The Conflagration Consequence
June 10, 2497
Excerpts from the autobiography of Penny Wilson, a geological and sustainability scientist who lived in one of Australia’s Sub-Acquatic Salvation Project, or SASP, colonies, 30 miles east of the Great Barrier Reef. Read by her grandson, James Wilson-Phillips.
On August 16th, 2456, I gave one of the most important speeches of my career. I went before the Council of SASP Colony Three and told them of my research. Though we had added on to our SASP colonies throughout the years, we were quickly losing the space and the resources to continue sustaining the human race in our colonies. We needed to return back to the land. To do so, I began by telling them of the grave mistakes the human race had made that led to the Great Conflagration. The reason for our living in underwater habitations was because humans neglected and abused Mother Earth. We mined her too greedily of her precious, natural resources. We cut down and destroyed almost all of her beautiful, green forests. We polluted her skies and waters with toxins and poisonous gases. Because of these grave misdeeds, noxious pollutants ate away at the planet’s atmosphere until it became so weak that holes appeared in it. The ultraviolet radiation began killing entire forests, which became fuel for the raging wildfires that scorched the earth.
I then told the Council how sustainable we had become in the SASP colonies. Advanced hydroponic technologies have helped us efficiently grow all manner of plant life, including food crops. Green energy in the form of water turbines and Floating Solar Transmitters (FSTs) power our underwater energy mainframes. Though the vast majority of the earth’s terranean animal life became extinct with the Great Conflagration, the few species of animals that reside in our SASP colonies are thriving and living happy, free lives.
Finally, I told them that, with the proper instruction, we could begin to venture back to the land and try to cultivate the earth once more. It had been over four hundred years since the Great Conflagration had taken place and during that time, there had been zero human interaction on the land, and few land animals had survived. Over the course of several centuries, the earth had begun the slow process of healing itself. So much so, that our latest geological scans had found almost no pollutants left in the air, soil fertile enough to raise crops, and temperatures safe enough to live in. After I concluded my research, the council promised to deliberate on my findings and come to a conclusion on whether or not it was wise for us to make the change.
Decades of disagreements among council leaders ensued, but on January 1st of the year 2497, the first humans to venture back to land established the first settlement in what we now call New Brisbane. As I sit writing this autobiography, I can’t help but reflect back on my life. I was forty years old when I appeared before the Council of SASP Colony Three. At the time of the writing of this memoir (June 10th, 2497), I am now 81 years of age. I am not sure how much longer I will live, so I decided to write down all the major events of my life in this memoir so that future generations will never forget what we went through to get back to life on land. My two sons, their families, and I were with the first settlers as we made our voyage west from SASP Colony Three on January 1st to the long forgotten continent of Australia. Once we made land and established a base camp, I immediately began writing. It has taken me five long months to go over and transcribe my personal journals, as well as the written histories our historians kept on the colony, into a memoir based on my life events. If you are reading this, please, I urge you, do not commit the damage we humans inflicted upon the earth so many years ago. It has taken over four hundred years for the earth to heal. I fear that if we were to fall back into the same patterns of destruction our ancestors were guilty of, the earth might not be able to heal again. This is our second chance. This is our chance to prove to the earth that we, her children, are worthy of her glorious beauty, wonder, and majesty. My name is Penny Wilson, and I am no longer a member of SASP Colony Three. I am now a citizen of New Brisbane.