Dear 2099 Self,

The year 2020 was always portrayed as being futuristic with many advancements for society. Yet here we are now in what seems to be a never-ending pandemic while struggling to lead normal lives under restrictions. Although this letter was written in 2020, 79 years later I hope when you read this that a lot has changed environmentally. The most fundamental question is, “Have we learnt from our mistakes?”

Last I wrote about how a lot hasn’t changed on a topic as simple as recreation which was evident 42 years after AJ’s magazine writers discussed the impacts of recreation from consumer and conserver society perspectives. However, now in the future, I hope that society has advanced and that the once Ghosts in the Ecosystem have been resolved with the environment taking precedence.

In 2030 all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were expected to be met. I hope that by now most of the world has achieved great strides in ensuring that the quality of life globally has been positively transformed.

In 2020 environmentally, species are still being lost at an alarming rate, microplastics were still dominating the ocean, food and air and heat waves are being experienced in the Arctic. I hope that by now (2099) more research was done on the impacts of microplastics consumed by humans and that stricter regulations are in place to ensure that fruits and vegetables are not grown in microplastic contaminated soils. Have any new fossils been found of unidentified species we lost back in 2020 due to society’s greed for the destruction and pollution of nature for their own economic gain? Just imagine if we treated nature respectfully how much better we as a society and our environment could have thrived together.

Many negative things happened in 2020. We experienced the COVID-19 pandemic that completely changed the way we lived and it made us think twice about the way we used to do normal things. It, however, presented a new opportunity for more plastic pollution where masks and gloves littered the shorelines and oceans. I hope that the pandemic experience was never a trial version of something else to come and taught us where we went wrong in failing to protect the environment even during a pandemic. I hope history never repeated itself in terms of anyone having to march for their rights in Black Lives Matter protests again because 2020 should’ve already educated and made positive changes in the actions and mentality of those who didn’t see the cause of the movement prior to the protests. No one should ever have to beg to be treated respectfully like everyone else because of something like the colour of their skin- no one! If in 2099 society still hasn’t learnt about treating everyone equally then we’ve failed each other.

I anticipate that by 2029 we’ve all learnt from our mistakes and history did not repeat itself in destroying the environment: the flora, fauna and the people. As Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result”. If much hasn’t changed with the positive treatment of the environment then how would future generations get to enjoy the same things we did if we don’t live sustainably?

Cheers,

2020 Self

Shanella Ramkissoon is a Masters in Environment and Sustainability candidate. Her background is in the field of Environmental Science and Environment and Resource Management. Her interests lie in environmental conservation, especially for marine species such as coral reefs, turtles and dolphins. In her free time, she enjoys landscape photography, baking and art and craft projects.

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