I hope you can do better | Letters to the future: The Paris Climate Project

Leonard Sobczak | real estate, Milwaukee

To the children of the future: we tried.

I was heartened when President Jimmy Carter was promoting and modeling fuel conservation. I was horrified when President Ronald Reagan dispensed with that message and heralded the era of gas-guzzling SUVs and other use of fossil fuels with disregard of the consequence.

I’ve been involved with environmental groups for many years, working to curb global warming and other effects of environmental degradation. I personally felt helpless as big corporate money purchased our government and fostered denial of the real consequences of environmental destruction. I painfully watched species go extinct over the years with no cessation in sight.

The only comfort I can muster is keeping a historical context in mind: The Earth will eventually recover over the eons.

My wish for you is to keep fighting for the Earth we have now, knowing that you are angry that we didn’t do more when we had the chance.

Remember that some of us saw what was coming, tried to elect officials who would help plan better for the future that you now live in. Greed has always dominated and man has never lived in harmony with nature. Early extinctions are testimony to that. I just hope you can do a better job than we did.

Editor’s note: World leaders convene in Paris soon for the critical U.N. climate talks. In fact, December of 2015 may be humanity’s last chance to address the crisis of our time.

Will the nations of the world finally pass a global treaty aimed at reducing the most dangerous impacts of global warming … or will we fail at this most crucial task?

Here and on letterstothefuture.org, find letters from authors, artists, scientists and others, written to future generations of their own families, predicting the success or failure of the Paris talks and what came after. Read these letters and write one of your own. The letters will be sent to targeted delegates and citizens convening at the Paris talks.