Yellow Pollen #8 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30days

Yellow Pollen #8

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30days

yellowpollen

Yellow pollen.  Burning throat, swollen membranes.  That’s what I remember it starting out to be, but that was before we stopped going outside all together.

Yellow pollen.  Changing people, changing the animals, the plants.

It’s the same place, this hotel, only different now with the change.  We do try to find ways of staying cheerful in midst of disaster, and nothing keeps me from joining a party with my favorite people, people I want to be around, not even that ghastly yellow pollen killing us slowly.  I saw mostly men in suits, including Walt who eventually sat next to me after getting a refill of his cranberry and vodka, plus a retired athlete who seemed a bit shorter than expected but very welcome:  he had whitish blonde hair, blue eyes, very warm—he knew me for some reason—I touched his shoulders and we hugged.  I think this was a banquet of sorts, not a card game.  He leaned over told me it was last call for drinks before the card game.  I shouted out lemon vodka to the bartender, then corrected myself by saying, “I meant lime vodka.”  He nodded,  replying with “oh, yeah, right I know what you mean,” and started making it.  I sat down at the table.  This was what was one of a few fragments left of human civilization, or what I thought of as our few bright moments of pleasure before the inevitable cessation of our existence, at least on this planet.

Sometimes I like to pretend I don’t remember how it began, but I prefer to keep my lying limited to fooling my rivals at the card table.  Truth is, I can’t forget it.  The scars in my lungs, nose, and on my arms from the burns remind me of the spores that felt like pins of fire shooting through me and around me as it swirled into our atmosphere.  We unfortunate few who are now left are all that remains after the small contingent who were selected randomly by the invading alien race departed in strange oblong ships.  yellow_pollen

The change started with what had been assumed to be tree pollen during late spring not so many moons ago.  It rolled in like a fog, settling on every surface outside like a bright, thick carpet of snow.  Asthmatics, pregnant women and the elderly were the first to be warned to stay inside; schools were closed, and people in general were warned to avoid touching this “pollen” that continued to fall from the sky, accumulating on cars, buildings, bushes, and just about any other outside surface left uncovered.  Eventually, no one dared leaving their home without layers of protective clothes and masks.  The shelters were packed with homeless people attempting to escape exposure to the outside air.

Some teenagers thought it would be cool to use their snowboards and skateboards to plow through the yellow piles of pollen like snow, only find discover to their horror the difficult and painful consequences of rolling through a substance that, upon contact with skin, felt like tiny needles of fire shooting through every nerve.  Several young men were admitted to ER with chemical burns, and at least two died as a result of complications stemming from third-degree burns and anaphylaxis.  A national state of emergency was declared after scientific discovery of what had been long feared to be a contamination of the environment by a biological substance of alien origin.

This was not pollen.

Encounters with the Posthuman – Issue 1: What Makes You So Special – Nautilus

Encounters with the Posthuman

Bioengineering: As bodies meld with machines, are we leaving ourselves behind?”

 

Encounters with the Posthuman – Issue 1: What Makes You So Special – Nautilus.

Fearless Speakers: At the Edge #blogtalkradio INTENSE episodes w/ @Kreativeways @MannixFlynn @girlfriendgroup @AfroerotiK FREE DOWNLOADS!!!

At the Edge: An Afrofuturist Salon Online Radio by At the Edge An Afrofuturist Salon | Blog Talk Radio.

“Kenya islanders rehabilitate their environment, lives” – this is also Afrofuturism!

Kenya islanders rehabilitate their environment, lives – AlertNet.

I am inspired to write this brief note about this article because of the optimism of these people as they work to save their living and working environment for the present and for the future.  For these islanders climate change, over farming, overfishing, and deforestation without replanting has had an immediate effect on their ability to sustain a good quality of existence in their communities.  As a collective residents renewed their environment by replanting and growing trees, capturing rainwater and disinfecting it with solar heat, as well as using manure to revive the fertility of the soil.  Residents use refrigerators without electric power, “…lined with charcoal, into which water seeps through a hosepipe fed by a bucket. The wet charcoal absorbs heat and keeps the items inside the fridge cool.”  Recycled plastic containers are painted black on one to capture rainwater and subsequently exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun for disinfection and use by families.

In short, it’s the environment and they “get it.”  This is also Afrofuturism.  Technological advances must take into consideration the needs of the people and the needs of the environment.  These islanders are using technology without becoming dependent on electricity to save their lives, thereby serving as an example to those of us living in the West draining resources with our fancy gadgets and cars dependent on oil and electricity.

As I sit here typing away on my laptop powered by PEPCO, I wonder what we will do when our water resources dry out, when we pull the last fish out of our oceans, when we find that the soil in the Heartland can’t give us another bite of bread because of the chemicals we’ve pumped into the soil and water.  I wonder what we will do when we find that we the people must stop ignoring climate change and do something to save our planet.  The politicians want us to believe that science is a fairy tale and that we can continue to be irresponsible to our planet.  As an Afrofuturist, I know that fairy tales have more than a margin of truth–it would be wise for us to listen to the Earth tell us Her tale and take decisive action to protect Her for the future.