George Orwell’s 2017: Our Dystopia

Welcome to the Anthopocene; a new geological age characterised not by decay, but its lack of it.

The soil beneath your feet is barren. The crust below it cannot rot away; it is too entrenched in tin cans and plastic. Around you tower ruins not of Roman aqueducts or Greek amphitheatres, but of overlapping motorways.

The heat beats down, stifling all. Every year is hotter than the last, and had been since 2000. Accompanying the heat rose the water; only to slowly submerge cities and leave many without a home. But the world sits static; there’s no such thing as a climate refugee. There’s no immediate threat here.

A rotten fruit.

Closer to home, the population also groans. There’s four living generations in your family, and that’s the norm – our years on earth stretched longer and longer. So longer and longer must grow the shoulders of the young, to support the heavy weight.

Crops must grow too, desperately fast; to feed the hungry mouths of millions. Inevitably, there isn’t enough – but on we must expand, expansion our new philosophy. As quantity increases, out goes quality; each root and berry increasing in size, but wan in standard.

Perhaps some can be blamed on our new worker bees; out of the factory and into the fields. Our vital insects all but gone, we are passed the buck; toiling in meadows pollinating with paint-brushes. In good time though, maybe a familiar buzz will be heard…but it’s up to us whether it’s bees or machines.

The loss of our bees has changed our whole world. We’ve left a world of colour for a world of grey. Plants that rely on wind to pollinate now rise up where they can, in the patches that aren’t concrete; but with climate constantly changing, they out-compete their floral cousins, still waiting on the bees.

Other creatures could take up the mantle, if it wasn’t for pesticides; poisoning the food chain and tainting water supplies. Ironically, the extermination of one pest leads to the rise of another, in unvanquishable number – reducing to dust crops we’ve bred to be genetically identical.

Can we run away from it all? We couldn’t if we wanted to; the air in cities is too toxic to breathe, so we’ve been advised to avoid physical exercise.

The truth is we cannot run anymore, if we want to stop our earth becoming this twisted Dystopia. We can do it, all together – if not for others, for ourselves. Because if nothing else, we share the air; and for that reason, we should all be wary.


Inspiration and supporting facts can be found in the NewPhilosopher issue #14 (‘Who cares about climate change?’) and AmericanScientist volume 315 number 3.

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