Friday, July 28, 2017

Letter from the future

Dateline July 11, 2082

It’s 65 years to the day since the Larsen C ice shelf calved one of the ten largest icebergs ever up to that time. Within the next three years my grandpa told me it was like the break on a pool table in slow motion as the rest of the ice shelf broke up. While none of that changed the sea level as the ice shelf was already floating in the water, it did allow the glaciers that had previously fed the shelf to run free and speed up they did. Thirty years later when grandpa died the Antarctic continent of was only half covered in ice.

Just fifteen years after the calving event, when I was 7 years old, sea levels had already risen one foot. Today with sea levels four feet higher then when my grandparents moved to Texas, Galveston and Port Arthur are depopulated due to constant flooding and the damage done by three category 6 hurricanes over the last 50 years.

McAllen and Corpus Christi have taken a beating from mammoth hurricanes as well. Between higher sea levels causing the coast to move inland, hurricanes, and the collapse of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico all the little towns that used to be on the coast like Rockport and Aransas Pass are little more than ghost towns.

When I was little I remember being able to spend most of the day during the summer outdoors playing with my friends. Today no one goes outside between 9am and 7pm four months out of the year and yet more than 2,000 Texans die every year due to the 125 degree heat anyway.

The house outside San Antonio where my mom grew up and the one where I was born, along with just about all the others in the sprawl between San Antonio and Austin are abandoned. The desert has encroached half way to Houston and there isn’t enough water to live there anymore given that Nestle now owns nearly all the water rights.

Grandpa said some crazy president back when the ice shelf calved wanted to build a wall to keep Mexicans from crossing the border on foot. I find that hard to imagine because there’s nothing but a thousand miles of desert from Mexico City to nearly Houston. They can’t even get water at the Rio Grande unless there’s been a hurricane recently.

For hundreds of years nations have fought wars over natural resources; at the turn of the century it was oil now, we fight for potable water because it is the most precious resource of all. Some cities started recycling wastewater before I was born, now every city and town does it even if they have access to lakes or wells that have fresh water year round because they sell that water if Nestle doesn’t already own it.

When I was a kid we still had access to fruit and vegetables from all over the world but that’s almost impossible now as few countries can feed their own people. Countries now trade food for other food, not money unless the government is totally corrupt and even ruthless dictators know better than to let too many people starve.

Grandpa was politically involved to the very end. The thing that made him most angry was the climate change deniers. He said the scientists knew the environment was being wrecked and the politicians did nothing to stop it because it would hurt profits. Everyone knows now, but it’s too late.

They say the dome covering the city will officially be complete tomorrow.

Published in the Seguin Gazette July 21, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant and disturbing at the same time. There are so many warning signs: desertification, rising sea levels, worsening storms, depleted fresh water supplies, increasing temperatures... yet too many people in positions of power refuse to acknowledge the facts, choosing rather to demonize science. Let's work together to demand action from our leadership to help us create a safe and healthy world for our children and grandchildren.