Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Letter to my Great Great Great Great Grandchildren

Dear great, great, great, great grandchild;

You probably think of my generation as an industrious group. We work hard to maintain a lifestyle that includes big automobiles and mini-mansions. We travel thousands of miles by air or land each year for recreation, and many of us have boats and RV’s. Some of us have personal spas and swimming pools. We’ve consumed most of the world’s supply of oil, coal, and other natural resources, and we’ve destroyed mountains, prairies, rivers, streams, and nearly caused a meltdown of the planet in order to maintain our lifestyle.

My dear grandchildren, some of us try to conserve and protect natural resources, and a few of us are pioneers of what we call alternative energy. Unfortunately, we get very little support. I know it must sound crazy to you, but the biggest subsidies go to oil and coal companies, the worst polluters. It makes no sense until you consider campaign contributions. But I digress.

Please don’t judge us too harshly. Those who profit from oil and coal want us to believe that alternatives offer too little benefit for their high cost. Those of us who work with alternatives know that this is untrue. Many of us are saving money, and reducing our negative impact on the planet at the same time. And we’re doing this now, with technology that must seem crude to you.

The fact that you’re reading this means that the planet has survived peak oil and peak coal. Perhaps some good has come from our selfishness. Because you don’t burn fossil fuels, global warming is less of a problem. Wars are less of an issue now because the little remaining fossil fuels are not worth fighting for.

Of all of our mistakes, I’m sorry for what we’ve done to the mountains most of all. While you’ve done a lot to renew the planet, you’ll never see those mountains in their original splendor.

Your great great great great grandfather, John

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