Water everywhere, and not a single drop is clean, thought LJ. Gazing out from the deck of the ark, he saw an endless expanse of water that, after 500 days of rain, now completely covered the planet. Life on home ended in 2020 when human-induced climate change reached a tipping point, the South Pole glaciers melted rapidly, creating intense relentless storms.
Annie and LJ were entering their second year of living on the water. Years earlier, in anticipation of the global catastrophe, the couple began working with environmentalists building massive arks. Because of their relationship with the International Seed Vault, they were assigned the Ark of Seed Agriculture, which became the new home to over 930,000 seeds representing the word’s entire biodiversity.
LJ checked the water barrels that held their clean water. It was all they had for drinking, bathing, and watering their numerous gardens. Part of their responsibility included raising plants and harvesting the seeds to be used by other arks for growing their food. It was intense and nonstop, but both understood they were responsible for seeds that would be used someday to replant earth.
He went down to the lowest level of their home, where Annie was checking the colossal nets attached beneath. The nets had been designed to capture debris but allowed fish and other water life to pass through unharmed. At the end of each week, the nets were hoisted on the deck and emptied. Recycling, reusing, and repurposing the contents was a herculean task, and one that every ark was responsible for doing. It was recognized that cleaning up the waters would take decades. Nonetheless, it had to be done if there was ever going to be a hope of living on earth again. Each ark was designed with a shared cataloging system that tracked clean-up. Its progress reports helped keep spirits lifted and served as a focal point for everyone to see how their work supported the common goal.
Still, the deep sorrow over the loss of earth permeated their lives. Today LJ was having a hard time with his thoughts.
Annie walked over and wrapped her arms around him. “I think you’re having a rough time. Feel like talking about it?”
“Yes, I am having a tough moment. I cannot stop thinking about all the opportunities we had to avoid catastrophic climate change. For example, we knew that 80 percent of the world’s population lived in countries that ran ecology deficits, using more resources than their ecosystems could renew. Calculations showed that it took the planet 18 months to regenerate everything used in a 12 month period. We were taking more from nature than our planet had the capacity to renew in the year. We also knew that two-thirds of human-made CO2 emissions could have been removed from the atmosphere by replanting our forests worldwide. That was the number one climate change solution.”
“I know, LJ. There were so many actions we could have taken. Like in our homes, eliminating plastic because it was produced from fossil fuels that emitted greenhouse gases, which allowed more of the sun’s rays to enter the atmosphere — trapping heat and making it hotter. Or Meatless Mondays, because we knew that the livestock industry contributed the most greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. We could have used a power strip to turn off idle devices since reducing energy consumption meant reducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere”
“Annie, it’s true, there was an effort on the part of countries and people who took climate change seriously and worked to head it off, but we could have done so much more because now billions have died and the rest of us are living like this; floating on water that is completely contaminated. We must fix this …
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced to the readers of the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.