This book contains hundreds of letters to future generations

When you might write a letter to a member of your loved ones, 1,000 years from now, what would you inform them?

Letters to the Future contains hundreds of such letters written by folks addressing their great-great-great grandchildren. With a projected lifespan of 1,000 years, the book, created by Vietnamese inventive company Ki Saigon, was constructed from a rainbow of single-use plastics that had been collected from streets and streams in Vietnam.

With 327 letters that had been collected from 22 nations, it reads like a time capsule of a planet on the brink. Hopeful and shattering without delay, it’s tangible proof of our noxious obsession with disposable plastics. With world warming nearing some extent of no return, it’s additionally an pressing reminder for us to take inventory of our habits and take motion whereas we nonetheless can.

The concept arose when Kumkum Fernando, Ki Saigon’s inventive director, watched a documentary that talked about that “each single plastic that has ever been made” remains to be round, someplace on this planet. “It’s widespread data now that plastic is sturdy and lasts for 1000’s of years or extra,” says Indraneel Guha, who cofounded Ki Saigon with Fernando 5 years in the past.


It’s essential to word that completely different plastics have different lifespans: fishing line has been tagged because the worst offender, taking over to 600 years to biodegrade, whereas plastic bottles have been estimated to take round 450 years to break down. Nonetheless, plastic has solely been in circulation for a century, so many of these figures are primarily based on long-term estimates by scientists and certainly, some conservative figures level to a 1,000-year lifespan.

For Letters of the Future, a lot of the plastic that was collected is taken into account single-use: from styrofoam (which takes about 500 years to decompose), to bubble wrap (it ranges from 10 to 1,000 years), to plastic luggage (up to 20 years).

As soon as collected, these plastics had been ironed in between baking paper sheets to fuse them collectively, lending the book a range of colours and textures. Every letter that was obtained was then scanned, become silkscreens, and individually hand-printed on every web page, retaining every writer’s handwriting. “We felt it’s essential for us to protect the unique handwriting of the author to keep true to the method,” says Guha.

Over the span of 4 months, Guha and his crew collected letters written in varied languages from all around the world—Brazil, Germany, Mongolia, Vietnam. The crew at Ki Saigon wrote a template letter that invited folks to think about receiving a letter from their great-great-great-grandparents and the emotions it might conjure. “Then we requested them to write such a letter to their great-great-great grandchildren as a result of we had discovered a manner to protect it,” says Guha, noting that they didn’t reveal precisely how the letters could be preserved.

Some folks shared secrets and techniques, Guha says, others determined to be nameless. In her letter from the U.S., a lady named Holly wrote: “What I need you to know is that it’s a unprecedented and precarious time proper right here, proper now, on Planet Earth—chaotic, fragile, and with deep adjustments afoot.”

Regardless of Holly’s somber word, Guha says love and compassion had been a recurring theme. “Additionally the significance of appreciating and taking care of what we now have round us and worth it.” He says considerations about local weather change had been not often specific, however that the theme felt pervasive all through, significantly via a lens of uncertainty in regards to the future, and a want to cherish the planet, “as a result of we want to take care of what we now have.”

Letters to the Future was funded by one of Ki Saigon’s purchasers: 4P’s, a Vietnam-based restaurant chain that’s known for its sustainably operated venues. Guha says the book displays the imaginative and prescient and values of 4P’s, and whereas the challenge could learn like a publicity stunt, it’s arduous not to fall in love with the core of its mission, which is to unfold consciousness in regards to the environmental toll of plastic and the sheer quantity of single-use plastics that has saturated our lives.


Because the first absolutely artificial plastic, Bakelite, was invented in 1907, our plastic consumption has gone via the roof. Researchers estimate that greater than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been produced for the reason that early Nineteen Fifties, when our habits actually took a flip for the more serious. Of these 8.3 billion tonnes, about 79% has accrued in landfills, dumps, or the pure atmosphere, just like the notorious Nice Pacific Rubbish Patch.

Vietnam, particularly, discharges greater than 1.8 million tonnes of plastic waste, solely 27% of which is recycled. Along with 4 different Southeast Asian nations, it’s answerable for extra plastic washing into our oceans than the remaining of the world mixed. Letters to the Future helps us visualize the impression of our plastic consumption in a manner that’s each participating and attention-grabbing (there’s even a tutorial on how to make your individual artwork utilizing recycled plastic scraps).

When lockdown measures ease up in Saigon, Ki Saigon has an exhibition within the pipeline, with artworks impressed by some of the letters, and screen-printed letters displayed alongside the book. After that, they need to carry the challenge abroad. “We would like to open it up to universities, colleges, and museums, so we are able to unfold consciousness to the trigger,” he says. “I’m glad that folks can see it and get impressed to make a change.”