You've lived a long time. I respect that. However, in my lifetime, a mere 25 years, I have bore witness to two massive oil spills, the creation of two plastic garbage islands sprawling over several kilometers of ocean, the extinction of several species due to loss of habitat and the endangerment of thousands more due to that same loss of habitat. We've seen the incredible rise in cancer rates, in poverty, in obesity, in hunger, and incredible loss in traditionally used lands, in the ability of humans being capable enough to feed themselves without a grocery store around. I have witnessed daily the loss of green spaces and especially forests due to clear cutting instead of selective harvesting.
The car-obsessed, building OUT and not UP mentality has paved over far more than is necessary and contributes to global warming. Your generation had their chance. You had your chance to stop clear cutting but they didn't. You had your chance to stop the plasticization and styrafoamation and the corporations global takeover. You had the chance to stop corporations from producing goods meant to last less than five years. To stop these companies from building them in countries where they've manipulated laws to the point where they can get away with MASS MURDER. (ie: Union Carbide in Bhopal)
Not enough in your generation cared to put a stop to any of these things that my generation will have to deal with. Eventually my generation will have to learn. How to not be dependent on exploiting overseas labor markets. How to clean up the damage done to our oceans, coral reefs, wetlands, grasslands, forests, and fields. How to feed ourselves using the neglected and toxin-soaked farmland left. We will need to figure out sustainable ways of transport when gasoline costs more than we can afford or when the wells finally run dry.
We will eventually tackle the mountains you call landfills and we will remove the toxins from them that leach into our groundwater. And we will have to find a better way to co-exist on this planet if we wish to exist at all.
Previous generation - we thank you for these gifts you've left us with, life being the most important of them. But to accept these gifts means also accepting the responsibility of cleaning and fixing and maintaining these gifts to pass on to the next generation.
I'll be the first to admit that your generation has left this planet in a far worse state than when you were handed her by your parents generation.
Profits over people, wealth over health, convenience over environment - these have been your mantras. Mantras that you whisper with every dollar you spend.
But it's time. It's time to hand over the reigns. Beginning with the end of suburban sprawl, we will right the wrongs and see this planet return to its magnificent glory. We will learn what it means to be sustainable not because we want to but because we have to and need to. Because we finally see that it's the only way.
Your generation fought battles against evil forces, true. But afterward, you turned your back on everything and everyone but those closest to you.
To make a mess and not clean it up is a sign of great slovenliness. But to clean up the mess of another for the sake of life on this planet will make my generation a generation of heroes.