Excerpt for The Tipping Point: The Year 2030 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



A Novel by

Marvin Berenson

Copyright 2015 by Marvin H. Berenson

Published by Cove Books

Smashwords Edition

Cover Design: Douglas Berenson

The Tipping Point is a work of fiction. However, all writing regarding the climate is from scientific sources that clearly indicate how global warming is driving our country and the world to unprecedented planetary devastation. Most climatologists and scientists worldwide supported by replicated computer studies have verified the accuracy of the dangers of rising atmospheric CO2. A CO2 level of 450 ppm and a two degree Celsius temperature elevation are recognized as potential pivotal levels when the point of no return may be reached. It is difficult to find an exact correlation between CO2 and temperature and some scientists believe that a 2 degree C rise in temperature won’t occur until 2036 to 2040. Another factor is the widespread difference in temperature rise in different parts of the world. For example, the temperature in 2017 has risen twice as fast in the Arctic area and at times has temporarily reached much higher.

The names, characters, incidents, and places portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental. However, certain incidents and places that pertain to global warming are real and are part of the scientific elements that are present in this book. Others are fictitious and should be readily separated from the real events and places.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means or by information or retrieval systems without written permission of the author.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this eBook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

I dedicate this book to the countless number of individuals devoted to continuing to fight climate change in their efforts to overcome the effects of global warming.

Chapter 1

Ron Barrett peered at the cascading, blinding rain that beat incessantly at the large windows surrounding his living room. Darkness covered the flooded canyon below his home. The world around him had disappeared. Living on a mountaintop in Woodside, he had felt that he was above the world, safe, untouchable. Today, early in 2030, that sense of security had vanished and a strange foreboding crept into his mind.

“Why hasn’t this stopped?” he muttered to himself. “Five days already.”

Staring at the unrelenting rain as though it were an enemy, he felt a sudden urge to smash the window and face this strange specter directly. Terrified, he moved back from the window and began to tremble. Tears began to stream down his face and for a moment he thought the rain had invaded his home.

His wife suddenly called from the living room. “Ron, you’ve got to see this National Geographic special.” Mindlessly, he stumbled toward her voice and unnoticed by Audrey, he sat down, arms tightly held around his body trying to control his shaking. Tears continued unheeded. He looked at the TV, said nothing, just listened to the quiet, incisive voice commenting on scenes that needed no comments.

Ron grimly watched the camera pan over a small town in Virginia and saw the torrential river carrying houses, trees and cars swirling down the streets. Every street had become a river. Did the commentator say that over 40 inches had fallen in the past four days? “40 inches,” he murmured silently. "It's happening so frequently."

The program switched to Northern Maine where near hurricane winds were battering the drenched coast. The camera shifted inland presenting town after town, each strewn with broken homes, fallen trees, downed electrical cables and debris everywhere. Water covered everything. “I saw it happening. Why couldn’t I have found a way to stop it? All those wasted years. What did I do wrong?”

He shuttered as he noted that the visual description of the effects of a previous superstorm seemed to parallel the storm that now poured down on them. He remembered seeing pictures of the extensive flooding in Pakistan a few months ago. The entire country seemed to be flooded. “What have we done to our world?” kept running through his mind.

The camera was remorseless revealing devastating scenes of the impact of global warming that had appeared in recent months. It had its own life, almost like the hand of God savagely indicting the human race for its blindness in allowing this folly to become real. Almost sadistically, the camera focused on the southern part of India where hordes of people lay unmoving in the streets and parks and along dry parched riverbeds where water had once run. Some people shielded their eyes from the penetrating sun, others covered their heads with rags, yet others sat or lay quietly as though dead, lips parched, with no energy to get up and find water. Waiting, just waiting, wasting away, no longer caring. Their world had ended. Waiting was all that was left.

When the program ended, Ron burst into violent crying and Audrey seeing his pain hurriedly took him in her arms. “Ron, honey, I understand what you’re feeling.”

Ron uttered some gibberish, a strange look crossing his face as he looked outward and screamed, “I must stop it. I must do something. I must stop it. I must stop it.”

Audrey, alarmed and frightened, held her husband more tightly. “Ron, it’s not over. This can’t be the end. There must be a way of stopping it. Please try to control yourself. We’ll find a way.” Ron stared at the blank television screen and covered his eyes. With mounting fear, Audrey held him tightly, her own tears no longer separate from his.

Over many years Ron and Audrey Barrett had been at the forefront in the fight to control global warming. Holding almost desperately to the man she loved and with whom she had worked for so many years, Audrey recalled their meeting at one of Ron’s weekly lecture series opened to students and the public. Curiosity had motivated her to come hear him speak. She was deeply impressed with his eloquence and how he reached out to the audience.

That evening Ron’s lecture focused on the melting of permafrost and the increasing production of methane, the most potentially dangerous of the greenhouse gases. “Watch Greenland, Siberia and the intercontinental Arctic shelves for increasing methane production. Methane could become the scourge of the world,” he warned. Ron ended his talk with an inspirational directive that he would utter many times in the coming years. “Above all, no matter what is happening and at what level of warming we are and how close we might be to the point of no return we must never, never stop fighting to overcome this most insidious and frightening danger to our planet. Global warming must be controlled.” With his final words Ron reached across space into her eyes and they silently knew that they were meant to meet.

At two o’clock the following day, Audrey met Ron at his office. Just as she was about to knock on his door, it opened. Without words they fell into each other’s arms. As they later recalled that first meeting, they had fallen instantly in love with each other. He felt the urge to caress her dark blonde hair that cavorted down her shoulders. She wanted to caress his appealing face and run her fingers over his eyes and mouth. Her soft, appealing face and dancing, sparkling eyes drew him to her as they tightly hugged each other. Pictures of the world’s great beauties floated through his mind: Raphael’s Madonna, Leonardo’s St Anne and Botticelli’s Venus. After several meetings with Ron, she changed her Journalism major to Environmental Earth System Science. Shortly thereafter, they began to date and fell deeply in love. A year later, they were married. She continued her studies while embracing a new leadership role, finally earning her PhD in 2018.

Their relationship quickly assumed a pivotal role in the environmental world where his articles, lectures and her environmental poems brought them renown.

They had written and lectured extensively, repeatedly spelling out the dangers of the rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Continuing to burn fossil fuels, they warned, would inevitably lead to reaching the feared level of 450 ppm and its associated two degree Celsius rise in temperature. These levels had become associated with major climate instability. The current raging out-of-control weather was only the most obvious of the changes that had occurred.

People were starving and thirsty; corals were dead; mercury poisoning was rampant; wild fish were decimated; few remained alive in the oceans. Dustbowls in much of the world were so commonplace that breathing in dust, hiding from dust storms, carrying water and rags to wet and cover one’s mouth when the dust started to swirl were commonplace. Social violence, carrying knives and guns in public were so widespread that almost any fight could erupt into a killing spree. Streets were mostly empty at night as people became fearful of being accosted.

Small cars, many still running on natural gas and oil, but mostly hybrids and electric were rampant. The occasional large car was quickly vandalized and only used by government officials.

Global warming had become the engine of social and political destructiveness fed by hunger, lack of water, flooding of coastal lands, and appalling droughts. Almost no one openly doubted the cause being manmade. Countless marches in Washington that at times became highly inflammatory seemed fruitless. People’s anger rose and rose. Throughout the world in many countries hordes of people spontaneously erupted into violence threatening to bring down ineffective governments. A deep sense of gloom had settled over the planet.

People went along with whatever life they could manage wherever they lived. Canada had closed its borders to immigrants years earlier, as Americans stormed across the long borders to find refuge and work. Canadian lands once held in thrall to cold and ice had become warmer, and were becoming the breadbasket of the Americas.

The fertile central valley of California had long given up the claim as the most agricultural productive land in the country, succumbing to drought and a marked decrease in the water supply from the north. Throughout the world, vast changes had eroded governments and the hopes of countless people to find a satisfying life. Australia had become a vast desert. The Sahara had crept lower and lower toward the center of Africa.

In the widespread belief that the inexorable heating of the world would only worsen and life was hardly worth living, many cast caution aside and engaged in more unprotected sex. Little concern for the welfare of the newborn remained. The population continued to expand. The eight billionth child had been born five years earlier and doomsayers were now predicting 10 and 11 billion or more before the population binge would end.

Nothing stemmed the tide of the social upheaval that was taking place. Ron, desperately trying to hold on to a sense of reality, couldn’t stop his inner mind from being filled with visions of an endless, desolate, terrifying world. Civilization had become Hell. He stared at the horror that had been wrought. Nothing moved. Nothing lived. The feeling of death was everywhere. The television program, one of many seen in recent years was never as bad as reality revealed. His crying continued.

Where had they gone wrong? For years, the world looked to Audrey and him for hope and inspiration. People watched the CO2 edge up and every year Ron warned the governments of the world that time was running out. From the very first year in 2012 when he had stepped onto the world stage he had known that zero CO2 emissions was the goal needed to save our planet. And every year excuses, denial, the power of oil, ineffective rulers and frightened and even destructive, anti-climate change governments stopped any possibility of modifying the country's energy structure. Ron fought unrelentingly against anyone, especially leaders, supportive of big oil, who openly opposed the validity of global warming. His articles revealed his anger at state and national leaders who encouraged the search for oil and gas instead of trying to reduce fossil fuel burning.

In the 2020's renewable energy became widely used and Ron repeatedly said that such energy, though good and did not give rise to greenhouse gases, would have no impact on the ultimate future of the earth, as long as CO2 was being produced. His warnings went unheeded.

“Ron, what can I do to help you?

“I feel so useless,” he replied, still shaken by his experience. “All our efforts and the work of so many people never stopped the CO2 rise. Beginning in 2012, I should have been able to figure out a way to persuade the government to have started reducing the use of fossil fuels by 5 or 6% a year? That would have been enough, I believe, to have reversed the tide and today we could have been at the end of the rise to 450 and the worst dangers would have been averted.

“Imagine, now that we know what 450 is like, it is still almost inconceivable what lies ahead.”

“Yes,” Audrey concurred sorrowfully. “Honey, you did everything you could. If only the government had decided to reduce the use of fossil fuels slowly, it would now be so different.”

“Fat chance that could have ever happened,” Ron said derisively. “They weren’t apt to reduce it 5% or even 1 % a year, much less 10%. Even today, they don’t seem to get it. No point playing the “if” game. They didn’t do it and we now live with the consequences.”

“But isn’t there a chance that if the country made a massive effort to reduce CO2 production that we can still reverse it,” Audrey said, her voice more pleading than genuine.

“People have given up,” Ron said, grimacing, as his eyes darted at the black deluge pounding their home. “Everybody knows that much of the ice in the world has already melted. The West coast of the Antarctica is sliding into the ocean. Greenland is going down. The sea is beginning to rise more rapidly. Look at what has happened with the sea less than a foot higher and it’s going to accelerate, mark my word. The world’s going to Hell, Hell, hear me, “Ron screamed, even as he held his head and pressed his fists into his tear-laden eyes.”

Audrey shook with fear as she watched her husband breaking down. He pushed her away when she sought to hold him.

“Leave me alone. Just leave me alone.”

“Ron, you can’t give up. Not now. If we went on a program of desperation to finally bring the CO2 down that would help. The whole world knows you. They would listen.”
“Don’t kid yourself. It’s not going to happen. Look at the program we just saw. How can I be hopeful watching that? Knowing that 450 is not even a stop and pause station, anymore, I’m just plain scared. We’re on the way to 650, maybe 850 by 2100. Just imagine what the world will become as we move toward that date.”
“Ron, what’s happening to you? It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom,” Audrey said dejectedly. “Maybe the worst of what could occur can be stopped.”

“Audrey, don’t be a dreamer,” Ron said slowly calming down. “I can’t tolerate what is happening. I have never understood the government officials all over the world who refused to heed the truth even when it was obvious. They still sit on their hands and talk about the economic upheaval if they interfere with oil and gas production. Economic upheaval. What can be in their minds? What do they think is happening now?”
Audrey looked at her husband, whose tears had finally stopped, again standing and looking out of the window at the unrelenting sheets of rain battering the house. “God, we can’t stop now,” she thought. “What’s wrong with Ron? He has written so little in the past year. Has he really given up hope? He can’t. He just can’t.”

“Sweetheart,” she said tenderly, “You can’t stop writing. Your last four articles were excellent. Your article on the decline of the beautiful coral reefs was so informative. The one on population certainly made it clear that without some major intervention from the third world’s governments, as well as from the industrial world, especially including our own country, the world’s population will continue to rise. I thought it was the best article I have ever read on why the population continues to expand so rapidly and why it won’t stop without certain interventions.”

Ron looked wistfully at his loving wife and thought how much she made his life worthwhile. He must overcome his depression and growing doubts about the world’s future. He must never disappoint her. Their love had brought an inner realization that all his accomplishments were mere shadows in his life compared to the love he felt toward her and her love for him.

“I won’t stop. I promise you,” he whispered, as he took Audrey in his arms and gently kissed her.

Chapter 2

In the early years of 2012 through a series of climate related articles and speeches, Ron Barrett had first stepped onto the world stage as a new leader in the growing movement to stop global warming. By the end of 2012 he had achieved worldwide recognition. At the age of 30, he was enjoying his third year teaching at Stanford University as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Earth System Science. Acclaimed as an enthusiastic and articulate teacher, as well as an ardent researcher and writer, his popularity had risen dramatically. His courses and lectures were always filled to capacity. He was developing a following among undergraduates and graduates.

His leadership abilities were already recognized in high school, where he excelled academically and as an athlete, proficient in both soccer and basketball with a promising future in sports. Tall, muscular, with smooth body movements likened to a gliding panther by a former coach, his ability to move quickly and act decisively made him formidable in sports.

In conversations he would look intently at whomever he faced. Striking, dark eyes seemed endlessly focused. Some friends had stated that he seemed to look inside you. Brown, tousled hair, never quite in place, sometimes fell down his forehead. He would shake it out of his eyes with a laugh; his infectious and appealing smile most characterized him.

At times anger or what might be better described as frustration or even disappointment would cause an unusual frown or scowl. No one had ever seen him become truly angry. An inner aggressiveness, however, was evident in his voice, when he would speak more rapidly or slow his words to put bite into his comments.

No one doubted that he was deeply passionate and had been seen to cry when something touched him deeply. One friend characterized him as a completely free individual and the most “tuned in” person he knew.

As an undergraduate at Princeton, international law and facilitating globalization were his major interests. Writing, however, was his passion and he took his degree in journalism. Like many young people, he had developed a strong interest in devoting his life to finding ways to overcome erupting social, political and environmental problems.

Both as an undergraduate and after graduating with a BA in journalism he had traveled extensively throughout the world, especially in the Far East. With his seasoned point of view, travelers eagerly sought his travel articles, with their interwoven themes of social and political discontent and the growing need for globalization.

By integrating intimate details about the various leaders of most developing countries, his articles took on the mantle of reading an insider’s view. Slowly, his ideas of improving the lives of citizens of third world countries interrelated with the obligations of the wealthy nations to help the unfortunate. He began to think of ways to change the world’s thinking. He believed that young people must find ways to stem the tide of the rapidly diminishing freedoms and economic disadvantages in all countries.

The impact of worldwide pollution on developing countries, much of which came from the advanced first world countries, as well as China and India, slowly directed his attention to the increasing danger of global warming. He began to realize that the rising temperature was a hidden death trap lying in wait to destroy the world. If the findings and prognostications of most of the world’s scientists were correct, the world was on a collision course with a future catastrophe.

Extensive research made him certain that global warming was no myth. The evidence was everywhere in the form of heat waves, enormous storms, rising seas, melting glaciers and increasing CO2 levels. Its acceleration was particularly alarming. At a certain unknown time, stopping global warming would become futile. At Stanford he found guidance and inspiration to pursue what became his life’s work and earned his PhD in Environmental Earth System Science in 2009.

As a young instructor at Stanford, he had the opportunity to build his knowledge base as he prepared lectures and gathered a group of enthusiastic followers to help spread his ideas. His papers attested to the breadth of his interests to change the detrimental impact of the social, economic and political problems of the world, but it was clear his primary interest lay in finding ways to overcome the dangers of global warming.

Shortly after meeting Audrey, Ron Barrett broadened his series of evening lectures to students and the public to cover the complexities of global warming. Knowledge was his key to fight the unrelenting scourge of climate change. Among his subjects were the connection of CO2 and the burning of fossil fuels, smog, acidification of oceans, the poisoning of fish by mercury from coal power plants and the causes of droughts. As his knowledge base increased, Ron became increasingly concerned with the widespread misinformation, out and out lying, brazen untruths and the presence of a large group of global warming deniers that constantly fought against climate control.

Lobbyists for the oil companies, conservative groups within the political parties and pseudo-scientists promoting false studies or lying about scientific studies stood at the forefront of deniers. Most disturbing were the large number of U.S. Senators and Congressmen who were among the most vehement deniers. Many who fostered lies and falsehoods also denied the fact that the earth was even warming, much less that it was caused by humans.

The rise of atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm that had been the steady state of CO2 for thousands of years to the 393 CO2 ppm level in 2012 was viewed by deniers as strictly coming from natural causes. The facts that the rise occurred in less than 200 years and over half that amount had taken place in the previous 30 years were ignored. Ron, increasingly disturbed by such deception, decided to write another of his early pivotal papers on how people were deceived and how lies and misinformation led to false beliefs and improper actions. His paper “The Enigma of Duplicity” markedly influenced his future. Although he pointed out how lying and deception occurred in many economic and social areas, he especially emphasized how it affected global warming. This paper would be adopted for study in philosophy and ethics classes throughout the world. But even more important, Barrett introduced his ideas for a new environmental organization that would eventually become the most powerful environmental force the world had ever known, The Student Coalition for Climate Control.

In his lecture Barrett made clear that there is a fine line between truth and untruth. “We are being deluged with information and misinformation from a variety of sources to influence us to take opposing stands on climate change. Is the rising temperature strictly part of a natural weather cycle and thus burning or not burning fossil fuels would have minimal effect on the climate? Or is it the result primarily due to manmade fossil fuel burning?

“Whom do you believe? Sometimes it depends on what you hear or read. Sometimes it depends on your personal belief systems. Your truth may strictly be a personal truth.”

Ron went on to show how easily we are deceived and influenced by clever words and concepts. What is true for one can be untrue for another. What is real? Reality often depends on your point of view. Attitudes, biases, discrimination, knowledge, educational levels, cultural backgrounds, social position, and whether you had a good night’s sleep. Laughter from the audience gave Ron an opportunity to change subjects and to introduce his idea for a society of truth seekers focusing on global warming.

“In the past half year or so I have given a series of lectures on the subject of global warming, the pollution of the earth, the dangers to our health and especially the dangers to the planet. I have made my viewpoint clear. Unless we quickly find a way to slow and eventually stop the tide of greenhouse gases, our future is grave and the way of life we have today will disappear.

“Friends, together, we must take a stand. I am now urging interested students to establish a new environmental group to focus on finding sources of misinformation and develop ways to establish renewable energies and making them the basis for future energy needs. As a group, you will have strength and can spread your ideas and influence. You can become a new beacon of hope as you tackle negative forces that threaten our world.

“In that context, perhaps Stanford can become the leader in guiding other universities toward similar efforts.

“I will act as advisor to any group, if called upon. I want the students to have total autonomy, but also to realize that they have my backing and availability.

“In conclusion, I want to emphasize that global warming has become a buzz word, a stimulus for emotional reactions and a repository for vast amounts of information and misinformation. We must never forget that all of us are susceptible to being mentally influenced and manipulated and it requires constant personal self-evaluation to remain relatively free of such influences. Being part of a group of like-thinking individuals will help all of us stay in the same ballpark of truth. Remember, truth and untruth sometimes walk hand in hand. Don’t hide. You will know your own truth. You can be your own best teacher to understand the real reality.

“To me the undeniable need to establish climate control is the single most important social, environmental and political issue in our lives. I believe we are in a crisis. We will always keep our minds tuned to reality and not pretend that we have all the answers much less the so-called real truth. However, one thing is clear. Global warming must be stopped. And the time to start is now.”

From its beginning in a public lecture, The Student Coalition for Climate Control was born. From a single environmental organization housed in Stanford the Coalition became a worldwide phenomenon. In a few years almost every university and college in the United States had a chapter.

Chapter 3

Ron’s exposition on truth established what would become a cherished value for his followers. Transparency, openness and a willingness to discuss all issues regarding his stand on global warming stalled many attacks attempting to impugn his judgment, understanding and direction.

Audrey and Ron tackled the formidable problem of overpopulation, the rising sea, floods, vast storms, dust bowls, scarcity of food and water, loss of fresh water fish, melting glaciers, the rise of dead zones, the rising might of jelly fish and smog and its string of related illnesses such as asthma—all from the advancing temperature.

A month after meeting Ron, Audrey wrote her first article in the form of a poem that became her singular method of communication. Over the years, Audrey wrote many articles but it was her poems and their video presentations on YouTube that brought her fame. When she completed the poem and presented it to Ron for his reactions, Audrey described how she was bathed in tears, as the poem came tumbling out of her.


How will children live in the 21st century?”

I am mother of all Earth’s children,

I speak for women. I speak for womanhood.

I am old, old beyond my years.

I see the future for all suffering babies, babies not yet born.

And what I see grieves me, grieves me deeply.

I am angered by the world’s blindness to the changing climate,

I am angered by the growing disaster that lies in the future for our children.

The world says wait that the world will improve,

Wait, they say and you will see the future differently.

Wait. Wait. Wait they say.

I am close to the threshold of motherhood and I feel afraid.

I see darkness ahead lit by the lightning flashes of raging storms.

I look in vain for the sun.

I only see the storms that blight our lives,

Blocking the light so we no longer see.

Darkness shrouds our view and buries our minds.

We are not meant to see or fight or know.

We are to lie in our coffins before our time.

Buried like dead without words to sound.

I look for one to cast aside the darkness and open our eyes.

No one appears.

Is there no one there?

Before the darkness, I saw the blackened smoke of carbon rising everywhere.

I watched long pipelines snaking across the country everywhere.

I saw derricks tall and eerie and their whirling drills everywhere.

I heard the creaking of the fractured rock deep within the earth everywhere.

I witnessed the ocean spewing forth gaseous plumes into the atmosphere.

I watched the increasing density of the gases that block the earth’s heat from escaping.

I felt the heat shifting back to the earth.

I felt the heat. I felt the heat. It burned.

I felt suffocated. I breathed pain.

Far away beyond the reach, I spied rows of whirling wings.

Simple blades on a long popsicle stick endlessly moving in the caressing wind.

Wind that brings forth surges of unheralded power,

Power to turn the turbines that give birth to the power to run our world.

But it is so little and so far away. So tempting.

Why do they hide them from me?

I saw as far as my eye could see, sheets of glistening mirrors,

Mirrors pouring energy into black boxes that crackled in a delightful electrical voice. How I loved that sight, but so few; they are invisible,

Gone, gone in the blackness of the night.

Is it too late? Too late.

I waited in line for the ballot box holding in hand the papers of truth.

I voted for truth. I voted for words that said, “Awaken.”

I heard many words and I heeded them.

But words without action are just symbols of the night,

Covered by the blackness that has come and dissolved truth,

Truth as though never seen and never heard.

The light has vanished, thrust into an unknown space covered by blackness.

I go to a podium high on a box and scream out my lungs.

People listen and nod and agree and then shuffle away as they return to sleep.

To sleep?

Aye, to sleep.

Am I daunted? No, never. Do I cry out and rage from powerlessness.

No. No. No.

The blackness lies ahead but behind it is a new dawn.

We will lift the blanket that covers it.

The future lies with me.

My blackness has yet to come.

We must never let it stop the coming dawn.

I am the mother of all children.

I am their protector.

I can’t let their future die.

I can’t. I won’t,

The children must have a future,

Or they too will die.

Women, I implore you, rise with me,

And give our future back to our children.

Take my hand, we go together.

Ron loved the poem and felt it would touch not only all women but many men as well. He suggested she send it to the Stanford Daily and also directly to the San Francisco Chronicle and see if they would accept it. Audrey did as Ron suggested. That night when Audrey went to bed she never envisioned how her life was about to change.

Two days later, the Chronicle contacted her saying they were going to publish it on the Op-Ed page the following week. Later that day, the Stanford Daily editors read the poem and immediately contacted the video and entertainment departments to evaluate the potential of creating a video based on the poem. Being a student at Stanford added to the interest in her first poem. Everywhere it stirred excitement.

Several days later, Audrey’s video was completed and uploaded to YouTube. Within minutes, it seemed, it began to spread virally. In the first day alone, there were over 20,000 viewers. Within a week, that number would swell to over a million. Stanford went ballistic. Audrey was smothered with congratulations wherever she went. On the strength of this one video, Audrey was invited to appear on the “Today’s Show”, “Good Morning America” and “CNN” for interviews. Her appearances on television were electric. Everyone wanted to see her, adopt her, marry her, touch her. History has since recorded that her ascending star began with that video that would lead to her becoming one of America’s most beloved women.

The artistry and care that went into producing Audrey’s first video was now viewed as representative for future environmental videos. One such description captured in words the visual experience.

“Against words of smoke pouring into blackened skies, oceans releasing plumes of gas, an invisible sun, unrelenting storms and ever-present darkness, the designers brought forth a view of nature that paralleled the reading. Audrey was filmed in different poses. As she walked through a forest or on a beach or in a national park; her dark blonde hair whirled and spun around her delicate, sensitive face. Her natural beauty captivated many who watched her.

“The background alternated with beautiful sights from around the world even as the poem unfolded with the desolation of drought, impoverished people, blackened skies, darkness everywhere and vast deserts that seemed to go on forever.

National parks with beautiful pictures known worldwide were suddenly divested of those sights. Instead, a bleakness and emptiness stared back at the viewers. Somehow each picture fit the words spoken by Audrey, at times sad, at other times more optimistic. There were pictures of beautiful children playing in parks among trees and children alone looking out on a vast desert. Beaches filled with soft white sand and the same beach now black and strewed with rocks.

Nor did the designers overlook the beauty of coral and the myriads of colored fish that called it home and then the view changed and the coral became bleached and dead and empty of fish. Nothing remained. Audrey’s words and the artists’ pictures told a story that touched the hearts of countless viewers.

At the bottom of the video were instructions for interested people to contact Stanford’s Climate Group, representing the Student Coalition for Climate Control. Thus Audrey’s poem became the first national advertisement for the Coalition.

Two days after Audrey’s poem became available on YouTube Ron wrote a brief paper describing the purpose of the Student Coalition. His eloquent words brought further interest in the new organization.

“The Student Coalition for Climate Change stands in the forefront of new organizations to help control global warming. We share a dream, a dream of hope that we can help ignite the awakening of the people of our country to the dangers of global warming. We are part of a vanguard of enlightened people determined to fight to overcome the clearly evident threats that lie ahead for our beautiful planet and for our vibrant civilization.

“The war we’re fighting is for our own world. We are the young. We’ll be here near the end of the century. We are the ones most affected but everyone is and especially our children whose lives go on after us. It’s not just one century of danger, but beyond. Most of what we have today will long be gone. What remains is not clear but the world will be vastly different. With a predicted rise of CO2 to 650 ppm, 850 or higher the future is unprecedented. What does it mean? No one knows. This is your century. Can we allow this to happen?

“Today, you, the young students from every part of America and in every major institution of learning, are the new leaders.

“I am always here for consultation and guidance. I strongly believe that you will be the vanguard of a growing power that will topple the forces that oppose us. We fight to overcome misinformation and deception. We fight to prevent our world from being taken away. We fight for our sanity and for the sanity of our children. We fight to preserve our beautiful planet. We fight for truth. We fight because we must.”

“It will take all of us, every student in the country, to become part of a movement that will have the power to finally slow up and eliminate the use of fossil fuels. This can’t be just a dream. It must become real.”

As is well known, Audrey’s first video and Ron’s talk on video became the two-pronged announcement that precipitated the avalanche of interest in the Student Coalition.

Stanford was overwhelmed with colleges clamoring for information about joining the Coalition. Ron made himself available to talk to any interested student who desired to do so. A potential bottleneck in opening the doors to all the colleges was averted by the father of a member of the Student Coalition’s committee, a dedicated and wealthy environmentalist, who immediately funded two secretaries and opened an office in his own company to accommodate the widening interest.

The broad interest was explosive. The Coalition was ecstatic. Universities urged their students to get on the bandwagon. How many of us remember that within days, rock concerts with famous rock bands were in the planning stage. Actors and directors gave enthusiastic support and offered assistance to support the group and contribute all revenue to the Coalition. Overnight, the Coalition had funds to expand, hire others, start a movement to introduce the ideas to high schools and eventually to grade schools. The words “misinformation” and “deception” and “blatant lies” took on new meaning and were passed around the Internet.

From this early beginning, other countries got into the act. Hundreds of students from Europe, China, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Israel were the first of the young people outside the country that wanted in. Soon the number was in the thousands and would eventually number in the millions. Joining the Coalition became a vehicle of belonging, a badge of connection and the belief that they were now working to save their world.

Other papers joined the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle as part of a vanguard of public support. Writers, environmentalists, and ordinary citizens offered ideas and suggestions. It appeared that the world was awakening. Today we know that the awakening was only partial and eventually a new slumber closed the eyes of the powers that could have changed our future.

In the midst of this exciting period as the Student Coalition grew rapidly, Audrey awakened one morning from a terrifying nightmare that the world had come to an end. In her diary, she wrote that all the stars went out, the ocean dried up, the world was littered with skeletons. “I felt I was completely alone, everyone was gone. The world no longer existed. I was terrified. It seemed so real.” Audrey wrote that she had broken down and wept.

Even as she cried she felt that the dream predicted the future. From her fear came the idea for a new poem. Immediately going to her computer she wrote without pause, without thinking, following her terror and letting her tears flow unheeded. This poem, also was uploaded to YouTube as a video made by the same team that created her first. It would soon spread across the country.


I’m a young woman in deep despair,

Watching the fading lights of hope,

Fearing to lose a world that I deeply love,

Will its beauty and goodness just disappear?

No one tells the stars to shine or the moon to glow or the birds to fly or the fish to swim.

No one tells the hummingbird to dip its beak into the flower to find nectar’s delight,

No one tells the dolphin to leap with joy in enchanting ocean play.

No one tells my mom to hug my dad or squeeze my hand in love’s way.

Polar bears didn’t ask the ice to go away and hide.

Or to die when all the seals to eat were gone.

Walruses didn’t wish to swim in vain to find a beach to rest,

No one tells the salmon to search in blind folly for the spawning river that no longer runs, Where it was born and where it must go to spawn.

No one tells the clouds to flood the prairies and towns without end.

Who told man to change the weather, change my day and change my night?

Who told man to take away my future and leave only blight.

Over and over I heard the refrain, I did not know, I did not know.

But now you know.

You have changed our weather. You have destroyed our world,

Now you know. You are the ones who took away our light.

Where are the women to stem the tide, to stop the flow?

Where are the women to bring change where men fear to go?

Mother of Heaven, mother of earth, protect us from the deeds of men.

Protect us from the savagery that is destroying the beauty that once was.

And will be no longer.

Can we women rise against the men we have loved?

Can we rise against the men who are destroying our world and our children’s world?

Can we hate the men who don’t care and told us lies?

Men who say that we will be better in heaven and earth is hell.

As though they know and as though it matters.

Our world has become crazed with its own demise.

Oh dear God, protect us from madness,

Protect us from evil,

Protect us from death.

Protect us from such folly.

Man is cultivating our final days.

Men listen; we love you.

Your false beliefs have covered your eyes,

Tear them from your face, tear them from your heart.

Do not falter. You must rise up and see the world you are creating.

Sacrifice your beliefs. Never stop your efforts to save us, those you say you still love. Save the souls of your loved ones, your wives, children and mothers.

You have brought forth the deadly heat that will soon submerge all to a life of Hell.

Is that what you want for us?

Children of all ages rise, fight for what is right, fight for your truth.

Fight for our truth. Fight for the only truth. For what is right.

Fight the men, your fathers and your brothers, who in self-deception, opposed the good.

They have forfeited your love for they care not for tomorrow’s world.

The world they forsake is the world for our children, for their children.

What have they done? My God, what have they done?

Father, brother, what have you taken away from your children?

Soon they will curse the fathers who have forsaken them.

Where has your love gone? Where has it gone?

Rise up, rise up. We will rise with you.

Together we can defeat this curse of mankind and bring life back to our planet.

Rise up. Rise up, Please, dear God, rise up.

I beseech you, rise up.

Audrey sent the poem directly to the Stanford Daily, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. It was accepted, published and syndicated in over 400 newspapers. The public grasped it and wept. Woman rose up and wrote letters to the papers screaming at the men who defiled them and praying for delivery from their evil ways.

Many men joined these women supporting their cries of rage and urging men to stand as a group behind them and help take back our planet. Many others were silent and some railed against the one-sided attack they said was fed by the ultra liberal press. But the voices that dared oppose Audrey’s words were overwhelmed by the rising outrage as large numbers of people awakened to the dangers to our civilization and prayed for change.

A few weeks later, the Chronicle wrote an article raising Audrey into the firmament as the new voice of young women everywhere who had risen to protect our planet. With unrelenting zeal, the creative team who had produced her first video completed the new one. Almost instantly, upon being uploaded, it went viral. Audrey’s name spread more widely. Young girls wanted to emulate her. In a short time, women formed clubs and study groups to learn about global warming and the dangers to their lives and to the earth. The country was continuing to awaken.

Chapter 4

Venturing on their first vacation together, Ron and Audrey briefly visited Carmel, that gave rise to one of the most beautiful and devastating poems that Audrey was to write.

After checking in at the Lobos Lodge, taking a short walk through the charming streets of Carmel and eating lunch, Ron said, “We must hurry. We need to go to Point Lobos State Park for your first day. It is one of the most beautiful and magical places that I have ever seen.”

They started their Point Lobos exploration by hiking to the Allan Memorial Groove and Pinnacle Cove. Monterey Cypress trees dotted their trail. Each step brought murmurs of awe from Audrey. Her view of the huge rock formations stirred her dreams and awakened fears that this beautiful place might someday be lost. Leaving Pinnacle Cove they slowly drove to the Bird Island Trail that would lead to the top of China Cove.

The walk upwards was enchanting to Audrey. At every turn, another view of the park brought out new cries of delight. Part way up she had her first view of China Cove, a small emerald colored cove that nestled in a mountain carved, it seemed, just to hold this tiny jewel. At the top of the trail, they came to the beginning of the long wooden stairway that led down to the small beach.

The beach was empty. They would be alone. Audrey stood in wonderment as she looked down at the tiny perfect beach that awaited their descent. A powerful urge to sit on the beach and let the water curl around her feet pushed her to begin the descent.

Together, they took off their shoes and socks and sat on the beach. The slow moving tide came to tickle their feet, so softly, as though not wanting to disturb their tranquility and peacefulness. They held hands and felt their consciousness leave to be replaced by the rapturous sound of the water lapping at the tide’s end. So quiet, it seemed the world had ended. Yet each heard clearly the clarion call of the endless sea seeking new grounds to enter.

Even as they meditated through closed eyes, each imagined the surrounding rocks and felt the roar of sadness rumbling from the ocean. Both realized that all this would one day be covered. All the beautiful coves in the entire world would disappear. Gone. Gone forever.Ron just took her hand. Audrey glanced at his face and knew what he was feeling. “I know this must pain you,” she murmured.

“Yes,” he now responded. “One of the most beautiful sights in the world. One of the wonders of the world. This has risen from the depths of the ocean. Will the ocean take it back?”

Later, as she was writing her poem she distinctly recalled Ron’s words, “I can’t imagine that this beach will soon disappear as the ocean continues to rise. How can we let it happen? Such beauty must be saved.”

He wrapped Audrey in his arms and softly said, “I love you. We’re going to make this world come alive again. It will be my gift to you and to the children of the world.” He held her quietly, suffering with the doubts and fears that suffused his mind.

“So much to do and so little time. I’ll help you give me this gift,” Audrey said, struggling to hold back her tears.

“I don’t want to dwell on what is ahead,” Ron said, “We’re in one of most beautiful places in the world. I love it. It must remain for the future. We must stop global warming.” He held her more tightly as he kissed her, a soft, blending kiss that seemed to seep into their inner selves until their bodies disappeared into the ocean that wrapped around their feet. “This is ours. This belongs to us,” he whispered.

For some interminable time they remained blended in body and spirit until as one, they knew it was time to rise and continue their exploration of nature’s fairytale kingdom. Without looking back, they walked up the stairs and continued on the trail. They curved toward their right and looked down at Gibson Beach enclosed by another much larger cove.

Now Audrey saw the true dreamlike enchantment of Point Lobos as she gazed down at what appeared to be magical apparitions conjured out of enormous rock formations. The largest of the group carved by water seemed to sail unfettered alongside the coastal mountain. Like a Viking ship it appeared to come out of an unknown world. As they walked looking down at this masterpiece of nature’s art, Audrey let out a cry of joy. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to leap on board and the two of us just sail across the seas?”

Then she shuddered, “Will this also disappear when the sea gets high enough?”

Ron just took her hand and did not reply directly.

“I just want to enjoy this weekend away with you. I love you. But I think of children, perhaps our children, not being able to come here.”

Audrey whispered, “I love you and I believe in you.” In her heart, however, Audrey feared for the future. How can we or anyone stop what is happening? What if we can’t stop it? Her body quivered, defying the silence. “Ron,” she whispered, “such beauty can’t disappear, it just can’t.”

When they finally said good-bye to this wondrous park, they whispered to some unknown deity or power or universal god to protect the earth and all the China Coves and keep it for the people who will come later and know the beauty of the world. She knew that from her tiny self came a wish of such power that for a brief moment she believed, believed with her entire being, that the world would remain viable.

Even as she heard her words, she knew that simultaneously she was being overwhelmed with such strong negative beliefs about the inevitability of global warming destroying our world that she cried out of sheer frustration. Her belief in Ron was not sufficient to stop the dread of the ending of our civilization. She struggled to regain her beliefs.

Out of this fateful struggle came ideas for another poem that would one day come to represent the beliefs of countless women and many men who would rise up to fight the oppression of global warming. Several days of gestation lay ahead before this poem would be born.

Sunday morning before returning to Palo Alto they slowly traveled through

the stirring and beautiful 17 mile Drive. After lunch at the Inn of the Spanish Bay they returned to Palo Alto. The music of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto filled their ears but Audrey dwelled on her fears of the future spurred to consciousness by her, as yet unwritten, poem endlessly churning in her mind. She tried to retain light and beauty but blackness and the debris of pollution overwhelmed her.

Everything is beautiful and so alive, she thought. Nature will feel its loss as the water rises to cover the world. Audrey in her zeal to turn back the clock to a time when there was no danger had become a captive of her fears. The power in her poem was unconsciously distorting her feelings. Instead of being part of this world today, she had become encumbered by a frightening future. But wasn’t that her purpose to be working with Ron. I want others to feel what I feel so together we can do something to stop what I fear.

The first morning after their return home, as dawn announced a new day, Audrey suddenly opened her eyes, frightened and trembling. Ron immediately awakened and took her in his arms. “Darling, I awakened from another of my dreams. I was so scared. It was about the end of China Cove.”

“The end?”

“Yes. Actually when I was there I already had fears of what the rising sea would do to that beautiful place and it disturbed me. I guess I’m really scared that something in the future will take it away. Just thinking about it terrifies me. Ron, what can we really do? Sometimes I feel so hopeless, that nothing we’ll do will make any difference. We’re just two little people in a gigantic world. How can we make the world wake up?”

Ron just held her, not knowing what to say to reassure her. He fully understood her feelings. Maintaining optimism and doing as much as they could, helped, but he wasn’t blind to the incredible problems that lay ahead. And there was so much opposition. He grimaced trying to shake these doubts. He must not ever give up hope nor believe that their efforts were meaningless. There is always the possibility of change. He heard the refrain echo in his mind. Nothing is impossible.

Quieting down, Audrey went into her study and wrote down her new poem. When it was complete she printed out a copy and put it on Ron’s desk.

China Cove. Where have you gone?

In the wild craggy meandering of the California coast,

Lies a world so filled with magic that it triggers disbelief,

When people look out at the mystical land jutting out to sea,

They weep in utter joyfulness that such a sea-land connection be.

They call this meeting of sea and land the greatest ever made.

Point Lobos is the name.

Revered in wonder for those who came and saw,

And fell under its spell as I did one day that I remember well.

That day in the park wandering and hearing the crashing sea,

I came upon a cove so pure I stared at it with joy,

Pulled by forces no longer mine, I started to walk the long steps down,

To the beach below where I went to sit and listen to the sound,

On the blanket of sand called wondrous China Cove.

I looked out on the world where fish frolicked and played.

And saw an island green,

Home to the birds who sang and loved, it stood above the land.

I watched the tide come to my feet as I gazed out at granite rocks,

A sea lion gamboled in openings that the sea had mysteriously made.

I smiled as the water slowly rose and tickled my welcoming feet,

Such beauty and peace touched deep within my soul,

As I fervently prayed to the creator this land forever keep,

For if it goes, lost to the world, then I will only weep.

No longer alive for I, too, will have left this world deceased.

I looked again and the water had come and flooded all the land,

My body lay beneath the ocean that came and buried the sand.

Water had come where water was not and taken the beach away.

Tears came to my eyes as I pondered what had gone irretrievably lost.

The seals no longer frolicked and fish no longer swam.

The birds despaired and flew away to live another day.

Once more I looked from the steps that led to this beguiling cove.

There was no beach nor place to sit nor place to rest my soul.

I looked out upon the rocks that surrounded the cove before,

The carved openings that came through the rocks had closed forevermore.

The sea was hungry and swallowed all as it relentlessly rose on high,

Soon the world will be awash, the water hiding all,

Not only beaches, but homes and lands and forests will disappear,

Beneath the waters will be a world known only to the fish that care.

The Arctic and Antarctica have also gone as their ice has melted away.

Now all we see is black rock or nothing is there at all.

In other sites lie desolation and drifts of moving sand.

The world has changed and people no longer wish to sing and dance,

Alone they sit in shadows of gloom and weep through all the days.

They raise their fist in crying shame and anger beyond belief.

They cry out at their parents, grandparents and those who came before.

Why didn’t you stop what was to come?

Why didn’t you act in time?

You knew before this day arrived that our world was doomed and lost.

You saw it worsening day by day and closed your eyes to all,

It was not only the atmosphere that blocked the heat,

It was your mind that closed to what you saw.

The world was changing, clear to all, but you followed your own law,

“The world is all right,” you shouted loud even as you watched it fall.

We beseeched you and cried to no avail,

To no avail, I say.

Why didn’t you stop when you could? You saw it long before.

You knew. You knew, my God, you knew,

You let blindness and deafness prevail.

Listen, my friends, for you too live in this world with me,

You will know this as I now do and God help the children who see,

They will see it with frightened eyes, worsening as time moves on,

You, our parents, bequeathed them all, a truly living Hell.

They will live in a world so desolate that you knew was soon to come.

The shame of you and the shame of all is written in their hearts so deep.

For where beauty was, is only death, no beaches to sit and weep.

I cry alone under oppressive heat unable to move or stand.

Oh, dear God, have pity on me for all I do is cry,

I hold my head and no longer feel the tears that burn my soul,

Only shame to show as I try to bury my fears.

How can I live and feed myself on a dying land?

A knife is poised above my heart trembling in my withered hand.

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