Our gift to children is a murky future

(This letter was published in the Chapel Hill News, 6 January 2008.)

The leaders in my generation apparently wish to live without having to accept limits to growth of seemingly endless economic globalization, increasing per capita consumption of scarce resources and skyrocketing human population numbers worldwide; their desires are evidently insatiable; they choose to believe anything that meet the ‘standards’ for political convenience and economic expediency; and they act accordingly. But, despite all their widely shared and consensually validated specious ideas and soon to be unsustainable production, consumption and propagation activities, Earth exists in space-time, is relatively small and bounded, and has limited resources upon which the survival of life as we know it depends. Whatsoever is is, is it not?

What worries me is this: the elder guarantors of a good enough future for the children appear to be leading our kids down a “primrose path” along which the children could unexpectedly be confronted with sudden, potentially colossal threats to human and environmental health that are directly derived from human-driven, converging global challenges such as pernicious impacts of global warming and climate change, pollution of the air, water and land from microscopic particulates and solid waste, and the reckless dissipation of scarce natural resources. All the while, the leading elders remain in denial of the fulminating ecological degradation by willfully declining to acknowledge, much less begin to address, humanity’s emerging, human-induced predicament. One day, perhaps sooner rather than later, our children could have extraordinary difficulties responding ably to that with which they could soon come face to face; that is to say, because their elders have so adamantly refused to recognize God’s great gift of good science, our kids will not even know what “hit” them, much less why it is happening.

Steven Earl Salmony
Chapel Hill


  1. Posted January 7, 2008 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    When the elders have failed in their responsibilities, isn’t it time for younger people to step forward? Also, it’s time that we chose a more responsible set of elders to be in positions of leadership.

  2. Posted January 11, 2008 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    The question of who we trust to make wise decisions is critical. I have recently turned to the question of what is missing from the ordinary human cognitive capacity that makes our leaders make bad decisions. Very smart people can do stupid things or have wrong beliefs.

    My last blog entry introduced the notion that wisdom is in short supply even if intelligence and creativity are not. In the next entry I will continue the exploration regarding who we should trust to make wise decisions.


  3. Posted January 11, 2008 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    PS. Keep up the good work Steven.


  4. Posted January 12, 2008 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Well-spoken, Steven.

    We, the elders, have largely abdicated from our responsibility as preservers of our children’s heritage. Collectively, we are too wrapped up in being consumers to even care what happens to our children. Collectively, we are sleepwalking, or drunk/drugged with our collective consumer experience… and we are leading our children into the same state of blissful ignorance

    Yes it is deeply immoral.

    My hope is that we can awaken people by pointing out this deriliction of duty towards future generations. This week, I have addressed two Rotary Clubs with a 45-minute presentation-talk titled “The Camels in OUr Commons”, where I tried to show them how the ‘camels’ of various commercial forces were destroying our collective wealth — the commons — that are our children’s heritage.

    The audience response was excellent. I hope to stir up some serious action: lobbying for scrict legislation that requires that EVERY MANUFACTURER MUST BUY BACK AS SCRAP EACH TONNE OF RAW MATERIAL (like plastics, metals, lube-oils etc) THAT HE PUTS INTO THE MARKET & THE WORLD.

    If any manufacturing/trading activity is unable to comply for reasons of economic or technical unviability, then such activities are ECOLOGICALLY UNVIABLE and should be banned, irrespective of their economic attractiveness.

    That’s the message that I’m carrying to people in my city.


  5. Posted January 15, 2008 at 11:23 am | Permalink


    Steven, go go go.

    latest polar cities news FYI

  6. Posted January 24, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Salmony,

    Elizabeth and I have missed you comments on the Dot Earth blog, lately. We hope you are well.


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