What Do We Owe to Future Generations?

Peter Doherty

“Although steps have been taken over the past 150 years or so to protect ‘heritage areas’ of great natural beauty, the idea that we have some long-term obligation to future generations has not resonated in the human discourse and is rarely, for example, enshrined in any substantial body of behavior, practice or law. Now, though, we face the irrefutable fact that many natural resources have been massively depleted, from fish populations to tropical rainforests. We are currently living through the sixth great biological extinction in the history of the planet, and we are the cause. In less than two centuries our species has consumed much of the readily accessible oil and we are now forced to tap deep resources where, as we are seeing off the West Australian coast, there is a great risk of major environmental damage …”