This article in The Guardian gave me an entirely new perspective on our responsibility protect the environment for our future.
[...] current generations have an over-riding moral duty to their children and grandchildren to take immediate action. Describing this as an issue of inter-generational justice on a par with ending slavery, [leading NASA climate scientist Prof Jim] Hansen said: "Our parents didn't know that they were causing a problem for future generations but we can only pretend we don't know because the science is now crystal clear.
"We understand the carbon cycle: the CO2 we put in the air will stay in surface reservoirs and won't go back into the solid earth for millennia. What the Earth's history tells us is that there's a limit on how much we can put in the air without guaranteeing disastrous consequences for future generations. We cannot pretend that we did not know."
It's unfortunate, and I believe unnecessary, that it should take us humans several generations to learn such big and important lessons, but rather than complain about it we should take a proactive approach within our own lives.
I'm constantly looking for ways that I can change existing habits, or create new ones, that will work towards sustainability: Telling the cashier that I don't need a bag when I'm purchasing items I can simply carry; requesting reusable cups/mugs at cafes, declining receipts when I know I'll just throw them away. Every little bit helps.