January 8, 2200
“They just kept on going with their lives, living big, their heads in the sand, like nobody else was home. The me, me, me era. The lame, who could only push a button, and made those rich, who don’t give a damn about depleted oceans and black babies with hunger on their lips. With bewilderment I saw how those people could be so ignorant.”
These are the words of a Dutch young woman, Moria van den Berg. My grandfather gave me her diary. It was published in the year 2103. She was officially known as the first climate refugee from the west. Of course many had gone before her, Kenian fathers and mothers who fled from the dramatical African drought to the saver grounds of Western Europe. But Moria escaped the water, not the drought. Moria had to flee from her overflowing country, The Netherlands. In 2100 it finally happened: the dikes weren’t strong enough, not high enough, and half of her country vanished in the sea.
By 2100, temperatures on earth had risen 4 degrees Celsius, and the Netherlands, 26 percent of the country below sealevel, had been swallowed by the waves. Exactly like many scientists already predicted in the 1980s, happened: most of the country under water, an immense tragedy. Moria ended up in an ecological cult on the Spanish island, Ibiza. She became the symbol of the tens of thousands of people who were able to escape the high water and she was welcomed with open arms, only to be seized by the Es Verde cult.
“Of all people, it was me, a Dutch woman, who became a refugee. The Netherlands had become a society with loud anti-immigrant sentiments. Many of the Dutch were convinced that if you’re a refugee, you probably did something wrong. It’s you, who is to blame for being a refugee, and nobody or nothing else. Isn’t it ironic?
There was rage and a deep sadness inside of me. It was just a few months after I arrived in Berlin. After these months of complete chaos I went to a lecture by spiritual ecologist John Lock. He already was a controversial figure. I was so moved by his words “each time the world is falling apart, it will be built back better and gives us an opportunity to radically break with the past.” In that sense a world that’s falling apart is a comforting thought.
Well, my world literally had fallen apart. I had lost both my parents. My country. My home.
After the lecture I approached him. I felt encouraged, as I had nothing to lose. His penetrating dark eyes were looking at me and for a few seconds I regretted my courage to sharing my thoughts. What was I thinking, but quickly I recovered myself. “So how we go from here? How are we building a better world when it’s too late? I’m Moria by the way.” I smiled, as I almost forgot to introduce myself, and we shook hands. A firm handshake and a generous smile I got in return. This man has done some great projects in restoring the natural world. He and his people planted one million trees in several European countries over the past three years. His association won a mega lawsuit against Shell for illegal oildrillings in the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to them a new law had been accepted that banned industrial fishing in that same sea. There’s only 10 percent of fish left, so that seemed just a logical step. He worked together with political, ultra green parties in Spain and somehow they achieved that Spanish citizens are allowed to travel by plane only once in three years. If citizens were trying to breach this regulation, they would lose their passports. It was the starting point of eco control in Spain. John Lock was one of the founders of this shift of Spanish regime.
I couldn’t believe what I said to him, calmly and confident. I told him I was interested to join his community on Ibiza. “You can come whenever you want Moria. There’s a home for you in Es Verde,” John replied without a single hesitation and lightly touched my left shoulder.
I wanted to be part of something bigger, bigger than myself and, again, I had nothing to lose. If I only knew, I could still lose something, or someone.
Isa, the only friend I had in Berlin, didn’t want to see me leave to the Es Verde community. She shook her head, her red pony tail moved frantically along: “You must be out of your mind to voluntarily go there.”
She couldn’t stop me though. I had to go. A week later I set foot on Ibizian soil. The island, they say, which sold her soul to the devil. Huge hotel resorts had claimed the last forests and serene coast lines. Rich Russians and tourists from all over the world claimed this island as their own. Ibiza’s bohemian soul no longer existed. Instead pollution, drugs and maffia had completely taken over. Restaurants that serve soup of illegal shark fins and bull balls with melted cheese on top…a delicacy and treat for the super rich.
Es Verde was located deep in the hills in a green lush valley. John Locke was able to successfully fight the plans of the authorities to build another luxury tourist destination. This remote place seemed protected. No parasites here, only patrons.
“You must be Moria,” an older woman in a purple dress with green dots welcomed me with a soft smile. She embraced me and looked at me with stunning green eyes. Feline eyes. “Welcome in Es Verde, Moria. I will show you around, but first I get you a cup of herbal tea.” In the distance I saw small groups of young men and women working in the gardens. I heard the bleating of sheep as I followed Osane into her house.
It was already late in the afternoon, she said, and if I wanted, I could join the evening ceremony in the casita blanca where John will speak about new global climate laws. “Of course with music and dance afterwards,” Osane smiled. “And please come bare feet. You have to feel the soil under your feet.” I looked down at her feet and saw no shoes. Her toe nails were red, the nail polish was flaking, around her ankle she wore an ankle bracelet of golden little bees. “It starts at 8, and you have to know we don’t serve alcoholic drinks. We drink aloe vera juice, water or tea.” “Of course,” I said. “I love aloe vera.” Never drunk a drip of aloe vera juice in my life before, but I wanted to reassure her it was perfectly fine with me to keep the alcohol away. Although she doesn’t seem to be a woman that needed to be reassured of something.
That evening I met the other residents, 32 men and women in total, mostly in their 20s and 30s. The ceremony was in a white tent, on the ground tens of purple and red cushions. On a small stage, John was getting comfortable for his talk, and looked to each of the faces in front of him. “Moria, you arrived,” he sounded lightly surprised. His eyes seemed less dark than in Berlin. “Welcome to Es Verde. I hope we can mean something to you as you can mean something to us.” We all sat on the floor, cross-legged with our eyes closed. John guided us through a meditation, we started to breathe in deeply, held it for a moment, and exhaled with a deep sound in our throats. 15 breaths like that. I opened my eyes and saw everybody in a deep concentration, focused on the breathing. “Green is our heart. Green is our soul. Green is our spirit. Blessed are we. Green is our heart. Green is our soul. Green is our spirit. Blessed are we,” the men and women all ranted in choir. And on repeat, louder and louder.
I am in heaven.
To be continued.