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At the end of the school year, I challenged some of my 8th graders to help me with some columns over the summer. They gave me the first and last lines of a potential fictional short story. My task was to take those lines and write the middle. I was given seven ideas from the kids, so that’s the plan for a few more weeks! This week’s lines were provided by Caden Riewer.

I was going to be the first man on the sun! That’s what I always thought as a youngster. I was fascinated by everything to do with outer space. Growing up, I basically expected that everyone would have the opportunity to travel at least to the moon by the time I was 40. Mars would probably be inhabited by then as well.

Well, I was 40 and it was 2030, but over 99% of the population had no shot at stepping on the moon’s surface and the first manned mission to Mars was first getting underway in the next year.

But it didn’t mean I’d given up on my dreams. Okay, the dream of being the first man on the sun certainly seemed far-fetched. Nobody could survive on the sun; I realized that pretty early on. Hey, when I was four, it seemed like a real possibility, okay?

I was working with the sun, though, in a manner of speaking. My love for outer space as a youth had expanded to a proclivity for science, and my job involved researching ways to slow down global warming, or climate change, as most people finally realized that was how to refer to the frightening adjustments on our home planet.

Ice caps had been melting for decades; in fact, a large chunk of Antarctica had broken off back in 2017. That had finally gained the attention of more people that climate change was real and happening. Within a few years of that event, over 50% of the vehicles on the road were either electric or had vastly reduced emissions. This was really propelled when President Mike Pence leaned on Congress once he took over from Donald Trump (It was a whole thing, check your history books) since he wanted a legacy that was just a titch better than his predecessor’s.

Something else that has been helping is just how many people work from home now. With the screen generation upon us, it means fewer vehicles on the road every day, especially those stuck in rush hour traffic for a long time each day. Of course, we’re really starting to lose that personal touch that the older generations whine about, but it’s all about saving our planet.

Eventually, I still think we will have colonies on the moon and Mars, and that will help move a portion of the population off-planet. It will also give us options in case all else fails. That might help stave off the calls from some people to go with the old Chinese edict of limiting families to only one child. That raises the hackles of all those who were not born first in their own families!

There has also been more of a movement toward being vegetarian. It takes less land on which to take care of livestock since so much of that land is growing crops with which to feed those animals. We’re seeing more trees planted in place of growing all that corn for cows. Meatless Mondays are a very real thing in schools across the United States, and many families extend it beyond that. There are not nearly as many fast food joints as there used to be, and the billions of burgers that McDonald’s had sold has slowed down in a big way. There is still a long way to go, but every little bit helps.

And I’m proud to announce that I have come up with perhaps the biggest piece to this puzzle, even though it’s a device that’s quite small. Did you know that Americans spend more money on electricity to devices that are turned off than ones that are operating? It’s known as vulturing electricity. When your devices are plugged in (TV, computer, toaster), they are still siphoning electricity.

Since it doesn’t seem convenient to unplug everything in your house all the time (let’s face it, we’re a lazy generation), I’ve invented a new form of outlet which will stop the electricity vulture from operating. It’s known as the Electric Hawk (one of the few natural predators of vultures), and it’s going to revolutionize society!

People will have to replace every outlet in their homes, so it’ll cost a bunch up front, but long-term, it will save folks a ton of money and, more importantly, help save our planet. You’ll be able to get outlets that are just about any color or even lateritious ones, in case you have bricks for your walls, especially on the outside of your house.

With everything else going on to slow down climate change, this could be the final piece to start on the path back to a healthy planet. And that’s how I stopped global warming!

Word of the Week: This week’s word is lateritious, which means resembling bricks, as in, “Though it wasn’t the real thing, the new siding on the house was lateritious and added a rustic look to the residence.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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