Intergenerational justice requires that the environment we pass on to our children and grandchildren meets their basic needs and allows for a reasonable level of wellbeing.

Yet the world that we are handing on to younger and future generations is in the midst of an urgent environmental crisis. Climate change, resource depletion and extensive species loss are now at acute levels. We revel in a consumption culture that depletes the natural capital that future generations will rely on for their very survival.

And in failing to address environmental issues now we are also passing severe financial penalties onto future generations. As the Stern Report made clear, failure to act early and decisively on climate change could result in food, water and health crises worldwide, equivalent to losing at least 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year for the long-term future (and possibly up to 20%). The evidence is clear: acting quickly and effectively on climate change is not only an ethical imperative, but an urgent financial one.

IF sees these issues as central to its overall mission, and is working in partnership with the Alliance for Future Generations and other groups to build awareness and work for change.

Click here to read the Rio+20 submission paper.

The increase in the number of cheap air fares entices us to travel by air more and for shorter periods of times. These flights result in high altitude gas emissions which damage the atmosphere and take more than 70 years to disperse. We may consider flying less to short-haul destinations if the cost of flying becomes more expensive.  IF’s paper, Flying in the Face of Fairness: Intergenerational Inequalities in the Taxation of Air Travel argues that the removal of  the £11 billion annual subsidy received by the UK aviation industry, through tax-free fuel and being zero-rated for VAT, could reduce leisure air travel by a third.

The following blogs may be of interest:

The politically-motivated closure of an Ecuadorian NGO

Nuclear power for us, nuclear waste for generations to come

Oxford Martin School report: “Now for the Long Term”

Climate change is intergenerationally unfair on children

Alaska’s mining industry raises difficult questions about justice for future generations

After Rio+20: pressing for an ombudsman for future generations

Fighting over EU fish

Marine garbage pollution: an international problem

Dr Rupert Read launches his “Guardians of the Future” proposal

Environment protection in China: the government, NGO’s and young people

Re-organising for intergenerational justice

A parliamentary ombudsman for future generations?

How much are we willing to sacrifice for the future?

We need a new social contract between generations

Will future generations eat fish?