A Grandfather's Birthday, Christmas Letter to His Grandson

December 5, 2015 |

Dear Mr. Dylan,

It's about three weeks before your actual, second birthday. I'm writing now because you had the misfortune of being born on Christmas Day, a day attributed to another person famous for other reasons. I believe you'll become famous for some very good reasons. 

You're being raised to care about others and the planet you live on. I think that's the best lesson your mom and dad can pass on to you.You will be inheriting a terribly messed-up world. I'm afraid your ancestors, including me, laid waste to the planet. We burned too much carbon, and ruined the atmosphere, the soil and the seas. Our shameful behavior has been selfish. 

I am doing what I can to burn and consume less stuff, but it's not easy--I'm habituated to destructive behaviors. I am reading and studying what I can to reduce violence, income and wealth inequality, and climate change. I'm teaching others about changing our economic system so that human beings won't perish in a terrible war over resources.

Should you live a long life, you might see the 22nd Century. By then, I expect Western Civilization would have collapsed. I pray I'm wrong about all this, but very serious scholars point to these terrible outcomes.

Your mom and dad will likely not share this message with you, as you are so young-- they may even throw it away! But if they keep it with all the other detritus they're collecting, and you'll have a chance to read it...know this: I love you very much and worry a lot about what you'll have to face. I'm doing what I can now-- that's my expression of my love to you.


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