I ask the question while keeping my eye on the visioning of what my 7th generation yet to come would reflect on my current actions. Many Indigenous people worldwide use this concept when making decisions today about their relationships to the natural wonders around us.
I don’t want to get into the selection of how many generations is the correct number. It’s the concept that has value. I think about many generations into the future, and that sends me down a helpful path.
The concept competes directly with current western thinking: Thinking of the here and now, doing faster, tomorrow is another day, 4 years is another election, and we’ll solve whatever problems we create when we get there.
I’ll pull the thread of my use of water. I believe it is undisputed that we need water to survive. Clean, water.
Where I live, our city’s water comes from the North Saskatchewan River. Which is fed by glaciers in the Rocky Mountains, some 500+ km to the west. Those glaciers are shrinking ever faster. The end of this formerly infinite supply of water is now finite. It has a date!
Some generational number after me will not survive in Edmonton. Technology may slow that process. We might even be able to pull water out of the air as heat pumps draw warmth from cold air. Oh, wait a minute. So, who won’t get rain to the east of Edmonton? Downwind many farmers are growing our food. They need the rain.
We currently can’t agree whether coffee is good, bad, or neither.
Nature is more complex than a cup of coffee. I accept that we really know very little of all there is to know about nature. So, I conclude that disrupting nature as little as possible is my first choice.
Expansive solar farms seem to be trendy, yet they have a large footprint. They are cheaper than locating smaller arrays of panels on roofs, yet there are millions of square feet of roofs in Canada. We are subsidizing the production of fossil fuels. We should be supporting the research, production, manufacturing and installing of very local solar panels.
Cost is always a consideration.
I believe that we have lived beyond our means long enough. Future generations have our debt to pay off, and we need to start paying it down ourselves. Part of the cost is having a lower standard of living. But that’s for another topic.
Whatever your beliefs might be, reflection on this topic is time well spent – to put a twist on the Comedy Channel slogan.
Please give this a bit of a think. Where does the water from your tap come from? How long will that supply last? To do the right thing now for that 7th generation, what is one thing you can do?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your comment.
For a read on the topic, try a book by Roman Krznaric, The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking.
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And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.