What have future generations ever done for me?

Why should I care about future generations – what have they ever done for me?” Groucho Marx

What does this quote about future generations make you think of…A newly born grandchild? Your niece or nephew? Son or daughter? What about a primary pupil who is already questioning whether the future will be better for young people? Or maybe the news that Childline recently launched a helpline for young people worried by global problems like ‘politics, climate change, natural disasters and terrorism’.

I was thinking about all of these ideas and how I could share them as part of a blog when I stumbled across a newly released 10-minute video from Naomi Klein on exactly this topic. In the short film, Naomi travels to Australia with her 4-year old son, Toma, and visits the Great Barrier Reef. She explains to him that some of the coral they will see will be healthy and some of it will be a little bit sick, like it ‘has a fever’. What Naomi does not tell him is that the ‘fever’ has been caused by rising sea temperatures; it is a direct impact of human-induced climate change. The footage which follows shows huge stretches of bleached coral, scenes of children in Haiti whose homes were demolished by Hurricane Matthew, and babies and toddlers aboard boats fleeing conflicts worsened by historic drought.

Yet Toma remains optimistic, asking ‘will you cure the coral?’ His innocent question provides a heart-wrenching response to Groucho Marx’s line of reasoning. ‘Why should we care for future generations?’ – so that children such as Toma can experience the immense beauty of the coral reef before it is too late. So that young people in Haiti do not have their lives put at risk as a result of natural disasters exacerbated by a warming planet. So that even if your daughter, son, niece, nephew, or grandchild lives to be a thousand years old, they too will experience a world as full of ‘magic and fantastic nature’ as that of previous generations.

doug-and-juniperNaomi’s reason for choosing to include her son in the film is very simple: ‘we must find that part of ourselves that feels this in our hearts, as well as our heads’. The message from us here at SEEd is equally as simple: please support us in whatever way you can so that sustainability is at the heart of all young people’s learning.

This is a list of actions you can take to support us:

 

Victoria Tait

SEEd Projects Manager