This year for nanowrimo I wrote a post-apocalyptic novel. An unfolding environmental disaster post-apocalyptic novel (well, half is the apocalypse, and then half is the post-apocalypse, so whatever that is) in which a pair of protagoinists, unbeknownst to each other, cotton on that a slowly unfolding disaster (you, know, some "imaginary" boogey, like, say, climate change) isn't actually unfolding all that slowly, and, in fact, is here, general disbelief, ignoring reality, and EPA bashing be damned. (I am always a bit amazed at the idea that there are grown people who seem to think that sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling lalalalalalalalala is a viable response to a problem. I'm sure they'll blame it on the "liberals" when their beach houses get swallowed up by rising seas).
As I've noted before, I may or may not have prompted the death of the Cavendish banana. (As an aside, I always rather disliked bananas, thinking them startchy, dry, and bland until I lived in Southeast Asia where there are still other kinds of bananas, in fact, pretty much nothing but other kinds of bananas. Bananas with flavor! It was also in Southeast Asia where I had a kind of epiphany about what humanly intervened things Cavendish bananas are-- not so much because I saw other kinds of bananas-- that that was a bit of a revelation as well-- but when I bit into a SEAsian banana-- very sweet, not dry-- and lo, I crunched into a seed. A seed! And I suddenly thought, a seed? Wait a second.... Bananas have seeds? WTF? Where the hell do the bananas at the grocery store come from?) Okay, I realize that writing my completly unpublished novel probably didn't cause Bananageddon. But it's still pretty damned uncanny. Uncanny is also this article that I read in the WaPo. Why is this uncanny? Because here is what the article says:
Now I'm changing my life again. Today, underneath the solar panels, there's a new set of deadbolt locks on all my doors. There's a new Honda GX390 portable power generator in my garage, ready to provide backup electricity. And last week I bought a starter kit to raise tomatoes and lettuce behind barred basement windows.
I'm not a survivalist or an "end times" enthusiast. When it comes to climate change, I'm just a realist.
Here is what one of my characters does when he realizes that it's too late to save anything but himself:
And so, in the opening days of summer while his office mates were making plans to go to Nag’s Head for the weekend, he was making lists, ordering camping supplies, and scouring real estate listings in far northern reaches. As in many things, he took a scientific approach, searching for a good sized parcel of land that met two important criteria: it needed to have access to water, and it needed to be in a place with a population density of less than two people per square mile. Finally, he found exactly what he was looking for. He sold his apartment, quickly and at a loss, but happy to see it gone, and became the proud owner of a good sized chunk of forest in the interior of Maine with a stream running through it, a clearing in the middle with a hunting cabin, and a dirt road that hadn’t been maintained for a long time running up to the cabin. It had no electricity, and the real estate agent warned him that there wasn’t any cell phone service in the area. He nodded and smiled. If the simulations were right, no one was going to have either of those things in the not so distant future, anyway. And if his simulations had been wrong, well, taking up the life of a hermit in the woods seemed like a good choice for him in any case.
If you read the article you may (probably will) think that the author has gone off the deep end. I am not quite ready to fortify a basement lettuce crop myself. (Mostly because we don't have a basement.) What I think rattles me about his article is two things-- first, that I'm used to hearing talk of the end of the world wrapped up in religious rhetoric or the paranoid rantings of the profoundly anti-government, complete with references either to the Rapture or to the United Nations tattooing bar codes on people (the bar codes I don't actually find preposterous, but the idea that the UN would be behind it is). I find his arguments more compelling than the typical End Time-r because he uses language I can relate to. But also that it is the kind of thought and decision-making processes that I imagined when I was writing my nanovel in November. It is uncanny, actually. One of the things I was most interested in when I was writing was the mental and emotional shift that someone would go through from idealistic beliefs about there still being time to the realization that there is no more time to complete pragmatism: a stark delineation in a brave new world of what actually matters and what doesn't. It's uncanny to see that process described as it's actually being put into play. Apparently, I imagined the process rather accurately. Here's hoping that I was inaccurate about things non-banana and non-preparing for the end. Trust me, you don't want to know how this ends.