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Climate Environment

My Climate Story

This fall’s grandchild will be 29 when 2050 arrives, preparing to set up, provide for and protect a family of his own. That will be harder for him than it was for me. Unless we change course, his world will be hotter, weirder, less beautiful, less stable and less safe.

Because of the convention of using round numbers, predictions about the climate crisis often talk about what will happen by 2100. I have never met a politician who expects to be alive, much less in power, in 2100. 2100 is many election cycles away, much too far away to matter to them. By Dianne Saxe

Who does 2100 matter to?

Grandchildren in canoe at sunset

I have three small grandchildren and my youngest is expecting again. Her baby will be 29 when 2050 arrives, preparing to set up, provide for and protect a family of his own. That will be harder for him than it was for me. Unless we change course, his world will be hotter, weirder, less beautiful, less stable and less safe than it was when I was 29. And on New Year’s Day, 2100, he will only be 79, younger than my mother is now.

Honestly, I cannot imagine what he and his family will face on that day. As Philip Alston, the special rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council, summed it up, we have already reached the point where the best case for 2100 is widespread death and suffering. The worst case is humanity on the brink of extinction, triggered by the choices that people made during my lifetime.

My eldest grandchild is six now, whip-smart and starting to understand how the world works. I dread the day when he comes to understand how our selfishness, greed and apathy stole so much of his future. What will I do when he turns to me and cries, “How could you let this happen to us? You knew.” He will be right.

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