My story, “Easy as the Wind,” is a fiction set in the near future, imagining how devastating a relatively simple alteration to our weather could be. In this case, it is a prolonged period of very high wind, with no end in sight. I didn’t explicitly state that this was the result of climate change, driven by human activity, but that’s what was in my mind.
The main characters in “Easy as the Wind” are decent, small town folks, good friends and neighbors. They do their best to get by until the change in the weather forces them into survival mode and they have to confront a new reality, thrown back on their own ingenuity and determination. Even then, they dig deep in an attempt to hold onto their basic decency, although that becomes more challenging as ever harder choices have to be made. The main protagonist is eventually driven to discover just how far he is prepared to go to save his son.
There are others in the story who aren’t remotely decent and maybe never were. If they ever had a moral code, it is all but gone and they are predators, capable of doing anything to prosper and survive.
I’m not about to claim I based the story on anything other than imagination – no climate scientists, so far as I know, are suggesting that climate change will lead to prolonged periods of high wind in the way the story describes it. However, there is general consensus that altering the temperature of the land and, particularly, the oceans, has the potential to lead to large and unpredictable changes to global weather patterns and an increase in extreme weather events.
As I write this, scientists in Norway are reporting that a tipping point has been reached in the Barents Sea, so that it is at risk from changing from an Arctic climate to an Atlantic climate as the water gets warmer. A part of the Arctic could become part of the Atlantic, possibly as quickly as in the next decade!
This is described as “Probably the first modern example of a rapid climate shift event.” It is warned that it has the potential to disrupt global weather patterns including the jet stream, although there is no agreement on that.
So, it was also in my mind as I wrote my story that, if we do encounter a rapid and damaging shift in weather patterns, we won’t entirely understand it, and certainly won’t agree upon what’s causing it. One, because we’re not as smart as we like to think we are and two, in Paul Simon’s words, “still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Some of us disregard more than others.
I believe most people are decent folks, like the ones in my story. They go about their business day-to-day, living their lives and making the best choices they can for themselves and their loved ones. Sure, we can all think about our carbon footprint, but nobody is behaving badly just burning gas or eating red meat, doing the things we’ve always done.
The problem is there are seven billion of us doing it. There’s a river of that gas being burned up every single day. It never stops.
I would love to be optimistic about the human race’s ability to take the difficult steps needed to protect the only planet we’ll ever have, but I can’t muster much of that up. Internationally, we struggle to keep talking the talk, never mind walking the walk.
The reality of our world is that, whenever there is an opportunity for a company to make a profit from something that also destroys the environment, there’s an unholy rush to take it up. It is happening all around us. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, not many of us would balk at working for them, if the money was right.
We’re smart enough to create the amazing societies and technologies that have allowed us to spread across the planet and grow into the billions, but not, it seems, smart enough to prevent ourselves drowning in our own shit. If there’s a buck in it, bring that shit on, I’ll buy a snorkel. Or deny the existence of shit.
So, no, I can’t be optimistic. But hope springs eternal.
Bill Davidson is a Scottish writer of mainly horror and fantasy. In the last two years, he has placed short stories with well over twenty publications in English speaking countries around the world, including- Flame Tree, Left Hand Publishers, Dark Lane Books, Storyteller, Nthanda Review, Under the Bed, Hello Horror, Horror Addicts, Cloaked Press, Fantasia Divinity, Emerging Worlds, Metamorphose, Enchanted Conversation, Electric Spec, Ash Tales, Tigershark publishing, Transmundane Press, Switchblade, Prole, Cwtch, Hell Bound Books and Storgy Magazine.
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