I Have A Dream To Turn Back Time
How will the world look like in 50 years?
This is a voice narration of a fictional short story about climate change, depicting how its impact will look like in 50 years. This story is inspired by the Climate Clock (https://climateclock.world/) and how the world only has 7 years to achieve 0 emissions before our deadline. It is also inspired by the alarming information (https://climateclock.net/) that the Earth’s temperature will rise 1.5 degrees above pre-industrialized times if we continue in our ways.
Please take the time out to listen to this narration. The story following the narration of a 12-year-old girl, recounting a conversation she had with her grandmother– who is someone from our generation.
The main point of this storytelling is to reveal the deep-seated issues of current human behavior that are causing climate change, spark reflection, and behavioral change on a personal level. I hope I was able to unpack the big problem of humans’ current pursuit of self; specifically, how we are using things without care, chasing after trying to make our lives more convenient and easier in every aspect, and being careless about using resources at the expense of others and the Earth. It pushes the notion for change now because, in just mere few decades, climate change would no longer be a debate, and the signs that we see now will be even more profound.
Thank you for your time.
The following is the transcript that serves to support the main content material:
I Have A Dream To Turn Back Time
It’s 21 November 2070. It’s my birthday, which means it’s also that day again. I hate being the only one who doesn’t get to really celebrate my birthday. Birthdays are supposed to be fun, laughter, parties, and cake, but for the last 12 years, my birthdays have been anything but all that. This year was no exception, grandma and grandpa came over and we spent morning to evening, commemorating the day.
You see, on 21 November, everyone commemorates the anniversary of the Earth’s deadline.
On this day, 38 years ago, the Earth reached the point of no return as we arrived at our climate deadline. That day was when our temperature first rose 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. That day marked the world’s failure to reach zero emissions in time.
Since then, 21 November has become the most important date for everyone to witness— more important than the 4th of July, the Queen’s birthday, New Year’s Day, even Christmas, and of course my birthday. Regardless of where on Earth you live, you will commemorate this date.
I never really could understand why this date was such a big deal, especially to grandma, grandpa, and their friends— mom says it has something to do with guilt and regret that their generation feels.
I guess the only good thing that comes out of 21 November is grandma telling more stories than usual. I love listening to them. She would always describe how the world was like when she was my age, and every single time, I would always wish I could go back in time to see if what she says is really true. I mean, because it really sounds too good to be true:
According to grandma, before the Earth’s deadline, the air was much cleaner— they didn’t have to wear masks all day as we do, they could sit outdoors, there was something called sunsets, and there were parks where grandma and grandpa could go on dates at. Before that, people could play in the lakes, there were apparently amazing creatures in the ocean, and even something called seafood— grandma would always say how much she wish I could taste it, at least just once. I wish I could too.
This year, I asked grandma if what mom says is true— that she feels guilt and regret on this day.
Grandma says that since I’m a big girl now— 12— I’m finally old enough to understand why she and grandpa would feel this way.
“This guilt and remorse that I feel today, I feel it every single day. I feel it most when I watch you grow up, in a way totally different from what I would have imagined.
It is because of my generation, my parents’ generation, my grandparents’ generation, and so forth that you don’t get the childhood you deserve. It is because of us that your children will be even worse off, and their children… well, may not even get a childhood. It is because of us that you don’t get to celebrate the birthday you deserve.
You see, my generation and the generations before us, we were smart; we started really great initiatives like feeding the poor, we were passionate and hardworking, and we constantly came up with really amazing creations— like these self-driving school buses you sit on to get to school? WE did that.
Yet despite all that, we were also really stubborn, at times ignorant, greedy, and in constant denial— especially when it came to choosing the Earth over ourselves.
More was just never enough for us— it’s because we always wanted more clothes, cheaper alternatives, that we turned to lifestyles like choosing fast fashion. That’s why freshwater is now running out and why you have your ration card.
Going out of the way was also never an option for my generation— we craved so much for convenience that we were one with plastic— a straw for our cold brew, disposable cutlery with every food delivery, and choosing to package everything down to a T. That’s why now, the ocean is filled with plastic, with not a single ocean creature in sight.
We got richer, we got impatient— we needed a car to get us everywhere, even if it was a 10-minute walk away. Ironically, the more cars there were, the more inconvenient it got. We were always stuck in traffic and all we got out of it? Rising temperatures.
We are the reason why Miami, Venice, and Jakarta are now the new ‘Atlantis City’. It is because of MY generation that you now have to keep moving neighborhoods every few years, to get away from the coast that keeps inching closer.
We are also the reason why the oceans are bright red-stained from blooming algal, instead of clear sky blue. It is because of my generation that I can’t take you to the beach and play in the water during summer, like how my grandma would do with me.
You see, the generations before you, we had the time and option to stop the signs of climate change, before they became as profound as they are now. But we chose to ignore it, not to believe in its dire consequences. We chose to continue living at the expense of the Earth. Climate change only mattered enough to us when it became too late, when climate change and its reality were no longer up for debate.
We made the deal to ignore climate change, but now you pay the price. So how can I not feel guilty and remorseful, my dear child?”
Seeing grandma sad, I hated it. I wish I knew what I could say to cheer her up. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought the question up. Then again, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had a better birthday wish this year.
This birthday, I don’t want cake. I don’t want my little sister to disappear. I just want one wish— to turn back time, before the Earth’s deadline, to scream and shout that climate change is real, and its impact? As real as it gets.
I want to turn back time so that grandma wouldn’t have to live with this remorse and guilt every single day. And maybe, just a little bit, I want to turn back time so that for the rest of my life, I can have a different kind of birthday, the birthdays I deserve.