Fading against the azure sky of our dying planet the burning ball ignited more remnants of the living. Night was no longer dark but a glowing red. Dust swirled in eddies on the crisp tortured landscape. Fire our ever-present demon was wasting all that is now brown - natural green had been erased from humankind's memory.
Air is now a thin stale reminder of sealed smoke filled rooms. With no trees alive to replenish our atmosphere with fresh oxygen we're left to struggle for each breath.
Most of our species waits in quiet solitude; we've lost all hope in a future that would include us. Precious tears flow down cracked wind burnt faces - the faces of the condemned.
Water rations have been cut again. Great oceans used to lap against lush continents teaming with life. They've evaporated. Some of our more accurate records not tainted by multi-national corporate/government propaganda indicate we lost these treasures thirty years ago. No water remains anywhere on the planet. We've been recycling our wastewater but over time it also vanishes before our eyes.
Long past the point of desperation we just watch the burning ball rise in the morning and fall in the evening. We're numb, no emotion remains, our lips are fixed with pain; we know our fate.
No child has been born for over eighty years - to much suffering, why expose those with bright promising eyes to a world doomed to liquidation. Rusty reminders of their hopeful play litter the cracked ground.
With no progeny our scraggly race of degenerates is down to a few hundred who are chronicling our destruction. Ours is a story of complacency; we sanctioned our planet's destruction, the murder of life perpetrated by a few greedy sociopaths - we accepted the death of our beautiful home.
How can words express our combined sorrow? We let it happen. Now we will soon leave this treasure that we called Earth realizing that it's clear air, pleasant cool evenings, brilliantly white winters, crystal clear aqua colored waters, towering snowcapped mountains, lush green forests, and abundant beasts, fish, & foul have been blown to dust by our thoughtless pillage. We were all to blame there were no blameless.
Those who sat idly by while large business combines corrupted the moral fabric of our society in the interests of their own self-centered interests are to blame. Those who ignored every factual report that predicted ecological disaster are to blame. Those who ignited misinformation to assist the ill begotten excessive profits of a few powerful world controllers so they could continue to rape the planet for that additional private plane, yacht, castle, or hip bound lobbyist are to blame. Those who burned gasoline in rolling planet killers spewing carbon out of huge tailpipes are to blame. Those that supported a cheap labor "free market global economy" that dumped cheaper and cheaper product trash onto the marketplace that had to be replaced sometimes yearly are to blame. No we're all to blame, my parents and grandparents especially.
My tears drip in my quiet solitude down my ashen death painted face.
We are the hundred or so who've decided to leave this warning to any passersby that happen to land on this planet of sorrows. A terrible wrong was committed in the name of money that can never be rectified - it's now too late.
Dumping toxins in our waters, clear cutting thousands of old growth forests, the destruction of entire ecosystems, the pumping of tons of carbon into the once clean air by coal fired power plants, and all the other destructive practices of a species devoid of a conscious let alone practical sense doomed us to an executioners final gasp.
Those who walked before us only to drop hard on the lifeless rocky ground were emaciated skeletons with bore-holed eyes of hopelessness.
This was the early years when the last children were carrying clubs that they used to beat they're weaker parentless peers over the head with in a degenerate fit of survival - they'd resorted to cannibalism earlier than the adults.
Those who'd lost their morality committed savage acts of rape, killing, and torture. Hopelessness bred a rootless society of granite callousness that accepted any act of degenerate poison. Therefore cannibalism was the least of the despicable tragedies committed by our contaminated souls.
Forests once covered large expanses of the land but they were wiped out and turned into muddy lifeless bogs. Rainforests that supported the most profound diversity of life found in any region were left exposed to a beating tropical heat. Unsheltered the moisture rich soil evaporated leaving clumps of broken worthless topsoil - that is the topsoil that hadn't blown away or runoff into the ocean. Hypocrisy ruled the day with multitudes of the most adapt spin experts praising all the virtueless contaminated souls whose efforts resulted in the land rape.
No effort was to disgusting for those special doctors of capital fiction who buttered the pole that was used expertly to force the average citizen into a very difficult position. Power held with every punishing thrust left a grimace of pain on those of us who attempted to stop the trashing of our planet. These contaminated souls some lawyers, most lobbyists, and others just lower level bile sucking leaches would beg to be on the frontlines of the fight against their fellow citizens.
Most of the citizens of this time had but a single desire, to enjoy a modest standard of living in harmony with their environment. This simplicity was at odds with the mega businesses that came to pillage. No clean, clear, and uncorrupt thought had ever graced the princes of the ivory towers.
Only a few out of a burgeoning population that had reached into the billions spoke up or took action against those who came to raze. The criminal gang that orchestrated the global business/government razing of income and natural resources from our fragile planet used every means at their disposal to silence those who fought their tyranny.
For it was a tyranny, a tyranny of forced acceptance - just accept you're apportioned thrust of the buttered pole in silence. Just let the pirates pillage you're neighborhood, town, village, jobs in the name of cheaper labor, natural resources, and whatever they fervently deemed reasonable per their book of ultra-capitalist dogma.
How dare you question the selectively appointed intelligentsia that these business pirates carried in their back pockets like spare change? No one challenged what they knew deep down to be wrong because they'd been brainwashed into believing that their thoughts were meaningless drivel compared to the anointed professors of multi-national business thought.
Even when the swarms of bug's descended upon our cities after an especially oppressive summer these legions of expert opinion took their payoffs as they fitfully swatted bugs from their satisfied lips that worked furiously to spill concocted lies; all is well they told us, this was just a natural circadian rhythm even though no record existed of this 'normal' infestation. Before long these 'normal' in-flight infestations were transformed into a new normal that we tolerated. Toleration over time was a slippery slope that led us to the intolerable.
If we could only be granted the wisdom that we now have, the knowledge, the certainty of our convictions that we now possess, the intolerance of injustice that we wasted, just maybe we could have averted the extinction of our species.
What we failed to realize was that every frittered second was a lost opportunity that brought us closer to a blazing fiery torch, a pitiless baking of humankind in a deep fryer innocuously called "Global Warming". If we'd only realized the depth of our loss; the loss of all living creatures, the loss of all the promise that could have been humankind, the loss of our majestically beautiful world - so tragic is our realized loss no words can adequately describe the pain we feel now.
This document is our attempt to convey this loss, it is our testimony to the single most profound tragedy that could warp any society of sentient beings - please continue to read our warning, don't let your future slip through your hands. Those seeking profit in the short-term should never trash the environment for future generations.
At this very moment outside our dirty hovel that where powering with the last working generator in an attempt to write this document the wind is howling at two-hundred kilometers per hour. Our hovel is constructed of two-meter thick solid concrete with an airtight seal engaged for just these types of "burning dust storms". A mere breath of this dust would fry our lungs to a crisp in a few seconds; we're all acutely aware that this chamber will eventually become our tomb.
It's hard to convey just how inhospitable our environment is but during our writing of this document we'll relate to you a few daily events over these last remaining days of our lives that should 'bring home' how the end would come for those who don't heed our warning.
All of us agree that complacency is the ultimate enemy. If left to spread through independent minded individuals it will over time intellectually incapacitate an entire society turning it into an amorphous mass of Jell-O. You never see it coming for it sneaks up behind you promising to rid society of discord when all it does is eliminate thoughtful discourse. Beware of this peaceful state of accepted 'mind mush' because it is analogous to turning on the gas jets of your range in a closed room without lighting them - sure you'll fall into a peaceful sleep but it will also be your last.
When people begin to block out reality because it is too harsh to contemplate they have crossed the fine line from stable logic based reasoning into an unstable unreality that guarantees societal stasis. The societal sub-system then falls into a state of stasis that cannot exist within a dynamic ever-changing universe; it is doomed to extinction. It is therefore imperative that reality remains the touchstone that all members of a community base their actions upon - any other measure is illusory.
We had many within our community that adhered to their alternate universe of pleasant outcomes right up to their last blue faced gasp of oxygen depleted air. They just refused to acknowledge that humankind could ever become extinct; it just wasn't even possible, somehow these ultra-optimists believed that humankind was allotted a special place among all known species, we could warp all our information away from straight-line reality and still escape the consequences.
These believers in the impossible couldn't comprehend that humankind had to play by the same rules of survival as other species and that we weren't ordained special or exempt from the consequences of our actions.
* * *
My name is John, I've been elected by the others to tell my story because it is equally tragic - it is representative of all our lives, of our loss. I was born to an upper middle class family in Iowa City, Iowa during the "Great Floods" that left most of the city submerged.
Father was a professor of Climatology at the University of Iowa. Mother kept the home clean, tutored both my sister & me, cooked, and read constantly so that she could be father's intellectual sparring partner. It was a testament to mother's mental capabilities that she was able to meet dad head on regardless of the subject that he'd decided to immerse in for the month. This was no easy task for mom since dad was the unrecognized preeminent mind of what was to be our last century.
For better or worse we'd ended up in Iowa not out of any first choice on the part of mom or dad, it just happened, circumstances aligned to deposit us smack in the heartland of the United States.
In a fairer more equitable world that valued competence over fluffy box thinkers dad would have been the acknowledged leader in any field he'd set out to make his domain but you have to understand this wasn't a world that was fair or rooted in reality. This was a world run by a pack of smooth talking incompetent takers so here we were in a place that rained too much, had far too many bugs, dusty back roads, arctic winters, and no spectacular scenery. But what it had in proliferation was competent, mostly quiet, relatively friendly people that didn't have any difficulty in recognizing reality; this was very unusual in a world that lived in illusion.
Iowa became our home like a good well-made coat not marketed by some well-known designer but warmer on bitterly cold days than its flasher cousins.
My days were pretty much filled from morning to evening with study either at school or at home. Not a moment passed that my parents didn't emphasize the importance of a good education. They weren't so hung up on an education for the sake of accruing a collection of diplomas but believed that learning took many forms. Most of all they instilled in me a continuing quest for knowledge.
This quest tied into dad's unquenchable desire to understand even the most obtuse topics. He just couldn't satiate his need to know - not just on a basic level but in-depth, to the core. I can still see him crouched over his notebook computer researching, writing, and analyzing the latest intractable problem beseeching the world. Oh yes, dad really believed he could change the world if only enough people would see his remedies.
Dad's optimism was unquenchable and so was mine. Over time dad would deteriorate into this old man that no one bothered to consult even though he had a treasure trove of revolutionary creations.
Remember, the world was run by fool's intent upon using it and the citizens who lived on it up to fill their personal kingdoms with many more material possessions than they could ever use. This fact that dad was acutely aware of never dampened his enthusiasm for passing onto an intellectually comatose population an endless supply of out-of-the-box solutions. He truly believed that over time enough people would be reading his blog and books to eventually make a difference.
The problem was he was running out of time and the world had already run out of time. Unaware to dad his body was being eaten up by terminal cancer that would put this unconstrained humanitarian genius in the ground within two years.
During that time dad worked like a fiend sometimes getting only four hours of sleep. This wouldn't have been so bad but dad was the sole breadwinner. It is my firm belief that if it weren't for this grueling schedule that he imposed upon himself he probably would have lived an additional year or two. But the loss to humankind's last remaining archive of knowledge our race's legacy would have been a drop in the bucket if it hadn't been for dad's contribution.
This electronic library spanning the creations of minds from Plato to Helen Robards along with our message is a proud testament to the intellectual potential of humankind. It is a reflection of what we could have become if we would have been able to rid ourselves of that top layer of incompetent leaches that kept dragging our societies, governments, and businesses into the gutter.
But when we, the last human inhabitants of this once stunningly beautiful world die, at least it will not have been in vain. This is because this great repository of knowledge, our gift to other sentient beings that happen to visit this planet will be waiting regardless of how long their arrival takes; this vast store of knowledge is secure within a vault five hundred feet below this greeting dome.
It is especially brutal outside today with the temperature reaching two hundred and sixty degrees. The dust and sand whipped up from a barren global land laid waste has obliterated the image coming through our video feed to a single dark tan picture.
The thermo solar collectors moored in solid concrete deep into the crust are unable to function during burning dust storms such as this so we are forced to rely on battery power and our single generator. Just maintaining a comfortable temperature of around seventy-five degrees takes an enormous amount of power given that on good days the average temperature outside is one hundred and seventy degrees.
To make matters worse our water and food supplies are seriously depleted but we know we will die - we have no future - no hope. Writing this warning and our library preparation tasks are the only reason we don't just meet our maker sooner.
My family wouldn't reach a similar point of desperation for five years but once the environment started to disintegrate - literally disintegrate; ozone was gone and greenhouse gases had made cool breezes a distant memory.
In Iowa the capable citizens resolved that this or any other natural disaster wouldn't stop them from bringing in a harvest so the state, farmers, and the new federal government in Denver pooled their limited resources to cover most of the farmland under huge air-conditioned domes. Of course this meant that everyone not farming under any number of these domes had no choice but to wear protective suits when stepping outside. Just driving your car down the road became a life or death excursion. There simply wasn't any room for error when the temperature outside hovered around one hundred and forty-five even at the poles.
In the early years this warning of imminent ecological catastrophe that my dad tried to convey to his complacent citizens was ignored. They were either too busy making money for retirements that they'd never get to enjoy or just too busy making money to horde in their castles to pay any attention to a warning coming from a few activists and scientists. Their view was that if they didn't feel, see, or hear any discernible change in their environment then it wasn't changing for the worse.
It's hard to explain human beings especially if you're a species that dwells in the rarefied region of logic untainted by illogic. But without drifting to far from the purpose of this document let's just say that people were basically good but had this central character flaw that would doom all of us to oblivion - we simply couldn't believe that anything terrible could happen to us personally. Granted, if you asked all these individuals to gather in a group and provide their insight collectively on the possibility of environmental destruction they would almost always agree that based on the facts we were headed towards extinction. Get these same people outside the group and ask them individually whether they even believed that their actions could negatively impact the environment and they'd look at you in disbelief; hell no my driving that "land yacht" can't be adding to global warming.
This was the impossible task that my dad the "man of dreams" confronted without wavering even when his last labored breath came years later. It was his mission to save the planet and humankind even though he was a single man facing an immovable force: ignorance - most people just didn't want to hear bad news.
People hated bad news, especially the messengers of this unwelcome news. Hopefully, your species doesn't have these deadly character flaws but given that you're reading this document you've at least conquered the scientific barriers to space flight - you're where we would have liked to have been. It must be wonderful to travel to other planetary systems and visit the planets. It makes me sick to think that no human being was able to reach the stars. Sorry, I'm crying over this wasted chance; we had such a promising future. What did we do? We blew it away like it was just a trivial vision; damn it, blast all; everything.
Right this minute our internal environmental computer is voicing a blaring warning that our "environment is destabilizing; the system is unable to maintain a humanly survivable temperature." According to its calculations we have at best forty-eight hours left before our home, this dungeon from the outside hell also becomes uninhabitable. Time is short so I must press on with my story.
The death of my sister came unexpectedly on the thirtieth day of a steady pounding rain. She'd contracted the latest deadly virus that had been mutating in the tumultuous environment.
All these virus's ancestors had found a pleasant home in the greenhouse that had become our death chamber. Incubating in this fertile planetary capsule these microbes flourished. Many species including many of the lower life forms that covered our planet died within the first year of this onslaught of microbe infections. They just didn't have any immunity to viruses and bacteria that could evolve into new strains in a matter of days.
If it wasn't for humankind's relatively advanced state of genetic research and genome mapping capabilities we would have followed those lower life forms to an early extinction. As it was we just prolonged our demise.
Once again we failed to believe that the mass extinction of a good many of the planets life forms would ever impact us - we'd soon realize how wrong our assumptions were; but for now we just tried to make it past our first crisis - many more would follow.
All of these technological breakthroughs in isolating the new micros and quickly treating them with effective antibiotics and anti-viral medications came too late for my sister. She died in her bed in a puddle of blood that had erupted from her lungs in a final gurgling sound. When the biohazard teams arrived they sealed her in an airtight bag and transported mom, dad, any myself in little transparent bio 'coffins' to a special wing of our local hospital. That was the last I saw of my house and my mother.
The hospitals were overwhelmed; they were swamped with terminal patients who'd contracted any number of these new infections. They did their best to deal with the unbearable. Our military brought in these gigantic tents on camouflaged transports that rumbled down our highways day and night. But typical of our worthless federal government they didn't authorize the use of military medical teams especially skilled in dealing in emergency situations. This left us with plenty of tents outside our local hospitals but no doctors or nurses to staff them - they were useless reminders of a global society that had degenerated under a dictatorship of self-serving elites. They were left to flap empty in the winds that would eventually tear them to shreds.
Dad and I were now alone. Don't ask me why we were chosen to survive by a supreme being who'd allowed our kind to lay waste to the majority of the planet but somehow there was an unfathomable reason. We just carried on, leaning on each other during the most violent of our planet's spasms.
The loss of my sister and mother carried with it the undeniable realization of just how tenuous our existence was - we were truly on our own, my family had been decimated, I now knew that humanity itself was in jeopardy of becoming a footnote in history.
Grief permeated all the spaces previously reserved for joy. So many families like mine had lost moms, dads, and children to these early plagues. Large truckloads of corpses were now dumped into huge lye coated pits.
But we had little time to expend in mourning over the billions that had died in this initial spasm of a planet on the verge of ecological extinction. We were just too preoccupied with living in our progressively less friendly surroundings to take the necessary time to properly mourn those who we'd loss - we now walked down a shorter path towards the final loss.
Dad died a short time thereafter from the cancer that bred undetected for years. After dad's passing it seemed the floodgate to hell had been opened wide for the environment cascaded out of control into a free fall towards total planetary destruction.
The scientific community was now forced to read dad's writings since all other avenues had been exhausted. What they found was volume upon volume of research that predicted the outcome some feared but most ignored. Unfortunately, it was too late, the damage had already been done.
So here we sit awaiting our last cogent thought, our demise. The computer has been squawking furiously every hour about failures and other outcomes that it insists will finish us off. We all had told ourselves we'd be ready for this moment but…