They said climate catastrophe would be the end of the world, but they were wrong. Life would continue in its own way, with or without us. We preferred with. It was up to us to create a future where we didn’t leech off the earth or disturb its fragile balance.
Pollinators died out first. We underestimated how many plants relied on the insects we dismissed as acceptable casualties. A third of crops struggling without their saviors were expected, but we never saw what happened next coming; the soil grew depleted and dead while the waterways grew turbid and toxic. At first, people suggested tiny flying robots should replace the birds and bees that protected most humanity from famine, but we soon realized this technology was as ineffective as a bandaid over an open wound.
So, we got to work.
Rain gardens and constructed wetlands were built to preserve and purify our water. The once perfectly groomed yet empty lawns were transformed into crowded rows of local flowers and plants teeming with life. Some neighborhoods were still plagued by the pollution of our past, so we demolished industrial zones in favor of endless fields of sunflowers and willow trees. It took a while, but the resilient plants absorbed heavy metals from the ground. One day, we saw a lone bee buzzing around patches of lavender. That’s when we knew the eco-equilibrium was healing.
Months later, we celebrated with glee when food forests dominated the remains of what was once suburbs. We cried the day chirps and melodies resonated from old birdhouses again. Everything we needed was local and close. Bikes replaced cars. Solar panels and wind turbines replaced gas, oil, and coal. We were careful to make sure the waste from panels was recycled. We ensured that the oil lubricants for the wind turbines were made from the oils we pressed out of soybeans and sunflower seeds.
We still have room to grow, but this group of impatient destroyers found themselves transformed into newfound guardians of all life, no matter how small. We became the faithful stewards of the land.