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Living Off the Land

Editor’s Note: World leaders from more than 190 countries have convened in Paris during the first two weeks of December for the long-awaited United Nations Climate Change Conference. Will the governments of the world finally pass a binding global treaty aimed at reducing the most dangerous impacts of global warming… or will they fail in this task?

Letters to the Future, a national project involving more than 40 alternative weeklies across the United States, set out to find activists, authors, artists, scientists and others willing to get creative and draft letters to future generations predicting the success or failure of the Paris talks—and what came after. Some participants were optimistic about what is to come; some not so much. We hereby present some of their visions of the future.

At the time of this writing, it is hard not to imagine that your world is a post-apocalyptic mess completely dissolved of natural resources, with very few animals, vegetation or the in-between organisms. We could also assume that there is hardly any clean water for you. It may seem funny or strange to you that we had stores miles away from home that constantly gave out plastic bags to put your food in to carry about 500 feet to your vehicle that ran on fossil fuel and parked on asphalt. Some generations of humans even eradicated various animal species, while forced overbreeding of other species, in turn, seriously disrupted many ecosystems and the overall well being of this beautiful sphere and its inhabitants. It may even seem stranger to you that there were groups of humans who refused to believe that global warming even existed, much less was exacerbated by humans.


Photo Credit: Sean Dunn

However, there are groups of humans that realized the destruction and environmental impact we humans have brought on the earth. We formed organizations and smaller factions to spread the word and pass along our concerns and information to the higher-ups that ran the countries. For some time, some of these government officials ignored or covered their eyes to the realities of global warming and opted to concern themselves with power, money and religion. Not all officials followed suit, and some even changed their tune to join the revolution. As these enviro-groups and organizations grew, we have gained more support.

We have been making baby steps to reverse the damages that we (and our ancestors) have caused. Some of us have even obliterated the mass-production notions of the early 20th Century and have gone back to living off the land. For those of us who do not have a green thumb, we have chosen to support and obtain food from responsible farmers in our local community. I have hope that this way of life has continued overall, and that you are living sustainably with compassionate regard for our fellow animals, vegetation and the Earth itself. I have hope that you continue to think globally and act locally.

Eskridge is an Athens painter whose work focuses on how humans use technology to exploit wildlife and the environment. Read more letters to the future here.