My name is Esther, I was born on Boonwurrung country. These days the country I call home belongs to the Gunaikurnai people. The path I chose to walk is that of a science communicator; learner, teacher, and storyteller of all that was, is and could be.
The world I see through my future eyes is different than it is now. It is hotter and dryer, and the homes along my street have been build up into the sky and dug down into the earth to reserve space for food-lands.
As I start my early jog, I take in the smells of warming bark and eucalyptus, the oils in the leaves already soaking up the UV. I pass the multi-story homes powered by solar-rain hybrid panels and communal electric cars, doubling as battery storage when not in use. In the city, the re-greening movement is ongoing, as our older skyscrapers get refitted with external air-purifying plants.
Soon I leave the protection of the tree-shade and walk along my favourite path between climate-controlled sheds with their vertical veggie crops. Beyond them, among a sea of solar panels bluer than the sky, some animals graze the grass that grows beneath. Most people do not eat much meat these days, another fashion of our grandfathers that we left behind. Now the animals predominantly help us with carbon drawdown by enriching our soils and locking it away.
Further along the road, paddocks give way to native forest plantations, still young but growing well. It was hard to get the balance right in the beginning. Planting more forests helped decarbonise the atmosphere, lessen some of the climate instability save what was left of our old-growth forests. It also created many more jobs. The great-grandchildren of the men who once logged the old forests work as full-time patrollers to tame the wildfires that threaten their harvestable trees.
Over the years, we have embraced our technological advances in more holistic ways. Once people looked towards the orange coal-stained stacks of old power stations, we now seek out the white shafts of wind turbines standing above and within our new forests.
Our environment is healing, our people are thriving, and the Australian dollar is the strongest it has ever been. Just last week, the news headlines were all about our clean hydrogen export deal with North Korea. We are the sun-baked country, after all, our political leaders were smart to capitalise selling our excess at a premium.
I really should turn back now — today is my street harvest. My zucchinis have been prolific this year, and I want to swap for a bottle of Jim’s secret tomato and basil sauce before it runs out again. It is also my turn to run our collective produce to the trade market and pick up some essentials. September is the birthday month among my family, so I better stock up on some more flour while I am there.