As parents, we constantly admonish our children to share with others. The joke is that as adults, we hardly like to share anything at all. Who likes to lend out their car? Or their tools or books? We’re so worried they won’t come back in the same condition — or won’t be returned at all.
But the truth is that the people we like to share the least with are our own children. “We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children,” the saying goes. Right now, though, we’ve borrowed the entire Earth, trashed much of it, and don’t plan to give back the rest of it.
We are plundering the world’s “renewable resources” — arable land and tropical forests and fisheries and fresh water. And we are using an ever-greater fraction of nonrenewable energy resources, especially hydrocarbons, with devastating consequences.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
Happy Father's Day
Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there, perhaps especially you new ones (e.g. Ivakhiv). For those of you who are at least minimally ecologically minded, I imagine that being a parent has lent your theorising and thinking about the environment and the future, as well as your activism and life-choices, a certain affective intensity and tone that it wouldn't have had without children. I copy here a piece from Joe Romm's Climate Progress, part of a father's day essay he wrote last year (here).
Now there might be some dispute here about the use of "we". That is, corporate actants and multi-national socio-economic and political assemblages might seem more likely objects of blame for the systemic mess. But this doesn't alter the fact that most of us are participants in and beneficiaries of the very globalised systems that are drawing down from the future at an ever accelerating rate. The big question for parents seems to be, what will it mean for our children to flourish or simply survive in the world "we" are passing on to them? Personally, the "birds and bees" talks with my kids that I'm nervous about are literally about birds and bees, plus climate and energy, food and water etc. It's going to be a bitch to explain why daddy and mummy enjoyed so many benefits that they and their children won't be able to.