Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet – Margaret Atwood

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“Pray for us, who once, too, thought we could fly.”

Margaret Atwood is, hands down, one of my favorite contemporary authors. It should come as no surprise to anyone, therefore, that I was rather excited when I received her short story, “Time Capsule Found on the Dead Planet”, as a reading assignment for a Climate Fiction unit.

Until this point in my life, when people have mentioned climate change or global warming, I haven’t thought much of it. It has always seemed like a distant problem, one I won’t have to deal with in my lifetime. It feels like a giant, tangled, messy ball of yarn and I can’t tell where it ends or where it begins. I can’t seem to grasp the entire concept long enough to understand it, and that is terrifying.

Atwood’s short story, “Time Capsule Found on a Dead Planet,” paints a somber portrait of a decayed planet and the demise of the life that once inhabited it.  Atwood describes a world rich in resources that is swallowed by its own greed and desire for wealth and power.

I have had the privilege of growing up in a very rural area – full of trees, rivers, and rolling hills of lush green wilderness, and just about every other type of natural beauty one could think of. I have recycled my entire life, and I learned what a carbon footprint was long before I actually understood what it meant. I have spent much of my life trying to give back to this planet, and I will continue to do so.  My boyfriend teases me and calls me The Lorax, but it has been approximately a year since we decided to cut out single use plastics from our home – water bottles, grocery bags, etc. We are not always successful, but we keep trying every chance we get.  It’s all about those baby steps, and picking ourselves back up when we fall off the wagon.

My actions may be minuscule in the attempts to save our planet, but could you imagine the impact we would all have if everyone tried a little harder? Walking or biking where you are able, eliminating single use plastics, recycling and reusing, and buying produce from local markets are all small and relatively easy steps one may take to contribute.  I think if everyone focused a little harder, it would make an astounding difference.  Reliance on fossil fuels is an enormous issue to address – but we are David, and them, Goliath.  I will continue to do all that I can, and I will continue to talk about these global issues; it gives me reassurance that there is hope.  We can make a difference, one baby step at a time.

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