Ruby and Mother Earth

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Chapter 2

2025
I was 5 years old.

Christmas was so sad. We went back to the big city. I did not quite understand the concept of death. I knew flowers and dogs died, but it was so hard to understand that I would never see Granny again. She was such a big part of my life and now she was gone forever. Others tried to console me and say that Grandma was in heaven and in peace. I did not like this! Grandma should have been with me!

Momma sat down with me and brushed my long hair saying she was also sad. She loved her mom so much that she knew she would miss her. However, each of us was on the earth for a short while. This also included plants and animals as well as humans. We all die at one stage so others can be born. This should have helped me, but it just put a seed in my head that maybe someday I would lose some others that I loved.

After, the funeral, we could not go home. There were floods again, but Dad said that this time they were far worse. Half of our house was underwater. Dad was complaining that moving could have been a mistake. Every year our house was being flooded. Gramps said we could expect more flooding in the future. Dad was worried about insurance.

I understood our house was flooded. It really didn’t bother me, as it was fun staying with grandpa. It was only when we went home, that I was worried that my toys would be destroyed. I did find out that water does a lot of damage

When we came home, Mom and Dad were busy in another protest group. They wanted the town to build flood controls. They argued that scientists said the sea level could raise a meter of the next few decades. The town people were tired of floods every year. It would take this group years for the government to pay for such a project and by then it would be too late.

The government also refused a new method of distilling water. An aging infrastructure, droughts, and water under the ground would make water more scarce. desalination plants would remove the salt from saline water. It was now a costly project and mainly popular in the Middle East.

I noticed that mom and dad were fighting more. The big argument this year was about meat. Mom read that eating meat was bad for the environment. She wanted us to stop eating meat. The argument went on for months. In the end, Mom stopped cooking meat and Dad often went to some fast food place to get a taste of it.

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2026
I was 6 years old.

This year, I started school. I felt like I was a big girl now. It also meant that I could be with Abbie all the time. We were best friends at school and did everything together. After school, I would visit her, and we would have so much fun. I did not like her coming to our house, as Mom and Dad were always fighting. I promised myself that I would never marry.

We had the same floods once again, so we stayed with grandpa once again. This was both fun and bad. I loved it when he would argue with the TV. There was a lot in the news about ash trees. There used to be nearly 100 million of them in the UK. Now there were none. A fungus had been their enemies for decades and now finally had won the war. This upset grandpa a lot, as he said the countryside did not look like it did when he was young. There was a spooky silence in the country, as the absence of trees affected the wildlife. He mentioned wildlife was dwindling in size. He wished I could hear when the birds sing in the chorus.

I was happy to get back home. Our cottage was looking worse and worse every year, with water damage on furniture and the cottage itself. At least I would not have online classes and I could be with Abbie.

I did not like listening to the news. It was only bad news. The government announced that there were now 70 million people in the country, and we would soon be the largest country in Europe. They blamed immigrants for everything. The growing population was putting a lot of stress on public services, and the country could not afford to improve them. This fear was mirrored in the people. Most people I knew hated immigrants, especially Muslims.

The summer was great. While we had floods in the winter, there was no rain for 5 months in the summer. The temperature was above 30 degrees Celcius every day. This meant that Abbie and I played every day outside. The only bad thing was that we could not use water as that was now against the law. We were lucky though that we lived by the coast. Mom took us down to the seaside, so we could cool down.

While we were happy, the farmers were not. Many could not produce enough crops and many farmers went bankrupt.

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2027
I was 7 years old.

Things looked better this year and this was good, as I was now understanding a lot of problems the world had. There was no flood, which in a way was strange, as we were so used to it every year.

Dad even bought an El car, despite that he vowed that he never would. Petrol cars cost so much that he was forced to do this. He didn’t complain about that car, except that new water restrictions meant that he could not wash it so much.

They even started putting carbon emission trees on roadways. These looked like white flyswatters and were about 10 meters high. They remove the carbon from the cars. Another thing that has become more popular was strips or algae that are fitted on the side of buildings. The government has begun to store CO2which these flyswatters remove underground.

All this has helped. The country has reduced its CO2 levels by 50% since 1990 levels.

We were reminded that this may not be enough. The summer was once again hot and this meant that crops have failed. Mom complained that the price of food increased a lot. The failure of the crops meant that people panicked, and hamstered for food when it was announced. At times, shop shelves were empty and prices just went up and up.

The worse news that year was that Abbie moved. Her parents wanted better jobs in the city. This caused me to be sad once again. The doctor said I had a depression and I was put on medication. When gramps heard this, he was mad. He asked what sort of world do we live in when a 7-year-old gets happy pills?

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2028
I was 8 years old.

I had new friends after Abbie left, but none of them were like Abbie.

I was also now fully aware of the climate crises. It was hard to avoid as the news was full of it. Everyone talked about it, even at school. The message we got was the world was doomed, and it was all our fault. Mother Earth was about to be in a coma, and in the end, she would die. Of course, this worried me. I was still a child and believed everything that was told. I could not stop thinking that everyone I loved would die because the world would die.

The summer was once again hot, even hotter than last year, and this meant that the harvest failed once again. Farmers were mad and afraid. How could they farm in the future? The government started several programs trying to get farmers to change their habits and grow food that the climate changes would allow. The prime minister also announced that it was important that our country would be self-sufficient.

Dad was as grumpy as ever, especially when a new law was passed that it was self-driving cars and trucks were now allowed. This upset a lot of people, especially Dad. He asked if machines were now taking over the world and he refused to believe that it was safe!

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2029
I was 9 years old.

I could see now how sick Mother Earth was. Our town was once again flooded and even our cottage was nearly underwater. The summer was hotter than last year, and once again broke a record for the hottest summer in the world.

It seemed like the whole world was having problems with food, as the variety of food we once had was becoming more and more seldom. The world was having problems producing food. This was not helped by the increasing population and climate changes. Gramps told me that we were spoiled. We got used to living in a world where we bought too much and mass-produced things. It would be hard for us when there would be less food and even water.

We were not the worse off. Bangkok once had a population of 12 million people. Now, most of the people were leaving the city, as it was quickly sinking underwater. The city was built on clay and some of it was even built under sea level. It is hard to think that millions of people are forced to leave their homes and try to start a new life someplace else. Scientists say that in 70 years, the whole city will be underwater!

Governments across the world try to combat these changes. In our country, the government made a law that petrol cars or trucks can no longer be in cities. They think this will help a lot. At least the people in cities have cleaner air. The problem is this caused a lot of trouble. Many did not have money to buy new electric cars. This was also for the business that delivered goods. Public transport did not improve, so shops in cities complained that they had no customers. Grandpa lived in the city. He was happy as it was quieter.

In Hong Kong, it has become so serious that they are building islands so that 1 million people can live on them. The first residents will move there in 5 years.

I did my bit for Mother Earth by joining the scouts. It was fun being with others and we could learn how to live in nature and respect it.

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2030
I was 10 years old.

The flood came very fast this year. It was so scary. We went to bed one evening as usual and the flood suddenly came and night. The next day we did not go to school as it was closed and the water became higher and higher. We ended up on the roof of the cottage and hoped that someone would save us. I was never so scared. What would happen if we were not rescued? I could not swim that far. I think mom and I cried a lot as we sat on the roof and waited and waited. In the end, a small boat came and helped us go to a place that was no longer flooded.

Despite I had happy tablets, I could see no hope. There were now 2 billion more people in the world than there was in the year 2000. Most lived in poor or developing countries, but it would affect us all. There would be less water and food for each person, and the risks of global pandemics will increase. The news was already full of conflicts because of fewer resources.

Even in my country, there has become an increasing hatred for immigrants. They were blamed for using “our” food and taking “our” jobs. Some immigrants were even attacked on the streets and even their homes.

The world was changing. The last printed newspaper was closed in ur country, saying that they were obsolete and people read their news online now. It would also be a question of time before TVs would be obsolete.

Mom no longer wanted to live here. She was tired of the floods every year and all her friends moving back to the city. This caused a lot of fights with Dad, who wanted to stay. It was hard for Sven and me, that heard our parents argue every time they saw each other. I was afraid that they would get divorced. This meant that I was sad and often cried myself to sleep.

The day came when Mom told me that she was divorcing my dad.

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To be continued

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