TO MY GRANDSONS
Nate, Jack, and
Blake Barnett of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Stephon Sharpe of Louisville,
You young men are
the next generation. You grow up at a critical time in the history
You are the recipients
of all the good things previous generations have accomplished and now provide
for you: a long life span, technology that staggers the mind, health care
unprecedented in human history, and opportunities to learn, grow, and journey—within
and without—never afforded previous generations. You have much to be grateful
for and much to thank previous generations for.
also leave you the greatest responsibility any generation has assumed.
You have the job of saving the planet for future generations. The unintended
consequences of the successes of previous generations are devastating to
all of nature—including the people of our world.
We leave you with
the population explosion, the greenhouse effect, and the extinction of
species of animals and plants at a rate 1,000 times faster than at any
time in the past 65 million years. We live a philosophy of life that pollutes
the air and the water, destroys the rain forest at the rate of 1 1/2 acres
a second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and floats waste filled barges
in the ocean seeking a home. The destruction of forests endangers almost
half of the 235 species of primates. Another
20 percent approach threatened status. Our way of life produces spreading
deserts, drying seas, and topsoil loss. Our beliefs alienate human beings
from themselves, from each other, and from nature and have fostered
addictions to substances and processes. Our mechanical beliefs destroyed
and homogenized thousands of diverse cultures. Our thinking threatens the
sustainability of the planet that you will save.
believe in you and your generation. Your work requires a consciousness
and unselfishness unprecedented in human history for you must place the
good of all of life before your personal gratification with full awareness
of yourselves, the world around you, and your awesome responsibility.
To fulfill your
responsibility you must have a clear sense of purpose, strong values, and
an inspiring vision for the future you want to create and the legacy you
want to leave the generations that come after you.
I encourage you
to live courageous lives of deep authenticity. I hope you will love all
of life and will set aside materialism and addiction for lives of the spirit.
Always know that
you are loved and that future generation will be grateful to you and will
honor you for your efforts.
I love you,