I guess this question has been asked by every parent, down through Time itself. “Just what ARE we leaving our children in the way of a world?” I hesitated for weeks over writing this blog, but decided, in the end, someone had to say something – and it might as well be me.
We’re leaving our children a world in far poorer shape than when our parents left it to us. My father handed over a world in which a World War had just been fought, and peace, for a time, was my inheritance…until situations such as Korea and Vietnam came along.
But today, we are passing on into the hands of our children a world torn apart by anger, hostility, rage, an ever-mounting international debt, and an environment unable to cope with what past and present generations have done to it.
Syria is at war with itself, and thousands have already died with no end in sight; Egypt is in the grip of civil unrest, which could easily escalate into a full-scale internal war; the people of Bahrein are no longer able to tolerate the conditions under which they have lived for generations; and the continent of Africa suffers under governments which are driven by corruption and greed, resulting in millions starving to death, people fleeing the lands they’ve lived in for so long, and children growing up without their parents.
Brazil, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and now Croatia, it appears, have had to seek millions of dollars’-worth of ‘bail-out’ funds – funds no country has a hope of repaying.
And America, that once-wealthy nation, reels beneath the pressure of a national debt above one hundred trillion dollars.
The world’s finances are going bankrupt; if we continue in this fashion, the only logical outcome is for those monstrous debts – or ‘bail-out’ funds, whichever you like to call them – will have to be excused, written off, as if they never existed. What effect, for example, will this have on international monetary institutions and the manufacturers who’ve supplied the goods sent to these countries in order to bail them out? Who will pay for the millions upon millions of dollars’-worth of food, water, blankets, and other items sent to nations such as Africa, which is literally starving to death? Who will pay for them when our world’s finances are approaching a stage where a dollar will be no more than a piece of paper, with no monetary value to support it? Can we turn our backs on places such as Africa? No! definitely not! We have to assist in every way we can. But the problem still remains, because the world, with a population of some seven billion, can no longer grow enough food to support its population. There simply isn’t room on the planet to support the meat-animals and crops needed to feed so many.
Then there’s the environment, blasted by years and years of unloading our industrial waste, in the form of smoke from factory chimneys, car exhausts, and even people smoking. We are already seeing the effects of Climate Change: countries suffering floods they’ve never seen before, or fires, such as in the United States, and on top of that our oceans are fast running out of the food we’ve eaten for so long – fish and other marine life we’ve dragged in our nets and on our lines from their watery homes to take their places – on our plates.
My generation is lucky, in a way: we won’t live long enough to see the ultimate effects of all we’ve done to bankrupt and kill off our world; we’ll be dead and buried when the final curtain comes down.
But what have we done? What have we left to pass on to our children?
How do we apologise for passing on a planet close to its limit, financially and environmentally?
In this case, “Sorry” just isn’t enough.