Protecting my newborn granddaughter

Riley Anne Mesnick is my new granddaughter, born on March 14, 2013.  Riley is unique in a number of ways, including genetically.  In a world with more than 7 billion people, there is nobody quite like her.

As an aside, 7 billion is an awful lot of big mammals for this Earth to deal with. More about that another time.

Riley is also unique in having famous parents, Jason and Molly Mesnick, who met each other, experienced a lot of drama, and later married their lives on national television.  Riley will soon make her debut in Peoplemagazine.  Not every kid gets to do that.  Pictures soon!

So Riley’s unique.  But she’s also special in the way that all newborns are special.  She didn’t ask to be here.  With our encouragement, her parents made her happen.  They and all of us are responsible to her and all newborn babies.

I think every newborn should come with an instruction manual.  Not having seen one (they might be out there), I’ll offer a thought or two on what would be in it if Grampus (which is my name to my grandchildren) wrote it.

Risso's dolphins or grampuses (Grampus griseus) São Caetano, Azores (Portugal); photo by Nikki Humphrey
Risso’s dolphins or grampuses (Grampus griseus) São Caetano, Azores (Portugal); photo by Nikki Humphrey

A good Newborn’s Instruction Manual should inform every newborn: “The world you get is the one we’re giving you.  We didn’t give you much choice in our decision.”

Then it would add: “So because we love you, and you can’t choose for yourself yet, we owe you good choices. We promise to make good choices for you.”

“We’re going to give you a healthy planet.”

“We’re going to give you magnificent forests and oceans abounding with life.”

“We might well owe you more, but we owe you newborns that much, at very least.”

As a grampus, I think that if we really do love our newborns, that’s what we’ll do for them.

We shouldn’t tell them we’ll try to do it.  Because as one of my favorite philosophers said:

It’s not reassuring to tell newborns that we’re going to try to save the Earth.

Trying isn’t good enough.

We’re going to do it.

You and I are going to do for Riley and the others.

Our babies.

Elliott Norse, Founder and Chief Scientist, Marine Conservation Institute


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *