Today, I make a promise to you. I do not want to leave a world without summer – a world without fall – a world without winter – or spring. I want you to remember playing under the camellias and eating spring onions and summer tomatoes from your parents’ garden. I want you to remember walks on the beach and crabbing off the dock along the Intracoastal Waterways. I want you to tell stories of sleeping on the beach at night and listening to the waves and not fearing that your beloved barrier island will disappear. I want you to feel free to hold the bubbling garden hose to your mouth and drink deeply cool water on a hot summer’s day. I want you to laugh when the radio says that school is canceled due to snow. I want you thrill at the first lilacs and daffodils and to be able to say, when spring passes, that you cannot wait until next spring. I want you to live in a place where the air is healthy, the water is safe, and the soil is healthy with life. I want you to know bird song, be able to name the turtles, lizards, and toads that live in the forest behind your house. I want you to be able to dream about the day you will travel to the Serengeti to see the plains of Africa teeming with elephants, lions, Springbok, and great flocks of birds taking to the sky. I want you see yourself dancing with monarch butterflies in Mexico or sitting quietly in a blind to see the dance of the Sandhill cranes along the Platt River.
I want you to know that your sisters and brothers, living along the rivers and shores in India, will not fear the loss of their village to rising water. I want you to sleep soundly at night knowing that real polar bears are roaming the ice way to the north. I never want to walk with you in a museum and say when I was a girl you could see birds like those along the lower Mississippi and that the beauteous panthers once prowled the Okefenokee along with alligators.
I want you and your sisters and brothers to be able to see the world through the eyes of wonder and with hearts filled with magic of the natural world.
I vow to do all I can do to care for this glorious world for you. I know that some will scoff at what I say and what I do, but I will not be deterred.
I swear to do everything within my power.