For many teens and young adults, the future hovers like a gray cloud. The popularity of apocalyptic visions like The Hunger Games attests to young adults' preoccupation and anxiety over their own personal future. In my years of teaching high school, environmental degradation was the topic of many discussions.
While in the interim of moving to Mexico almost three years ago, I did some research on climate change and the various predictions of futurists. Being a realistic novelist, I wanted to create a future world that was believable. Being a person who loves teenagers, I wanted to create a future world where the physical challenges did NOT create a dismal dystopia.
The result was the first draft of a novel which still doesn't even have a name. When it's published, it will be under my real name of Mary Carol Moran, to distinguish the YA from the erotica! So, what does my world of 2043 look like?
Imagined World of 2043
School is vastly different. Gas is so expensive that travel is extremely restricted. Private cars are banned from all cities. One electric taxi can transport as many as 1000 people in a 24 hours. Zea and her friends gather in one of their houses every day and study through remote interactive telecasts. Teachers broadcast lessons from their homes.
Pretty much everyone is mixed race, and Zea hates her blonde hair. In a personal wish fulfillment (I did create this universe!), dogs live much longer lives. One of the biggest world adaptations is that everyone is restricted to one child. Choosing who to have that child with is a huge preoccupation of young women.
Of course, it's hotter and weather is more extreme. Houses hug the earth, and built-in underground conduits bring in cool air. People sleep in two shifts, maximizing their awake time in the dawn hours.
Overpopulation has strained the food, living space, and water supplies. All food is grown locally. Houses share exterior walls, and a set amount of household water is piped into a rooftop cistern every night.
|The cistern system is already in use in Mexico. |
This tinaco is on the roof of the house next door to mine.
Zea's mother is a policewoman, one of the few occupations that still moves around the city. Almost everyone works from home, and social structures have evolved to give individuals and three-person-families chances to interact.
What is now considered paranormal has become simply extra-normal. Zea's giftedness attracts attention through the Internet, and soon her life changes dramatically. At the same time, a murderer begins to stalk the city, and Zea's mother is the prime investigator. How the two stories intertwine becomes the plot of the novel.
My personal belief is that human nature itself won't change much. We'll still have lots and lots of really good people, and a few who cause problems. We'll still have families who love each other. We'll still have dysfunction and compassion and everything else that makes us human.
But the world we inhabit will look very, very different.
What are Your Ideas?
What do you think the world will look like in thirty years? Is the United States in fragments? Are some cities and even whole nations under water? What is the new average daily high temperature where you now live? What is the world's population? Has religion changed, and if so how? Have super-storms evolved and perhaps gained new names?
How have government and politics changed, or have they? Is there a world governing body with a mission to protect the Earth? Is the United States in fragments? Is Europe smothered in glaciers? Do we still have polar icecaps? Has Greenland become a major food source for the world? What world will your children and grandchildren inhabit?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments. I'd love to explore this fascinating and deeply important topic with you all. Who knows? Your ideas may make it into the novel!
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