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A Formal Apology to the Generations That Follow Mine
As I kneel down in the garden my grandfather and I built,
I carefully place a young tomato plant that I nursed from a seed
Within the soft, nutrient-rich soil.
All is right in this vast world,
And I am content with my surroundings.
My mind finds nothing wrong with my personal environment.
I have a bountiful forest of trees surrounding my home,
With plenty of insects and small woodland critters.
I have flowers and bees to pollinate them,
And I have a garden full of healthy plants.
Yet what about the rest of the world?
The melting ice caps?
The rotting Great Barrier Reef?
The rapidly diminishing Amazon Rainforest?
I’m so heavily consumed with my personal affairs that I neglect all that’s around me.
The bigger picture isn’t something I’m too concerned with.
In fact, I’ll be long dead before the effects of global warming actually harm us.
So why bother?
“Reduce, reuse, recycle!”
An almost cryptic phrase that we’ve been chanting since elementary school.
Yet how does this help our planet as a whole?
Does throwing one emptied water bottle into the recycling bin make you a saint?
Does straying away from buying goods enclosed in plastic suddenly fix the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
Does reusing the bags given at supermarkets negate the fact that it takes roughly one thousand years for plastic to decompose?
Of course, I wish I could single-handily fix every environmental issue the world is plagued by.
We all do.
Yet nothing you or I could ever dream of doing
Would fix a single thing.
Maybe if large scale industries cared,
And fixed the practices that only ruin the little natural beauty we have left.
Maybe if we stopped glorifying the idea of hunting down and slaughtering endangered species,
And leave them be in environments left untouched by humans.
Maybe if we left nature alone,
And stopped interfering for our own malicious and selfish gain.
Must I someday tell my children about seemingly endless forests as a thing of the past?
Saying how my generation and the few before ruined that.
Must I someday tell my children about great beasts such as tigers and leopards and jaguars as a thing of the past?
Saying how I’m sorry we didn’t do better.
I'm sorry we couldn’t show you what the world once had.