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Regret and apology of a generation

Regret and apology of a generation

Writing in Arab news, Hassan Yassin says we’re leaving a depleted and damaged planet to future generations, and that our greed may undo more than a century of progress.

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October 12, 2010 1:28 by



Demand for food, energy and fresh water are expected to jump by up to 50 percent over the next 20 years, attempting to provide for an estimated 8 billion human beings. It is difficult even to imagine the additional cost this will place on an already fragile environment. Our concept of constant and ever-higher growth does not seem adapted to the world we live in; yet hardly anyone seems to pay much attention to the resources we are depleting, the damage we are doing to our planet, or how to develop methods to keep those negative effects in check.

A handful of international officials sit down every few years in Kyoto or in Copenhagen, disappointing anyone who cares about the effect we are having on the planet, and pushing problems off for others to deal with. In Saudi Arabia too we are being somewhat irresponsible with our use of energy and resources. An expanding population will depend largely now on desalination of seawater, which is costly in both energy and money. Yet we continue to build large developments with huge gardens and need for water. Since we had degraded our aquifers already, we think that with enough money, but no concrete action, we can buy our way out of this problem, making drinking water out of the sea and growing food in other countries.

We must get a grip on ourselves sooner rather than later, or we will completely spin out of control. We need some clarity and fast. I already feel like we have failed our children and grandchildren; that we should all be apologizing to them for the damage we so recklessly caused to the planet that sustains us, more importantly to their future. We simply did not manage to do the right thing and now we leave them with little except one massive burden. For this we should all be sorry and do something fast to rectify what we still can.

— Arab News



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