Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Beginning of the Last Age

Sometime soon, young people, the Millennials, are going to think about their future.  In my twenties, in the 60's, the future burgeoned with possibility.  Hippies, escape back to nature, join a rock band or a commune, anything seemed to be possible.  Sure there was the Vietnam war, a fight for black civil rights and equal rights for women, but it seemed we were on top of all that.

There were some worries, population growth, the nuclear bomb, but they passed eventually.  And soon we all settled down to careers, children, and now grandchildren.

But the Millennials, what are they thinking about their future?  My grandchildren seem to be aware of the uncertainties of the future, but they and their friends have not reached a flashpoint.

Let me describe what I believe that flashpoint to be.  In a few years, certainly by 2020, they will gradually become aware of the dire future awaiting them as the planet warms up.  So what will happen first?  First they will organize and demonstrate, just as we did against the Vietnam war.  Once it becomes personal they may shut down the nearest freeway as we did Interstate 5 in Seattle in 1972.

I think even more will happen.  In the 60's we had the SDS, the Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and in the 20's there will be even more radical groups.  Now we will have the Warmists, a group willing to take action on global warming.  I'm not sure the comparison to the SDS, etc., is best.  I think Chris Hayes has it right, the Warmists will be like the 19th Century Abolitionists.  They are up against an entrenched group, the oil and coal companies, that are like the Southern slave owners who are unwilling to give up the source of their wealth no matter what.  And as happened prior to the Civil War, there will be a Warmist John Brown.  This is my prediction for the near future, an act of Warmist terrorism against the oil companies.  I'm not sure what the result will be.  Similar attempts such as the Weather Underground attacks on government buildings and banks, and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, had no long term effects.  And more contemporary attempts by right wingers like Timothy McVeigh and murderers of two policemen in Las Vegas by a couple, both who hoped some kind of uprising would occur as a result of their actions, failed in their intent.  The result of the Warmist act might be the same.

I have written my own thoughts about what will happen in my novel, The Last Age, two chapters of which are available online.  In the second chapter, a young man (modeled on my oldest grandson) acquires the recipe from a Professor of Biology at UPenn (modeled after my oldest granddaughter) for a voracious oil-eating bacteria.  He then seeks out a fellow who helps them produce four gallon containers of this bacteria.  Then with a colleague from an Indian reservation in North Dakota they release the bacteria into the Bakken oil field destroying it.  There is more but you will need to read the chapter.

This is only the first stage of the Last Age.  If a "war" against oil companies fails or doesn't happen, the planet's future will be dire.  I believe it will in fact fail and the consequences will be dire. What happens there is grist for Part II.