Thank you for sending your letters to be part of the participatory art project!
Today, too many are in denial about the human impact on global climate change. By writing to someone in the future, we can’t deny their existence. By writing to them, we create a connection to them. Being able to connect with our progeny – whether human or more than human – raises the stakes for us now. It lengthens the “care horizon” beyond our lifetime. It encourages us to do all we can now to protect our planet, its future generations, and the species we coevolved with. In many ways, the current pandemic brings the future closer to us. Human impacts on the planet will inevitably unleash more and more diseases as temperatures rise and ecosystems collapse.
These open letters were written to someone living in 2120. Participants were asked to tell who they are, where they are from. Let them know what they are experiencing today and how they envision the future. Although the letters were written for those not yet born, the true audience are those breathing in the present.
Visit the Ruins
Planet Earth is rich in ruins,
As it was when we were young;
Built of stone, of human bone
Under dust and blood-stained toil.
Look by rivers long gone dry,
Look in sands on bygone shores,
Look beneath faint desert crossroads
Look in highlands, cool and fragrant,
Once upon a time.
Mighty gates that lead nowhere.
Garbage mounds and Flooded quarries,
Sinkholes dark and tundra bare
Once sharp towers, brought to ground
South of broken dams.
Listen to the silent stories
That the ruins tell.
Not so much of fame or glory:
Genocide and war crime hell.
Truth outlives the liars’ spin
Dust to dust
The Planet wins.
Christopher M. Clark
June 3, 2020
Tempe, Arizona, USA
Dear Friend of the Future,
My name is Val and I’m from New York City. My parents were born in Haiti in the town where the infamous Christopher Columbus spent his first Christmas. Our whole lives have been a journey of conscious awakening. In the United States, as children, we pledge allegiance to this nation every day in schools. As we grow older, some of us begin to look to that statement and truly understand what we’ve pledged. This pledge has filled me with shame and hope; shame for the Black and Brown people around the world whose lands and communities we’ve policed with impunity and hope that one day this nation can be worth pledging to.
Currently, we find ourselves descending into fascism. Unmarked cars have been seen kidnapping protestors, we’ve seen over 50 days over 110 degrees in AZ and our country’s “leader” continues to roll back environmental protections, we’ve watched police kill people by kneeling on their necks or shooting up Black women/girls as they sleep safely at home and we currently stand by as our “president” threatens not to peacefully transition power if the election doesn’t end in his favor. For over 7 months, we’ve been socially distanced in our homes to help protect us from coronavirus. The world is watching the USA (a former world power) showcase our truth instead of our best. This isn’t the land of the free. This is the land where asylum seekers face forced sterilization, family separation and threats of indefinite imprisonment/deportation. This is the land where the death of one 87 year old woman could mean millions of people’s human and civil rights are up for debate in Supreme Courts.
I’m scared for the future of this nation. I know I won’t live to experience true justice but I work towards it for you, friend in the future. I hope as you’re reading this letter, you’re surprised by how far our country fell because the work started by enslaved people, indigenous communities and other people organizing on the margins have completely transformed society.
I hope the world you live in has universal healthcare. I pray the world you live in has ended homelessness and abolished the police. I know the world will never be rid from suffering but I hope everyone has the chance to pursue their humanity, passions and creativity. I imagine a future where people’s success isn’t determined by their zipcode. I imagine a world where we celebrate the knowledge bearers who carry culturally relevant stories of progress that propel us to new understandings of “liberty and justice for all.”
Friend from the future, I hope you live in a time where institutions are not characterized by their cruelty but how much they infuse and remind us of our shared humanity. I hope you pledge allegiance to those on the margins in solidarity. I hope you learn from our mistakes and remember the power of love, kindness and empathy.
Although I’m no longer with you, we’re still connected. You can always reach me by communing with the Earth.
Be blessed & be a blessing.
October 4, 2020, USA
Queridx ser del futuro, amo escribir cartas. Hay tanto que desearía poder expresar en este momento, pero como la lucha que estamos enfrentando durante la pandemia es constante y cambiante – también física, mental, emocional y espiritual, personal y planetaria – sólo diré: espero que también puedes amar escribir cartas.
Dear future one, I love letter writing. There is so much I wish I was able to express in this moment, but as the struggle we are facing during the pandemic is constant and evolving – also physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, personal and planetary – I will just say: I hope you are also able to love letter writing.
ANONYMOUS, CHINA, JUNE 2, 2020
I am writing to you from Los Angeles, CA during an extremely challenging time in 2020. We have been staying safer at home to lessen and prevent the spread of COVID-19, a contagious and deadly virus claiming lives globally. With all our technological advances, we are strained to protect our most vulnerable members of our communities and ourselves. We have lost so many loved ones.
In the midst of the darkness, there are shining examples of generous love and courage. Frontline first responders have been giving their best to save lives. Essential workers have risked their health and safety to ensure that families would have the basic necessities. Educators have been teaching online to help support students academically, socially, and emotionally navigate uncharted waters with schools closed.
Now, we are experiencing stresses on our social fault lines. Peaceful protests against injustice highlight the continued inequities in our human communities. The inequities and losses are real. The anger and hurt are real. Unfortunately, protesting has become violent across cities in the USA. Instead of comforting one another and coming together to move forward as a whole, individuals, who are hurting, lash out to cause pain. The violence hurts all of us.
As humans, we may have learned to do many things. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon successfully launched the first NASA astronauts from the USA in 2020. We may have knowledge. However, at this time, we are not wise. We still need to learn to see and hear the wisdom from our fellow species. I included a picture of the Elephant Seals. The Elephant Seals come together as a community to protect and nurture each other, especially their most vulnerable members, the baby and young seals.
I am hopeful and optimistic that in 2120, we as humans, have developed wisdom. I wish that the wisdom is not just wisdom from our research endeavors. I wish that we now know the deep wisdom of love for all members of our communities. Wisdom we learn from our fellow species.
Wishing you love and wisdom,
LilyT. Ning, USA, May 31, 2020
I hope this letter finds you well. By the time you read this you will know what happened to us. I am writing to you on Earth Day in the year 2020. This is a holiday designed to remind us of the Earth and to sustain its health and beauty. Right now we are not doing so well with that…we have been greedy and selfish and have destroyed much of the Earth. Because of our carelessness we have encountered a virus that is killing us. Now many of us are living under quarantined conditions. For those of us that survive we must look towards a different way of existing WITH Mother Earth. You are a product of the changes I hope we make.
I hope and pray that we grow and make the changes we need to make in order to protect our Earth and each other. Right now we are beginning a grieving process, our perhaps I should just speak for myself. I am grieving for the mistakes I have made that have contributed to the Earth’s destruction. I am grieving for the lives we have lost. I am grieving for the gross disparities we have in our current world. I am grieving for the disruption to “life” as I knew it. I know I have to grieve because I have to expand and change.
So, I write to you, my great grand child, to remind myself that you are dependent on what I do. We are connected. I ask your forgiveness and I hope your world will be different than mine. I hope that our ability for compassion, grace, connection, love care and gratitude live on…
ANN NIELSEN, USA (APRIL 22, 2020)
I’m Nuha Iter. I’m writing to you from Palestine. I ask you to train your soul to be compassionate. You have to know that your doings with others will come back to you: “if you do good things, they will return to you, and if you do evil things, they will return to you.” Let me ask you to love others as you love your self. Never cause them sadness. Please accustom to giving, tolerance, and forgiveness. “The tree does not eat its fruits, the sea does not eat its fish, and the cloud cools to give us the rain.” To the extent that you are free, be responsible, think about how to protect yourself and others from hunger, deprivation, and pollution, do the right things to save anyone, anything, whatever, wherever, and whenever. Be respectful: “respect your self, others, things, and nature.” If you are, you will keep all this in peace.
Nuha Iter, PALESTINE, JUNE 2, 2020
This is John Mugo, writing to you from Ndindiruku, a tiny village in Kenya. I am writing in this terrible moment of adversity, as they say in Kiswahili – majuto ni mjukuu’ [regret comes later]. We are embarrased, that despite all the technological advancement of our century, we are all locked at home, because of a virus. Literary all of us, globally. But then, it may be good for us, after all. We have valued money and wealth over life, the family institution has been neglected. Now we are at home, as family. The world is now one again, the rich and the poor, the more and the less developed. We call each other brother, and stand with each other. How great! I hope you will discern the important things in life, and leave enough time for them. But all in all, you will keep safe, while disaster strikes.
JOHN MUGO, KENYA (MARCH 28, 2020)
You are now about 15 years old. When my daughter was 15 years old, she lived in Finland. She went to a high-school in Tampere and had lots of friends. They connected on their mobile phones, sending photos, tik-taks, instagrams, snap chats. She walked to school, passed a park and a rapids. They ice-skated during the winter on the frozen lake. She travelled to many places on airplanes and had friends from around the world. She loved animals, she had a little dog. She exercised and ate well to live a long and healthy life.
I hope you are well, Child.
ZSUZSA MILLEI, FINLAND (MARCH 28, 2020)
My dear Grandchild,
This is your great grandma from the country of Georgia, writing to you in 2020 when living in the US. As I am writing this, I am thinking of the life back in 1920, exactly hundred years ago. How much has the world changed since then and how big will the change be in 100 years from now? If my great grandma was writing a letter to her great grandchild, what would she have felt? Would she have felt something similar to what I am feeling now – remorse and disappointment over missed opportunities and reckless lifestyles of own generation? Every generation has its own things to be ashamed or proud of. Unfortunately, my generation is the one with erroneous priorities and the most damage done to our planet. No matter what we do at this point of our lives, we are facing and will be facing irreversible losses. But the hope is still there. The hope for partial recuperation. I hope we will seize at least some of the future windows of opportunity and create opportunities for new opportunities for your generation. And then hopefully you will write a letter to your great grandchild filled with pride rather than disappointment over your generation’s decisions and actions.
KETI CHACHKHIANI, ARIZONA, USA, MAY 14, 2020
I don’t think we ever realized how little we valued the choices we could make, when we could make them. Each individual choice, each collective decision, each community action, could have set us on a different path. The cumulative effect of these choices has resulted in where you are today, and sitting here in 2020, I wonder what emotion you are feeling? Are you angry that we didn’t make the right choices? Are you grateful that despite the worst case scenarios, when push came to shove, we did right by you? Or are you apathetic, as we are, but facing a more dire situation on this little blue dot we call home? In fact, apathy is the biggest enemy we have to making the right choices. Between the forces who push for greed and selfishness and those who pull for equity and justice, is an ocean of apathy, all of those who don’t think their choice matters. We have wasted our lives, our time, and your future, when we sit on the sidelines and imagine that our choice doesn’t matter.
So I write this letter to you – to ask you, where did our choices take you? And if you could tell us, now, here where we are, what choice we could have made to make your life better, what would you tell us? With what urgency would you berate us? Or did we manage to fight apathy in time to help you live your best life? What did we do to you?
Respond when you can. Warmly,
SUPRIYA BAILY, USA (MAY 6, 2020)
Dear being of the future,
I am writing to you on the 28th of April 2020 from a city called Najran, Saudi Arabia, in a very dramatic time. I feel like sharing my concerns with you as we go through a series of events like in a fantastic movie and await for it be over. We faced a global pandemic called Covid-19. I hope it will end.
HANI ELSAYED, SAUDI ARABIA (APRIL 28, 2020)
I am writing to you from Kampala Uganda, a beautiful land locked country located in East Africa. This is 2020, a year that will remain in history that you will probably read about. The times I am writing this the whole world is going through a global pandemic called COVID19. The world is undergoing a period of great anxiety and panic at the moment with many nations loosing their loved ones. I am happy to note that, as I write this, our country has not lost a single victim to the virus even with our poorly equipped medical facilities. Other nations in the world have lost their loved ones in thousands. Ours has been the hand of God Almighty. Our medical system is so poor that we have just a couple of averagely equiped intensive care units in our poorly equipped hospitals. We are happy to note, however, that many patients have been healed of the virus, thanks to our vigilant medical team.
The nation is under lockdown with schools and most business shut down, including restricted movements. Our children are not sure when schools will open. Whereas other nations have their children study online, the biggest number of our children cannot even afford electricity, or a computer to be able to access any form of learning. their future is heavily blurred! The Ministry of Education has shared some learning materials so as to keep children learning, but many of them are anable to access them. Only a few who can afford a television and/or a computer can access them. If this pandemic does not end soon, we shall have a generation that will be left behind and will never catch up with the rest of the world. My son, who in his last year of primary school, asks me every day “when am I going back to school?” I literally have no best answer to give him. He is so anxious about his final national examination that will see him join secondary school! My prayer is, this ends soon and that he does not miss his national examination.
MARY KULABAKO, UGANDA (APRIL 28, 2020)
Dear Citizen of 2120,
I am writing you from Phoenix, Arizona. It is the middle of May on a warm, sunny day and the current temperature in 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I have been working from home for the last 8 weeks due to a pandemic known as COVID-19 that has spread through the entire world infecting 1.47 million people in the United States and killing 88, 237 as of today. We are devastated and practicing social distancing in hopes to limit the spread of this virus. A vaccine seems to be 12-18 months away.
Despite the negative impact this virus is having on the healthcare system, job losses, school closures, travel restrictions … pollution and greenhouse gas emission have fallen as countries try to contain the spread of the virus.
This pandemic is claiming people’s lives and has changed the way we were living just two months ago. Through this experience, I look toward a future of hope as we reflect on the way we have lead our lives. I hope that we can start to make little changes that will have a big impact in the world we live in. We can recreate practices in our daily lives by enforcing the use of reusable shopping bags, and refillable water bottles, re-looking at opportunities to work from home and changing the way we educate our students that is more personalized.
For years, we have heard the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” we need to add “refuse” and “rethink”. By adding these two concepts to our lives, we can expand our ability to become critical thinkers when making choices that will reduce our carbon footprint. It is my hope that this pandemic leaves you with a world that has been able to reverse some of the negative impact we as humans caused due to our selfish choices.
RUHI KHAN, UNITED STATES (MAY 20, 2020)
Dear fellow human being,
Am writing to share with you that, nothing is new under the sun except that it only changes and transforms. So, what do we learn from this? We should never give up, never be arrogant, never forget that everything is temporarily on earth even the one writing and reading this letter. A human person is so great with potential but can be so foolish when wisdom is not with him/her. When is not in touch with the source of her/his being and the future life, as to live as if everything ends here. Not acknowledging the supreme power over human nature. What then should you do? Be human. Love, laugh, care, share, give time, sacrifice, accept limits, be humble. In addition, be Empathetic; empathy; The ability to understand and share the feelings motivations, needs and emotions of others. That helps you and them to live in harmony and to build health relationships. Be Creative. Being creative is allowing your intuition to reveal possibilities to you or to be in the flow. Be a Life-long Learner; that is having the motivation and ability to learn and grow throughout your life, and this is so essential in fast changing world. Be Responsible and Kind. Responsible, Capable of being trusted. Kindness, the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Be honest and have Integrity, honesty, the quality of being genuine or free of deceit and untruthfulness. And lastly be Self-Aware. Self-awareness; having conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desire.
Lastly remember that money and education cannot buy human qualities. You learn these with people and you pass them on to others yet these are at the heart of our being and of a happy life.
GRACE FRANCIS MKOSAMALI, TANZANIA, MAY 14, 2020
Dear Red Rock in the Canyon,
I am writing to you from 2020 because I know that in 2120 you will most likely still be where I met you, and I can’t say that for sure about many other things right now. I know you’ve been in that canyon for a very long time and I thank you for welcoming me into your home. The world is changing at a fast pace right now, and I am writing to you because I am sure you’ve witnessed so much change throughout your life. I mean, you are a red limestone rock, so I know that you have been under saltwater when the canyon was bathed by sea millions of years ago. And I know you were under great pressure to even become limestone. I don’t know what you’ve lost or gained in those processes, and I guess that is the benefit of only having met you when you had already become all of those things. A rock under the sea. Limestone. Canyon dweller. But that is something that I have studied about you after we met. That is not what I learned with you. On the morning that we met, you called to me. I was walking by, admiring the canyon’s colors and shadows, and amongst all of those things, you called to me. You taught me about silence, about stillness, about humility. I truly appreciated the gesture and cherish our encounter once more today. In the changing and uncertain times that I am in right now, I wish that I can change as you did, and continue to have encounters like ours. Please know, I’ll always come when you call.
ESTHER PRETTI, USA (APRIL 16, 2020)
My dear great-grandchild,
My name is Stephanie Marie Knox Steiner. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1979, and as I write this I am living in Colorado Springs, CO. Your grandmother was my daughter, Daphne, born in 2018. I think you will remember her. If my calculations and assumptions are correct, you are a young adult in 2120. It is hard for me to imagine the world you are living in.
It is hard for me to imagine the world I am living in right now. The past few months, we have been dealing with the global coronavirus pandemic, which I am sure you will have ready about in your history books (if such things still exist). We are really taking things one day at a time. It feels a bit like living on a sand dune, the ground constantly shifting beneath our feet. We are self-isolated here at home with your great-grandfather and grandmother, who is not quite two years old. She is so adorable, and so smart. I want us to be able to turn this around, for her, for you.
I want to tell you more than anything that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t do more, although I tried. I studied climate change as a college student – maybe when I was your age. In the late 90s, it was not as commonly understood, but the science was already clear at that point, that we were warming the planet and needed to take action. For years – decades! – we did nothing, until this virus stopped us in our tracks. We could have done so much more, so much sooner. I wish we had. I wish I had been able to do more, sooner, and for that, my dear, I am truly sorry, to you and to your generation and those after you.
The virus was merciless – it killed the young and old, at times seemingly random. It forced us as a society to stop – to really stop. Will this moment be one of awakening? Of reckoning? Will we take this time to rebuild in ways that are life-affirming? I don’t yet know. It very much feels like it could go either way at this point. Those in power will not let go easily, will not go down without a fight, and they may take us all down with them, in their greed and hatred and disillusionment. But, if you are reading this, which I assume you are, that gives me hope, that at least enough people survived to carry on, that there is enough of a planet to continue to inhabit.
Today, it is April, and snow is falling on the mountains of Colorado. The Earth is such an exquisitely beautiful place, my child. I was so fortunate and privileged to see so much of it when we were allowed to travel, when we were allowed to leave home. I hope you get to see that beauty, wherever you are – for one thing my travels have taught me is that everywhere is beautiful.
Be well, my dear great-grandchild, Please know I am sending you love from the past. Know that you come from a lineage of love, and that your ancestors love and cherish you.
Your great-grandmother Stephanie
USA, APRIL 13, 2020
Dear sentient being of the future,
I am writing your in April 2020 from a city called Tampere, Finland, in a very typical grey day. I feel like sharing my concerns with you as we go through a series of crises and await more to come. We are living the global pandemic caused by the new coronavirus (also called Covid-19), we are also living a climate crisis and in addition there is a lot of smaller scale (hopefully) crises going on here and there: political crisis, education crisis, empathy crisis, identity crisis. As I am stuck at home like billions of other people across the world due to the pandemic and work from home, somehow I seem to work differently even when nobody in my family is requesting my attention: I check the news and other forms of virtual platforms and media more often than usual, probably as a means of procrastination on my work… And the news and posts often make my thoughts ramble in the most unexpected directions, most of them related with human behavior:
– I find myself wondering about how we humans became dependent on money and how we have developed this incredible need to have things and how somehow we think we are safe if we have lots of money and things, and yet, here it all ended… we are all confined to our houses in an attempt to save the human species – true, some people are in big houses, some people in small houses – all all of us, however, anxiously awaiting for a vaccine that save us, fragile beings.
– Then, I also think about the questions of inequality and on what is usually taken for granted. We all must stay at home so the virus doesn’t spread so fast. It makes sense and I support this measure… but then again, what about the children who can’t have distance learning because they do not have a computer, tablet or phone to connect with their school? What about the children who have such poor conditions that their house doesn’t physically allow moments and places of quietness where they can focus and think? What about the children that live in problematic families, with difficult environments? What about the children (and the adults) who live with violent and abusive family members? What about the families who will lose their sources of income and will struggle for the basic needs soon, if not already? All this is so complicated and complex…
– There are so many other questions in my head, which became more intense in the past few weeks… At the end they all seem to bring me to the very same thought: the nature of humanity and how is it – or not – changing. I read, for instance, news about how in some countries the virus treatment is given to some people but not to others: to the rich before the poor, to the white before the black, to the young before the old and it inevitably leads me to thing how wrong this all feel.. .who makes these choices?
– I hear news and read posts about how here and there health professionals are praised by their neighbors or friends or families through this or that act of appreciation and I think it is not enough, it is never enough. We individuals and governments should everyday, in a very open and direct way, thank all health staff that everyday literally put their lives at risk so maybe ours can be saved. But we should also show our appreciation to all the other professionals who do the same in the most varied ways – the supermarket workers, the truck drivers who deliver the food we need, the farmers who are farming for us, the policemen who have to make sure people are indeed doing the most heroic acts of their lives: stay home! The teachers who suddenly had to learn new ways of teaching, and so many others that had no choice but quickly adapt.
And I finally think about the future, what else will the future bring? Will we humans always be able to adapt this easily? Is this an infinite skill? How will we come out of this crisis? And I wonder about you, sentience species of 2120. How and what are you? And what do you think of us, humans, now that you have an idea how we were and what was going on with us in 2020?
ÍRIS SANTOS, FINLAND (APRIL 20, 2020)
Dear Citizen of 2120,
I am writing to you from Kauai, HI. It is 2020, an unusual year for us. The year has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread across the entire world, affecting millions of people in more ways than just their health. I wonder if the pandemic is also awakening more concerns; we have been kept inside quarantining so more people have “more time” to care about the social and environmental changes that have and continue to plague our world.
We are living in a climate crisis. We are struggling to prove that our world is very far from justice, environmentally, racially, socially, economically, and politically. The state of the world can be summed up with a single description: human impact. I am writing to you now to show what our planet looks like in the hope that in the generations between us, these crises have been ameliorated. If not, this letter is a call to action to you. Our world is dying.
We should have a symbiotic relationship with the earth; instead, we are parasites to it. Taking and profiting and wasting and killing. We are the environmental crisis. We are the social issues. We are the prolonged effects of colonization, westernization, and now we have expunged any hope of future civilizations. We are human-centric, capitalistic, individualistic, and it has led to our decline.
Not only are groups of people subjugated, but we have found a way to marginalize all walks of life on our planet. We live in an Anthropocene in which other forms of life are unable to coexist alongside us. We steal. We sell. We slaughter. We profit. We conquer. We kill. We control. Animals, plants, atmosphere, and people, all dying because we put our needs before anything else. We have put our greed before science, before empathy, before work.
We are the problem. We are also the solution. We are also change. So, this is my call to action for and your generation. If the world still has freshwater, and oceans, unbuilt land, lush forests, and living animals, please please do whatever it takes to protect them.
Each generation keeps getting smarter. Each generation keeps raising their voices about the issues the people before couldn’t handle. Each generation recognizes how we can improve for the future. Please please use your voices and imaginations to create sustainable solutions. Please treat the land as if it is your home because it is. Please help each other recognize that humans can make a positive impact on the planet. Please use your pockets to purchase sustainable products. Please support environmentally conscious companies. Please protest anything that goes against these values.
Please recognize the importance of sustainability, because we didn’t, and now it might be too late.
My hope is that by the time you read this, you have no idea about the problems I am describing here. My fear is that you know them all too well and they have been prolonged and exacerbated. If that is the case, please please keep raising your voices, educating the public, and acting with activism in mind. These issues are bigger than us, but we have the power to promote positive change. So please, carry on our fight.
October 5, 2020, Kauai, USA
You might or might not be here but I want to ask a favor if possible. Will you send some sort of future gadget back into the past, which allows me to teleport from one place to another easily? Today is January 12, 2021. It might be like a joke but I wish it could happen. It might be a little selfish to my self but I am actually only 19, so I hope this is acceptable. I wish you will never let your parents down. If I am not alive. please know that I have loved you more than you think. I want you to be a good human.
Naman Kotiya, INDIA
January 12, 2021
How are you and who are you? My name is Sarah. I am writing to you from the year 2020. If you are reading this letter, that means that humans have survived the ongoing climate crisis and are still living on Earth. I am writing this letter in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 is not the only plague upon our planet right now. We are facing many plagues: greed, selfishness, racism, violence, hatred. They are all roots of the same evil tree. I find it difficult to see this evil exhibited in the world. People would rather have their own individual luxuries than care for the greater good of the collective human race. I do not think this is the end. I can not think this is the end because that would be really sad. As an educator, I believe in encouraging my students to be solution-oriented rather than focused on the problems they see. I do not have any pretty poetry to share, but I will tell you a few things I think you should reflect upon. 1) Small actions create big ripples. Even though corporations are responsible for the large amount of environmental damage, we (as individuals) should still make the best decisions in terms of what we can control. 2) Wash your hands.3) Security and freedom are not separate ideas. They exist on a spectrum. We must find a happy medium between being overly cautious/paranoid and enjoying our lives. 4) Teach your children to be kind to plants and animals.5) You are beautiful and unique, but humans are not that special. We are not the only creatures who need this Earth. I wish you peace. Warmly, Sarah
October 8, 2020, KUWAIT
Dear future global citizens,
I do not know how long human civilization has left to live, or even if it is still standing, but I hope we have learned and worked hard enough to protect our planet and keep our species alive. I am writing to you from Qingdao, China in the year 2020.
It seems like it is one disaster after another plaguing our world. Tropical storms and hurricanes sweep through the coastal areas, wildfires plague our forests, the ocean is dying, disease, famine, and war is killing us. We knew it was coming, but too few of us planned ahead. Too few of us fought to protect the world. The ones who did had very little influence or power in global environmental policies, and as such, our fight was lost.
I implore you, citizens of the future: do not put money or convenience above our planet. Do not put material possessions or riches over another human’s life or our Earth. Our planet has been in tears for years now, and I hope that by the time this letter is read, Earth is starting its healing process.
In the wake of COVID19, the Earth has finally started healing a little–but once the pandemic is declared over, everything will go back to the way it was before. Trash will plague our oceans, urbanized cities will be filled with cars, animals and mammals that have finally felt it was safe to come out into the world will retreat back to their safe places. Little will change once this pandemic is declared over. It’s up to you all to protect our Earth at all times. Do not make the same mistakes we did growing up. Fight to protect the Earth. Unite together. As of 2020, it’s the only home we have. Make the changes we could not make. Be the better people that we could not be. Start fighting today, and don’t stop. Pass it on to future generations. Protect our planet, our ecosystem, and every single species.
Remember the past and the mistakes we have made. If those mistakes continue, our world…if it still exists, will be a desolate place–and all life as we know it has the potential to be wiped from existence.
Troy, September 28, 2020, CHINA
To my dear friend in the future,
Seeing that you are reading this letter tells me our planet has survived another 100 years. I am writing to you from Southern California in America, where we have just experienced one of the most horrible months with fires out of control. There has been ash all over the sky and smoke in the air. Our temperatures have increased every summer; last month, it was 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Covid-19 is a virus that has taken over our earth. They say it started in China and spread across the world. Many countries did the right thing to control the virus; however, Americans are still fighting about whether it is real or not, even though there were over 210,000 people who have died. Our climate is changing; however, many people in America do not believe humans cause it. It is not a matter of who is right and who is wrong; it is a matter of us working together to change our behavior so that we can pass on our beautiful planet to people like you.
So, I guess we as a people finally came together and made changes in our behavior. Moving forward, I would like to give you some advice. Hug your loved one, those people you call family. Life is too short of taking them for granted. Be kind to others and respected each other’s differences. We all bring something different to the table; use those differenced to make our earth a better place for generations to come. Work together to do what you can to keep our environment clean and protect our planet.
I believe in you and wish you the best in helping our world to survive another 100 years.
Chino Hills, California
October 7, 2020
Dear future survivors on this beautiful planet,
I am writing in 2020 from Tempe, Arizona, the United States. I hope you could live a better and more caring as well as natural life than us today, because that means our planet has survived for a really long time. I hope you could still see the real blue skies and white clouds, the diverse green forests, our lovely and vivid animal friends, and deep blue sea. I hope you could hear the roaring of the ocean, feel the cooling of the glacier, and smell the fragrance of the grass and the soil. We still could now, but we worry they will disappear, and they are.
We are in the middle of a pandemic virus called COVID-19 which might be overcome and solved then. But I still hope you could memorize and touch the suffering feelings in this pandemic period of the whole world, because this might alert you in the future to treat this planet and your offspring well. People die, lose family, and struggle to survive every day in every corner of each country because of a tiny little virus. I hope you feel afraid of and respect both the known and the unknown. We are not the only beings living on this planet, and we are not the king of the world. We are living in this all together, with and in this planet.
I lastly hope you could still live like a real and great creature on this planet. Human beings care, love, and protect other beings. We have larger capability to change this world and solve the difficulties, so that we have larger responsibilities. I hope you could laugh, cry, feel, smell, love, touch, and care. I hope you could have a free but moderate life with all other great creatures on this planet together, and forever.
Tempe, AZ, USA, October 02, 2020
Dear Brave Soul,
I pray all is well with you and your loved ones.
I reside on the east coast of America across the Hudson River with coastline views of New York City. The year is 2020. I’ve been quarantined in my home with my seven-year-old daughter for 206 days. In early March of 2020, our world locked down as a global pandemic called Covid-19 or Coronanirus swept across nations. Thus far, the death count is at 1.04 million, worldwide.
I’ve had the privilege to remain home with my daughter; It has been emotionally draining. My day to day life has been working-from-home 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, while homeschooling and going to graduate school full-time. Alternatively, this period has been a time of pause, introspection, growth, and tremendous change; none of which would’ve been possible without the much needed “Time-out.”
As we are rounding out the year, the President, Donald Trump, has contracted the COVID-19, which is ironic considering he is a denier of the severity of the global pandemic, which caused the death toll to rise in the United States due to lack of urgency. He is also a climate change denier and pulled the US out of the Paris agreement. He has a large following, who are also deniers of the difference in our climate. However, I have experienced climate change in my lifetime, and I’m concerned about my daughter’s future. This winter, we didn’t have snowfall. Thousands of bunker fish in the Hudson River are found dead because of the rise in oxygen levels in the water. And the seasons are delayed, which has caused my allergies to come in the fall, instead of spring. Earlier in the summer, about seven weeks from today’s date, I was displaced for the first time for a week from a tropical storm that took down many trees. These are just a few examples of climate change that have impacted me directly.
The current climate of our country is in shambles. Movements for social justice rattle through the streets worldwide, and environmental justice are closely tied together. I can only hope that others have used this year 2020 to do introspection and become attuned with their soul, for the sake of all of our futures.
If you’re reading this letter, then I guess the human race is still in existence, but to what degree is humanity still alive? I wonder, can you breathe? Do you have the freedom to walk outside your door? Have black and brown people finally gained equal rights? Have humans yet realized that they are not the center of the universe and that our home, the earth, is the only earth we have? Has the race found their souls yet?
October 2020,New Jersey, USA
Dear Future Being,
I write to you from Phoenix, Arizona in the year 2020. To say it has been a challenging year would be an understatement, but I fear the world will have many more challenges to overcome soon. Right now, we are facing a new virus, a global pandemic, which has forced us to reevaluate our lives and our day to day routines. For many of us, we have learned to appreciate nature, as it is our refuge from the death, destruction, and tragedy that haunt our television screens and mobile devices.I remember, as a child, I would go outside during a rainstorm. In Phoenix, these are a treat and do not occur often. In most places, people seek shelter from the rain, but not here. In the desert, rain brings with it a promise of life and peace. The sound of it as it hits the ground is a noise I long for. And the smell is forever ingrained into my memory. In the desert, there is a plant called Creosote. When it rains, the entire city smells like Creosote, and to me, this is blissful, but the rain comes less and less these days.
The planet is changing, and we can all feel it. Some have just not admitted it to themselves yet. There is a constant battle raging between the capitalist economies and the planet. Sometimes, it feels like people are so selfish. They only care about the size of their bank accounts and cannot see the harm we are doing to Earth. But Mother Earth fights back. She creates powerful storms that remind us of her might. She cannot do it alone, though. Humanity needs to help Her.
I hope, by the time you read this letter, we have made a better effort to make things better for you, our future. I hope the beautiful forests still exist and the crystal blue water of the sea. I hope you still know the sound of a fresh waterfall and the birds in the sky. I hope you can still experience that first bite of autumn as the summer ends and the leaves begin to change color. I hope the rain still brings with it the smell of hope and new beginnings. I hope we have not taken this away from you.
October 6, 2020 Phoenix, AZ, USA
Dear citizens of the (hopefully still inhabited) Earth,
I am writing from Lomita, California where we are still breathing heavy air from the fires that took over the summer, still living in fear of COVID-19, and still loosely attempting to heal our society from the trauma of 2020. Those of us living in this era cannot predict what the world will look like by the time you read this in the year 2120; the world is becoming more polarized every day as climate change continues to be a political disagreement instead of accepted as the truth. This polarization is frightening and we do not even know what the world will look like in 3 months when the next presidential election is over. At this point in our reality, it is a likely possibility that you will not have clean air to breathe, healthy land and soil to grow your food in, or clean water to drink. I deeply hope that I am wrong, and that the last 100 years has brought solutions
I’m sorry to say that we did not do everything that we could in order to give you a solid future. While there are currently political and social roadblocks in place preventing those who care from taking action, this is not an excuse as to why you do not have ample resources for a healthy life. There is no way for me to ask you to understand that the economy was more important than your life and wellbeing. Our society in 2020 has ulterior financial motives and beyond that we have given into this greed by taking more than what we need for years.
The cultures that have formed deep and lasting relationships with the Earth have been pushed to the outskirts of society and we are in desperate need of a paradigm shift that will bring this knowledge into power again.
While it is selfish of me to ask anything of you when we have done minimal work for you, please learn from our mistakes: do not take more than what you need, give the Earth space and time to replenish, and most importantly listen to each other and learn empathy.
Lomita, CA,USA 2020
Today is Monday, October 5th, 2020. It is unusually warm for October, normally we are in sweaters and jeans, not shorts and tank tops. This summer was also unusually warm. Climate change is becoming more apparent day after day.
We are currently in a world-wide pandemic, the coronavirus or COVID-19, started in January 2020, but we didn’t start the “lockdown” process until March 2020. The world is not a beautiful place right now. Many people are without a job, children are unable to attend school in person, we cannot spend time with loved ones, and the way we treat each other and the Earth has gotten so much worse. So much has changed in such a short amount of time…
When I think of the year 2120…
I hope that the future is better.
I hope that our priorities have changed.
That we take climate change seriously, that we respect people of all races, religions, and lifestyles, and that we make our children and their education a priority.
I hope that we work together to heal the Earth.
That we understand the importance of sustainable living and we reject the idea of “keeping up with the Jones” because we don’t need material things, we don’t need to continuously waste food and burn our world down. We need to build it back up to a place that we can be proud of.
I hope that we understand that our children are the future.
That they deserve to have schools be funded, teachers that feel appreciated, and curriculum/policies that will help them change the world.
I hope that we see people that are different from ourselves and understand that these differences make them beautiful, instead of hating them for their differences.
I hope the world becomes beautiful again and you see the wonders that we once had.
I hope you love your neighbors.
I hope you feel the sand between your toes while you look at a beautiful clear, blue ocean that is no longer full of trash.
I hope you see the snow-covered mountains.
I hope you breathe in the fresh, unpolluted air.
I hope you experience all of the good things this world has to offer.
But, to be honest, my biggest hope is that we have left behind a world for you to live on.
I hope more than anything that we have not burned this world to the ground with our hatred, but rather created a beautiful place where mother nature and human beings can coexist peacefully.
Washington State, USA
To the future,
Hello, I hope you are well. What that could mean for you in your current world, I can only speculate, but nonetheless I wish happiness and health for you. I am writing to you from Nishiniomiya, Japan, a small city near Osaka. While I can’t ensure that Japan is the same for you as it is for me, I hope you know of the beautiful country I call home. I’m sure the world you live in is substantially different than mine, but I hope in some of those ways, it has improved. I hope that the system governing the people is equitable to all and not the few. I hope we have overcome the capitalist system and reimagined a world based on community living and support where people can live sustainably and pursue their passions. I hope there is a global standard for the treatment of the Earth, and that all people have learned to love and respect the land they live on. I hope you are in a better situation than we are heading. I want you to know, for whatever it’s worth, that people today do care about the future of the Earth and its inhabitants. There are people working everyday, often unrecognized or chastised by the few, who are devoting their lives to ensuring this future. I’m sorry that the many did not learn and make changes sooner, but I hope that we can come together as a community one day. It’s hard for me to picture the world in a hundred years, these days it seems hard to imagine the world in even ten years, but I truly hope and wish a bountiful future for you. I will continue to educate myself and align myself with the activists who are fighting for you and I hope by the end of my life I can see some of this change for the survival of our Earth. Please learn from our mistakes and don’t let human hubris drive you to ruin like we are heading. Most of all I hope you hold your loved ones close and always love the Earth, our home, as the provider she is.
October 6, 2020, JAPAN
Dear future citizens,
I hope you and our planet are well, and have found a new reality to live within. I write to you from decades before, knowing only what I can see today, and project before me. In my nook of the world, I lived ignoring the signs of the impending climate crisis for far too long. Today, I live with the consequences of not only my actions, but those who came before me.
This is why I write to you now. In an attempt to rectify the wrong that me and my generations have done to you, and to our beautiful world. There is little much I can do now, but to hope that you heeded our warnings, and fought for a truly better tomorrow. I look forward to your era not in a mood of cynicism but of pure and fervent hope. In my time I taught and saw many young people more courageous and emboldened than I felt I ever could be, and my only wish is that the passing generations became even more bold, and turned the tides of climate change for good.
It is so difficult for us as human beings to look outside of ourselves, but I implore you to do this just a little everyday, and find your own empowerment beyond. Don’t focus solely on the past, or even on the future, but find the balance within living for today and living in a way for yourself and for others. In doing so, I hope you see that though we are only truly responsible for our own actions, this does not mean neglecting to understand how our daily habits and choices are affecting those around us, human and otherwise. Overall, I wish you peace and harmony and I look forward to the coming years in anticipation of your arrival.
Best, E. Loftin
October 5, 2020, USA
Dear entity of the future,
I do not know to whom or what I am writing to. It is the year 2020, and my name is, Lindsey Brown, writing to you from Lafayette, IN. After a year of one catastrophic event after another, it is hard to imagine what life is like for you in the year 2120. As stated in my opening sentence, I do not know to whom or what I am writing to. Best case scenario, my children’s generation have banded together, demanded change, and have taken us back from the edge of ecological disaster, and this is being read by a great-grandchild. Worst case scenario, this open letter is not for a human entity at all, for we continued our collision course with disaster, unable to shake off the anthropocentrism that led us to this place to begin with, and have all perished as a result of our actions.
Looking back over the last twenty years of my life, a bygone era for you, I regret that we did not listen. We were warned, but we became too comfortable. Apathy led us to a state of unwillingness, a state of blindness towards the future, refusing to look beyond our immediate desires. Our society is riddled with turmoil. We have always loved the status quo. Citizens march through the streets demanding equality, shouting “I can’t Breathe!” a cry echoed by our humble planet as we choke it with plastic and pollute it for out unquenchable thirst for petroleum. It is foolish to think, however, that we would care about the breath of our planet, a non-human entity, when we do not care about the breath of our fellow homo sapiens.
As pollution chokes our planet, COVID-19 chokes those infected, inflaming their lungs, leaving us grasping for air. COVID-19, much like the Climate Crisis, was just another “hoax.” When will we ever stop listening to their lies?
Entity of the future, I am sorry. The world was a beautiful place, teaming with fresh water and natural beauty. We thought we could fight our way out of this mess with reason and ingenuity, for after all, we always had. While I wish to peer into the future to see what you see, I have an unsettling feeling you are wishing to peer into the past to see what the Earth was. If only we knew what would become. If only we had listened.
October 4, 2020
I am writing this letter seated under a huge eucalyptus tree at the heart of our kraal. My eldest child, Waqo, is milking Moye, my favourite cow. Jillo, his sister, is restraining the calf from sucking Moye. I am not sure you will meet my cows and children for the future is unpredictable, but I hope you will.
I am reading a play ‘waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett.I am 78 and Godot has not come yet!
We are still waiting for Godot.Instead of Godot coming, a novel virus has come.It is called coronavirus.
It is a dangerous virus. More dangerous than even the capricious spirits and the dreadful ogres in our folklore.
We are confined and caged. We stay hurdled in our rooms and houses. Like caged animals we move but within the cage(our homes). The virus has ravaged the Earth.The world is mourning.Recession is looming.Revelry has long been muffled.Social gathering is a thing of the past.Tension is palpable.
We have become colonies of coronavirus.We are the peak of sophistication,our own undoing.
Despite our super-duper technological and medical advancement,we have failed to contain coronavirus.
Stupefied and flummoxed,we bleakly peer into the future. Against all odds , we shall subdue this pandemic. This is our hope.
This virus was heralded by disasters like floods, earthquakes, famine, typhoons, tsunami among others.our wilful negligence is to blame for the catastrophe.Unrestrained human activities have caused desertification, pollution,and depletion of ozone layer. No one is safe.The future is not only bleak but also shrouded in mystery.
In the coming years,a deadlier virus or disease may befall humanity, decimate population,or worse still wipe out humanity.
As I conclude, I would like to make a plea.We have not made irremediable mistakes. You have an opportunity to correct the mistakes we have made.
The future is in your hands.Do not fall into abyss of ignorance that we have fallen into.
In our vanity,we have erred.We are paying the price , heavily and dearly.
Your loving Grandfather,
Benson Bonaya Guyo
June, 5, 2020, KENYA