This I Believe

Olivia - Buda, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: fear, purpose, work
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I believe that procrastination and wastefulness has killed mankind. Not AIDS, avian flu, obesity, Global Warming, nuclear holocaust, or even a freak asteroid that broadsided us out of nowhere. Those would just be symptoms (though perhaps not the asteroid). No, man was killed by regular old garden variety procrastinating wastefulness. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Last year I had a Communications Applications teacher who told us in either much fancier or much plainer words (depending on who one asks) the following: “We’ve screwed up the planet, but you’re the one’s who’ll be around for it. It is up to you to correct the mistakes of those of us who knew about it and did nothing.” These words, or a variation thereof, have been repeated over and over again by other people—friends, parents, teachers—within the confines of lectures, idle chatter, and white noise one usually filters out with the rest of the useless information. But, the fact that this message more and more often appears should be alarming at worst and interesting at best. As it is.

Mr. Smith, the aforementioned teacher, was supposed to broaden our horizons and teach us the art of communicating with a large number of people. He achieved both, but the picture he—and many others—painted of the world was less than perfect. Children starve, wars rage, nuclear holocaust looms on the horizon, Global Warming—acknowledged or not—creeps up on the world, and the environment steadily falls into decline and decay. The world knows this, as proved evident by the frequent lamenting over such subjects, and yet nothing happens. Enter procrastination. Self-indulging, selfish, selective occurrences of mononucleosis have trapped the previous generation in a continuous loop that plays a broken record. “Look what we’ve done. God help us. You fix it.”

An argument has been made to the court by the defense. “There’s work being done! The next generation just has to carry on the work set out by their elders and all will be well.” Ladies and gentlemen of the court, by then it will be too late. Generations before me created a mess, and then created the new generation that contains myself in such a way as to continue perpetuating the damage. In this way has man destroyed himself.

By wastefulness this present world was created. Through procrastination it was passed on to us, the next, and, according to Mr. Smith and many others, last, generation. Now passing the buck may no longer be available as an option. The sands of the hourglass slip quickly and are few, so procrastination and wastefulness must be obliterated. The problems of tomorrow must be taken care of today—like a homework assignment. Everyone’s heard the expression “Thanks for nothing.” For once, it’d be nice for it to have a positive connotation.