In his dream, Myles dreamt about a giant monster chasing him. Myles was thrown down was about to be devoured when the monster abruptly said, “This is your iClock alarm. The time is now 7:15.” Myles opened his eyes and breathed in the artificial, vanilla-smelling air. He threw out his covers and sat up. Another day at the university. He was currently in the second year of his duration at ETD University in Washington, D.C. He headed to the bathroom and stepped into the shower. Drowsily he said, “Shower, medium warm, five minutes and forty-five seconds.” Warm water splashed down on his shoulders. After his shower he opened up his iLink and checked the latest basketball scores on NBA. Cleveland beats the Lakers again, thought Myles. He checked his texts, and found one from Drake, one of his friends. “Be at the party 2nite!” The big event in the gym tonight had been talked about for the last month. He threw on a short sleeve Under Armour shirt and some shorts. He got out a pair of gel-like rectangles and slipped his feet into the substances, which immediately sucked his feet in. Myles enunciated clearly. “Nike Shox, red and black.” The blobs morphed into a pair of Nike shoes and molded into his foot size and the most comfortable fit. Myles then glanced at his roommate, who was sleeping in oblivion. He whispered, “Hey. See you in the gym tonight?” His roomie shifted. “No, no, the red one, not the blue….” Myles smiled, amused, and headed out the door. Today was Saturday, and so it was the only day that no classes were held inside the huge glass and steel complex that was ETD University. Myles decided he would enjoy the day before heading to the party tonight in the basketball court. Nobody played baseball anymore, due to unpopularity. Basketball and football were dominant. Myles walked over to the nearest datascreen and punched in his datacode in the keypad. The screen pulsed, then said, “Welcome, 0041778. What service do you require?’ Myles touched the icon for Financial, then selected Bank of Manhattan from a list of banks. He touched the box for $75, keyed in his security PIN, and a bankroll of American dollars slid out the Output slot. The screen said, “Thank you. You now have $611 in your account.” Myles logged out of the datascreen, and headed to his car, a 2034 Lexus Speede. It had been a present from his parents after his high school graduation. It had polarized windows, maxiumum speeds of up to 325 mph, and a few other useful and fun widgets. It still drew stares from envious students. Myles got into the car and sat in the cushioned seat. He set his hands on the wheel and said, “Car, ignition sequence. The sleek car began to vibrate almost unnoticeably and soundlessly. “Car, 23 speed.” Myles slid out of the parking lot and began to drive towards downtown Washington, D.C. As he drove into the capital, he passed by the glass and steel skyscrapers, shining in the sunlight and rising more than a thousand feet into the air. Pedestrians walked their dogs or drove their cars. The sky was free of pollution and smoke. We really have it good here, thought Myles. In fact, about half of the world was like this. America, Europe and Africa had begun using biofuels and cold fusion at the emergency summit in 2015, all those years ago. That was a time when gas prices were almost six dollars, Miami and Bangladesh were regularly hit by Category 5 hurricanes, and world pollution was at the turning point of disaster. But then, at the 2015 emergency summit, world leaders came to an agreement on a thirty percent reduction on emissions by 2035. From then on, biofuels, electricity, and wind power were dominant. Cold fusion was achieved about four years later in 2019. Emissions were reduced by twenty-seven percent by 2026. By 2035, the world had completely stopped using fossil fuels, oil, and coal. This was the result; pollution free skies and an abundance of wildlife. South America had been abandoned by humans a while ago to allow the rainforests there to flourish. The continent was now an environmental paradise. Africa was full of huge and clean cities now, due to aid from America and Europe. Unfortunately, the Middle East had been overrun by Islamic terrorists, and nowadays they fought among themselves for control of the region. The world preferred to leave them alone, the danger being that interference might provoke another World War between the West and Islam, after the Third World War between Muslim extremists and America in 2012 had devastated both sides. The rest of Asia was divided between the communist empires of Russia and China, and the Indian Confederation. India controlled everything from Pakistan to Indonesia. China was the same old country, except for enormous amounts of pollution, due to their refusal to comply with the terms of the 2015 summit (acceptance would have slowed down their economic growth), and the dictator’s steel hold over the population. Russia had been overthrown by a communist revolution in 2024, and it had ended up even worse than China. At least China had big business. Russia had been reduced to agriculture. Their populations were at wit’s ends, since they had not yet managed to establish colonies on the Moon. Population growth in Europe and America had been halted, due to the huge number of new colonists on the Moon. About 1.5 billion Europeans and Americans lived on the Moon. Africa had landed men on the moon, and had already established a small colony of about 150 close to the large lunar colonies of America, which could be seen at nighttime as sparkling masses on the Moon. The West had really perfected life as perfect as they could get. Myles drove by Burger Queen (McDonald’s and Burger King both went bankrupt in 2027, and both had been forced to sell to Burger Queen) and ordered a spinach and lettuce cheeseburger with celery fries. Genetic engineering had changed celery sticks so that they tasted like French fries, yet still retaining their healthiness. The same could be said for other kinds of fruits and vegetables. Myles chewed on a celery stick. “Tastes like chicken.” As Myles drove to the movie theater, he accessed his Facebook from his iLink. 350 friends and counting. Ever since he had arrived at EDT University he had made a lot of new friends, on Facebook and in the real world. He stopped by the cinema and paid for a ticket to watch the movie 2012. Erwin Emmerich had made a remake of the 2009 film 2012 in 2055. Myles had always been amused by the 2012 prophecy, in which the world would end in the year 2012. The believers had been embarrassed, and the movie flopped. The original had received negative reviews, and a remake was made to add some more disaster sequences and to make it, well, better. As Myles viewed the scene where a megafault destroys Los Angeles and sends it sliding into the ocean, his iLink vibrated in his pocket. He unlocked it and read the flashing text. “This is your iClock alarm. The time is now 6:25. It is thirty-five minutes to-----” and here a recording of Myles’ voice was played, “------the party.” Myles rolled his eyes. He was going to be late if he didn’t leave now. He left the cinema and hopped into the car. The Lexus Speede raced through downtown and passed Capital Park. Myles glanced at the people leaving the park with their dogs. I think I want a dog when I graduate, he thought. His iLink began to buzz. “This is your iClock alarm. The----------“ Myles cut it off and rolled his eyes. Why did everything these days have an I in front of it? Apple had bought almost every major company he could think of. Microsoft had sold to Apple in 2038. Nike and Adidas were later absorbed into the company. The government even had sold out contracts to Apple for weapons research and manufacturing. Even his car’s manufacturer, Lexus, had been bought out by Apple about six years ago. Myles parked the car and briskly walked to the gym. He opened the doors and found it packed with people and partygoers. He spotted Drake and ran up to him. Drake turned and grinned. “Hey, man! You made it!” He high-fived him and said, “Grab yourself a drink; I’ve got some friends I want you to meet.” He walked off. Myles grinned and grabbed a Coke from the food table. He followed Drake into the throng and was soon laughing and talking with the rest of them. * * * So here is the upside of the world of 2056. The United States is the most powerful union in the world, side-by-side with Europe, which is now one united country, the European Union. Western homes are powered by solar skins on windows that act as solar panels, cold fusion boxes, and miniature wind turbines on roofs. About half of the population grows genetically engineered (GE) foods in their own greenhouses. GE foods are the only foods eaten these days. Cars are powered by electricity or cold fusion. Currently the Italian inventor Leonardo Vito is working on water-powered car. Huge solar panel stations power the entire west. Global warming is under control, and the ice sheets have stopped melting. Much of modern life from the early 21st century is still here. Yankee Stadium still stands, now as a museum. The One World Trade Center was finished in Manhattan in 2013, but was destroyed by a second terrorist attack via plasma bomb in 2039. In response, the Freedom Tower was completed in 2044. Football is the most popular sport in America-----Peyton Manning is retired, of course, and currently owns the football apparel brand Manning, similar to Michael Jordan’s company Air Jordan. Now here are the downsides. World population (not including lunar population) is now at 7 billion people. Though population rate is slower than fifty years ago, due to smart family planning, the urgency of living space is being raised again. Lunar population is currently about 1.6 billion people. The Middle East is controlled by Islamic terrorist regimes. The people of Israel have been scattered around the world, after their ancestral Israel was sacked by Muslim extremists in 2026. The East and Russia are under poverty and pollution. Water supply is beginning to run out. Many common animal species are beginning to become endangered. But the world could have been a lot worse. Had the summit of 2015 failed to accomplish green global cooperation, the West would be a dry and abandoned wasteland, due to heat and lack of water. New York would be threatened by floods regularly. Pollution, world temperature, sea level, world population--------all of these problems have been dealt with in my perfect version of our world in 2056. But if we do not address these issues properly and efficiently, by the year 2100, our civilization will be in ruins. The world population could be a fourth of what it once was. World temperatures scorching, cities underwater or in ruins, Las Vegas buried under the Nevada desert sands, disease rampant, clean water scarce, the data network down, and lastly and finally, the complete breakdown of government and society. It’s not science fiction, people. We need to act now.
© Copyright 2016 JFrancis. All rights reserved.