It was hot, really hot. I looked around and all I could see around me was the smoke from the burning plants, trees and everything surrounding it. The world was on fire. The sky was filled with shades of dark grey and black which made the air smell funny.
Sensing the worst, I started to run away, run away from the smoke, the flames, the general horrible chaos of it all. However, the further I got away from the fires, the ground began to change colour as well. Brown turned to charred black, until all I could see in front of me was miles upon miles of pearly white ice. It looked beautiful, but there was a disquieting and unsettling aspect to it, as if the world was eagerly waiting for something to happen, for somebody to just take the wrong step that would trigger unholy pain and suffering. I slowly lurched forward to take a closer look, maybe find a place to set up and think about what to do next. But just as I began to think about doing something, I realised I had a new problem to tackle.
Every step I had taken so far on the ground, had slowly begun to trickle into something liquid that bubbled under the surface. It looked like water, felt like water, but something was not right. The water was hot to touch, not like tea which you would have dropped on yourself, but more like water from the hottest imaginable boiler in a power plant. I kept on moving forward, leaving behind more footprints which were slowly dissolving into the liquid surface that the ground resembled behind me. I had no option but to keep going forward.
And then finally came the step, which landed on the ice that had already turned to water, and I started to drown. I fought the urge for a while, desperately flinging my body towards the surface with the tiny vestige of hope left in my body.
But it was no use.
My body began melting away as the heat from the water took over all of my senses. Within seconds, I had been completely consumed by the water, and like the ground, my soul began to change colours, except in the opposite fashion. From a clear white to grey to the darkest shade of black, my soul slowly began to disintegrate, much like my body had, till all that remained in its place were smoke and ashes…
I woke up at the crack of dawn, covered in sweat, shaking hands, pounding heartbeat, and a tumbling world. It was just a nightmare.
But was it just a nightmare?
As we read news of the Amazon rainforest burning, of polar icecaps melting at record levels, of European heatwaves and cities running out of water, all I can think of is, “Is this real life? Or is this fantasy?” If the news today doesn’t feel like one of those typical end of the world movies, then I don’t know what “actual” climate change, global warming, and a full blown environmental crisis would be like.
The environment is not just a passing topic of small talk or water cooler conversation, it is a REAL thing, happening all around us, affecting us in ways that we are blissfully unaware of. Step by step, humanity, just like me in the nightmare, is lurching towards its inevitable downfall, a downfall that we knew about, that we talked about and could even change, but for vested interests, we just couldn’t bother to take any action for the collective better.
To be absolutely honest, reading about this, every day is quite depressing. Maybe it is not even depression which I feel every day, as I read more and more about how we care about the planet less and less. It is more of a fear, a constant nagging fear which nips away at the back of my brain, while I go about living my life, doing what I as a 21st century millennial am expected to do, where it is expected that, sooner rather than later, I will manage to put my own self ahead of the planet I came from.
What troubles me the most is the sense of resignation that accompanies it, the fact that no matter what I do, where I go, thing will just…well…remain as they are. Even if I want to make a change, it will just be too little too late. I can’t control people and tell them what to do, they will just keep on doing what they want to do, maybe if the environment becomes a conversation point? But that is also precisely the problem, people are all too willing to talk about it, but doing? Doing is a different matter. Whatever it is, I just can’t help myself. I want to help improve our earth, change the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.
Maybe it wasn’t just a nightmare, but more of a symbolic premonition about the world that we might just end up occupying; extremely hot and cold, barren, smoky and most importantly, dead.