A Letter to the Future – By Duncan Porter
A Guest Post by Duncan Porter
Martin S Pribble
I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry your world is torn apart by wars, famines, droughts, cyclones and floods as the ocean relentlessly swallows land away.
There were those of us who knew full well what the consequences of global warming would be, and we fought to stop the burning of fossil fuels. But we were outnumbered. Many of those who were not with us, were not against us either – they were merely apathetic and short-sighted, concerned with other issues. They could not see the forest for the trees (an expression we used to have, probably no longer in vernacular given the rarity of forests).
There were others, however, that actively opposed taking action to prevent global warming, going even to the point of entirely denying there was a problem. That must seem so ridiculous to you now. It was ridiculous to us too – but no matter how much science confirmed it, they would not accept it. Some of them could not accept it for religious reasons – their holy scripture contained a story about a worldwide flood, and stated that after this, their god would never flood the Earth again. Therefore to them, the scientists predictions of melting ice caps and rising ocean levels were impossible. Then there were those in whose best financial interests it was to keep the energy economy based on fossil fuels – so they could keep selling them. Both groups funded much anti-science propaganda, to the point where a significant fraction of the public came to believe global warming was some sort of elaborate hoax carried out by scientists, all part of some kind of evil conspiracy. I’m sorry, we tried to stop them.
I’m sorry for the mass extinction of ocean life. Even the matter of ocean acidity did not convince those who denied global warming. It is such a shame that because of us, you will never experience the vibrant beauty of vast coral reefs, teeming with life. Another saying we used to have that would seem absurd to you – “There’s plenty more fish in the sea”. There was once, but even before the effects of ocean acidity became significant, we had nearly scraped the sea floor bare.
I’m sorry we left you with so few resources. We had this notion in our heads that our economy must grow, grow and grow. But how could we expect to have constant growth with finite resources?
I’m sorry about the spread of disease. In our time, we had almost eradicated many infectious diseases. But again, an anti-science movement sprung up that propagated misinformation about vaccines, parents began refusing to vaccinate their children, and the diseases regained their foothold. We also had the ability to easily prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, while at the same time reducing overpopulation, but the leader of a religious sect who influenced hundreds of millions of people forbid the use of contraception. And no matter how hard we tried to point out the fallacy of their beliefs, they would not yield to reason.
We stood upon the shoulders of giants – yet we did not look to the horizon. And due to the delay in the consequences of our actions, we will not suffer from them nearly so much as you. I’m sorry.
Please forgive the few of us who did fight valiantly in the name of reason. We did the best we could, but it’s very difficult to reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.
Hope you have better luck.
Here’s to hoping that this letter will be absolutely nonsensical and unnecessary if it is indeed ever read far in the future. Let’s all do our bit to fight in the name of reason wherever we see it being insulted.