(I began writing this article in February 2020)
Maybe it is though? You know, the apocalypse? I see more and more natural disasters, getting more and more extreme in nature. There are fires, floods, earthquakes, droughts, diseases, and war, constant war, constantly on the increase, escalating, and we can seemingly do nothing about it. Well apparently, we can give up air travel and stop eating meat. I tried this, I stopped flying for about 3 years, and instead got the ferry to see my parents who live in Ireland. This takes a total of 16 hours, instead of the 3 hour bus and the half an hour flight. I calculated the fuel used, and the carbon output, and the flight is better for the environment, so I started flying again.
I stopped eating meat for about a month. I also stopped eating cheese, butter, milk, and eggs, or to better describe it, I went what is known as vegan. It was not fun. I was mainly doing it for the environment, and not for the welfare of animals, but it was worthy of a personal experiment. It was difficult, and not as enjoyable as other vegans made out. I also became exposed to the issue of palm oil, which is used in every product ever that used to contain butter or other forms of vegetable oil, because it is cheaper. It is cheaper because it is produced in developing countries on land that was once part of the natural habitat of many endangered species such as orangutans. I now simply eat less animal products than I used to, extreme solutions are not easy, and don’t even have an impact on those around me enough to save the world.
There is always Mars right? Well in a few decades, we will have established a “colony” of sorts on Mars. The people there will be suffering worse than vegans on Earth. First of all, they will be vegan, straight away, we need to establish that there will be no cows on Mars, probably never. Nutritional yeast will be the closest to meat that any Martian settler will taste until we have lived there for a few generations. The air will be pretty clean though, because it will be cleaned regularly, by filters, and re-oxygenated by plants or algae…
(I have continued writing this article again in November 2020 as I have suddenly found the willpower to discuss the theoretical apocalypse while living through a very real one!)
Okay, Now it’s the end-times!
Forget Mars, we are too late! The VIRUS! It was a plague after all! So I kind of suspected that Coronavirus, or as it is now know COVID19 would spread. Especially since nobody did very much to stop it, well apart from China and South Korea, who by now have it under control. It spread throughout Europe, is now global and it looks like it is here to stay until we can find a vaccine. Will it end humanity? Well no, but it will radically change the way we live. We were already using the Internet to shop for bargains, now we do it to shop for milk, bread and eggs (unless they have run out of eggs that is!). Everyone is now working from home a lot more, and this is actually a bonus prize from the point of view of an environmentalist, as the carbon footprint of commuting has been drastically reduced. However, the majority of carbon produced is for the production of domestic electricity, and having just taken a meter reading, I can definitely attest to the fact that domestic energy consumption has sky-rocketed!
So when do we go back to life as normal, the way things used to be? Will we be wearing masks everywhere for decades to come? Well we don’t have definitive answers to those questions, but there is always a theory, and my theory is that this is yet another pivotal point in human history. Just like when we landed on the Moon, or when penicillin was discovered, we will not be going back to how things were before. People will probably still keep shopping online for the basic groceries, going to the grocery store to buy food will seem like too much of a chore to do regularly, and may even be seen as a fun day out for some! Travelling to work will definitely seem a lot less appealing than it ever was before, even for people who carried on commuting throughout the pandemic. Not having to battle with so much traffic, or other passengers on public transport, will have been a welcome change that they will sorely miss if it goes away again. The time spent commuting has already been spent by most people, they have extra time in bed, or with loved ones, maybe even taking up a new hobby. People are going to miss having their own kitchens to prepare their lunch, and not having to worry about colleagues stealing their sandwiches. Office workers are going to miss wearing pyjamas all day, and their business wear will feel more restrictive and uncomfortable than before. Men will have to get used to wearing a tie (and shaving) again, and women will have to get used to wearing a bra (and shaving) again.
I theorise that employees will want to keep working from home, for the most part. Some will be glad to get back into the office and away from their spouse/kids/neighbours/pets so that they can concentrate on their work! These will be in the minority however, and if they are, they may not even get the chance to go back to the office. What do we do with all of these unnecessary offices then? What about all those office chairs and ergonomic keyboards? Well the offices could be used to grow food, or even be converted into apartments, and the equipment will probably be re-purposed somehow. I truly hope that it doesn’t all end up in landfill to become some future archaeologist’s pet project. Schools will evolve, not everything can be taught online with video conferencing, art for example will require resources and materials, so will science, not everyone will have beakers, conical flasks and a Bunsen burner at home. So the way we educate children may change forever, kids were already able to access everything they could learn at school on the Internet anyway, this is just a push towards decentralised learning. There are people already discussing this in relation to Agenda 21 and even calling it The Great Reset.
So apocalypse means the end of how things are, then we are definitively in an apocalypse, and despite all the people dying from a deadly virus, things aren’t that bad. Well obviously I haven’t mentioned the race war happening in the (less and less) United States of America, that may or may not lead to a full blown civil war. There is actually too much to discuss both matters in one article, so I will leave it up to interested readers to pursue this on another article, hopefully published before it actually happens, unlike this one!