A while back I wrote a post entitled What If? in which I created a fictional scenario where the grid went down, and people were forced to fend for themselves. It got a surprisingly large amount of attention, comparatively speaking, and several people reached out to me to say they really enjoyed it and found it thought provoking. A few even expressed an interest in hearing what came next.
They wanted to know what happened in the days, weeks, and months following the event that took out the power for good and how Kayla and I would survive, what other challenges we’d face and how we would overcome them. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered continuing the narrative just for shits-n-giggles and turning it into a full-length story, but that wasn’t really the purpose behind why I came up with it in the first place.
While I do enjoy a well told story in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian setting, I don’t know that I really want to write one of my own. I do spend time pondering what it could look like should it ever actually happen, but that’s just for the sake of ensuring my own story doesn’t end where that one begins. Some people would call this a fear based or pessimistic way to live your life, but I don’t really agree there. I think that, with everything going on, thinking about things like that is simply realistic.
Even renowned scientist Stephen Hawking has suggested "With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious." Last year he reduced his previous estimate of 1,000 years before humanity would be threatened by potential extinction to only 100. This suggests to me that even some of the brightest minds of our time agree that there is some pretty serious shit headed our way. With many of the potential outcomes, there would be no real way of avoiding inevitable demise and nothing one could do to prepare themselves aside from live life as fully as they could before it was snuffed out. This being the case, I focus on the scenarios in which I might actually have a small chance of surviving.
And I don’t focus on them out of some sense of fear, it’s actually a sense of hope that drives me. I look around at our world today and see such a need for change. Unless we find somewhere else inhabitable soon and develop the technology to get there before the clock runs out, this planet is the only one we’ve got, and we can’t afford to ignore the things we’re doing to it anymore. And it’s not just to the environment either, even our population growth is out of control. We aren’t just multiplying, it’s become an exponential equation and if we continue on at this rate, within the next 80 years we will exceed Earth’s estimated sustainable population of 11 billion.
Where the hope part comes in is that, with our 7.5 billion and growing population and the number of distractions keeping us focused anywhere but on the big problems we face, I am seriously thinking it’s going to take some measure of cataclysmic event to put us back in check. Do I hope for such an event to occur? Quite honestly, yes, I do sometimes. I know that sounds like a terrible thing to think or say, but hear me out. I genuinely hope that something comes along that will force people to wake up before it’s too late because I’m starting to lose hope that we’ll do it on our own.. I’m not saying I hope for some disaster or pandemic to kill off a significant portion of the population like you’d see in some Hollywood film.
I’m thinking more like a near collision when you’re driving that makes you realize “Hey, perhaps I should put the phone down, stop texting about some trivial matter, and pay attention to what the fuck I’m doing”. Something where afterwards everyone can carry on with their lives unharmed but with a bit wiser perspective on things. I think this is where my fascination with an EMP/CME type event comes from. It’s the only scenario I’ve been able to imagine which doesn’t kill off a good deal of the population on its own or cause us to lose all of our skills and knowledge of modern technology, but it would put us back in touch with the true reality of living here on earth and what it really takes to survive rather quickly.
That particular reality is one that seems to be changing here on terra firma and I find it both alarming and comedically irritating. Sunday I was freezing my balls off in subzero temperatures. Monday, I drove back home in rather heavy snowfall. This Morning I woke up and there was still snow on the ground but when I ran errands, it was perfectly comfortable in just a sleeveless shirt and my vest. Even now, in the middle of the night it’s almost 60 degrees. By tomorrow early evening the meteorologists are predicting it will start to snow again and that we could get up to six to eight inches.
Let me just say that again… 60 degrees out right now, freezing and six to eight inches of snow tomorrow…. I know Ohio is known for wildly changing weather at a moment’s notice, but this still seems a bit extreme. If that, on top of everything else that’s going on, is not enough to convince you that something’s seriously fucky with our climate, I don’t think anything less than a metaphorical brick upside the head from mother nature is going to do the trick.
I want to do something about all this and be a positive force for change in the world instead of just sitting here bitching about it to a blank page, but I don’t even know where to begin. I look at the “World Leaders” and what they’re doing about it all and can’t help but feel like they’re just taking a break from their twitter accounts long enough to sweep up some small bits of dirt on the floor and ignoring the giant tornado on it’s way to tear the damn floor off the foundation of the house. I know we’ve got a lot of issues here in the US of A that require attention but in 100 years how much will World Trade or Immigration matter if there’s no world left to trade in or anyone still alive to immigrate anywhere?
This isn’t exactly a new problem that we didn’t see coming. Generations before mine (evidently, I was born shortly after the beginning of the “millennial” generation) knew things were heading south, but yet here we are. It’s not someone else’s problem to deal with anymore, it’s ours, and we need to start seriously doing something about it. I don’t have the faintest idea of what that something is, but apparently I’m an adult now, and I don’t want to leave my daughter with the same flaming pile of dog shit on her metaphorical doorstep that is currently sitting on ours.
In a weird sort of way, the longer I spend thinking about it, the more hopeful I’m feeling that we’ll somehow be able to turn things around. I know we millennials get a lot of shit, but I have faith in my generation and I think if anyone can change the world for the better, it’s us. And on that positive note, before I digress back into the alarming aspects of the world and get irritated or depressed, I’m going to call it a night and go lay down and spend the final few minutes before I drift off to sleep pondering how I might be able to do a bit more to be a force of positive change in the world. Thanks for reading!