Tom Johnson
Retired Private Investigator and Journalist
Sebastopol, California, United States

Dinosaurs and Plants

“Words were spewed, pacts were signed, people of good will conferred. If you 22nd century people still read history, you know the result.”

It is with a wary and cynical heart I jot this note to you, people of the 22nd century. The water-starved forests of what is called California have erupted in flames. Up and down the state, we inhale ash and smoke. Scientists tell us we are in a drought. It could end this winter, they say, or extend another 200 years. Thirty-three million people live in California. Where are you huddled, people of 2115?

By now, you must know we of the 21st century are wholly dependent on the subterranean remains of dinosaurs and plants – oil and coal. We burn these compounds for heat, explode it in the cylinders of our cars and make things out of it. The carbon dioxide expelled when we burn fossil fuel has now trapped heat in our atmosphere. The temperature is rising, people, and we don’t really know what will happen. We can guess.

We see glaciers melting around the globe. Ocean temperatures are inching upward. As a consequence, weather patterns have skewed toward random. The predictable cycle of summer, fall, winter and spring that generations of us grew up with no longer exists. Here in California we can no longer rely on drenching winter rain, which we store in reservoirs, to grow crops during dry summer months.

The measureable atmospheric warming that has already taken is irreversible, we non-scientists have been told. So any steps we take to stanch it won’t alter our fate, whatever it might be. Although a number of my fellow citizens believe global warming is non-existent, a farce perpetrated by misguided nature lovers and Chicken Littles, the reality of global warming has enough credence among sentient beings to warrant an international meeting in Paris. The world you live in, people of the 22nd century, may be the manifestation of that meeting. Is it so hot you are confined indoors? The air so filthy you must breath through filtered systems? Or can you swim in a lake and drink a glass of water and grow a garden and throw open the window on a gorgeous day to revel in human existence?

About a hundred years before I began writing this letter, some world leaders sought to stop forever world wars. Words were spewed, pacts were signed, people of good will conferred. If you 22nd century people still read history, you know the result. It is with wariness and cynicism I send this note to you.