Vonnegut’s Letter to the Future

The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature’s stern but reasonable surrender terms. – Kurt Vonnegut, 1988

Photo by Rashawerakh, taken 2008. Via Flickr Commons

Photo by Rashawerakh, taken 2008. Via Flickr Commons

Some Words of Wisdom from the Not-Too Distant Past

Even as nature herself is setting limits, as a global society, we’re acting as though our planet can sustain all 7.4 billion of us with the consumer-growth oriented economy to which we’ve become accustomed and expect. One of the reasons why Eco-Justice Collaborative resonates with  the Bioneers movement is that it identifies common-sense, low-tech, achievable solutions to today’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges, by asking “how would nature solve this?”

That’s why it was so refreshing today to read Kurt Vonnegut’s 1988 letter to the future – in this case, the year 2088 at EcoWatch,one of the nation’s leading environmental news sites. After citing examples of how Nature works to keep the planet in balance, he puts forth a series of simple steps we need to take to survive as a species.  What Vonnegut provides as “action steps” rings true in the year 2016:

  1. Reduce and stabilize your population.
  2. Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.
  3. Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.
  4. Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you’re at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.
  5. Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.
  6. Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.
  7. And so on. Or else.

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