Letter from a Grey-Beard Loon
07 December 2007, 00h15 EST (GMT-5)
DeSmogBlog's 100 Year Letter Project
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In the face of the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is a reality, the last redoubt of those who would keep us prisoners of inaction is a steady, numbing stream of disinformation. DeSmogBlog seeks to parry fiction with fact, drawing together articles from scholarly research and from the popular press.
Recently, DeSmogBlog launched its 100 Year Letter Project, inviting contributors to compose letters to our great great grandchildren, reflecting on how global warming is likely to affect the world they will inherit from us.
My letter published at DeSmogBlog is reproduced in full below.
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Dear Great Great Grandchild,
In composing this letter to you, I am not sure what I find less likely: that I will have descendants a century hence, or that they will be remotely interested in anything I have to write. Still, one lives in hope!
Personally, I can not imagine my own great great grandfather as anything other than a grey-beard loon peering out from frayed and sepia-tinted photographs, but I am sure he must have had his salad days, as I have mine, even if you find that equally difficult to believe. Yet, if I may strike the pose of one of the pantheon of wise and aged relations, I should ask you to try to learn from our mistakes, rather than simply condemn us for them.
By this time, late 2007, it has become clear to my generation that we squandered earlier opportunities to avert the calamities of climate change, and we can now only try to mitigate its worst effects, in the hopes that you will inherit a world to which you have a fighting chance of adapting.
I suspect that in the face of our "too little, too late", you will want to know how we could have shirked our responsibilities to you for so long, and so disastrously
No, we do not have the excuse of ignorance; we knew the consequences of our actions, even if many of us did everything possible to delude ourselves with fantasy and politically glamorous lies. But equally, we were not indifferent to the world we would leave you, and all of us certainly wanted the best for you. We were, perhaps, simply weak willed.
We knew that something had to be done, but it is a long journey from "something must be done" to "I must do something", a journey that proved too arduous for too many of us.
Our family has a long and occasionally chequered history, but we have always held that each of us is nothing if not a living memorial to the men and women who came before us, and that if we are to be deserving heirs to the sacrifices of our ancestors, we must be worthy stewards of the world to our descendents. I hope you will be able to forgive us for not doing better by you.
Perhaps, if only through leaving behind the cautionary tale of our age, our gift to you is to inspire you to be better than we were, as we have tried, howsoever unevenly, to be better than our common forebears.
Good luck with it all. We wait for you in the next world, and you can be sure that we could not possibly offer you any rebuke for your care of this one!
With much affection,
Your Great Great Grandfather,