“People, your attention!” Silence followed the voice like a well-trained dog. “You will have witnessed the awful, unforgivable scenes taking place across this great city.” Unknown to the crowd, similar scenes had taken place across the British Federation but news reports rarely told of life in faraway places, like Sheffield or Leeds.
“It is now 15 years since The Adaptation began—these shortages and cut-backs are nothing new. We must adjust to our new normal of degrowth, a process it is futile to fight. These are frightening times, for all of us, but I can assure you that this Government is doing everything it can to keep all legals safe and provided for during these times of scarcity”, he said as a cuff-covered gold wrist strap glinted in the studio lights.
The main geophysical event leading to The Adaptation was two metres of global sea level rise in less than five years, something not even the gloomiest of models had predicted. Billions had died during years of floods, famines, disease and a new breed of hurricane—the hurricane wind scale no longer stopped at five. The response was mostly building massive sea defences with what resources were left, followed by figuring out how to grow food and deal with waste in this newly-warmed world of walled islands.
All debt had been cancelled, which was not as much fun for the indebted as you might think. Similarly, UniPay gave everyone a basic income in exchange for so many hours working for the common cause. Again, sounds good and indeed it was until the Youth First party came to power in 2032. For decades, climate change had risen and fallen in the public’s awareness, but it was always there for the children—shadowing their futures ever darker. Then, in 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg caught the attention of the grown-ups and, for a while, it seemed like they might wake up, but that’s not how things go, is it?
“The violent protesters have shown that they do not care for life and harmony. We, the Youth Party, do care about life and harmony, even if the means to that end involve death and violence. I thank you for your time.” The PM finished with the Youth Party’s salute: the raised fist of solidarity held out at shoulder height. The backdrop bearing the party’s logo—an angular hourglass in a green circle—faded to black.