(I wrote this letter of apology to future generations in 2009. It was based on the apology to the ‘Stolen Generation’ of Indigenous Australians. Now, 10 years later, it is, unfortunately, still relevant.)
From Glenn Albrecht, Earth Citizen,
My fellow Earthlings,
We have reached a point where we must acknowledge the severe injustice that is being perpetrated on the lives of current and future beings. We must say to the recently conceived, newborns, infants, young children, youth, young adults and all future generations on Earth, that we are sorry your future is being put at risk by dangerous climate change. In addition, to those in low-lying countries and especially the poor who cannot possibly adapt to consequences of a warming world … we say sorry.
The callous abuse and mistreatment of the Earth and its climate is a source of deep shame. In particular we need to offer you, the innocent and non-consenting parties to this desolation, a profound and deep-felt apology for failing to implement binding targets for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions that would deliver stabilisation of the earth’s climate.
We must apologise in advance for the massive hardship that will occur to every facet of life as the climate gets hotter; disease, heat stress, drought and fire frequency increase, ecosystems and agriculture collapse, sea level rise and powerful storms wipe out our communities.
To all human beings who will be disadvantaged and who will have their life potential cut short by climate chaos … we say sorry. To all non-human beings who will face extinction from enormous impacts to their habitats, we say sorry.
To avoid a warming and unpredictable climate you, the occupants of the future, need right now to be represented by well informed people with wisdom and ethical courage.
Instead you have political and other leaders, who, in their denial or inaction on the reality of a warming world are putting you all at risk. To continue to abuse the earth and knowingly bring suffering to its future inhabitants is an ethical failure of the highest magnitude.
In a slow motion tragedy, the majority of global leaders are risking the future of the Earth for dubious benefits in the here and now. The so-called representatives of the developed countries of Earth must now be seen and judged for what they are … intellectually and ethically bankrupt.
For their gross lack of integrity, for putting the poor, children and families last and for not listening to the advice from scientists about the serious risks of a warming world … we say sorry.
The time has come for elders and those in privileged positions to stand up to such selfishness and egocentricity. Fellow inhabitants of the Earth, we must care about the future.
We must make a rapid transition to an ecologically sustainable economy, one that is in harmony with our environment and climate. With courage and action we can right a future wrong in the here and now.