New visitors to the chronicles from the future may first wish to visit the past, by reading the earlier hologramletters. (see the older listings on the right, go to the bottom and click the link to the earlier hologramletters)
Anthony’s reflections on the past as the seasons were in green and vibrant balance had filled his dreams during the night. He had woken smiling as if still there but soon was shaken to reality by the coldness of life as it was in 2030.
NOTE The following is an adaptation from the soon to be released book ‘Letters From 2030’. To register interest on its release, or to order a copy email Bob Williamson via this link.
There was still an hour before it was time to switch on the monitors and check for any hologramletters from those he was still in contact with, or from others who may find a way of communicating from their isolation. He paced from room to room wishing the time away. Now at 77, time for him was running out, as it had for man with complacent indecision by the world’s policy makers to collectively demand global emission reductions in the first and second decade and return the planet to a safe and habitable world.
The horizon was dark and threatening as he looked out. Extreme storms and cyclones that once only punished the tropical north now regularly battered the southern city of Perth. He feared today another would strike.
He could wait no longer to switch on the monitors. If the hail came as he knew it would it may disrupt his power supply or damage the roof top solar panels. He flicked the switch and was greeted by his old friend Randell.
February 1st 2030
Things are getting real bad here for our everyday essential water supplies as chemicals from the old landfills are now leaching through the groundwater into the wells we get the water from to serve our town. On top of that we can’t use the water in the system to fight fires either, because it’s now become flammable due to high level of chemicals contaminating it. I think maybe all that plastic made from oil we dumped into landfill has started to react with the other chemicals we chucked in there over the last fifty or sixty years or so.
Now I have been thinking about this lately Bob, and talking to the others too, coz you said that one day even though they told us plastic doesn’t break down in landfill, you reckoned that mixed with the right chemicals or other stuff we had dumped in there, it might just break down back into some type of fossil fuel like we made it out of, and then leach into the groundwater. I’m thinking that’s what’s happened here.
You and I urged people to stop throwing all the junk in the landfills for decades. They never took what you and I told them to heart and kept digging bigger and bigger landfills to dump in everything they could, including the cocktail of chemicals that now are coming back to haunt us.
As he watched Randells thoughts unfold, he remembered telling him and other folks on the radio show back in 2009, about how much oil had been used just to make the PET plastic bottles we used for sodas and water in the US in just one year. His research back in '09 found out that 1lb of PET to make plastic bottles took 0.13 of a gallon of oil.
I wrote it down at the time when you told us Bob, that in 2007 we dumped 4,287 billion lbs of plastic bottles into landfill across the US in just that one year. That was the equivalent embodied oil loss to landfill was 557.3 billion gallons or 12.67 billion barrels. I remember you told us that you’d looked at the period from 1996 to 2007 and worked out the oil lost to landfill for 36,350 billion lbs of PET plastic bottles dumped, was the equivalent to a loss of oil used to make them of 4,725.5 billion gallons or 107.4 billion barrels of oil.
Anyway yesterday was the first time we tried to fight a fire with the heavily contaminated water. Truck 81 was right behind me as we arrived at a house fire; they engaged their pump and the water just erupted in flames like it was pure gasoline in the hose. Thinking it was just that hydrant I ordered unit 82 to pump from across the street and the same thing happened.
We lost the house by the time we drained the useless water from our tanks and filled up from the river.
In my now 43 years of fighting fires I have never seen water so tainted that it couldn’t be used to fight a fire. We are now going to have to use water from the river for fire fighting and I just hope the chemicals don’t get into that water source through the storm drains or we’ll then be up shit creek.
Bob I don’t know what it will take, or even if we can, distil the water from the wells to make it safe to drink. I just know that we are going to have to find a way and do it, to survive. Until then, folks that haven’t got their own rain water tanks and filters are gonna have tote their water up from the river while it’s still running in the winter time.
Big oil and chemical companies have screwed us out of a planet. More later, I’ve gotta go fight another fire.
As the now unnamed tropical cyclone rolled in from the north he switched off all monitors and moved to the relative safety of the central room.
He picked up the book and opened it to his warnings back in 2008:
Waste management authorities tell us that there are numerous problems with landfills. They are designed to support the throwaway economy of the industrial system of consumption, which in itself is designed for demise, leaving us an array of legacies. They now with 20/20 hindsight can tell us of methane emissions from commingled waste and its contribution to greenhouse gases, that food, paper, garden organics, and wood will continue to decompose, providing a legacy of emissions added to by every tonne dumped in ever increasing volumes. They tell us of water table contamination. Toxic waste had been historically dumped, with no plans or strategies in place to cope with the inevitable positive feedbacks. They tell us of heavy metals and e-waste contamination, and of organic breakdown and overall loss of resources. They can however admit they shouldn’t have located residential developments on closed landfill sites, or located these sites on flood plains or in coastal areas, soon to become prone to sea level rises.He looked down as he returned the book to its familiar place on the table near the window. He could see the swirling blue green algal blooms now reaching out across what was once back in 2000, a pristine river system alive and vibrant. If there were others that could see this poisoned landscape now dead and stagnant, they would echo his cry of ‘We didn’t know what we would loose until it had gone.