Ruby and Mother Earth

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Chapter 3

I was 11 years old.

It was like the world fell apart when Mom and Dad got a divorce. I felt like it was somehow my fault. If I didn’t need happy pills because I was often sad, maybe life would have been easier for them. Now it was as if I was losing my dad. I knew that the majority of parents got a divorce and why should I be any different? Still, it put me in depression once again. I would look at pictures of me as a toddler and want to be able to smile like that.

Mom and I moved to the city and lived with my grandpa. He lived in a small flat in a huge apartment block. I was no longer in a rural area and it took me some time to be around so many people. Mom was lucky enough to once again find a job as a teacher. This meant that once again, I spent a lot of time with my grandpa. He even managed to make me smile.

Sven was now 14 and decided to live with Dad. They lived at the cottage until Dad lost his job at the bank. Then the both moved to the opposite side of the city. I still have seen my Dad every second weekend. I used all my time cleaning his flat as it was always so busy. The saddest part was that Dad gave up all hope. He said over and over again that the world was changing too fast. He could not find his place in it. He even gave up looking for a job, and just was a shell of what he used to be.

The desalination plants that separated salt from the water was now big business. They predict that 80% of the water we drink in the future will come from one of these plants. This being said, it looks very gloomy, as scientists predict there will be major water shortages. This will be very disastrous in poorer countries, but we will also feel it in our country. Our government decided that we had to build some as well. It’s about time that they woke up

The news made me so depressed. There was news that most of the animals we knew in the UK were disappearing. This included hedgehogs, squirrels, and even toads! Grandpa told me what it was like when he was younger. It saddened him that even butterflies were now so scarce. He blamed humans for pollution, pesticides, and giving nature no place.

During springtime, I had headaches and I found it hard breathing. Mom took me to the doctor and she said I had allergies. So now I had extra medicine to help me breathe. Grandpa used this opportunity to remind us when he was a boy, there were not so many his age that had allergies. I found out later that this was not true. In the past, more children died than they do now!

I was 12 years old.

This was a bad year for Grandpa. First, the government announced that the TV stations will phase out over 3 years. This was because more and more TV stations closed and were now streaming their content on the Internet. The same with normal TV programs. Netflix and Disney+ was destroying the traditional TV culture. This did not sadden me. The only time that I really watched TV was when Grandpa looked at the news. It was still funny when he talked with the box. Otherwise, I saw most things on my tablet.

Another big shock for Grandpa was around Easter. Mom had been buying all the food since we moved here. So Grandpa must have forgotten the price of things. He asked why there was no chocolate for Easter. I could not remember the last time I had chocolate! Mom tried to explain that the world has changed, Most of the cacao could no longer be grown in places, because of drought and soil depletion. This meant that chocolate was nearly as expensive as caviar. I felt sorry for grandpa, so I took all my savings and bought him a cholate bar.

It was revealed today that British society is changing quite fast. More and more people have their life on virtual computer experiences. Religion is no longer important. Those that work are more stressed. This has led to fewer marriages. In fact, 60% of couples no longer get married. The government is worried that the birth rate has declined. They are also worried that immigrants, especially Muslims are growing in numbers so quickly and their birth rate is going up. This would mean a huge change to our country and could lead to tensions.

My Dad has also emerged himself in a virtual world on the Net. He defends himself by saying its a world he knows and feels safe in. This also means that he lost all his friends in the real world and even finds it hard to spend time with me when I visit. Svenja and I no longer speak with each other. He hangs around with a gang that never seems up to anything good. When Svenja does speak, it sounds like he is always mad and bitter. I was very worried about him.

I tried to get involved in improving the world. I was still a scout and loved being in nature. It also worried me when Grandpa talked about what the world was like in his youth. What will the world look like when I had grandparents?

It was at this time, that I speculated that only the smart will survive. A person needed to be intelligent to have a job. Machines and computers would do the manual work. I had my childhood years to be prepared. I decided I wanted to help the world and I wanted a job that would do this. I became a bookworm and studied a lot

I was 13 years old.

I was a teenager now and started puberty. I was no longer a child!

The winter was very cold. The Thames river in London even froze. The weather was never so cold in the UK. Scientists said it reminded them of ice age conditions. Thousands of people died because of the cold. This was sad. Another problem was that many could not go out as sometimes the conditions were so bad. It was hard to think that we lived in a land of ice with winter storms, and flooding. In 6 months, we would have a drought.

The strange thing was that the scientists said that climate change really has not hurt the UK such as other countries. Countries in Asia and Africa and North and South America were hurting more, especially in the poorer countries!

The cold winter we experienced was not something we had to get used to. We would have warmer winters, which meant more rain and more floods!

A war has started in Thailand and Laos over water. This has worried the United Nations as the lack of water in many countries is causing some tensions. This was the first war where water is blamed to be the main fighting point. It is expected that wars will break out in different parts of the world, especially the developing countries. The British government has responded to this by radically increasing our defense budget, mainly to be used in the navy. Grandpa said that he predicted this years ago. I wish he predicted peace.

In western countries, including the UK, unemployment has become a problem, as it soars up every year. Since self-driving became legal, there were no longer needs for drivers and the restaurants and the economic network they supported. More and more self-driving cars were on the roads. In manufacturing, robots were taking over the work. Even in the service industry, there was less need for people in banks, shops, or jobs where a brain was needed. Computer ai’s were becoming very powerful. Economists warned that the ordinary person had to get used to life as unemployed. This made me study more.

It also gave me a depression, where I could not get out of bed. Grandpa ended up coming to my bedside and tell me the world does not need pessimist people. Human beings can adapt to changes. He told me the world needs optimistic people that can change the world. There should always be hope!

I was 14 years old.

This year started with some optimism, despite the rain and the floods.

The government, as well as many Europeans and the Americans, has formed a common space project where they would spend more money on space than they have done on defense. The idea was simple. We had to save the earth, but we also needed a plan B. We needed to find another planet, where we could send people and in this way cause less strain on our planet. It was now that I became a Star Trek fan, which was a very old TV series in my grandpa’s days. It was fun as Grandpa and I watched these series.

It was also announced that there were now 1 billion robots in the world, that helped do the manual work humans once did. Many homes in the UK were getting a maid robot, as who does like cleaning? Robots were also starting to think for themselves, and this meant that they started doing jobs where they needed analytical work. This worried mom as she wondered if there would be a robot teacher sometime in the future.

Dad committed suicide on Valentine’s day. This was a shock and I was both sad and mad. How could Dad leave me in that way? I still needed him. I knew that he was a recluse and spent most of his time in virtual reality. I knew that he seldom had time for me. However, he was my Dad. I knew he was sad and never really came to terms with the divorce. At the funeral, all I could think about was if I helped him enough.

Svenja refused to move in with us. He said he would live with his boyfriend. This gave me new things to think about and learn to accept.

A strange thing this year was they said that fish was now becoming scarce. Overfishing had reduced the population of the fish. On top of this, culture change has also meant that the fish was significantly smaller compared to the size they were before.

I was 15 years old.

It was announced that the American economy was in a dire state. Unemployment was going up. This was the same as every other country. I was amazed that 10 million jobs were lost in the USA just because of self-driving cars. Is new technology good? In a way, new technology is the answer to the problems the world is experiencing. However, humans felt like they needed to work. They felt like they needed to achieve things. I suppose there are always two sides to every coin.

The British economy was also under pressure. Unemployment was also high and the government received less in taxes. This was problematic, as expenses grew and grew. The average earned was also earning less. This made people poorer at a time when food prices and even the price of water was soaring. The government had its traditional expenses, but also needed more money to protect the environment!

One example was the UK was becoming a smaller island. Coaster Erosion has sped up over the last decade and this meant that people had to move as their houses fell into the sea! This was only 800 houses, which in my mind does not sound like it was so many. The reason why it’s not that many houses are the government spent a lot of money each year to protect the coast. Even with this, they expect thousands of houses to fall in the sea, as around 7 meters of land is being eaten every year!

Mom has a new boyfriend. She had a few before, but this one is lasting. I don’t really speak with him and told mom I don’t want him moving in. I had one Dad and I do not want another one. Besides he thought I was boring because I studied a lot.

I watched the Lion King since I was a little girl. I was sad to see that half the lions were gone by 2015. This was because of hunting and the need for more farmland. Many countries did their best to save the lions, but they had no money and it was estimated that there are only 10,000 left. One doesn’t have to be a scientist to understand that Lions will soon be something you can only see in a zoo. This made it hard for me to see Lion King anymore, as it reminded me of the huge crimes mankind is doing against animals and nature.

Sven was now 18 and he mostly hung around with his friends. He never visited us. I was worried about him. Was he getting into trouble? I have seen him downtown one day drinking with a group of others. I smiled and greeted him and expected a hug. Svenja looked at me and then joked to the others that he did not even know me! This hurt a lot. I have lost loved ones due to death, but not when they were alive and did not want others to know we were related

To be continued

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