Editor’s note: This is the fifth installment of Sanctuary City, a fictional apocalyptic serial that appears regularly in Ecolocalizer. Read the previous chapter here.
Each day was hotter than the one before it. Blistering new temperature records were broken every week, as the parched planet, blanketed in increasingly thick layers of pollution, continued to swelter and bake. Clean water sources evaporated and food was scarce. Drought ravaged the land and displaced billions.
Some people turned ugly very quickly. Racist scapegoating flourished; a few states began enacting hateful separatist immigration legislation, banning entry to anyone from another state or region. Residents had to constantly carry current citizenship papers; anyone found without proper identification was immediately sent to the work colonies in the scorching desert desolation of southern California or the contaminated Gulf Coast, never to be heard from again.
Seeds of Hate
Many people had tried to warn of the horrific devastation that would be wrought by the impending climate changes, deadly chemical pollutants, hydraulic fracturing and the choking dearth of resources, but they had been ignored, disappeared or assassinated by the criminal BP cartel. Years ago the petroleum industry had officially merged directly with the military, and then immediately commandeered what was left of the shredded government.
The BP military industrial complex funded rabid right wing extremists and ignorant religious zealots to take over most of the remaining media outlets; they then did their best to sow divisive seeds of fear, hate and mistrust amongst the populace. Environmental regulations ceased to exist and most civil rights had been largely abolished. Gun and weapons sales skyrocketed, violent vigilante militias roamed urban wastelands, pillaging, killing and burning everything within their angry grasp.
Although in some isolated regions that were not yet polluted, small scattered enclaves of collective communities sprouted, existing through cooperation, bartering and sharing what scarce resources existed. Here bicycles and walking were now the primary forms of transportation; only the military drove automobiles these days, and the sound of an approaching combustion engine was generally a good reason to hide. Violent raids by the military and scattered militias had been rare, but they were still a looming palpable threat.
It was a struggle to live, but slowly trees were replanted, rainwater was harvested, greywater systems installed, organic food was grown and traded regionally, stored solar energy was used to cook, power pumps and purify water. People tried to share their knowledge, skills and experience, and helped each other survive as best as they could. Monetary trade and capitalism had died, and had begun to be slowly supplanted by small islands of communalism, conservation and locally-run interdependent sustainable systems.
You can read the next installment of Sanctuary City here.