For My Son And Daughter, On Father’s Day


Skyla and Weston, I am sorry the natural world you are growing up in is not as good as the one I had. I’m sorry that my generation used more than we put back, that we consumed without thinking, that we voted with our ballots and checkbooks to support large-scale resource extraction to devastating effect. That we somehow turned the oil companies—even as they poisoned our water, soil and air—into the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. That we drove too much and walked too little. That we packaged everything in plastic, sprayed chemicals on our yards, cut down your forests, built fish farms and hatcheries, and covered the land with shopping malls.

I would like to say we did the best we could, but we didn’t. Science warned us about the dangers of global warming, fracking, open-pit mining, fish farms, coal burning, and yet, we didn’t listen. For a lot of us, myself included, we spent years not knowing or thinking about the collective impact our small, daily decisions might have on the planet. But now we know. And I think more of us are listening. We are tearing down dams, giving up our lawn chemicals, supporting organic farms, recycling and trying to pay attention to what we buy and eat.

Skyla and Weston, I am so happy that you love to be outside and proud of the skills you are learning. That you can paddle a kayak, work on the farm, catch salmon and find chanterelles in the woods. Doing these things with you is more fun than I ever imagined. So here’s my Father’s Day wish: I hope that someday, you can tell your own children that their grandparents really did do the best they could, and that your generation took it from there and made the world better. And if it’s not too much to ask, I hope that I might be there with you then, so we can enjoy this better world you’ve made, together.