[Note: I took 2 days a week off during the first round of Climate Anxiety Counseling sessions, so this is an alternate history from a day I’ve already visited.]
When my mom goes into a store for more than 5 minutes, I turn her car off. I think people should carpool more … Polar bears are gonna go extinct in our lifetime, ’cause the ice caps are melting and there’s nowhere for them to live.
I think a lot of people feel like oh, polar bears, that’s really far away, that’s not connected to me.
Or like it’s not even going to affect them. But it is. And what’s gonna happen to the human race if there’s an entire ice age? Only the strong are gonna survive. Like the infertility thing with the chemicals in everything — some people aren’t gonna breed because of BPA.
Is that a strength thing though?
I guess I mean adaptability strength, not muscle strength.
The next day, BB stopped on her way home to buy herself a present, a bracelet. She ran the pad of her thumb over the plastic jewels.
What would happen in a year without making, a year where no one made anything new? No new nitrile gloves, no new IV tubes or clips; no garbage bags, no twisty-ties; no insulating tape for windows? Only what’s already in the warehouses and on the shelves. How long would it take to run out?
Six or so years later, BB walked along that same sidewalk with her nibling, her brother’s child, pointing at pigeons, at chalk drawings, at micromeadows of grasses and mosses and broadleaved plants rooting down through the cracks.
We used to call people born in a shared set of years a “generation,” putting a price on their ability to make more people, but the seven or so years of many intersex babies, layered into the record like a glittering stratum in soil, changed that.
Most of these babies became children, teenagers, adults. They did whatever they happened to feel like about gender, in the loving regard of parents and uncles and grandmas and older siblings. In thin and scarce times, some things aren’t as important as they once were. A baby that survives is a perfect baby. A child that lives is a perfect child.
Other mammals and fish, too, were born into the intersex stratum, and some kinds, already strained by overconsumption or industrial destruction of their homes, disappeared. Some took their predators, parasites and symbiotes with them. Some held on quietly, in smaller populations.
By the time the human intersex stratum grew up, overconsumption and industrial destruction of homes were no longer perennial, continual inputs into the soil and water of the world. Like some of the living beings they’d harmed, they were vanishingly rare, then gone.
A subset of complete living beings, similar in age, lived in most of the possible kinds of relation with the complete living beings around them.