The Promethean Fix

Alexi Barnstone - Cli-Fi


Greta stared down at the headline on her phone screen. It read: Economic modelling conclusive in debunking human-nature symbiosis. Renewables still consumptive. UN members debate ramifications this Sunday EST 16:00. The crowd slugged down the road, covering the street from sidewalk to sidewalk. She stayed fixated on the news, trusting that the thousands of other attendees would jostle her in the right direction. A few locals and tourists pressed themselves against storefront windows and ducked into entryways, caught in the mass of people.

As Greta finished the article the crowd poured out into a park, thinning across the open grass. Half of the green acreage was already invisible beneath the boots of nervous audience members. On a wooden stand in front of a marble fountain a woman, dressed in an expensive black trench coat, patted her microphone gently with black, leather fingers. The speaker’s long dark hair was greying proudly. She hunched slightly over the microphone, burdened by the weight of her task.

The park reached capacity. Not everyone fit, the swarm of people extending back out of the park and down the streets, they were the dark tail of the collective super being. No one spoke. The shuffling of boots the only barrier to silence.

The speaker tapped on the microphone one last time, triple checking, then began to speak.

“Hello, thank you for joining me on this sombre day. On behalf of the Green Socialists I would like to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your unwavering support through this difficult time for our party”

Ocasio-Cortez gestured toward the crowd with an open palm.

“It has been the privilege of my life to serve you as the fifty third President of the United States. No Nothing could ever eclipse the joy that you gave me, my voters, my activists, my students, my fellow workers, when you put me in office. Not once, but twice! Thank you. Thank you so, so much. I, with the incomparably talented members of the Green Socialists, have worked tirelessly to realise your demands as voters.
There have been many victories in the last seven years. With a majority in the house and senate Green Socialist policy has reinvented our constitution, creating a better now and even better future. We achieved free solar for 80% of Americans. We achieved slashing University fees by 67%. We persecuted big oil. We passed fair immigration laws.”

Her cadence suggested that the crowd should cheer after each achievement on her listicle. But her rhetoric couldn’t eek anything from the people, who all stood silent, downcast, crestfallen.

“We achieved better standards of higher education and passed new tax reform to curb wealth inequality like never seen before. We have made leaps and bounds toward realising the socialist future that you voted for, comrades, while maintaining economic stability. We have done things unimaginable to past generations. Things that will smile favourable on both us and those that come after us. But all these achievements, as you all know, are shadowed by the inescapable reality of our situation. As you all know, solar has been found insufficient, wind not enough, and hydro inexpedient. The energy demands of our growing populace leave our party no choice in the eleventh hour. The clock is at eleven fifty-nine, and we have made our decision.”

Murmurs echoed through the crowd as people shifted their weight uneasily.

“The Green Socialists will be accepting the Tea Party’s Promethean bill in congress tomorrow afternoon.”

Greta’s body went stiff. The crowd’s collective anxiety burst, insults and verbal abuse percolating from different parts of the mass. President Ocasio-Cortez lifted her hands off the podium and extended them out, simultaneously asking for calm and apologising for the betrayal.

“I know. I understand the frustration you must all be feeling. Please do not think this decision is any less painful for me. But we have no other choice. Our most renewable energy still takes resources. We all read the papers, we all must accept the science.”

The noise levels began to heighten in the crowd as more individuals began shouting disdainfully.

“I know. I understand I do. But we must accept the dire reality of our situation. The Green Socialists would never work with the Tea Party if we had any other choice. Relocation has now become the only viable route to preserving the American dream. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not easily come by, and it is either life, liberty and happiness, or the planet that must be sacrificed.”

The crowd erupted with disgust.

“Congress will approved the five hundred billion dollar allocation to NASA and monitor step by step our progress as we work to establish a new United States of America. One that will be as good…..”

A muddy shoe flew past the left ear of the speaker.

“….as vibrant, as equal as the society we exist in today…”

A water bottle followed, connecting with the target’s forehead.

Written by Alexi Barnstone

Alexi Barnstone is a current Honours student at the University of Sydney studying political philosophy.  Having graduated majoring in psychology and philosophy, his fascination with climate change centres around how the human condition and government will be altered in the years to come.

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