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We have work to do for tomorrow's child
We often hear Australian politicians talk about the importance of reducing the national deficit so that we do not leave a truck-load of debt for our children to pay off. This point has a great deal of substance.
To simply leave them with debt that delivered pleasure for us and hardship for them would be immoral.
But debt is not the only thing we should worry about leaving our children. We should also be concerned about leaving them an environment that is beyond repair, that delivers an ocean with less fish, higher sea levels and 55C temperatures in temperate Australia, on a regular basis.
There is a strong argument to suggest that the world we are leaving our children will, for the very first time, offer the next generation far fewer opportunities that were on offer to the previous generation.
There is a risk that we will leave our children, at best, an environment that sustains far fewer people, much less comfortably – and at worst, an environment that is uninhabitable for many.
In the 1980s, Ray Anderson was voted the American Entrepreneur of the year. In the 2000s, this same man, operating the world’s largest commercial carpet business, which used petrochemicals, had built a business that was 80 percent ‘neutral’ in terms of its impact on the environment. This was, by any measure, a stunning achievement. It was an achievement that won Ray and his company many awards.
In 2009, Ray Anderson addressed an early TED forum and gave one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard a business person give.
In it, he talked about a poem that changed his view in business, the environment and life. I've included it here:
Without a name; an unseen face
and knowing not your time nor place
Tomorrow’s Child, though yet unborn,
I met you first last Tuesday morn.
A wise friend introduced us two,
and through his sobering point of view
I saw a day that you would see;
a day for you, but not for me
Knowing you has changed my thinking,
for I never had an inkling
That perhaps the things I do
might someday, somehow, threaten you
Tomorrow’s Child, my daughter-son
I’m afraid I’ve just begun
To think of you and of your good,
Though always having known I should.
Begin I will to weigh the cost
of what I squander; what is lost
If ever I forget that you
will someday come to live here too
Said to have been written by Glenn Thomas, although possibly written by someone else, this poem reminds us all of why we should leave the planet at least as good as we found it. It is only right that we leave our children with as many opportunities as we were left with – and a better world, if possible.
Else>>>r, this poem reminds me just how fucking selfish we humans are!
If you would life to be inspired by Ray Anderson, and you will be, take a look at this thought-provoking video. In it, Ray reminds us that theft is a crime and, as such, stealing our children’s future should be a crime.