Dear Grandchildren,

It is now 2050. I wrote this letter in 2006, before I even met your grandmother, to apologize for the mess that my generation has left for you.

The government of Canada, 44 years ago, proposed a plan to deal with pollution. They seemed to believe that it was best for the economy if we didn’t make difficult choices too quickly for reducing pollution. Instead, for decades, we continued to pump more and more toxins into the air. The government figured you should clean it up.

I am very sorry for all the health problems and environmental challenges you’re now having to deal with. It was thought that someone would probably have eventually invented new technologies for fixing our messes. But they didn’t see irony in the fact that it was technology that was creating the pollution in the first place. Now you’re having to make the hard choices and challenging changes that we didn’t have the guts to do. You’re having to do it now because it has an immediate and obvious impact on your quality of life.

As unbelievable as it may sound, back in 2006, there were still a lot of people who were fiercely resistant to sustainable land-use planning. In their choices as consumers, they were reluctant to buy things like efficient light bulbs because they were more expensive. Also, most people wouldn’t buy diesel or hybrid cars, which was the cleanest technology available on the market at the time. There wasn’t much sense to their reasons. I think it was just a cultural resistance, like the Greenland Norse and other societies that refused to accept that their cultural identity or consumer preferences were suicidal.

I am so sorry you are now having to live with the consequences of my generation’s stubborn refusal to risk our quality of life in order to protect yours. We made a big mess and left it for you to clean up. I agree, it was very selfish and ignorant.

Matt Todd
Your Grandfather

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