Jenny’s World: After the Great Transition
by Gary Bacon

Jenny licked the dew that clung to the surface of the membrane that separated her from the family's indoor garden. It was her favorite way to extract the refreshing morning dew from the air; at the same time she could harvest the microscopic chlorophilia that lived in this thin layer of moisture. "Oh what small pleasures of life", she thought, as the last of the nourishing nectar of chlorophyll and plant protein trickle across her tongue. Inside the microcosm was a self-contained and completely balanced garden that provided essential vitamins and amino acids that would feed Jenny's family during the winter when their outdoor organic farm would lie dormant. This indoor agricultural complex was housed in a quarter-acre geodesic dome that sat, like a giant hub, in the middle of the twenty-acre family homestead.

Family life was orderly in ERD-7. The disorder and downright chaos of the past had seemed so archaic to Jenny's sensitivities when she streaked through History of the late 1900's and Early 2000's in the Electronic Infusion Lab at school yesterday. "Learning was so relaxing and yet so energizing," she said to herself as she thought back to the session in the passive think tank in which she reviewed the events of entire centuries in just minutes, before joining the rest of her class for the Meta Events/Cause and Effect debate. Oh yes, and Jenny's paper entitled "The Great Transition, From Involution to Simplicity" won her high praise from her Peer Review Achievement Board as well as from her Staff Resource Advisory Group.

Since the transition period that took control of the earth away from the developers, entrepreneurs, nation states, and self-proclaimed messiahs and put it under the jurisdiction of the Sustainable Life Council the quality of life had flourished. Even by 2100, people were beginning to move out of the unhealthy death-pits of the big cities and into the Environmental Renewal Districts that had been certified safe by the Council.

Jenny's affair with the bizarre and sensational became most evident in her insatiable curiosity for the historical period of the Great Transition. And how could anyone really blame her for being titillated by the period of greatest human transformation ever recorded, when whole civilizations watched helplessly as huge populations competing for limited resources collided with nature in a near-total destruction of life on the planet. People had been so reckless with antibiotics, fossil fuel emissions, nuclear energy, chemical fertilizers, and insecticides that the earth's temperature had soared to a dangerously high degree, much like in a terminably sick patient.

It was then that individuals and governments, afraid that it was too late for adjustment or repair, gave in to a group of altruistic representatives from around the world in their proposal for a Sustainable Life Council. What seemed like extreme measures were taken; they were applied to the world at large and enforced without global consensus. Civil libertarians and fundamentalist sects were incensed, but their voices had to be ignored for a period of nearly 100 years. During that period, several radical policies were initiated that ensured a future for the world. Life had to be restored to a dying planet.

A birth control mist was sprayed over all the reservoirs on the planet. Child birth ceased. Reclamation projects began to systematically clean up environmentally quarantined land areas. People were permitted to continue in their food production so long as they gave up all chemically intrusive methodologies. Cars were abandoned, and bicycles were provided free at convenient stations throughout the land. Drugs and chemicals were removed fron the market as commercial commodities and placed under the strictess control. All weapons were systematically collected and melted in large farm and reclamation equipment converters. As the Project, as it was called, was administered globally, death and dying centers were set up to relieve the sick and suffering. Healthy people and patients recovering from environmental poisoning were invited to apply for an Experimental School in which subjects-- such as Holistic Health, Centering Principles, Cooperative Development, Planetary Consciousness, and Planetary Stewartship and Sustainable Agriculture--were taught. Graduates of these institutions were permitted to become the first homesteaders in the reclamation districts. Those settlers that demonstrated the greatest concern for the welfare of others were even permitted to have one child to ensure that a healthy age distribution existed in the districts.

After the great fall of the world population and the imposition of quarantined zones to stop the spread of uncontrollable diseases, the reclamation districts became the vital links to the future of the planet. Some districts were decimated by the plagues that ravished the period, but, slowly, other districts survived. When the Great Transition had played itself out, the world population was less than one hundredth of the level recorded in the year 2000 and the agricultural land mass had increased two-hundred fold. After the Great Transition, the Sustainable Life Council decreed that the world population would never go beyond the current level and that areas, deemed as too populated, would be balanced by shifts of whole populations to other renewal sites or phased out through population control.

People finally had a chance to live on acreages that gave everyone room to plant sustainable foods and to spend significant time alone in spaces that nourished the spirit of the planet. Groups of people assembled in lush, centrally-located vacation centers to plan and dream and invent and dance and sing. Inventions to make life more hands-on and meaningful were shared. Laughter became, once again, a hallmark of healthy human interaction. Kindness and selflessness were the ordinary and the everyday. Expression in the arts flourished.

Jenny had been born in a period when civilization, unencumbered by doubt, drought, and debacle, was able to make enormous break-throughs in education, natural disease control, sustainable agriculture, and human interaction. Devices that instantly infused the mind with epochs of history, major frameworks of scientific theory, whole language acquisition, and volumes of great literary works freed educational institutions to develop ethical principles, utopian culture designs, fine craftsmanship, appreciation of the arts, wisdom, and the essential mind.

Jenny recounted the wonders and serenity of modern life, sighed, took one last lick of chlorophylium and then, spotting a big yellow Viceroy butterfly fluttering around the vegetation nearby, stretched her arms outward, and scurried off playfully, waving her arms gently up and down to imitate the flight of the graceful butterfly.

© Gary Bacon 2005