Paradigm Time: Two Tales of the Future
Book 1: Resource Wars
THREE GENERATIONS had passed since the beginning of the new century and for each, the struggle for survival had become harder. At the turn, warnings and alarm bells had been sounded for years by scientists, environmentalists, thinkers, and those of conscience about our perilous position on a fragile broken planet. There were some small changes, an increased awareness perhaps, but a concerted call for deliberate action by governments and by their populations had never occurred. People had continued to concentrate on their own small sphere of family or region or culture and had failed to pull together toward any common purpose. With the urgent necessity of those in the world to view all of humankind as being in this together somehow never having come into fruition, we had continued to think only of ourselves and our immediate families and even more jealously protect what we had from those that might need it, too.
Sufficient and quality water sources and safe, adequate food production had become seriously compromised because of an accelerated environmental degradation when the wasteful world had continued to pump dry the irreplaceable ancient aquifers, had continued to poison and deplete the agricultural lands, had continued to cut forests and to pollute and overfish the oceans, had continued to gash and rip open the earth to pull out the oil and coal, and had continued to pave over and urbanize our open spaces. We had neglected our stewardship of the earth in favor of short-term materialistic benefits. Ignoring severe signals at the beginning of the century had taken us past the point of recovery and now, sixty years later, we were paying the price.
Food supplies had reached a breaking point within the first twenty years of the new century when no effort at controlling population growth throughout the world had led to an inability to feed the many mouths that now over-peopled the planet. Adding seventy million to our numbers every year was insanity and a blindness, a breakdown in intelligent thought. For religious or cultural reasons, no attention to policies or management to keep the numbers of humans at sustainable levels was ever pursued. Even though resources were becoming more scarce, very few felt the need to address this issue and the three billion people added in the first fifty years of the new century had brought unbelievable pressure on a now untenable position for civilization.
The poisoning of our atmosphere had brought devastating weather changes to every region of the world. Violent hurricanes pounded our shores, massive tornadoes tore our cities and towns apart. As no rain fell in the previously strong agricultural areas, too much rain flooded areas that had been relatively more arid in normal times. Now, extreme and severe and powerful weather events were to be expected. We were being treated as the short-sighted, self-indulgent children that we were and Mother Nature, as any mother can after so very many disappointments and bad behavior, had grown tired and impatient with us. And no longer could she take care of us or could support us or could protect us. We had been part of a throwaway society and that is exactly what had happened, we had thrown it all away.