Letter from the Future

Letter from a granddaughter to her grandmother (90-second MP3 audio clip)

(Transcript below)

From: Pine Island Paradox
By Kathleen Dean Moore
Milkweed Editions.  2004

Read by Fred Kirschenmann, used with permission.

Photo of baby and adult hands
Photo credit: By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (Family) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I’d say the Prime Directive in the 21st century is: Be a good ancestor.” ~ David Roberts

Audio Transcript

And at one point in the middle of that essay, she imagines her granddaughter writing her a letter from 100 years in the future. What would she say? And here’s the power of the arts. Here is the letter that she imagined her granddaughter would write to her:

How could you not have known? What more evidence did you need that your lives, your comfortable lives, would do so much damage to ours? Did you think that you could wage war against nations without waging war against people, against the Earth? Didn’t you wonder what we would drink once you had poisoned the aquafers? Didn’t you wonder what we would breathe once you had poisoned the air? Did you stop to ask how we would be safe in a world poisoned by war? Did you think it all belonged to you, this beautiful Earth? You who loved your children, did you think we could live without clean air and healthy cities? You who loved the Earth, did you think we could live without birdsong and swaying trees? And if you knew, how could you not care? What could matter to you more than your children and their babies? How could a parent destroy what is life-giving and astonishing to her child’s world? And if you knew, and if you cared, how could you not act? What excuses did you make? And now, what would you have us do?