The Future: A Short Story

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“Mommy, can you please tell me a story?” a little girl whose name was Lilly said while bouncing on the bed.  


“Sure sweetheart, what story do you want?” her mother asked while sitting in a chair beside the bed. 


“I heard other kids talking about this story in school, I want to hear the story about how the world was saved!” The little girl asked excitedly with a big smile on her face. 


“Haha! Okay, I’ll tell you the story but after that you have to promise to go to bed. Okay?” The mother asked with a gentle and loving smile. 


“Okay!” Lilly said as she stopped bouncing and went underneath the covers to listen to the story. 


“Alright, once upon a time people relied on things called fossil fuels for energy, about 90% of the world’s energy relied on it, actually. Fossil fuels seemed like such an amazing resource, after all, they produced a lot of energy and the world had a bunch of it. But there were a lot of problems with using them, one of the biggest ones was that the carbon dioxide the fossil fuels emitted after they were used increased the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Which, in turn, made the world slowly start to heat up. This phenomenon was called global warming.”

“What is global warming?” Lilly asked with questioning eyes.

“Global warming is when the earth heats up due to extra carbon dioxide being in the atmosphere. Global warming melts ice bergs, raises sea levels, causes earthquakes, and makes the earth a lot more prone to wildfires. Some people recognized that the world would be destroyed if nothing changed, so they tried to do something about it. They tried to get the world’s leaders to put the best scientists they had to work on finding a solution. Over time the effects of global warming started to become more noticeable and people started getting educated about it, and people took action to fix the problem. But sadly they were making little progress.”

“Why didn’t everyone just help with the problem if people knew that it was real?” Lilly interrupted with a puzzled look on her face.

“Well, it’s not that simple. A lot of people didn’t want to believe that it was true, and a lot of other people just ignored it. In 2019 climate change started getting more attention than usual because of a young girl, Greta Thunburg’s, famous speech. Things were looking up, it looked like climate change might be seriously discussed and countries might start implementing more policies to get rid of greenhouse gasses and rely more on renewable energy.”

“What is renewable energy?” Lilly questioned with a sheepish look.  

“Renewable energy is the opposite of fossil fuels. It’s an energy source that can be used forever, and when it’s used it doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses. Now, where was I? Oh, I remember! Something happened that hindered the progress of climate change. Disaster struck in 2020, and then, among a lot of other things, there was a worldwide pandemic. This pandemic was called Covid-19.”

“Oh! I remember learning about Covid-19 in school!” Lilly said with exited eyes. 

“Yes, I’m sure you do. I also remember learning about it. Now, this is supposed to be a bedtime story, are you at least going to try to get to sleep?” The mother asked in a slightly stern tone.

“Hehe, sorry.” Lilly said while she pulled the blanket that had somehow fallen on the ground back over her body.

“Ahem, now then, during the pandemic there was a lockdown and because of this there were less cars emitting carbon dioxide and less planes using jet fuel because no one could travel anywhere. The sad thing is that in the midst of all these crazy things happening, the focus got shifted away from climate change. That’s not to say that the other issues were not important, but climate change needed to be solved, or at least slowed down so people had more time to solve it. After a while 2040 came, and this year everything was really bad. Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and wildfires ravaged earth. People were getting desperate because they knew they didn’t have much time left. But out of all this hopelessness and misery, a miracle happened.”

“This miracle is what saved the world, right Mommy?” Lilly asked as she started to get sleepy.

“That’s right honey. A scientist made a major breakthrough on climate change and invented a machine that turned the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into oxygen. People all around the world started using this machine and it worked! The carbon dioxide levels that had been rising since 1750 started to go down. It was estimated that by 2055, the carbon levels should be at a healthy level and all the extra carbon dioxide would be gone. Everyone hailed this scientist as a hero, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this person would be remembered as long as humanity was alive. In 2042 the scientist made a shocking announcement, he said he was working on climate change ever since 2021! People were all shocked that it took that long to make the miracle invention. The scientist said that people have to start tackling problems earlier or humanity may not survive. After that, many people took what he said to heart. That’s why the world’s the way it is today. Goodnight sweetheart, I love you and I hope you have good dreams.” The mother said as she stood up from the chair and walked to the door. 

“Goodnight Mommy, I love you!” The little girl said drowsily as she finally succumbed to sleep. Her mother quietly opened the door and snuck out.


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