main article image
(Grandfailure/iStock)

Dear 2019: A Letter From The Future

JACINTA BOWLER
29 NOV 2019

Dear 2019,

I know you've had some rough years recently. You've had heatwave after heatwave, and the world just isn't moving fast enough to try and limit the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Although you've known about climate change, and the effects of greenhouse gases, for over a century, actually limiting carbon has so far been a token effort at best.

You're currently on a precipice; another few years of business as usual, and you'd be looking at huge losses of wildlife, homes, and even humans.

I know you're already seeing some of the huge tolls the heat is having on the world.

But Earth is more united than you think. Most of the world is aware of climate change and many people are scared about how it's going to affect you into the future.

All hope is not lost.

What you're feeling has been building for a number of years, and you're on the cusp of something life-changing.

After a particularly terrifying IPCC report, and continual protests across the planet, world leaders finally accepted that they can't continue with burning fossil fuels the way you were.

Our little blue marble (and everything that lives there) depended on it.

With rapid changes starting in Europe and radiating outwards, renewables were adopted with increasing efficiency.

The technology wasn't perfect to start with, but with investment and research it kept getting better. Soon our planet was powered with a combination of wind, sun, hydro, and some nuclear power.

With this push, humans managed to keep temperatures under 2 degrees of warming, if only by a smidge.

The Paris agreement, which everyone thought would be a disaster, actually came to fruition.

The last coal plant closed in 2068 – it's now long been a relic, like the steam engine or telephone box.

Our cars are powered with hydrogen gas, and across the world the air we breathe now is the cleanest it's been since the industrial revolution.

But even with only two degrees of warming there were still a lot of issues to deal with. We lost entire islands due to the sea level rise, and there were huge numbers of climate refugees. We lost species after species, and a large chunk of the Great Barrier Reef.

But without the rapid changes made in the 2020's, the situation would have been catastrophically worse.

Your children and grandchildren thank you for that.

Now, in the year 2089, there are other problems and struggles. Even future humans aren't perfect. But we look back at the way you handled climate change as a beacon and example.

You can do it. We're all rooting for you.

Yours,

2089

This article was originally published as part of ScienceAlert's special climate edition, published in support of the global #ClimateStrike on 20 September 2019.

gone out to cool things down banner