Warning, warning... I told you so...
In the early 2000’s I began seeing a noticeable increase in news stories about climate change, which was usually referred to at the time as global warming. It seemed like I read a new dire warning nearly every week. There was growing concern about melting glaciers, melting at the poles, rising sea levels, droughts – you name it. Visions of that Kevin Costner movie, “Waterworld,” floated through my mind.
One day I had this vivid mental image of a young woman with a device on her wrist giving her continuous updates and warnings about how high above sea level she was at any given moment. I scrawled out some handwritten notes in a spiral notebook where I kept ideas for novels. Her wrist device talked to her, warning her that she was only one foot above sea level. That she was only six inches above sea level. That she was AT sea level and needed to evacuate immediately. There was a sarcastic interchange between the young woman and her computerized iCom about the seriousness of being at such a dangerously low elevation. And that was the birth of the character who became Neave Alvarez in “The Shade Ring Trilogy.”
The snarky iCom and the scene about the young woman getting too close to sea level didn’t make it into the book. I decided it wasn’t realistic. The ocean wouldn’t rise so precipitously that people would need a device to warn them to move to higher ground.
Well, guess what. In a New York Times article last month about how the Netherlands is dealing with climate change and rising seas, a senior government adviser discussed a “GPS-guided app created so residents always know exactly how far below sea level they are.” Almost exactly the fictional scenario I imagined some fifteen years ago that led to “The Shade Ring.”
So maybe I should’ve kept my original scene in the trilogy. Maybe Neave Alvarez and her friends should be wearing iComs that warn them when they’re too close to sea level. Too late now. If there’s a sudden rise in sea level, Neave and Kwan and the rest of them may be like Kevin Costner in “Waterworld” – desperate for dry land.
This spring, I ran across a fascinating article about Harvard scientists preparing to test injection of aerosols into the atmosphere as soon as next year, as a way to block the sun’s rays and, thus, conceivably, to cool the planet. Sound familiar? And, as this story in “Science Alert,” explains, testing of several geo-engineering techniques is under serious discussion.
And then there’s the collapse of glaciers and ice shelves going on in Antarctica. That’s in “The Shade Ring Trilogy” too. And it’s already happening. More on that in “The Independent.”
I don't usually say "I told you so," but it's interesting how many scenarios I used in my Climate Fiction novels that are proving to be more realistic than even I imagined.