Jason remembers his past life. He had died in an auto accident while texting his best friend in 2015. He is reborn in 2021 at the start of the Melt Age during Trump’s first year of his second term. Flashbacks from his former life haunt him – memories he shies from sharing for fear of being ostracized. Community is essential, especially in such a treacherous world spiraling into extinction.
The year 2065 brings confirmation: the planet is thrown into complete meltdown. Who can remember admiring a glacier? Or Miami? (Of course, climate deniers could never make the connection.) The sixth great extinction of all living species is in progress. Polar bears and lions have long vanished, not to mention thousands of other animal classes – including bees. Plants fare no better.
The growing global catastrophe is compared to the Holocaust. But didn’t the former only steal 14 million lives? Climate change has already killed a billion with the promise of billions more (if not all) in the near future. Famine is humanity’s number one enemy (although the cause is rooted in governments ignoring the crisis at the critical crossroads of no return).
Two generations after Gore’s dire warnings, politics exclusively focuses on survival and how to at least mitigate the rapidly deteriorating climate. Forgotten are the conservative naysayers who only characterized the crisis as a “left-wing hoax”.
Consequently, the middle 21st Century generation does not have time, nor energy, to assign blame.
After climate’s turning point there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell emergency acts can alleviate or even cushion the blow. Jason’s memory conjures up images of Oklahoma’s James Inhofe tossing a snowball in Senate chambers proving global warming is not real.
One-third of the USA followed suit – claiming global warming was just a liberal conspiracy engineered to enact socialist policies. The one-third was enough to block any attempt to mitigate the damage. Even Obama’s meeting at the 2015 Climate Summit in Paris was sabotaged by right-wing legislators back home.
The one-third consisted primarily of the American religious right who denied climate change and held utter contempt for science. They were cemented in their world view that Christ was soon to appear – so why save the planet? They were to assist the Messiah in setting up His 1,000 year reign in which they would rule over the surviving infidels – the unbelievers – who would function as slaves. James Inhofe was one of these believers – as were most of the people in what were called “the red states”.
Donald Trump capitalized on the energized one-third. And since progressive Democrats were not enthusiastic about their candidate, Hillary Clinton, the Donald was swept into power despite his juvenile behavior.
With Trump’s arrival, any hope of saving the planet was lost. Because the “Party of No” was in command, which meant all resources had to be allocated to fight enemies at home and abroad: Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, gays, Planned Parenthood, and ISIS. Rightwing Christians who worshipped a Nazi Jesus fell in line.
But not only had the right defeated climate change treaties/legislation, the left was an accomplice by being weak and appeasing. When benefited by strong majorities 2006-2010, they were more inclined to work with Republicans to show themselves conciliatory than they were in getting things done. On the other hand, Republicans were so dead-set to destroy safety-nets, business and environmental regulations, it was impossible to work with them. Yet Obama kept trying until it was too late. He was relegated to executive orders in his final term; essentially, Republicans cut off his testicles.
The point-of-no-return came and went without recognition from Republicans. But how could they acknowledge that which they didn’t believe initially? So what if most animal life had vanished? What did it matter if oceans died? Their Jesus was going to save them.
The Gulf Stream was shut off due to Greenland’s meltdown. As a result, Europe suffered a mini-ice-age. Conservatives claimed proof that global warming didn’t exist based on the diversion of ocean currents causing Europe to freeze. Yet, the Persian Gulf was left inhabitable – where temperatures reached 150 in summer. Millions escaped the region. But to where? Europe?
And who cares about the migrating millions from burning sands and disappearing coasts? “Their Jesus” was no longer the gentle lamb of the Gospels but the returning “real man” – the Apocalyptic tyrant riding a white horse, wielding a sword to slay billions – the person Hitler envisioned and thus commissioned to reconfigure in 1938 – the Nazi Bible.
The Year 2065 is “Apocalypse Now”. Jason can only wish to be transported to an earlier life where he could at least sound an alarm. Yet, again, who would listen in 2015? America was so wrapped tight in superstition and gun worship, its ears were deaf to anything intelligent. Only the crass, ignorant, and false were admired, never the shrewd and intuitive.