I Would Wish I didn’t
I will be turning 100 in 2096. That’s 77 years from now.
In 2096, our planet would still be a sphere, as blue as ever.
But everything on it would have changed. Including myself — with little to no hair, wrinkled skin, and a dozen of grandkids flocking at my feet.
While the mental image of little versions of my children is welcoming, there would be one universal change none of us welcomes — but eventually learn to live with. That change would (obviously) be none other than the massive and dramatic blow to our planet’s climate.
If I lived a hundred years, I would witness what is forced upon the younger generations by the leaders of today. I would witness the aftermath of a complete violation of inter-generational justice.
My children and grandchildren will be forced to make drastic lifestyle changes — because we’ve consumed their resources already, for our lavish way of life.
When I’m 100, the planet would have heated by an equivalent of 11 billion atomic bombs.
Most cities that boast economic returns and towering structures would be uninhabitable. Millions of people would go in search of ‘greener pastures’ — only to realize that there are none.
Chicago, Delhi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai among others, will be too hot to set foot on. They already are, heating the people up like frogs in a slow boiling pot of water.
Survival mechanisms like climate-controlled dome cities will become mainstream.
The rich, as always, will thrive in domes.
But lock the poor out.
Their screaming conscience will be silenced with lies — somewhere along the lines of “I have no choice, God will provide for the poor, this is survival of the fittest.”
But deep down, hidden away in a dark corner of their conscience, they’d know that they did have a choice— and time, 77 years ago.
Record-breaking storms and wildfires of today will frequent far North and South, even to the coldest parts of the planet. About 40% of the planet, including land and water, will experience extreme heat events.
Every now and then, there will be a billion-dollar loss in some part of the world. The rich countries will struggle with their losses, and fight for their lives. The poorest, the ones in the most affected list, however, will have nothing left to fight for.
Meanwhile, most of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets would have disappeared.
A resulting sea level rise of over 3 feet will alter the world’s landmass and change the course of life — forever.
I will teach my grandkids how beautiful the Island nations of Tuvalu, Maldives and Fiji were, when they existed.
And how, there once lived a snow-colored bear in the snow-covered Arctic, where trees now thrive.
Gone are the vibrant spectrum of corals that sheltered nearly a quarter of marine species. The fighters among these species would have evolved without corals. The rest, defenselessly, would have disappeared — never to return.
I will teach my grandkids how we still had time, back in 2019 to turn things around — but chose not to instead.
I will tell the names of leaders who once reigned— too consumed in their own worlds to spare a thought about the world at large.
More importantly, I will tell them, with my head hanging low, about the shame I carry.
The shame of belonging to,
i) The first generation that knew the full impact of our species on the planet’s ecosystems.
ii) And the last generation that carried a glimmer of hope — yet failed to turn things around.