“The Tamarisk Hunter” is a story about a post-apocalyptic world by Paolo Bacigalupi in which global warming has continued to the point that water has become scarce and is sequestered by the wealthy as the poor are weeded out of the population. Lolo, a water-reclaimer of sorts, siphons water from California’s “straw,” a water conservation and containment contraption for wealthy citizens to live well in the world. The story is not necessarily drastic or flashy, and does not have an angery or passionate tone, as would many other works that deal in climate change, instead, it is slow, dull, and long-winded in description, with a tone of helplessness. Even in trying to survive in this time it becomes clear that Lolo will not last for long, and neither will many others. It is hard to shake the feeling that something along these lines will take the human race from a glorious mountain of achievement to a pitfall of regression and forced steampunk misery.
Humanity is incredibly ingenious, however, it is quite slow to act on things that do not directly have to deal in the lives of its constituents. What doesn’t come through emotion and persuasion to the gain of some other, albeit an ideal of many or few, moves at a snails pace. Even worse is the fact that, although there are ideas of value and virtue in society, even with constant discourse there is little hope of building a strong compulsion to conquer climate change. However, without hope of any kind there would be no action towards resolution of the issue. If movement can be expectedly slow in this regard, then the choice to overcome climate change may be relatively abandoned as a motivator, other motivators must become valid. Governmental reform may have to take place. Governments tend to move an idea either quickly with harsh consequences in the case of monarchy and dictatorship, or slowly with slow progress. With climate change moving quickly would work, however there would most likely be horrific miss allocation of resources and action, where much of society would face monumental social challenges; moving slowly on the other hand is a stacked deck, it is much harder to get progress made, yet the more time that is spent progressing in some ways, the more drastic the situation can get, which could lead to a scenario similar to “The Tamarisk Hunter.” There will more than likely have to be a middle ground, a way that governments can use great power quickly, with some form of authority and healing from the mistakes that will inevitably follow, and move slowly towards goals that can be dragged to a conclusion without incident. Furthermore, with a global society, governments will most likely take different approaches, some will fall and others will succeed, it is a test in darwinian evolution on a social stage, and we’re currently in the second act.