Looking Back to the Present
Let me tell you this:
someone in some future time
will think of us
~ Sappho as translated by Mary Barnard
This fragment of a poem by Sappho, a female poet from 600 BC, is just as applicable in our time as it must have been in hers. It reminds us that people always look back in history and find those pivotal points when different decisions could have been made—decisions that could have made the world more equitable, peaceful, and sustainable instead of focusing on short-term comfort, profit, and power. I think this is one of those times in history. We get to be part of the decision about the kind of world we leave future generations. It’s sad to think that my generation may be the last to experience glaciers, pristine beaches, and wild elephants, rhinos and whales.
It’s easy to think that there isn’t anything we can do, and that it’s not our responsibility. And so much needs to be done that we can become overwhelmed and discouraged. We don’t have to give in to that mindset. Every culture and generation faces the same choice: to be bold and brave, or to stick with the status quo and hope someone else can fix the problem later. We are that someone. We can all make a difference.
For the sake of future generations, we can choose to be less comfortable and have things a little less convenient. And it is possible to be joyful in the midst of these choices, not quilt-ridden or resentful. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and we can enjoy it even when we make choices about our transportation, to turn down the heat or turn off the air conditioner, to eat less beef and dairy, to recycle, reuse or do without. Let’s be the change that we want to see. Maybe future generations will look back on our actions for inspiration and the courage to face their challenges.