Hi. It’s us, the future. You know, the young adults and children who will eventually be paying for your hearing aids and Viagra pills.
We’ve noticed that a lot of you are looking to us to lead the way in solving the world’s problems. That your job is to lay the foundations and pave the way for us to save the planet, and that the rest is in our hands.
We didn’t propagate a way of life that relied on releasing vast amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Or a vampiric economic system that rewards short-term greed at the expense of long-term sustainability. And we definitely didn’t put our collective fingers in our collective ears and go LALALALA when scientists repeatedly tried to warn us about how all of these things were creating the conditions for a climate apocalypse. That’s on you guys.
We’re not going to save you. There’s not enough time. A pretty good chunk of us will just be entering the workforce around the point that humanity is supposed to collectively reach zero emissions worldwide. It’s going to be too late for us to do anything. Sorry not sorry.
The fact that there are children — literal children! — leading the way on solving this crisis is insane. Insane! You realize that, right? We have bigger things on our plate. Like pimples.
You think we like skipping school to go protest on the streets? Okay, yes, but we’re kids. We’ll do anything to skip school. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. And neither is having kids lead the way on complex geo-political problems that require detailed policy solutions, but apparently, that’s where we are.
Like, if we could storm the governments the way we’re planning to storm Area 51 and take control of the organs of state power, we would. But we have homework. A lot of us are still going through puberty. It’s a hot mess and the policies you support are only making it hotter, so if you could stop burning the house down long enough for us to graduate into a world that isn’t a complete hellhole, that would be great.
And here’s the thing: you already know what you need to do keep us from passing 1.5ºC of global warming! Decarbonize the economy. Penalize — and we mean REALLY penalize — polluters. Incentivize renewable energy research and production. Shift policy priorities from growth to sustainability. Plant more trees. Eat less meat. And stop fucking up whatever ecosystems we have left, because they’re literally all we have left.
We get that it’s hard, but making hard decisions are what adults are supposed to do. Even if it they’re unpopular. Especially if they’re unpopular. Like broccoli and curfews, except for oil executives and bankers.
Everything you need to ensure that we have a future is at your fingertips. You just need to step up and do it, because for all our protests and strikes and dank photo ops with Obama, we can’t.
So if you could kindly get your shit together and prevent the end of the world as we know it, that would be fantastic. Because if there’s no future for us to look forward to, why should we care about yours?