It's 2050. The impossible happened: we became carbon-neutral and stopped actively decimating the ecosystems around the planet. Global warming is still in full swing, the ocean is out of balance, but we are not hurting it anymore, we can slowly start healing it.
The price of such a rapid change has been huge: wars were waged, nations and cultures were wiped out - sometimes by other humans, sometimes by nature.
Whole continents are in chaos, infrastructure is broken and no one knows how to sensibly rebuild it in a sustainable way. It might take decades, if not centuries. People are traumatized, future-shocked, hurting and confused, but they're alive and they no longer actively want to kill each other. They mourn their dead, they keep on living, they cling to hope that out of all this - something better will grow.
The Solarpunks won and in some sense, everyone on the planet is now Solarpunk: believing that the sustainability is more important than profit and that without each other's support we will all die.
Across the globe, there are some centers of civilization which survived and prospered enough to start helping others around them. They decided not to fall into hopeless faction warfare, but they have very different ideas on how to go from here.
1. The Anarchists / The Social Experiment - Capitalism has almost killed the planet and the senseless hierarchies stopped us from interfering, putting blinds on our eyes and forcing us to solve a myriad of unnecessary problems. When faced with everything that happened in their lifetimes, The Anarchists say no to any rigid hierarchy and structure. They promote mesh networks and technologies, distributed systems and manufacturing, support - but - not - dependence.
2. The Technologists / The Transhumanists - The problem of the Exponential Age is that we misunderstood the science. We abandoned cybernetics and governance, ignored the environmental sciences, but we shall no more. Wielding the knowledge we gained with the understanding of the priorities we can heal the planet and rebuild The Great Projects even greater, but sustainable this time.
We can have the orbital elevator without polluting the ocean or the orbits, we can recreate the internet like it once was, but even more beautiful, allowing even the most remote village to join any cultural event or a university. If we find out that humans will fall in the same traps as before, we can change them with science. Brains can be rewired, traits modified. Being a functional part of the nature is more important than being _pure_ in some way. Look at what _pure_ did to the planet.
3. The Spiritualists / The Luddites - Our mistake was abandoning The Mother Earth as our spiritual mother first. We forgot her to the point where we were blind to hurting her, where we didn't even see what sins against her we're committing. We must do better. We stopped causing her pain, now we can start tending to her wounds and begging her for forgiveness. Maybe, in a few millennia, she will accept us as children again.
We can only hope for that - and in that hope, abandon all that was superficial, all that was unneeded, all that caused our hubris. If we find any artifacts of the days gone, we should never fall for them again, destroy if possible. Even if some fool would say they can save lives, we know that they will destroy much more than our lives - our mother-given souls.
4. The Academia / The Dinosaurs - The only way not to repeat the mistakes of our past is to remember them, to teach them to all the future generations. We need to be more careful, more responsible, double- and triple- checking our every step. No more hurray at the magic of lead or single use plastics. No more killing the whales or burning the coal. We need to find and catalog everything about or past - and be very mindful about our plans forward, even at the cost of speed.
5. The Rescuers / The Lemmings - Everyone is shocked and traumatized and everyone has their own coping mechanism. Some look into the past, some into the future, but only we are looking at the now: the billions suffering, confused as we are. We should plan and dream, but right now we should help everyone who's still alive. Tomorrow we will find a better way forward, but there are so many cities, towns and villages without a stable source of water.
Bringing it to them is the most important, even if we use the ruins of the old to do so. We know not to start the mines and the chimneys again, but a lot of carbon is already here, in the short cycle, isn't it? We can use the excavators with the last of the diesels, we can run the generators on the toxic batteries just to keep the hospital running. We'll dispose of them responsibly, but first and foremost, we'll help whoever's alive.
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