Think about the long-term

Are we spending our grandchildren's inheritance? Actually, yes.

You’re probably seen at least one of them — the bumper sticker on a huge trailer or RV that reads, “I’m spending my grandchildren’s inheritance!”

It’s supposed to be  funny or clever or otherwise amusing, but it’s not. It’s not funny because, unfortunately, it’s true — not just of the person sporting the sticker, but also for most of the rest of us as well.

We’re burning their oil, polluting their water, spending their money and generally wrecking their planet — and they won’t thank us for it.

Back in 1992, the International Institute for Sustainable Development made a point of calling for governments to look down the road.

“We cannot simply think of our survival; each new generation is responsible to ensure the survival of the seventh generation. The prophecy given to us, tells us that what we do today will affect the seventh generation and because of this we must bear in mind our responsibility to them today and always.”

The idea of looking seven generations down the road is older than that, forming a key component of many First Nations spiritual practice and planning.

It’s an idea we should all be thinking about particularly hard these days as the climate continues to change and our leaders and the power structures that support them seem not only unable but entirely unwilling to do anything about it.

In fact, our current Canadian government is rolling back even the entirely insufficient measures that have been taken in a race to develop and export as much of Canada’s rich resource heritage as quickly as possible.

There’s a good reason for that of course. Our corporate culture demands the maximization of profit  and it demands it now. Future generations — those little tykes wearing the short pants on the tricycles in your own backyard — they don’t count for pretty much anything.

We should think about why that is and what we can do about it. We’re running out of time to make the changes they need.    — editorial by Neil Horner