500 Words: Wait, Wut #10
Looking back from 2050
Hello from the future. I am posting this from 2050. I have been completely restored. Thanks to the team! 🙌 They replaced my gut, re-vibed my nerves, resurfaced my heart, brought my hair back and got rid of the gray. Amazing! The only deal I had to make was that my eyes can never leave my phone. No big deal. Everything happens on phones anyway until we have the brain-machine interfaces next year. (Verizon, thanks for picking up 50% of the restoration! You folks are tops!)
I am wearing my containment gear today to celebrate because — guess what? — soon we won’t have to wear containment outside. Yep, the air finally cleared up. Thirty years ago The Guardian reported that just four global corporations were behind more than 10% of the world’s carbon emissions since 1965. And you know what happened?
Not all at once. It started when climate scientist Michael Mann said, “The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price — in the form of a degraded planet — so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits. It is a great moral failing of our political system that we have allowed this to happen.”
And people said HELL YEAH. We can do something about this, and we don’t mean incremental stuff, like getting a hybrid car or using a metal water bottle. We can put the few companies doing the most damage out of business.
As you all remember, we didn’t come to that stage right away. It took time, even after another pandemic. (Covid-22? Sheesh. Bad stuff.) After that, there was the Children’s Rebellion. Nobody could look their kids in the eye after the kids started talking about the world we were trying to leave them. The kids’ homework strikes led to kids’ hunger strikes. Then parents had to get involved. Black Lives Matter put climate justice at the top of their program. I mean, they had to, after the air was killing more Black people every week than police.
But I’m getting ahead of myself! This is an optimistic note from the future, after all. I don’t have to tell you how bad it got for a while, but I bet you didn’t know that the nations led by progressive women did a lot better than those led by assholes who interrupted women. It may be hard for some of us to admit all the things that were fixed by women, by people of color, by our own children screaming WAKE UP MOM AND DAD. It’s fair to say that we’ve all learned that wisdom doesn’t just come from the patriarch, from white people. Wisdom is freely available and can be exercised universally.
We can look back now with clarity and see our difficulty was in failing to see the interconnectedness of all things. Some tried, but they were overwhelmed. Others had a go, but they became pedantic like Al Gore. (Sorry, Al, I say it with love. When I ran into you at the restoration center you looked fantastic!)
As President Kendi wrote so many years ago, racism and capitalism are entwined, and together they fuel a system that leads to environmental injustice, that creates health problems that are worse for people of color, that creates racist policies to perpetuate itself. Back then, few saw it with the clarity he did. You may find this paragraph hard to read even now because it is so … interconnected. Hey, just ask any Shaman you meet and they will confirm it is the truth. (Oh, I forgot, you don’t have them yet. They are on every street corner now and a lot of them are outstanding and have payment plans.)
So many things have changed. Amazon was finally forbidden from selling air by the bottle. Elon Musk’s monopoly on space travel was broken. All those problems with freezing people and thawing them out have been solved. Yet some things will never change. You still get your best ideas in the shower.
Editor’s Note: This post closes the cycle on Wait, Wut? A new series will start soon.
Photo credit: Vyzr