As this decade 2020 promises to be decisive in terms of climate, we invite you to imagine what the future could be like at the end of the 21st century. A distant future for you. But so present for your children and grandchildren. A present which, in a scenario of generalized awareness takes shape rather rapidly. But which, in a scenario of business as usual”, looks very dark.
Grandpa, I am 15 years old today. My life is just beginning. Yours was completed yesterday. Today, I am offered this incredible chance to write you this postcard. A postcard from the future, of your future, from my present. Of this world that you left me. A chance to maybe be able to change things. Because in 2020, Grandpa, the time when you too were 15, there was still time.
I would first like to tell you that it was the heat that won you over. The one who, without pity for us who provoked it, now breaks in successive waves every summer. The last, it is true, has been particularly extreme. The information has just fallen. A new temperature record has been broken here: 54.9 ° C. Can you just imagine, Grandpa, from the top of your indifferent fortnight?
54.9 °C! This is what your SUV that you will buy in less than ten years have done to the world. Your insatiable hunger for fresh meat too. And, you will soon find out, all these things thrown away barely bought. This latest trendy T-shirt that you’ve only worn three times. Or this smartphone paid for at a hefty price that had to be replaced six months later by its latest development. Evolution? Grandpa, do you really think that this is evolution?
The climate crisis is global. Wait, you haven’t heard everything yet, but yes! you heard it. The scientists had alerted you. The sea level has risen. More than a meter today since your time. And you know what, Grandpa? Millions of people have suffered from it. Children on the other side of the world that you care little about? I imagine it pretty well. But also European children.
Children who look like you. Whose parents may have been sitting next to you on the school benches. Children like me. Florida has become an island. Amsterdam has been wiped off the map. Bordeaux has more than ever its feet in the water. And these children today are desperately knocking on the doors of those who were luckier than them. For how much longer? How much longer will we be able to welcome these climate refugees that nobody wanted to hear about, even in your time, Grandpa? How much longer … will we be luckier than them?
Tomorrow we will move out. We are going to have to leave behind this beautiful house that your father had built. This strong and solid house, all in concrete. This house from another time. The one you loved so much. The last coastal flood was the reason for this attachment. You see, Grandpa, it’s not just polar bears in the arctic circle that are pushed far from home. It’s not just anonymous strangers. Your own family is now suffering the consequences of your disbelief.
And if you only knew … Your daughter, Grandpa, she died two years ago. She was not 40 years old. It is not an age to die like this in a society that is said to be advanced. But she died. Carried away by yet another hurricane, somewhere in the Antilles that she cherished. A hurricane of such power that it devastated the region, leaving behind only sadness and desolation. Your own daughter, Grandpa! You cried all the tears of your body.
Living on this Earth today is hell! Every year, appalling fires are started. In the Arctic, in the Amazon rainforest, or what’s left of it, in Australia. They only worsen an already catastrophic situation. All ecosystems suffer. The animals are massively disappearing. The air becomes unbreathable. Pollution is everywhere and all the dumpster rentals in the world will not be enough to remove all the garbage and waste created by humankind.. The world is coughing. The world is choking. And people are dying earlier than before. You were lucky, Grandpa, to live so old. I will certainly not have as many years as you have.
But it can still be resolved. Drink a glass of water. To eat an apple. It has become a luxury. We have exhausted the resources of our Earth. Of course, solutions have been found. Because the researchers never gave up. But these are just simple bandages placed on open wounds today. What more could they do without the support of the people? Without your membership, Grandpa? They could not prevent water from running out even in the southern regions of our Europe. Droughts of several years have hit the United States.
And the researchers could not prevent the catastrophic rise in food prices that followed either. Your faulty indolence has cost us dearly, Grandpa. It has claimed the lives of those affected by extreme poverty or new diseases. It also, more subtly, cost people’s happiness. Because while you continue to eat hamburgers on this overheated terrace that blows tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, I cry a world that will never return. From the height of my 15 years, I know it. Everyone knows it now: there is no plan B. No planet B.
My only hope today is you, Grandpa! So I beg you, stop doubting science. Stop waiting for others to make decisions. Stop blaming them. You can act, now. Take the things over control. Choose a different future. You just have to believe it. And get started.