Buried somewhere, deep in the unconscious of every sentient human being, is the awareness of the implacable fact of his mortality. Such private acknowledgement, for clearly practical reasons, is repressed, or deferred, in the well- adjusted person, to enable him to live spontaneously and productively. The reality of his human mortality is later impressed upon him by his aging, his experiences attending funerals, and by reports, personal and media, of the deaths of others.
The inevitably of death gains credibility and reluctant acceptance as we mature; it is then that the practical necessity of the preparation of a Last Will and Testament becomes appropriate. Customarily, assets of the decedent’s death are designed to be left, to borrow a legal phrase, to the natural objects of his bounty. There is some private sense of satisfaction in the expectation that the unused fruits of one’s labor will, by one’s act, enhance the lives of his beneficiaries, after his demise.
It is our observed experience that, aside from the all- important subjects of money and property, the bequest of personal physical objects, such as artifacts and collectibles, valued and cherished by the decedent, are especially productive of poignant and nuanced recollection of the deceased. The objective assets received are gratefully accepted, but thereafter not specifically identifiable with the identity of the deceased; personal property, specifically referable to him, will serve as his enduring memorial.
We, by analogy, have all been the fortunate beneficiaries of a green and extremely fruitful planet, graced by the beasts of the field and fauna of every description, as well as a diverse flora, displaying beautiful flowers, plants and trees; all in all, a lush environment and veritable nursery where evolution could take place; and ultimately, over uncountable eons, lead to the Homo sapiens, with an opposable thumb, and, most remarkably, an advanced brain. The inheritors of such a desirable planetary legacy, inclusive of fresh water and a clean, healthy atmosphere, thrived, formed human societies, and enhanced human life. Until the time of capitalistic industrialization, with its disregard for the planet and its inhabitants in favor of profits, man’s unearned legacy was passed on, inviolate, to his descendants.
Regrettably, it appears that the Earth’s generous, bountiful and hospitable environment, its water, flora and fauna, have been immorally and irresponsibly assailed by politically influential captains of industry (especially, but not limited to, the producers of power) with extremely deplorable and shameful results. With the surprising and disappointing assistance of our (formerly revered) Supreme Court, in the Citizen’s Union case, immoral plunderers of the Earth’s riches, could legally apply unlimited financial support to the profit- worshipping despoilers of our planet, its environment and of humanity’s health.
Our present government and its sycophants, in fervent worshipers of the great monotheistic Deity, Profit, but strategically heretical towards science, especially climate science, have intentionally and shamefully, turned a deaf ear to the millions of citizens who decry the destruction of the environment and who strive, in vain, for a return of rational and enlightened governance; one, significantly inclusive of the moral and responsible care and preservation of the environment and its inhabitants.
Our descendants will, accordingly, not be the natural beneficiaries of a green and fruitful planet (at least, to the extent that we were). They, undeservedly and without fault, will receive less than we ourselves freely inherited, then despoiled and ultimately, (meagerly and shamelessly) passed on to them. Our progeny and their successors, it seems, will inherit the empty legacy of a challenging atmosphere, unhealthy natural environmental resources, and the curtailed aesthetics of a chronically ailing planet.
In what manner, may it rationally be expected, that our descendants will memorialize us?