A vision of tomorrow.
Today, not for the first time, I paused to admire an open plan “stall”, in Bangsar Village One Shopping Centre, in Kuala Lumpur. This is a rather odd shop and every time I see it, I think it strange. It is a shop that sells models of old sailing ships. The sign above them calls them “wealth ships”.
As I contemplated the diverse range of multi-sailed ships, of various designs, in their lacquered wood, I suddenly had an epiphany: I wasn’t looking at the past, at all, but the future. One day, Mankind might have to return to using sailing ships, for global transport, in the wake of Peak Oil, Peak Coal, indeed, Peak Everything. To my grandchildren, sailing ships such as the ones before me, at that stall, might not be history at all, but the living present. It was a most sobering realization.
As I write, I am aware that few people seem to be truly conscious of the plight the modern world faces with declining fossil fuel supplies. Viable alternatives are unready and undeveloped. The “renewable energy” of which everyone speaks contributes a minute amount of present needs, and needs to be dramatically scaled up, to replace the declining fossil fuels – and I just don’t know if the urgency, resolve, investment, planning and foresight are there to get that done, in time.
The time I have lived and the life I have known, in this modern era, might one day come to be seen as fantastical to our descendants – more of an Atlantis like legend - than anything that was ever real or tangible.
Should not enough be done, in time, to secure new energy sources and salvage the decline in civilization that would result, if they are not replaced, then, my words might not reach the future, to be read. They might be lost, along with the Internet, when we are no longer able to power it. It is a gloomy prospect.
The world is asleep, in many ways, before the difficulties that lie ahead. Many of the world’s politicians, still seem to be thinking in a very short term way, not preparing properly, for what is to come. I hope, as I write, that if the future should know ships like the ones I saw today, that it is by choice – and not because Mankind was left with no other option. I would not like to think that I had lived at the Peak of Human Civilization, too. I had always rather hoped that a long ascent would stretch ahead of me, into long ages, after I had gone. However, that might never be. We might, unknowingly, be living in a time of legends. We might be living the stuff of fables, for our distant descendants. I hope not. I dearly hope not – but those ships, today, did leave me to wonder, at what tomorrow might really be like.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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