I remember reading a book where “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Was the opening line, it summed up the second and third decade of the 21st century well, the streak of self-interest that pervaded humanity around the globe in those times cost the planet dearly, everything suffered and ignorance won out.

There was a meeting.

Small, secret, severe, facts were presented, open and honest and without opinion. The data pointed to the inevitable and on that grey February day in 2019 a mass extinction event including and influenced by an ever increasingly ignorant human race pointed to a planet changing event within a decade.

It had already begun. It was, for some species, irreversible. For Homo sapiens (or as one in that meeting referred to them, Homo normalem), it was the end of days. For Homo Superior it was just the beginning.

So started the conflict!

Society began to divide by intent and purpose.

Silence became key.

The wise kept to their own council, shaped and moulded, thrived in the shadows as around them the world began to die. Insect species at first, some larger mammals, then plant species, certain trees began to fail, even certain grasses grew less, scorched by heat drowned by flood. Seeds would not take, flowers would not bloom and it would seem to some that nothing green would grow.

And yet, in the shadows, things thrived.

In the silence, things changed.

The dark zones were an open secret. Unnoticed and unchallenged and yet preciously guarded. Artificial light was limited to households only, certain technologies were banned, no wi-fi, no mobile phones, no electronic or hybrid cars. Recycling was 100%.

The influence of the few was subtle. A cold war was waged with stealth. Problems removed with cold calculation. Nature played her part.

Earthquakes, heat waves and droughts, freezing winters and floods, epidemics, pandemics, strains to health services that could not cope, the death rate increased as the birth rate fell.

Never had a war been fought so politely, so coldly, so calculating. The victory was understandable, the losses necessary, 50% of the global population over 4 years brought back some form of balance but the damage had been done and the world was changed, global society existed and old nation states had been in many ways swept away.

Underneath the boughs of a gently swaying wood, a pair of calmer, wiser eyes looked up into the night sky and for the first time and appreciated the beauty of endless heaven.