Hello my nonsense child.
This was written to you a very long time ago, on the particular day that I heard the news, and felt that I needed to write to you, to explain down the years, why things are for you, as they are.
But first of all I just want to say "I'm Sorry". I hope that as you read this letter you will understand why I did what I did, and perhaps you will even come to realise that it was for the best, in the end.
I Imagine that as you have grown up, you will have heard a lot about us in days gone by, and how we lived, and that we were somehow more stupid back in these troubled times - I am sure you will, because every generation blames its ancestors, and pardons them because they didn't know better. Well my dear, what you have heard is partly true, we are stupid, but the lie is, we do know better.
The news that I heard today, was this: a scientist, a Doctor Anthony D. Barnosky has just proved that the sixth extinction has begun, and that in 300 years from now, it is just possible that 75% of life as I knew it - will be no more; as I am sure that you know better than I.
The news came as no surprise to us, we hear it regularly enough, that there is no hope for the fish, that there are more tigers in captivity in Texas than live in the wild in India, that the last white rhinos are guarded day and night from the Chinese medicine market poachers.
You have to understand that we see this as tragic, and we really do care, I cried when Bambi's mum got shot - I am not heartless, just powerless.
How is life for you? I must admit, that I can't imagine it is very good, but mankind has never quite managed to see what the future actually holds. In my time, talk of the future generally meant fantastic technological innovation, new ways of empowering mankind, speeding things up, stopping people dying. For you I am sure it is different, perhaps technology has learned to serve a better purpose, keeping populations low, slowing things down, understanding how nature works, if there is any left.
So take it from me, direct from the mouth of an ancestor: that we know what we are doing to the world that you live in, some see the solution in radical technology, some even think we can just find a new planet, but most, like me just quietly despair in the face of the exceptionalists, in our understanding that we are the problem.
It wasn't science that caused the mess, it was exploitation, I guess we never quite kicked the old despotic idea of wanting better than the other has got; of growth at any cost, of a better life for our children, and our children's children. Without really thinking it through, or wondering who would pay the cost when the demand exceeded supply. We know all this, and yet our economies are based on unrestricted yearly growth; we still design new ways of burning oil, and squander resources that are nearing an end, like helium, for party balloons.
In my dreams I like to think of you in a world where a balance has been found, where people don't live like insignificant parts of a great machine, in small boxes, fed with just enough promise to keep turning up, and screwing the world a little bit more.
I see you in a lush garden with confident children, surrounded by peaceful friends and plenty - with no need for a shantytown of workers dying to feed such luxury. If this is true I raise my hat to whoever caused the change because from here it looks like an impossible dream.
We do know what we are doing to you, our children's children's children, we know that the systems we trust to bring peace are fragile, we know that food production cannot keep up with population growth, we know that our habits of more and better are going to give you in the future a very hard life in a dark age.
When I look around me, I cannot in all conscience, say that I am prepared to stand up and die for your cause, like I might for some political border dispute or clash of ideologies or faiths.
Perhaps I am a coward, unlike my father that fought the Nazis, and for sure I have no answers, but I have done the two things that are within my power to do. The first is simple and surprisingly easy; I no longer work for profit or hold capital. I am part of a small minority that has abandoned growth and avoids funding those who haven't.
The second thing I have done with an eye towards your generation was harder, and for this I hope you will forgive me as I have taken a great gamble on your well being.
My great great grandson, you who never will be, I am sorry, forgive me for ending our genetic line here with me.
By denying your great grandfather life, and casting you, your brothers, sisters and cousins, once, twice and three times removed, out the future. My hope then is that to never have existed, would be preferable to living through the agonies of your era.
All the love in the world.
Your potential Great Great Grandfather