Cycle of re-incarnation would have you believe that you will reap, as early as within next life, what you sow. While this is certainly a fancy notion, this isn’t truth by any notion of reasonableness. Hence even if you wouldn’t have enjoyed what you do now – for example, luxuries of material progress, benefits of freedom struggle, developments of modern technologies – there is hardly an obligation, let alone nagging sense of guilt, for doing something for future generation.
May be I am selfish but I’ve got only one life. Barely 40 years of pleasurable existence (excluding pre-puberty and senility). There is nothing wrong in me to want to live only life the way I like. I didn’t ask to born, so there isn’t any purpose I am supposed to fulfill. If I am dead tomorrow, why should I even care what happens to rest of the world and rest of the people (and ants, mosquitoes, etc. for that matter). I wouldn’t even know and feel ever. Why should my narrow sense of kinship with fellow humans overshadow my sense of connectedness with the entire Universe? Should I feel depressed by falling of a star somewhere?
Admittedly, my progeny and kins will inhabit this planet after I’ve departed. Yet, what I do for future generation wouldn’t benefit them as much as what I do for my kids directly. If I think about it, I haven’t even met my descendants and I am not kind of person who gets worked up on what his bloodline is going to suffer in future. In that way, I am kind of a model citizen, beyond narrow interests of family and clan, equally indifferent to all.
Some will say that had this attitude been taken by our forefathers we wouldn’t have had what we do. But, who really knows? Could we have not been better? Did all those who worked on what they did do it for future generation i.e. us? What they did was their choice. My choice is to make optimal decision based on information in my hand at this juncture of my existence.
Assuredly, do what you like, and if it benefits next bunch of people in the world, well and good, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry. Want to buy plastic bags and drink water in paper cups? Be my guest (though you might want to check if it will start hurting you in this generation!) It’s a beauty of this big world that there will be some people who will disagree with even the best construed arguments. My role is to convince you that I (and you too) shouldn’t worry about future generation, with awareness that some of you wouldn’t get convinced, and end up doing (possibly) something good for future generation, which makes my not worrying not as troublesome as I could be. Ironically, success of my argument depends on the failure of my argument. But, either way, who gives a damn?