Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dearest Descendants:

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Is it warm? I imagine it is. Are sea levels up? How did I guess? Yes, I knew. So if what we knew and when we knew it is hotly debated in your time, feel free to produce this letter--for what it's worth--in support of those who would argue that we, your forefathers, knowingly chose to live it up at the expense of your environment. There’s More... Expand PostBut I'm being silly. Of course we knew. Yet, I don't rule out that someone in your time will find some profit in arguing our ignorance. I'm sure they'll have a wealth of historical records on which to base their argument. It's rather ironic. They'll have to argue that we were gullible enough to believe the studies and experts paid for by their very rhetorical forefathers--those of my time who are driven to lie in an effort to preserve the status quo, otherwise known as the bottom line. Now I'll not say that everyone was immune to the spin put out by the various polluting interests. Certainly idiots survive even into your time. Or perhaps you can't relate. Perhaps in your time there's a cure for stupidity. Nevertheless, I doubt such a cure would prove to be a panacea. No, intelligence is as much at cross-purposes with progress as it is responsible for it. But I digress.

What I want you to know that most of us, most of us know full well the truth behind our unsustainable and toxic lifestyles. We've made a choice. We chose luxury. We knew it was a good time to be alive. We figured, best case scenario, technology saves you from us. But we're not betting on it. Take technology out of the equation, and we wouldn't skip a beat. Trust me. You, and your wellbeing, occupy precious little of our day-to-day thoughts.

What occasions this letter? Al Gore and his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. I'm sure you know of it and him. Hell, you're living his dire warning. I imagine if he's right--and we know he is--he's achieved quite the legacy with you people. He must seem like a real prophet compared to the rest of us lugs. But he's not. He's not telling us anything we don't know. Strange isn't it. You probably debate why his message never got through as much as he did. Do you want to know why? First, you have to understand that he is being diplomatic. He can't very well expect to get applause if he stands up and announces that he not only knows we know what we're doing to mother earth, but he knows we decided to do it anyway. No, instead he has to play like he's educating us so that we might make the right decision. That way, we can at least pretend that we agree with him, if only everyone else would get on board. But we are on board. We're on board with the status quo. The status quo rocks. Seriously. Not a one of us is going to give up our first world status. If for no other reason, if we give it up, the rest of the world isn't going to sit around and not take it. Please.

No, the reality is we'd be stupid to give up our first world status, and make no mistake, excess defines first world status.

I think a little bit about me is in order. You might be thinking I must be a raging Christian fundamentalist oil executive. You'd be wrong. Quite the opposite in fact. I consider myself a liberal, an environmentalist and I don't believe in God. So why am I so selfish and pessimistic? Well, I'm wise and I'm lazy. Wise, right. Hey, take it for what it's worth. Lazy, okay. In fact, I'm lazy before I'm anything else. I enjoy all the modern conveniences, and that makes me lazy. I suppose if I did physical labor for a living, I might not be wholly lazy. But I don't. I sit behind a desk, and no amount of overtime, exercise or even charity work will change the fact that the accoutrements that define my world as modern, also define me and all those who enjoy them as I do, as lazy. I'm telling you who I am because it's important to me that you harbor no illusion that there were innocents in my time. We're all just as guilty, just as culpable, even Al Gore. In fact, Al Gore, when all is said and done, will be personally responsible for burning more fossil fuel than 100 of us non-messianic slobs put together.

But I'm not done. No. Now is the good part. Now is when I explain to you your hubris in blaming us for the shithole of a planet you inherited. First of all, no matter what your problems are, they truly do pale in comparison to the shit the industrial age conquered. Medicine alone owes its revolution to this age of excess, and you my children are the beneficiaries. Would you really trade modern medicine in for lower sea levels? I think not. Look around you children. Everything that you take for granted is rooted in my time. But I'm assuming you're benefiting from my technologies. Let's assume you're not. Let's assume you're living like animals in a barren wasteland. Well, you won't be reading this letter. So let's elevate your condition just enough to enjoy that pleasure. Now I ask you, do you know how many people are on the planet as I write this letter? Somewhere in the vicinity of 6.5 billion. Some people in my time would call that overpopulation. Would you? I don't imagine you would. Put simply, you owe your very existence to some of those children that were too many. And you know it. You exist because we chose excess. You are the end product. To condemning us for ruining your world, you must first condemn your own existence because you are the one true non-biodegradable pollutant of mankind. So suck it up children. Suck it up.