The world ended on 2084.
The Earth didn’t explode or get hit by a giant meteor. The sun and the moon were still spinning in their celestial tracks. The zombie plague had not gone viral. In fact, those few who had survived the end of the world often scratched their heads after and asked, “How did this happen?”
Business had simply gone on as usual.
Everyone considers it natural to expand. For example, no-one has their bank account’s willingly reduced. No-one willingly shrinks the storage capacity in their phone. No-one willingly gives up their second car. There seemed to be nothing wrong with this collective mindset. Humans have always tried to expand in all aspects of their lives for all time, so why shouldn’t I? Thought no-one consciously, yet echoed throughout all of the human race’s subconscious. Or, to put it more simply, They did it so why not me?
So humanity expanded in all areas of their knowledge. Life generally improved as the years went by, slowly at first as in the discovery of the wheel and fire, then more and more rapidly until one generation could remember an entirely different kind of world than that in which their children were growing up in.
People are used to a standard of living set by all of those before them who endeavored to improve upon those standards that had been left to them. Consumption of energy, resources and just about every aspect of human life expanded, including the number of humans alive at one time. To give you some perspective, the global population has grown from around 1 billion in 1800 to near 7.08 billion in 2012. The population towards the end of 2016 will approach 7.5 billion people. In four years, the global population has increased by over 400,000,000 people. They all spend their days like most of you probably do: eating, drinking, buying and driving. Additionally, most people annually increase their consumption of resources and attempt to expand their lives as they get used to new standards of living. All well and good Rod, but what does all this have to do with the end of the world?
Well, expansion was a major contributing factor to the issue which effectively ended the world as we know it. There were many other factors involved which, if expounded upon, would fill several libraries. All of these factors, however, fall under one dirty little idea that many considered wasn’t in their influence to affect. Ironically, the concept which would bring humanity to its knees had been scoffed at and ridiculed by the general public since its inception. There was a small number of people who took it seriously… yet were unable to persuade the average citizen to even rationally discuss the subject. By the time that governments began enforcing serious plans of action towards rectifying their mistake on the issue, it was already too late.
Climate change had swung so resolutely into a positive feedback loop that by 2084, all former governments had been dissolved and the Grand Migration had begun.
This is the first in a series of posts I plan on releasing every Wednesday regarding the concept of worldbuilding. For those that are unfamiliar with this term, worldbuilding is the process of the construction of a fictional world. Many take this to its utmost extreme such as in the case of fantasy and sci-fi novels in which entirely different planets or laws of nature exist.
The worldbuilding process of my novel is a far cry from those types of universes. My world is based on Earth a century from now in which extreme runaway climate change has effectively decimated the human population by turning most of the world into barren deserts, an increase in natural disasters, a major rise in sea level and a number of other factors that are all scientifically probable in the event of increased global warming.
I use these terms almost unwillingly due to the negative connotation that has been placed on them since their inception. I am not the type to beseech you to go recycle or turn those lights off. I don’t think living in conservation and contraction, rather than our natural state of expansion, is the solution. I don’t know what the solution is and I doubt there is one catch-all that would solve the insanely complex climate change issue as it exists today. I’m honestly not fishing for a solution or a donation, I simply find the idea that this could happen worrisomely fascinating.
In so penning a novel about such a world in which ‘worse case’ climate change occurs I hope to raise awareness about the topic so that more people are better informed on the issue as it becomes ever more urgent to seriously address. On the upcoming Wednesdays, I will share about a variety of topics that are key in my worldbuilding process. If you enjoyed this please check back in next week for the next installment. Thanks for reading,