Will Tigers Be Around in 2112?
About a month ago, my sister-in-law had a baby girl.
I’m thrilled that we have another child in our family, but the birth of Brooke Nicole makes me think a lot about what will happen during her lifetime.
More people are living to the age of 100. My grandmother reached that milestone, and the expectations are that people will live even longer in the future.
In other words, Brooke, born in 2012, will likely see 2112. Her children will even live further into the 22nd century, and her grandchildren might see 2200.
2112. Rock aficionados recognize the significance of the year. It is the title of an album by the three-piece ensemble from Canada named Rush. Any rocker in the mid-1970s was familiar with Rush and “2112.”
As we listened to the album, and that’s what we had back then, or looked at its cover, we thought the year 2112 was impossible to comprehend. The album was a mainstay in 1979, my freshman year at Northern Illinois University. I would think back then that 2112 would be 133 years away, so distant that Rush’s message from its futuristic cut, “The Temples of Syrinx” could happen, but I wouldn’t need to worry about it.
We’ve taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It’s one for all, all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why
We are the priests
Of the temples of Syrinx
Our great computers
Fill the hallowed halls …
As our family welcomes Brooke, I realize that babies like her and their children and grandchildren will be around when 2112 arrives. The year 2112 is not that far away. There are now fewer days to Jan. 1, 2112 than there are backward to when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. And, I’m deeply concerned about what future these babies will have when they become adults and have children of their own.
What will their lives be like 100 years from now? Will there be polar bears, dolphins, tigers or lions? Will Chicago have the climate of present-day Atlanta? Will great computers control their lives? The cryptic message from Rush already seems to be coming true.
Will they be able to drink water safely and breathe the air? What about food? Will there be enough for them and the billions of others on earth?
I’ll try thinking positive. Renewable sources, solar and wind energy, will heat, cool and power our homes and businesses. Landfills will be a thing of the past, replaced by garbage-to-energy facilities available in every community.
Electric cars and trucks will buzz along our highways, and high-speed magnetic levitation trains will be the prevalent source of transportation. Planes will still be used to fly across the country and around the world.
Also, I think racism will fade away. Consider the incredible changes since 1912. The number of nearly all-white communities has plummeted since 1980.
What I do know is that there is little, if any, attention being given by our government leaders or anyone else, to 2112.
People are more concerned about five or 10 years in the future. Only transportation planners work on ideas for 50 years from now.
Now that we have dealt with the end of the world according to the Mayans, it’s time that we face the future for our children and grandchildren.
Why do we refuse to think about 2112? There is a constant denial in this country that anything we do will have such potentially long-lasting, destructive impacts on our future generations.
There’s also a sense of egotism in such short-term thinking. Some people cannot acknowledge their own mortality, as if the world will end when they die. They are in denial of their own eventual deaths. The future seems impossible to comprehend.
But look at the faces of the children. Think about what we’re doing and what our decisions and actions will mean for them. Now that the ridiculous thought that we won’t make it past 2012 is over, face the likelihood that our children and grandchildren will be around in 2112.
Those in positions of power should first ask themselves, “How will my decision affect future generations?” And if the answer is, “What do I care? I’ll be dead anyway,” then they should resign and let more forward-thinking leaders take over.
Do our actions today take into consideration the ramifications they could bring in 100 years?
In a time when many people struggle with day-to-day living, such far-away thinking may seem absurd, but we eventually will be held accountable for what we did, or didn’t do.
Now is the perfect time to look to the future, to think about 2112. Only 33 years ago, I thought that year was just a fantasy. For the children of today, including my niece, Brooke Nicole, and their children and grandchildren of tomorrow, 2112 will become a reality.
A deep and truly frightening column.