We shouldn’t expect the next generation to clean up our mess

Iturned 75 in March. That means I probably won’t be around to see the worst impacts of climate change or any other looming environmental disasters — or the much brighter future that may emerge if we get off our butts to address the problems.

But I’m also a father and grandfather, and I care about my children and grandchildren and all the world’s children.

Climate change is already having noticeable impacts around the world, including food shortages, increasing extreme weather events, shrinking glaciers and ice caps, and rising sea levels. We’ve already upset the atmospheric carbon balance, so the more we ignore the problem, the worse it will get.

It’s unconscionable that we would condemn our children and grandchildren to an increasingly bleak future, especially when readily available solutions would help to resolve many other global problems.

It shouldn’t be up to young people to clean up the messes we have made. After all, we don’t even allow them to vote — to choose who will make decisions on their behalf. And they will be most affected by the decisions made today. But because so many adults have abdicated their responsibility to the world and its children, youth are taking matters into their own hands.

One young person in the U.S., 16-year-old Alec Loorz, is even taking his government to court over its inaction on climate change.

He and others have launched actions against state and federal governments in an attempt to have the atmosphere declared a “public trust” that must be protected, a concept that has been used to clean up polluted rivers and coastlines.

“We will let the world know that climate change is not about money, it’s not about power, it’s not about convenience,” Loorz says. “It’s about our future. It’s about the survival of this and every generation to come.”

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to help clean up the messes we’ve made. Parents must become eco-warriors on behalf of their children, because their future should be as important to us as it is to them.

Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.

 

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