As anxiety raced through her body, Tess rushed to the window to check if the kids were still playing in the garden. Ecotopia at times experienced a small crime rate, but whenever Tess felt uneasy, which happened occasionally, she instantly worried about the kids’ safety.
When she was only eight, together with her mum, she escaped the Old World’s taunting regime. However, the trauma of that early years and the escape never left her and every time she felt anxious, the fear that she could lose all she loved returned with a vengeance. Usually repeating her morning routine, meditation, calming Yoga positions or making smoothies from locally sourced seasonal fruits and vegetables helped keep her grounded. Unfortunately, nothing worked on that beautiful spring morning. Tess found herself cycling through the familiar streets without even registering what she was doing. Riding a bike was always a joyful experience; the roads were largely car-free, and the city’s urban architecture didn’t interfere with the striking view. The kids were also keen cyclists, but being pushed in the buggy was much more fun than cycling. Whenever they went to work with Tess, they happily played amongst all the prototypes that hadn’t been yet completed, bringing childlike joy to everyone in the office.
The spirit of creativity and freedom was prevalent in her household, which was in keeping with the Ecotopian educational system. Interest-driven lessons, focused on what the children needed the most at each stage of their development, were the driving force behind the cutting-edge education Ecotopia offered. The Ecotopian government stayed away from imposing curriculums and targets at schools; each school set development programmes for every child based on the child’s individual skills, talents, and desires.
As a child, Tess was encouraged to explore her ideas through practice; to this day, she loves practical project development. From an early age, she knew that her calling in life was science, to which she happily devoted her life. Her drive to improve lives made her inventions popular beyond the Ecotopian borders. Her lily pad sustainable housing solutions were easy to build and maintain, helping revive cities in some parts of the planet where dry land was challenging to come by. The lily pads settlements kept an independent status from the Old and the New World’s politics and stayed outside any military conflict between those two powers.
Life in Ecotopia was idyllic, if not close to perfect. So, the sudden seed of anxiety emerging in Tess’s consciousness was disturbing. While cycling towards her lab, Tess wondered whether that anxiety episode had something to do with her new “secret” project. Or perhaps she was more troubled than she cared to admit by the recent spike in the pollution that began spilling over from the Old World to Ecotopia. The “secret” project she couldn’t tell anyone about involved re-settling a significantly sizeable human population to Alaska. Alaska’s weather patterns have become more predictable in the past couple of years, which gave Ecotopian scientists hope that Earth could heal itself quicker than expected if no hurtful activity were tearing her apart. However, for the re-settlement to become a reality, Tess had to devise a new building structure that would withstand the extreme weather conditions that were still likely to occur in Alaska. Since the Ecotopians always re-used what was already available, Tess had plenty of materials to choose from and experiment with; unfortunately, the choice hindered her progress at times. Ecotopian manufacturing wasn’t available all year long. The factories only operated for three months twice a year, but that still catered to all the Ecotopian needs. Ecotopian products were made to last, not break after a couple of short years of use. The repair and second-hand markets were thriving businesses all year round and were the backbone of the Ecotopian circular economy. Unsurprisingly, the Ecotopians were planning to investigate whether a workable solution for the new Alaskan settlement was valuable. The world around them was changing, and they needed to adapt faster than ever before. In addition, re-building the new or rather old territories was as adventurous as stumbling upon unknown civilizations, new continents or lost cities. Tess truly hoped she could join the settlement. Venturing outside the Ecotopian, carefully guarded borders had been on her mind for a long time. She has already visited all the Ecotopian lands, comprised of some of the old European and African countries. Although she never had enough courage to set her feet outside the safety of the Ecotopian world. Sadly, large parts of the world were still under the Old World’s control. And the rest of the land was either under the never-ending tsunami of water or barely liveable because of the erratic weather patterns. Fortunately, something was changing in Alaska, and the Ecotopians were the only ones capable of investigating the change. The American government abandoned Alaska at the start of the social and environmental collapse, leaving the tiny human population, who chose to stay behind to fend for themselves. Luckily, many of the remaining native tribes managed to adapt and survive. When the weather pattern shifted, it gave the Ecotopians hope that it was still possible to
re-build what was lost to chaos, destruction and immense environmental suffering.
Once Tess parked the bike, the kids jumped out of the buggy and rushed toward the lake, which enclosed the science facility from the North. Tess has always been immensely proud of the two of them; their independence, creativity, their capacity to change and adapt to the new norms were remarkable. Before disappearing inside her lab, she glanced at her two bundles of joy and silently gave thanks for all blessings she had received in life.