Noel Byrne ✒ My six grandchildren were born between 2006 and 2018.

If I am fortunate enough for my genes to continue in a diluted form through two more generations, my great great grandchildren will be living around the beginning of the next century. What sort of a world will they be born into? Will they be looking back and questioning how this generation destroyed the planet, their home? Will they be asking who stole their future?

When the historians at the beginning of the next century look back they will see that this generation was the first generation to become aware of the damage they were doing to the planet, and the fact that we ignored that knowledge. We stole the future!

Future generations must be protected, they are completely disadvantaged because they have no control over the decisions this generation makes which will eventually impact their lives. Their very existence may in fact be threatened.

We presently have the power to alter the human genome and to do so may completely change future generations without either their knowledge or consent. Their choices will be restricted by the decisions of their predecessors.

The destiny future generations face will be the result of choices made in the past.

In any civilized society we protect the incompetent and the infirm and ensure they are protected from those who might take advantage of them and either advertently or inadvertently exploit them. Future generations must also be protected in a similar manner. They need a proxy or an advocate for their cause.

Such an advocate would need to be done at a global level, such as by the United Nations.

We may be unable as a national group to lobby the government, but we can both as individual Humanist’s and as local groups lobby and canvass for the changes necessary to preserve the planet for future generations. We as Humanists have a responsibility to the unborn future generations. Future generations are not just an abstract concept. Future generations are real people just not yet born. Because they are unable to vote or lobby today or influence present policy-making, so it is crucially important for us to understand their needs. We must somehow heed the voices of the future generations. Among the things we might be able to do individually is to prevent any further deterioration of the environment, and where possible restore ecological balances and we also need to try and prevent any further destruction of the planets biological diversity.

Presently air, land and sea are being polluted. There is major planetary degradation. Population is increasing at an unsustainable rate, the arms trade is growing, nuclear weapons are being stored, species are becoming extinct on a daily basis, the balance of the biosphere and the ecosystem are being altered, consumerism is becoming more rampant and we are aware of all this. We get reports and information daily on the damage we are doing to ourselves and our planet and yet we continue. Why?

For a century now, science and technology have been used for personal, national and regional profit to the detriment of the planet, of many in society and to the unborn generations. It is a strange irony that science and technology, rather than liberating humanity, are now the greatest threat to our quality of life and that of future generations. Both laissez-faire capitalism and technology are gradually destroying us and the future generations. Neither are sustainable or equitable. As the most advanced terrestrial life form we have now become the agents of change on the planet. We now control evolution and have usurped nature. It needs however to be an ethical evolution. We have become very smart technologically, but not very wise.

We are aware today of the interrelatedness and interdependedness of reality and that nothing exists in isolation. Each decision, policy and action we take has far-reaching consequences that will be passed on to posterity. That fact should be foremost in each decision made, whether at a personal or governmental level.

The Earth’s resources are limited. They belong to all generations and species. No species, country or generation has an exclusive right to the Earth’s natural resources. To date they have been passed down generation by generation. We have grossly exploited them. We must stop. We have an obligation and a responsibility to pass them on to posterity in a good and if possible enhanced condition. With our wonderful science and technology we must surely have the potential to enhance rather than degrade the planet. We must stop our greed and regulate our consumption to share the planetary resources with future generations.

The choices our generation is making will determine the destiny of the future generations. Our deeds may in fact decide how many future generations there will be. Accordingly we need to be very careful of the choices we make and be in awe and aware of their potential consequences. We do not want to hand down a legacy of despair to future generations. 

⏩ Noel Byrne is a retired Civil Servant and a Humanist, with a principal interest in Philosophy, and a particular interest in Ethics and Morality.

My Great Great Grandchildren

Noel Byrne ✒ My six grandchildren were born between 2006 and 2018.

If I am fortunate enough for my genes to continue in a diluted form through two more generations, my great great grandchildren will be living around the beginning of the next century. What sort of a world will they be born into? Will they be looking back and questioning how this generation destroyed the planet, their home? Will they be asking who stole their future?

When the historians at the beginning of the next century look back they will see that this generation was the first generation to become aware of the damage they were doing to the planet, and the fact that we ignored that knowledge. We stole the future!

Future generations must be protected, they are completely disadvantaged because they have no control over the decisions this generation makes which will eventually impact their lives. Their very existence may in fact be threatened.

We presently have the power to alter the human genome and to do so may completely change future generations without either their knowledge or consent. Their choices will be restricted by the decisions of their predecessors.

The destiny future generations face will be the result of choices made in the past.

In any civilized society we protect the incompetent and the infirm and ensure they are protected from those who might take advantage of them and either advertently or inadvertently exploit them. Future generations must also be protected in a similar manner. They need a proxy or an advocate for their cause.

Such an advocate would need to be done at a global level, such as by the United Nations.

We may be unable as a national group to lobby the government, but we can both as individual Humanist’s and as local groups lobby and canvass for the changes necessary to preserve the planet for future generations. We as Humanists have a responsibility to the unborn future generations. Future generations are not just an abstract concept. Future generations are real people just not yet born. Because they are unable to vote or lobby today or influence present policy-making, so it is crucially important for us to understand their needs. We must somehow heed the voices of the future generations. Among the things we might be able to do individually is to prevent any further deterioration of the environment, and where possible restore ecological balances and we also need to try and prevent any further destruction of the planets biological diversity.

Presently air, land and sea are being polluted. There is major planetary degradation. Population is increasing at an unsustainable rate, the arms trade is growing, nuclear weapons are being stored, species are becoming extinct on a daily basis, the balance of the biosphere and the ecosystem are being altered, consumerism is becoming more rampant and we are aware of all this. We get reports and information daily on the damage we are doing to ourselves and our planet and yet we continue. Why?

For a century now, science and technology have been used for personal, national and regional profit to the detriment of the planet, of many in society and to the unborn generations. It is a strange irony that science and technology, rather than liberating humanity, are now the greatest threat to our quality of life and that of future generations. Both laissez-faire capitalism and technology are gradually destroying us and the future generations. Neither are sustainable or equitable. As the most advanced terrestrial life form we have now become the agents of change on the planet. We now control evolution and have usurped nature. It needs however to be an ethical evolution. We have become very smart technologically, but not very wise.

We are aware today of the interrelatedness and interdependedness of reality and that nothing exists in isolation. Each decision, policy and action we take has far-reaching consequences that will be passed on to posterity. That fact should be foremost in each decision made, whether at a personal or governmental level.

The Earth’s resources are limited. They belong to all generations and species. No species, country or generation has an exclusive right to the Earth’s natural resources. To date they have been passed down generation by generation. We have grossly exploited them. We must stop. We have an obligation and a responsibility to pass them on to posterity in a good and if possible enhanced condition. With our wonderful science and technology we must surely have the potential to enhance rather than degrade the planet. We must stop our greed and regulate our consumption to share the planetary resources with future generations.

The choices our generation is making will determine the destiny of the future generations. Our deeds may in fact decide how many future generations there will be. Accordingly we need to be very careful of the choices we make and be in awe and aware of their potential consequences. We do not want to hand down a legacy of despair to future generations. 

⏩ Noel Byrne is a retired Civil Servant and a Humanist, with a principal interest in Philosophy, and a particular interest in Ethics and Morality.

3 comments:

  1. Will never happen. All species strive for immortality through their genes, they sure as hell don't collaborate en masse against anything other than War or Disease. They most definitely will not co-operate when it very much appears that one people on the planet are far better off than themselves. Go to China, India, South America or Africa and tell them they can't burn fossil fuels anymore and see were that get's you. Earth's resources are finite yes, but they way we use them is the issue not the quantity. We have enough Yellowcake to provide carbon free power generation globally for thousands of years with minimal danger yet we insist (or conditioned) to burn liquefied dinosaurs to keep warm or make things move. Bloody Hell we are still using Steam as the main force to generate electricity. We are nothing but upright hairless Apes who developed opposable thumbs, benefited by the enormous calorific intake that cooked meat provided and developed reason only to the extent that it suited their own genes survival.

    Where ET? I want off this frigging rock.

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    Replies
    1. Evolutionary biologists have worked on altruism and cooperation being the result of long evolutionary processes. I think what supports your contention more than genetics is geo politics. There is a solution to every problem but is it the right one?

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    2. Altruism and co-operation would make sense when we moved into a tribe structure. Safety in numbers. But instinctively we want our own offspring to survive first and foremost, and if there was a situation that potentially threatened that then altruism is quickly jettisoned.

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