Unhappy Endings

0 Degrees of warming

The farm fields prosper. The yield year after year after year is good. Leaves turn into a spectrum of colors, and they fall smoothly into winter, where snowflakes drift in air and layer the ground. Trees shake their snowy shoulders off and make room for new buds. Cars fill the streets, roads, parking structures, garages, and lots. Everyone, for the most part, is happy.

1 Degree

Cars keep driving. They continue their stop and go dance at intersections. They snake across countries on paths that dip and dive around mountains, hills, and forests. Words are whispered that something isn’t quite right. But how could anything go wrong? Weather is fine for some, but others swelter in an unusual heat. Others pull their raincoats close as they slop through waterlogged streets. Everyone, still, for the most part, is happy.

2 Degrees

Mountains shake and crumble. Earthquakes crack and frack the earth. Gas tanks are full. Winter is warm for some, but others froze and held their cracking hands. Spring slipped by and bloomed into an endless summer heat. Something’s not right. What happened to that bird, that butterfly, that creature I used to see. Glaciers leak, spilling down mountainsides and disappearing disappearing in streams. Ice sheets slosh into oceans, overflowing onto the coasts. Hurricanes rage. Historic snowstorms bury cities and homes. The parched ground groans apart; wildfires roar. Some are happy. Some are not.

3 Degrees

Endangered. Endangered. Endangered. Coral reefs wither white in the ocean heat. Farmers stand swallowed in billowing fields of dust, shriveled leaves in hand. Sweat-soaked clothes stick to skin from the unwavering summers that scorch and burn. Water, water, we search for freshwater, peering into the fractured ground, tossing wishful coins into a forgotten fountain. Hurricanes surge, slamming into shores like never before. Diseases spread like wildfires. Oceans encroach on every coast, lapping buildings and taking streets. A few may be happy, but most are not.

4 Degrees

All of this has become worse. The heat, the floods, the starving stomachs, the parched lips and land, the melting ice, the rising seas, the terrible storms, diseases that disperse, everything. Extinctions begin to sweep and the land looks unfamiliar. Other living things we shared this planet with are disappearing, turning into the signs of a time that’s now past. Everyone is struggling to be happy. 

5 Degrees

It’s gone too far, too far. Nothing is right. No one, no thing, is happy. 


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