domingo, 13 de outubro de 2013

2112 - Part 1 - The Diamond Towers

Today is February 22 of 2112.  And today I’d like to talk about how our world reverted the climate change and avoided the earth environment and mankind destruction. I choose to talk about these things today because this is a very special day for me. Today is my 100th anniversary, and I say how all these things happened.
            I was born in a year when many people believed that would be the end of the world. This belief was related to a certain Mayan calendar, but I never understood the relationship between one thing and another. In fact, I grew in a world that was turning at same time better and worse. Better, because every day new wonderful technology appearing, bringing the promise of getting better people’s life. However, just a few people could access these technologies.
             I was born in São Paulo country, in Brazil. When I was a child, there were a lot of sugar cane fields around the place I lived. At that time, many people believed that sugar cane was the best option as a sustainable energy. However, the mankind was destroying the world, and these cane fields toke a part of this destruction. The year I was born, 2012, presented the history’s highest and the lowest temperatures. Despite the economic crisis on Europe that helped to reduce the carbon emissions, it looked like the world climate was already jeopardized.  Powerful hurricanes, devastating drought, and North Pole glaciers melting was the final warning. Something needed to be done.
            I was 12 or 13 when changes started. For years, several sophisticated plans were proposed to revert the climate changes. However, the situation was so critic that a lot of crazy plans were executed. Big machines were built in order to remove the CO2 from air. Giant algae tanks were air insufflated in order to produce carbon compounds. An unprecedented massive reforestation program was started, and millions of little mirror was put in orbit, in order to reduce the Sun radiation on the surface of the Earth.  All these initiatives spent a lot of money and hard fossil fuel taxes were charged, making automobiles a luxury. All production chain was affected, but all people treated this issue as a war effort. Food, water, fuels and energy began to be rationed.
            After some years, people realized that humanity wasted a lot of resources. Due to the fuel’s elevated prices, people began to use high efficiency electric cars and bicycles. Electronics and appliances were designed to use less energy and last more time. Streetlights began to be automatically turned off when no people on streets. Garbage began to be 100% recycled in order to reuse materials or to produce energy.
            People began to contribute, since they realized that their lives depended on these contributions. Companies began to promote home office in order so save energy and the waste began to be intolerable. Weapons and low quality product’s production was suspended.
            When I was attending college, a new technology arrived. Due to all changes in the world in consequence of the new energetic paradigm, a log of hydrocarbons began to be available. Oil price got down, but nobody though about backing to the old habits. However, people realized that oil is a too noble raw material to be burned. In that time, the nanotube polymer technology was mature. It is possible to produce this polymer using any source of hydrocarbons, even from the garbage. This kind of polymer is a perfect building material due to high resistance to traction, compression, and chemical attack. It also could be used to special functions, like heat and light control and photoelectric conversion. Then, It’s started up to construct enormous buildings, more than 1500m (5000 feet), able to house more than 100,000 people. To avoid environmental problems, strict regulations defined a minimum distance of 2 km (1.2 mile) between buildings. A natural extension of these well-spaced buildings was the construction of great cable-stayed bridges, freeing the soil for agriculture or native vegetation.
            These towers were fully self-sufficient in energy, water, and even materials; due to high efficient recycle systems and energy production using strong altitude winds and solar energy. All exceeding were sold to industry, and residents received part of the Tower operation’s income.
            Due to low construction and operation costs, plus a significant income, an apartment on a tower become cheaper than usual livings. This started the first urban exodus of the history. The great Towers and the integrated bridges integrated a highly complex and sophisticated transport system, including local lanes, roads and high-speed tracks, afterwards substituted by high speed vacuum tubes, allowing high speed trips (nowadays, a trip between São Paulo and New York takes only 40 minutes).
            The advent of Diamond Towers caused the ascension of a new political figure: the Syndic. At the beginning, specialized companies were in charge of the Towers. However, people realized that it was a great risk to put so great power in private companies hands. So they decide to elect local Syndics.  Any people could be candidate to be Syndic (capital S), elected by common agreement, system that persists until today. Common agreement was adopted to avoid no ending disputes among residents. This kind of dispute could be a minor problem in small buildings. However, in town-size populations buildings, these disagreements could cause great loss of money and resources. Thus, Syndics became an important person, performing real power in behalf of his or her own Tower, but with no connection to the official power, and making the national governments weak.
            Thereby, Diamond Towers became the major humankind’s living, working, and political unity.
            Until now, I omitted an important part of this history. My name is Lúcio Freire, and most people know me as the Father of the Diamond Towers. Certainly, this is an overstatement. I just put together the puzzle pieces. I had a crazy idea, and I was lucky to find someone to believe in this idea. But I didn’t tough about the consequences of this idea, and how deeply would the humankind be affected.
            Today, I live in a Tower in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, 150 km (93 miles) from Manaus. From my window of the 457th floor, I can see several Towers like the one I live. However, I’m not alone here. I can be anywhere in the world in less than two hours. Most people live like me. Poverty and ignorance were eradicated. There are no more national frontiers (but this is another history), and generally speaking, the world is better than before. This year it is probable that the Artic glacier would not entirely melted on summer. But don’t think that the humankind become perfect. We still commit errors, someone very severe. But I feel a little proud for celebrating one hundred year in a so promising time.

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