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Lets secure our childrens future! Lets secure our childrens future!
Simple pleasures with the environment - fishing with grandkidsOur kids and grand children need a healthy planet

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To ensure the bright future of our children and our grand children

 

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" - Native American Proverb.

If there’s one thing we all worry about, it’s the future. Whether it’s the deadline sitting on your desk for tonight, the money you are saving for that trip of a lifetime, or the exercise regime that will keep you fit until you are 100 years old.

Then there are the more pressing pieces we think about. What will your kids grow up to be like? What will they do in their lives? And, most importantly, what kind of world will they live in?

Will your grand kids be able to breathe clean, mountain fresh air?

However, we are degrading the capacity of our earth to sustain us.  At the current rate of consumption, we will need 1.3 earths just to sustain us.  The earth’s natural environment is not going to be as great place for us to live in 50 or 100 years from now. It seems far off, but when you imagine 50 years ahead, imagine your child working and preparing for retirement. When you imagine 100 years ahead, think of your grandchild taking a walk in the park with their own child after school. People you know and love, or will come to know and love, will be in for an interesting ride, unless we do something about it.

Will our grand kids lead a better life?

Going green is about inter-generational equity.  It is about ensuring that the next generation, and the generation that follows, has an equal shot at surviving and leading an equally good, if not better, life as we have.

In the context of investment management, inter-generational equity is about ensuring that we do not spend more that our rate of return.  In 1974, economist James Tobin wrote that, "The trustees of endowed institutions are the guardians of the future against the claims of the present. Their task in managing the endowment is to preserve equity among generations."  Consider that the earth is our endowment, and that we must pass on that endowment to the next generation.  

Meeting our needs, without destroying the future’s harvest

In other words, meeting the needs of the present (that’s us) without compromising the ability of future generations (that’s our kids, and their kids) to meet their own needs. This is what is known as sustainable development, and it was defined by the Brundtland Report in 1987.  However, we face a number of environmental challenges today that require everyone who is alive on this planet to do what we can to reduce our impact so that future generations may live.  We are over-consuming our natural resources, causing global warming and polluting our water, air and soil.

Therefore, we need to act

So what does this translate to? A lot. A lot of great things that the world is prepared to do immediately. We know what we need to do and we’ve only just gotten started.  Clean water, clean air, healthy forests, conserving natural resources and managing climate change are all within our reach.  We only need to act.

Sustainable development

Sustainable development means that we must consider three factors:  economic, environmental and social.  Is this a big job? Will this take some investment up front to receive a pay back in the future?  Sure, and this isn’t the first time this has been done. We would have acid rain falling on our umbrellas and an ozone layer like swiss cheese if it weren’t for the actions in the 1980s to take protective measures. We have been largely successful in the past when fighting these environmental threats, and the same level of success is possible today.

When I was your age…

Don’t we all wish we could put a 5 dollar bill under our pillow and wake up to find a 100 dollar bill?  The pay-off for what you do today and what the next generation will experience when they are your age is not as far-fetched.  It is an investment of action today that will yield incredible results. It is also an investment of responsibility, for leaving the world better than when you arrived is all of our obligation.  Beyond that, you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren what efforts were being made and how much innovation happened to help the environment thrive.

Conclusion

Humans are not living in a sustainable way today, and the world that we pass on to our children, and their children, will not be able to support the same lifestyles we today enjoy.  We will have spent their endowment, and created significant debts in terms of climate change and pollution, which our grandchildren will have to pay back.  There are many things that you, and everybody around you, can do to help ensure the sustainable development of our plant.  You owe it to our children, and our grandchildren.  It is not your earth; it is theirs.

Submitted by Green on Aug 5, 2008