Environmentalism, not the word, which is heavy, or even the science, which is in flux, but the ideal, is the closest I’ve had to a spiritual guide. It’s hard to think of myself as a good person when the diapers from my childhood are still decomposing, and somewhere a bird lies dissected with one of my plastic building blocks lying in its belly. Long after my name has left anyone’s tongue, fragments of my dead video games will still float about at sea.

Help me to navigate this world of cups and bags and toys intended for a moment’s use, destined to outlive us all. Forgive me, please, for all the times I stayed silent, attempting to accept a gift as intended, rather than come off as self-righteous. The damage I’ve done from years of using our ancestors as fuel and our cousins as food will haunt me for the rest of my days. Forgive me for treating you as anything other than my home, for not seeing, for forgetting, that you and I have never been apart.

I know the path is unclear, that the panels atop my home and the batteries in my car are made of parts of you, of us, that can never be replaced, but between that and pumping our past into the sky until the future burns away, I choose the route of less harm. Less harm is still harm, and more harm than none, but all I can do is the best I can do, and nothing less. This is my vow.