Dear Grandchildren: I am writing this letter for you to read twenty years from now. I write it as an act of hope. By the time you read this, world will look very different. While I am concerned about the life we are leaving you, I have faith in the unexpected (reality always has a way of messing up our best forecasts). I also have faith in That-of-God residing in each of us, which gives us our capacity for compassion, sacrifice, creativity, and wisdom.
Right now our planet has over seven billion people, and it will have somewhere between eight and ten billion by the time that you read this. We live in a time of explosive growth, and while this has provided benefits for many, it comes at great cost. Much of civilization is powered by burning fossil fuels. Not so long ago these were cheap and seemed inexhaustible. Now we realize they are limited and create great environmental and social burdens. As we crowd into ever-expanding megacities, we continue losing our wild and open spaces. We mismanage and deplete essential resources, and we create large-scale extinctions, global climate change, and widespread pollution.
You are probably asking, didn’t we see this coming? Many of us are concerned and trying to change things, but unsure what to do. Some think these problems don’t exist. Some see the problems, but think that future generations should deal with them.
I know this is all sounding dismal. But the other side of the coin is this: Human beings are capable of great acts of kindness, beauty, and creativity. I see that potential in you and in your parents. I see it in many people, who act with respect and care for the earth’s natural systems.
For my part, if there were any gift that I could leave to you, it would be a world where it is still possible to walk in a cathedral-like old growth forest, or stand awe-struck above a glacier. By the time you read this, I hope to have succeeded in some modest way in working with members of my generation to protect the rich biological and cultural diversity of our world.
Love to you all, Grandpa Frank
Frank Granshaw, Multnomah Monthly Meeting (NPYM)
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