New Atlantis

This “vision” is one of the 30+ that we’ll publish here in the next months. Most of them will go into Life Plus 2 Meters, Volume 2 (expected publication: Dec 2017). We hope that you will comment on the message, suggest ways to sharpen the narrative, and tell us how the story affects your understanding of adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, we hope that you enjoy reading these stories and share them with your friends and family. —David Zetland (editor) and the authors


Lost at sea-
Tides hit and run,
Slow waves maroon and hide,
Drown in depths of hunger and drought.

Cities, coastal, sink into sand-
Disappear before our eyes,
Four metres a year- two rooms high-
The earth, the sea, is already taking savage bites.

New Atlantis… lost, half drunk with drowning,
Power of skyscraper floats over Hong Kong,
The hustle and thrust of Shanghai,
Pastel exoticism of fondant Miami villas,
The glory of Sydney’s bay,
And swathes of London…
Who so-called ruled the waves, is ruled again,
St Pauls, a dome floats an island meringue
In an ocean of brown vanilla sauce,
Manhattan mythed of epic stature,
Chocolate slabs and gelatine sheets
As weak and nothing,
A global powerhouse caved in,
Encroached by white fighting crests.
Islands, pinpricks on maps, invisible once again,
Low lying places- Bangladesh to Netherlands
Mown down,
dislocation, relocation- easy-thrown words,
A Neverland of blight.

Meanwhile emperor penguins huddle watch,
Birdbrains curious at melting ice,
Their land, their home, dissolves and crumbles
Before their black bead eyes.

And humans, our very small birdbrains
Pump out Mount St Helen’s each day,
Twelve times a day, emissions vomit putrid gas
Flatten, suffocate, melt and disintegrate.

Canute understood- no-one can control the sea,
It takes no orders,
Admire it.
Respect it.
Cosset it.
Treat it right and it might take care of you.

Disregard the sea-
Care not for the swallowing of ice sheets,
a gulp of raspberry ripple ice-cream-
Blood of futures folded through it,
Sickness and sweet sticky cloy,
And we dream in futility.


Catherine Jones was a lawyer until she had her family and now works as a writer, musician and artist which is what she always wanted to be… A Londoner, who loves the city, she is based in Gloucestershire, UK, but with dual German and UK citizenship, she has always felt she is a citizen of the world, and she cares passionately about its survival. She uses her writing and art to share her vision.

Castrillo Matajudios

This “vision” is one of the 30+ that we’ll publish here in the next months. Most of them will go into Life Plus 2 Meters, Volume 2 (expected publication: Dec 2017). We hope that you will comment on the message, suggest ways to sharpen the narrative, and tell us how the story affects your understanding of adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, we hope that you enjoy reading these stories and share them with your friends and family. —David Zetland (editor) and the authors


Last known recording of Argi Mikolas Munoz (and unknown male); Beit Jamal Salesian Monastery; Beit Shemesh, Israel. Translated from the Basque(Upper Navarrese) By Fr. Ibon Garcia.

UM: What have you done with the life I have given you?

AMM: I have served.

UM: No, you are serving now – and it is too late.

AMM: I have always kept the faith; I have fought and bled for my country.

UM: Stone and earth are ambivalent my son – what faith?

AMM: That the Lord is my saviour and that…

UM: Come now Argi. Even now you would try to lie – and I am here watching you. Can you see the softening of the walls and the opening of the ceiling?

AMM: God help me, I am afraid.

UM: That’s what Maria Dolores would have said – had she had time. You knew her too didn’t you Argi?

AMM: I knew her.

UM: Did you know her little child?

AMM: I never met the child, I am sorry, I never wanted any of it to happen, I…

UM: But you didn’t do anything to stop it, did you?

AMM: It was not my decision, I could do nothing.

UM: And if I was to say the same to you now my son; how would that be?

AMM: I will do anything, anything!

UM: Oh! They say I will, I would, I wish, I pray. They never say I have, I made, I tried, I hoped. They seek benevolence when all they have offered is ruthlessness; they plead for mercy though they have never bestowed it.

AMM: Surely it is never too late?

UM: Ah, surely it is never too early? You know that place your wife came from? Did you know that they’ve twinned it with Kfar Vradim? I had a chuckle at that one. It’s yet another example of irony. You were supposed to learn from irony Argi. All of you are supposed to learn from it. Still, it doesn’t matter much now.

AMM: Is there anything I can do?

UM: Once – there was a lot you could have done, but you played with fire didn’t you? You knew that you shouldn’t have – but you still did. What can I do when I’m faced with that?

AMM: I thought that if I did certain…things.. then my people would gain their freedom and…

UM: Those are the thought processes of a child; besides they are not your people – they are mine. Freedom does not exist. There is only responsibility: to yourself; to others; to me. Those duties are the essence of self-emancipation. Have you ever seen those dogs in the country? You know – the ones that chase your motor vehicles. They wait, and wait, in anticipation – and then they charge out like lions protecting the pride – for naught. It always amuses me, and it always makes me a little sad; but bravery and intelligence have seldom been bedfellows.

AMM: So it is over then?

UM: Well, it is – and it isn’t. Answers are never neat. Answers only beget further questions. So I ask you again – what have you done with the life I have given you?

AMM: I do not know what you want me to say.

UM: That is correct; but also incorrect. Do you know what these men do?

AMM: What men?

UM: These men here. The men who took you in, who fed you, gave you a bed, treated you with kindness through the worst of your illness. These men.

AMM: They are monks.

UM: They try to take care of children. They try to help the homeless ones – the little unfortunates.

AMM: And I have heard the horror stories.

UM: I’ll just bet you have. I’ll say this for you Argi – you’ve got balls. My point is that you are a little child, even though you must be seventy now. Your mind is infantile. These men looked after you like a child. And yet here you are Argi: an old man in the dark eh?

AMM: Why have you come?

UM: I have come to show compassion; to practice what I have preached. I have come before Fr. Kendrick returns. What do you see now?

AMM: The dawn, I think.

UM: Yes, well – that will suffice. I want you to walk out over this meadow. I want you to move towards the rising sun. But you must not falter, this light is not as forgiving as I. You must adapt to it.

AMM: But it is so very far – so very far. I see Castrillo on the plain and Miriam’s house. I loved her you know. We got wed in, oh – I can’t remember it now. They had that old dog, the one with the torn ear…

UM: Zirta.

AMM: Yes – that was him, Zirta. So long ago. So long. Wait, oh Lord – I can smell the what do you call ’ems…?

UM: The red carnations?

AMM: Yes, yes, oh yes….

UM: Do not weep. Keep walking. Nice and steady; that’s it.

AMM: I am so very sorry for all of it. I am so sorry. I put a frog in the milk pail and made Ines cry.

UM: Take my hand now Argi. Do not be afraid.

AMM: What is it all? What is it?

UM: Adaptation Argi; little more than that.

Nb. As per instructions, translation of final tape recording. Cassette withheld from authorities and in my possession. Pick-up at your convenience.

Regards, I. Garcia.


Peter Lynch (in his words): “I’m from Co.Derry, but I’ve lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for over twenty years. My trade is demolition. I’m 46 , married with four children. I enjoy the outdoors, natural history, swimming and boxing. I read anything and everything, and have done for as long as I can remember. Music, writing, and drawing have always been my favourite ways to express myself.”

The last mission

This “vision” is one of the 30+ that we’ll publish here in the next months. Most of them will go into Life Plus 2 Meters, Volume 2 (expected publication: Dec 2017). We hope that you will comment on the message, suggest ways to sharpen the narrative, and tell us how the story affects your understanding of adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, we hope that you enjoy reading these stories and share them with your friends and family. —David Zetland (editor) and the authors


Joe! Wake up!

What?

I saw another Mars bus in the sky.

Go to sleep.

But Joe, maybe we can get them to help us.

Look Mark, we decided to stay here on Earth and deal with it. I don’t understand why you would change your mind now, since it’s probably impossible to get to Mars.

Sorry Joe, but take a look at what is left! Nothing. We’re 400 meters above sea level but forced to hide in this cave to avoid skin cancer. We don’t have medicine, the fish have been exported to extra-terrestrial ecosystems, and the remaining animals are disappearing quickly.

Can I just remind you that you were the one who said we should hide and wait to restart with the others when nature heals itself?

And what are we going to do while we wait for them? For Nature?

We’ll do exactly what you said. We will work at night with the abandoned tech to keep going. Earth is a paradise!

I know what you mean but look at all the trouble. Who’s going to handle the radioactive material? Who’s going to rebuild after earthquakes? What about the contamination from newly flooded areas?

One step at a time! Fossil fuels are no longer being used, cars are abandoned, and meat production has ceased. We can eat the lab food and wait. We can hope!

Wake up already! That’s going to take years. We should’ve gone to Mars with everybody else and waited there.

I’m going to sleep. I’m staying here. I heard there’s a spaceship in Romania. You can helicopter there in ten hours, if you want. I was going to keep the chopper and fuel a secret, but it looks like you’re desperate.

You can adapt your way, and I’ll do it my way.

I’m staying here.


Xenia Artemiou moved to Glasgow, Scotland from Nicosia, Cyprus. She studies BSc environmental science and sustainability at the University of Glasgow. Passionate about the environment, she undertook an internship in The Hague, the Netherlands where she worked on the Life plus 2 meters project in communicating climate change adaption to the general public. Following that internship she undertook another internship with HHNK (a Dutch governmental water body) where she was responsible for analysing pharmaceuticals in waste water treatment plants. She is due to graduate in 2018.

Un jour en la vie

This “vision” is one of the 30+ that we’ll publish here in the next months. Most of them will go into Life Plus 2 Meters, Volume 2 (expected publication: Dec 2017). We hope that you will comment on the message, suggest ways to sharpen the narrative, and tell us how the story affects your understanding of adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, we hope that you enjoy reading these stories and share them with your friends and family. —David Zetland (editor) and the authors


[Click here for the English version]

Joseph s’aplatit sur le sol, et le coup porté par le Chef des Pillards le manqua. Il fit une roulade, attrapa le pistolet qu’il avait perdu plus tôt dans le combat et se retourna pour affronter le bandit. Il était toujours en train d’essayer de sortir sa hache de guerre du tronc blanchi de l’arbre more. «Rends-toi, ordure. » Le bandit lui lança un regard de haine pure et tendit la main vers le révolver à sa ceinture, mais Joseph fut plus rapide. Une détonation déchira l’air, et le Chef s’effondra. Le Cimetière fut silencieux de nouveau. Lentement, Joseph claudiqua jusqu’au corps de Neema. Il retira sa gourde de la main inerte de la femme qui l’avait mené dans cet endroit impie. « Adieu, bébé ». Sans se retourner, il enfourcha sa moto, lança le moteur et s’en alla vers le soleil couchant, laissant le Cimetière profané derrière lui.

Joseph posa son crayon et s’étira. Il adorait écrire ses histoires, mais il s’en sortait toujours avec une main endolorie. Il ferma son cahier et le mit dans son sac. Il commençait à faire chaud sous la tente, ce qui signifiait que le matin était déjà bien avance. Il était temps d’aller chercher de l’eau.

Il sortir de la tente, et ses yeux s’emplirent de larmes en réaction à la lumière brûlante. Les deux bidons standards étaient posés à l’entrée de la tente, vide. Il les attrapa et commença à marcher à travers le camp. Après quinze minutes de marche, il arriva à la queue. Mauvais signe. Si la queue s’étendait jusqu’ici, ça allait être une longue attente. Il connaissait de vue la femme devant lui. Il la salua poliment, et lui demanda si elle pouvait lui garder sa place et ses bidons le temps qu’il aille voir à l’avant jusqu’où s’étendait la queue. Elle accepta. Il vérifia rapidement que le nom de sa mère et le sien était toujours bien lisible sur les bidons, puis partit.

La queue était longue, mais droite. Le camion de distribution d’eau n’était pas présent au début de la queue. La distribution n’avait pas encore commencé, ce qui expliquait la longueur de la file. Les soldats du HCR étaient cependant déjà présents, avec leur armure et leurs armes. Ils étaient toujours là pour surveiller la distribution d’eau, et vérifier que personne ne tentait de s’attribuer plus d’eau que leur quotas.

Il rebroussa chemin le long de la file, en réfléchissant à comment il pourrait intégrer les gardes dans l’une de ses histoires. Une milice protégeant une cité avec une réserve d’eau souterraine, peut-être ? Il était arrivé là où il avait laissé ses bidons. «Le camion n’est pas encore arrivé, mama.» La femme acquiesça. Il espérait que le camion serait bientôt là. Depuis qu’il était dans le camp, il n’y avait eu que deux jours où les camions de distribution n’étaient pas venus. Ça n’avait pas été des bons jours. Il empila ses bidons et s’assit dessus. Derrière lui, la file continuait de grandir. Il se rappelait de quand il n’y avait pas besoin de camions de distribution d’eau dans le camp. Quand ils étaient arrivés avec sa mère, il y avait un puits qui fournissait l’eau au camp. On lui avait dit que le camp avait été construit ici précisément pour le puits. Puis il s’était tari.

Il avait souvent pensé que Dieu avait un étrange sens de l’humour. Ils avaient quitté leur village à côté de la mer à cause des inondations, parce qu’il y avait trop d’eau. Et maintenant ils n’avaient pas assez d’eau. Oui, un étrange sens de l’humour.

Joseph ne se rappelait pas bien du village, il était trop petit quand ils avaient dû partir. Mais il se rappelait de la mer. Même s’il avait du mal à y croire. Autant d’eau. Le Pays de la Mer était l’endroit où le Joseph dans ses histoires tentait de retourner. Un endroit loin des Terres Désolées. Au delà des barbelés qui entouraient le camp. Il y avait de l’agitation dans la file. Les camions étaient enfin arrivés.

La queue avança, lentement. Joseph empoigna ses bidons. Un peu plus d’une heure passa. Enfin, ce fut son tour. Un des gardes scanna sa puce d’identité, puis celle de sa mère. Il lui fit signe de remplir les bidons. Joseph but quelques gorgées directement au robinet. C’était toléré, et sa mère lui avait dit de toujours le faire. Il le faisait donc, consciencieusement. Puis il transporta les bidons jusqu’à l’endroit où sa mère avait installé son échoppe. Il devait lui donner les bidons pour qu’elle puisse utiliser l’eau pour cuisiner, puis il aurait le droit d’aller jouer. Peut-être qu’aujourd’hui Neema le laisserait rejoindre son groupe. Ça n’avait pas été très gentil de sa part de la tuer. Peut-être pourrait-il changer la fin de son épisode ? Peut-être qu’elle et Joseph pourrait partir en moto ensemble vers le Pays De La Mer?


Aurélien Puiseux est un écologue français. Il travaille sur le changement climatique, la biodiversité, les forêts urbaines et les ressources en eau. Il travaille actuellement chez Total.

A day in the life

This “vision” is one of the 30+ that we’ll publish here in the next months. Most of them will go into Life Plus 2 Meters, Volume 2 (expected publication: Dec 2017). We hope that you will comment on the message, suggest ways to sharpen the narrative, and tell us how the story affects your understanding of adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, we hope that you enjoy reading these stories and share them with your friends and family. —David Zetland (editor) and the authors


[Cliquez ici pour la version Français]

Joseph ducked, and the Scavenger Leader’s blow missed him. He rolled, grabbed his fallen gun and turned to face the bandit. He was still trying to get his axe out of the bleached trunk of the dead tree. “It’s over, scumbag”. The bandit gave him a look of pure hatred and reached for his own gun, but Joseph was faster. A shot echoed, and the Leader fell down. The Cemetery was silent once more. Slowly, Joseph limped to the corpse of Neema. He snatched his gourd from the cold dead hand of the woman that had led him in this ungodly place. “So long, sweetheart.” Without looking back, he straddled his bike, hit the starter and rode into the sunset, leaving the desecrated Cemetery behind him.

Joseph put down his pencil and stretched his arm. He loved writing his stories, but it always left him with a sore hand. He closed his notebook and put it in his bag. It was starting to get hot under the tent, meaning the morning was already well advanced. It was time to go and get water.

He stepped out of the tent, and his eyes watered because of the harsh light. The two standard issue jerrycans were at the entrance of the tent, empty. Joseph grabbed them and started walking through the camp. After fifteen minutes, he arrived at the queue. That wasn’t good. If the queue was reaching until here, it would be a long wait. He knew from view the woman before him. He saluted her politely, and asked her if she could save his place and his jerrycans while he’d go and check the length of the queue. She agreed. He checked that his mother’s name and his were still readable on the `cans, then left.

The line was long, but straight. There was no water truck at the beginning. The distribution hadn’t begin, that explained the length of the queue. There were the usual HCR guards, though, with their armor and their guns. They were always watching the water distribution, making sure no one tried to get more water than their allowance. He walked back along the line, thinking of how he could integrate the guards into one of his stories. A militia protecting a city with an underground reserve of water, maybe?

He arrived back at his place in the line. “The truck is not there yet, mama”. The woman nodded. He hoped the truck would show up soon. There was only two days since he was in that camp when the truck had not showed up. Those had not been good days. He piled his jerrycans and sat on top of them. Behind him, the line kept on growing. He remembered when there was no need for trucks in the camp. When they had arrived with his mother, there was a well supplying water to the camp. He had been told the camp had been built there precisely because of the well. And then it had ran out.

He often thought that God had a strange sense of humor. They had left their village by the sea because of the floods, because of too much water. And now they didn’t have enough water. Yes, a strange sense of humor.

Joseph didn’t remember the village well. He was too young when they had left. He remembered the sea, though. But it seemed mythical, now. That much water. The Land By The Sea was where the Joseph in his stories tried to return. A place away from the Barren Lands. Over the barbed fence of the camp. There was a clamor in the line. The trucks had finally arrived.

The line moved on, slowly. Joseph picked up his jerrycans. An hour or so passed. At last it was his turn. A guard checked his identification, then his mother’s. He gestured him to fill the jugs. Joseph drank a few sips directly from the tap. The guards tolerated it, and his mother had told him to always do it. So he did. Then he walked back to the place where his mother had her small shop. He had to give her the jerrycan so she could use them to cook, then he would be free to go and play. Maybe this time Neema would let him join her band. It wasn’t very nice of him to have killed her. Maybe he could change the ending of his episode? Maybe Joseph and her could ride together until The Land By The Sea?


Aurélien Puiseux is a French ecologist working on climate change, biodiversity, urban forestry and water resources. He is currently employed by Total.