According to United Nations predictions, mother earth welcomed her seven-billionth child on October 31, 2011. If we play the odds, it was probably a boy, and probably born in either China, or India. Regardless of gender, or home nation, happy belated birthday baby!
Today, well after many nations have already welcomed their own symbolic seven-billionth milestone, I would like to pass on my best wishes, and hopes for you in the years to come.
You have arrived into a world filled with seemingly unlimited potential, fuelled by the creativity, intelligence and vision of your many brothers and sisters. You will hear about their exploits: how they mapped the globe, climbed the highest mountains, navigated the longest rivers, and explored the heavens of the night sky.
Like you, they were filled with wonder, and excitement. They sought to learn, and share their knowledge. Some were great inventors, learning to fly like the birds, and making the world a smaller place with amazing technologies. Some were great doctors, fighting sickness and disease, and allowing everyone the chance to live a happier, healthier life. Some were great communicators, whose inspirational messages told us to respect the earth, as well as each other. While others taught us to share, look after one another, and not to fight.
These are all great things, and represent much of what is wonderful about your new family. But, your life will not always be easy. As you grow up in your great big world, you will be met with many challenges. You will be tempted to avoid hard decisions. You may be convinced to look upon grief, and sadness as purely negative, something to be avoided at all costs, and lose sight of their lessons. You may be overcome with circumstances that cloud the real issues, and make it harder to find your way. You may be coerced into thinking about you, and you alone. And sometimes, you may see the very worst examples of our human condition.
But, amidst all of this, I wish for you the ability to think, and look for meaning and hope on the periphery, and in places where it might not readily appear. I wish for you the desire to grow your knowledge and creativity to the betterment of all around you. Lastly, I wish you a never-ending sense of wonder, at the rainbow that makes up your extended family, at the natural world you share, and has been entrusted to you, and at your important, and deserved place within it.