Wednesday, February 25, 2009
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children
There is a often used proverb, by David Brower "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" (and no, it is not a native Indian proverb that many people think it is), which can be found in numerous conservation articles. Today, Dr. Jane Goodall gave a lecture here in Oxford, and this is what she said:
"Someone said that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but borrow it from out children. Look at the world around us. The line is a lie! We aren't borrowing from our children. Borrowing means that we will pay it back, but we aren't paying back. We are STEALING from our children...."
This is the second time I've sat in on Dr. Goodall's lecture, and again she hits me with something new to think about. Give it a ponder in the Singapore context. Parents work hard, spend a lot on luxuries (for themselves and their children), driving consumption through the roof. These parents are thinking they are giving their children good lives, and ingraining in them values of materialism, so that their children will plunder whatever's left from their grandchildren. Dr. Goodall also went on to say:
"We shouldn't be stealing from our future generations. We haven't paid them back yet, but we should."
And so it must be. Think about it. Are you stealing your (whether born or not) children's future? Are you willing to pay it back? Are we willing to be the generation that will shoulder the responsibility of collectively paying back for the generations past that have now returned to the soil?
On a brighter note, Dr. Goodall mentioned to me in the little bit of time we spoke, that she will be in Singapore this June! Watch this space for details of the possibility of events and lectures that might be available!