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25th Anniversary Issue

Current 25: Where will San Antonio be in the next 25 years?

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Corporate lobbying, deregulation, and privatization of America’s social programs created the right mix for the perfect storm. What would people have done differently knowing that tectonic shifts, solar flares, and a massive reversal of the Earth’s polar fields would disrupt telecommunications worldwide? Supermarkets, bank systems, and unshielded networks collapsed within hours. After three days, food was gone from store shelves, hyper-inflated dollars became useless, and fossil fuel took a whole new level of luxury. The geomagnetic reverse took four years to calm down, but it was already too late by then.

It’s been 24 years since The Great Cataclysm of 2012. Though humanity survives, we are 4.5 billion less people (as the former United Nations predicted would die from war, hunger, and disease). Despite our tragedies, it gives the rest of us a chance to sustain the limited resources that are available. Desertification increasing in the Western U.S. and sea levels rising along the coast (along with the radioactive buildup, seismic activity, and genocide) has caused massive immigration to the region over the years. Corporate owned NGOs have become the new decentralized “government,” creating safe havens in the metropolis of San Antonio-Austin, hosting a combined population of 28 million. Private armies protect the local colonies against the Mexican syndicates, who are now fully in control of the United Mexican States. After drugs were legalized in the U.S., the cartels focused their illicit efforts on human organs and the slave trade. Cannibalism is rumored to be rampant in many parts South of the Rio-DMZ.

Extreme wildfires destroyed many former suburbs deep into the city. We live in a newer multi-level ecovillage built primarily with adobe block, bamboo wood, and hemp insulation. Collected rainwater is filtered for gardening, drinking, and cleaning. Food is grown organically on the roof, vertically on the patio, and even in the window-garden. We no longer have to use the solar cooker like many still do in South Town. Nano solar allows us to contribute energy back to the restored CPS smart-grid, even while traveling outside along the new conductive streets on bikes between transit lines.

There’s always work to be done around here. Much of what we have is retrofitted from salvaged materials. There’s a local co-working space on the bottom floor where a variety of hacktivist talent gathers, focusing mostly on printing 3D biorobotic repairs for a nearby treatment facility. Other coworking spaces in the neighborhood provide free custom health and educational services, linked to cloud server relays, via fiber optic networks.

Despite our best efforts, life is still dangerous in the super metropolis, even in these parts of town. The Municipal Order has agreed to allow my family to join the space colony Nuevo Alamo. After a few months training, we’ll be departing on Galactica Spacelines out of Aeropuerto Intergaláctico San Antonio. There we will be given the chance to start a new life and get things right. However, I sometimes miss the days when the world, and humanity, was alone in the galaxy. — Rick Canfield

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