Twelve Years

Twelve years. That was the number they were left with. It felt like a death sentence. Twelve years to change the world and make sure things would not end up as dire as they could be. Of course it felt like a death sentence pronounced while on the back of a giant sea monster. Sure, things could be changed but the rampaging monster refused to turn back.

It’s a myth. Here’s a snowball.

What did it matter to the high and mighty if this lumbering heat continued? Politicians could retire to their air-conditioned mansions. As the consequences grew dire, they could simply pay to avoid the destruction. Sell their seaside homes and move further inland. These dire days would not affect the rich, they would affect the poor.

Year One

The first year was not so different from the years before. The summers continued to be the hottest on record. The rains fell harder during the winter. The heat map continued to burn in colours never needed prior. No major change from the politicians.

With a full week of temperatures in the mid-40s, Winston and his colleagues at the hospital found themselves inundated with older patients who would have died from heatstroke or the like. Some of them only survived because of a concerned neighbour. He heard from friends at the morgue that others weren’t quite so lucky.

 

Year Two

2020 brought the worst bushfires since Black Saturday to Winston’s home state of Victoria. He had planned some time off up the East Coast in early February as that was the best time to avoid families following the end of the school holidays. He’d planned to drive up. His plans were cut short when the Hume was closed due to bushfires. However, as the fires and the month ravaged on his concerns seemed trivial. The numbers were devastating. 349 dead, 714 displaced. Winston and his hospital were awash with burn victims. As soon as news spread about the fires, some of the more experienced nurses had warned him of the influx. Those that had been there for previous bushfire catastrophes like this one.

Perhaps it was better than Winston missed his summer holiday that year. Tropical cyclones battered Brisbane and the Gold Coast where he’d planned to spend most of his time by the pool. Following the disasters, politicians came on TV and continued to spew hot air into the wind.

Something must be done.

But it won’t be. Wouldn’t be.

 

Year Three

This year wasn’t as dire as the year previous. At least in terms of climate. European world leaders met throughout the year to look like they were doing something. Some of them met their targets in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Others very much didn’t. The Americans elected the reality TV President to a second term. His opponents were a dozen milquetoast options with the primary opposition candidate talking about healing the rift through compromise. To everyone, that sounded like capitulation. Perhaps it was. Towards the end of the year, the President joked about his job would be much easier without Congress. He joked about consolidating the branches of government. Winston’s own government smiled for the cameras and shook the President’s hand. Then they would slink back home and condemn his words and actions.

 

Year Four

The new cycle was dominated by tsunamis this year. A bright spot in the continuing dirge of a news cycle was the news that Mar-a-Lago was flooded this year. In fact, floodwaters managed to ruin the President’s golf course as well. Not much solace considering he abolished Congress like he threatened to last year. Sparked a lot of protests that one. Naturally, there was a group of people who wanted to protest but couldn’t leave their work as they faced unemployment. Unemployment came with its own host of issues in America with the President’s Work for Welfare system.

The Amazon is disappearing. The ongoing corruption scandals are affecting the Brazilian government but agribusiness still takes the mandate that their President gave them on his first day in office.

 

Year Five

            My world’s on fire, how about yours?

Yellowstone exploded this year. It was bound to happen eventually but feels related to everything going on this year. The US is naturally unequipped to handle as its coastlines disappear and a sizeable portion of their land was set ablaze. Ash also prevented a lot of air travel this year. Canada and Russia are in a standoff as the Arctic melts and they find themselves closer than ever before. Transport is easier in that part of the world now. The Northwest Passage hasn’t frozen over in a couple years. That got lost in the news cycle. More locally, the price of air conditioning has soared due to demand this year. However, there are some good solar policies which are keeping electricity prices down. Quite a few countries are offering good policies on renewable energies, particularly solar. Mostly because the sun shines 15% more often throughout the year.

 

Year Six

Halfway there and things are not looking good. Like a train heading for a cliff, there’s only one way to go and we haven’t slowed down at all. There are a few good policies around the world. Cheaper renewables and the like. Agriculture has been downsized as livestock perish in untenable numbers. The reduction of livestock also means less jobs to go around. Unemployment has risen in a lot of places. It hovers around 10% in most countries these days. Course that’s pure unemployment, nobody’s counting underemployment in that figure. In places like the UK, it hovers around 15%. In the US, it’s around 25%. There was an election in America this year. Doesn’t much matter as there was only one candidate. After her father passed earlier this year of a heart attack, she took up the family legacy. Ostensibly, the VP is in charge but that seems to be in name only. Lots of the Washington stories note that the daughter is the real power. She did end up pardoning her husband after his brief stint in federal prison.

 

Year Seven

The train keeps on coming, It’s coming around the bend…

There used to be a time when we produced enough food for everybody. Well in excess, in fact. Between the collapse of the livestock industry, the increasingly dire droughts, and the failing of the global fisheries, food is becoming something of a commodity. Winston took to eating every second day to spread his budget further. Every two months, he’d treat himself to a steak dinner. The lack of nutrients was beginning to affect everyone’s capacity for work. Wages continued to stagnate. Not many people have money for luxuries anymore so large sectors of the arts and entertainment sectors are flailing.

 

Year Ten

Rations are in effect. The world watched another sham election in the US. Billionaires are seriously talking about abandoning Earth. Some have suggested Mars. Automation threatens an even larger sector of the workforce. Climate refugees have started fleeing their sinking islands as the authoritarian governments of the world continue to close their border.

I’m not sure how much longer we’ll survive.

 

Year Twelve

 

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