Letter to My Future Children

Previous+generations+didn%27t+leave+us+with+much+of+a+chance.++And+now+our+generation+has+been+left+to+fight+for+our+future.+But+things+are+changing%2C+and+from+now+one%2C+things+will+be+different%2C+

Ian Hurley

Previous generations didn't leave us with much of a chance. And now our generation has been left to fight for our future. But things are changing, and from now one, things will be different,

Dear kids, 

Okay I will admit it. This is more than a little weird. I’m writing this at least ten years before you’ll be born while I myself am a wee little fifteen-year-old. But there are things that need to be said. Hard and cold truths about our world that need to be faced if the world is to be better for you.

I won’t lie. My generation and I, we are living in a very dangerous time. Everything about our lives feels a bit precarious. From our quarterly grades and mental stability, to rising tensions between ethnic/religious groups, and the state of our environment.  Even the certainty of our safety in our own schools, it all feels like it’s teetering on the edge of a cliff. One slight breeze away from tumbling into a dark, empty cavern. And we can’t seem to find a way to regain our footing. 

Our Gen Z has encountered every word in the thesaurus synonymous with “lazy” and “ungrateful”. We have been called “weak” for struggling under the tremendous weight this society puts on us,  and “impatient” for wanting change when it becomes unbearable. 

But can you really blame us? Places that were once supposed to be centers of creativity and learning have turned into retailers for anxiety and way too much homework. We sit at desks from 7:20 to 2:15 each day just to go home and do at least 3 more hours of homework. That’s 10 hours of schoolwork per day. Minimum. Even an average workday is only 9 hours. 

Our minds are dealing with stress that rivals those of adults. So it’s no wonder that 30% of teens report feeling depressed and nearly 32% are dealing with some sort of anxiety disorder. But no matter how we hurt, it seems that our struggles could never compare to those experienced 30 years ago.  

Whenever we open our mouths to speak out against the injustices done to us, we are met by a chorus of “Well, when I was a kid…”s and “You should be grateful…”s. But kids, they seem to forget that five days a week, we face constant fear of intruders banging on doors and bullets cutting through hallways. They seem to forget that there were more mass shootings this past year than there were days. They seem to forget that in the past decade, over 126 students have lost their lives to gun violence in schools.

They seem to forget all the damage we have inherited with this world. And because they forget, they become angry. Angry when we demand change because our minds are being denied their creativity, our education is transforming into a funeral, and our planet is decaying around us. 

Our planet Earth. The only one we have. The one we rely on to sustain our lives. The one that continues to give and give, while greed has drawn mega-corporations to simply take and take. And take. Until there is nothing more to give and we are living on a spherical wasteland. Until we are no longer living. 

Every minute, 36 football fields worth of trees are cut down due to deforestation. 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred in the past two decades. Almost 1 million hectares of coastal ecosystems are lost each year. And each day, an estimated 200 species of plants, insects, mammals, and birds become extinct. Even still, the world emits over 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Every wasteful second we get closer to a point of no return, and yet the men and women we call leaders refuse to acknowledge the truth. It is clear that our Earth is dying, and our future is dying right alongside it. 

The carelessness of past generations has thrown us into a fight for our lives. What do they care about the rising sea levels and the decreasing biodiversity? It’s not their problem. They’ll be long gone by the time things really start getting bad. But it is our problem, and we have chosen to do something about it. 

This generation is a generation of revolutionaries and change seekers. History will not repeat itself. For the sake of our future and your future, we will continue to take action. Continue to ask the uncomfortable questions, speak the unspeakable things, and write for those without a voice. 

Mark my words kids, you will not be living in the same world I currently am. A better life will exist for you because this time is our time

Much love,
15-year-old Michelle