiful planet, only to acknowledge that things are getting worse, not better.
I cannot believe that the dreadful predictions about the future effects of climate change and habitat destruction, that I watched on the television as a child in 1971, are actually now coming true, not in hundreds of years time but now in my lifetime.

I have grown up to watch the horrors of the incessant capitalist system wilfully destroy our beautiful planet. You would be horrified by the increasingly cruel methods of intensively farming animals and the development of ever more damaging pesticides. Worst of all, companies across the globe get away with acting criminally in the destruction of habitats for short term profits. People all over the world are risking their lives to prevent these things happening. But the time has come for an urgent call to action, as everyone's lives are now at risk and this is our last chance to all stand together to fight this intolerable and unsustainable system of exploitation, over-production and vandalism. Our health, our lives, our future is at stake.

Sadly, none of us have fifty years left to make a difference. We only have now.
Sleep well Grandad.

Suzanne J. Smith

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