The Tale of the Babylonians

Came one day, to the town that was not too big and not too small, a gathering of folk known as the Babylonians. Came they with supplies, curiousity, and a great will to learn.

They came to learn of the days of 2030. Believed they still that resilience looked rather like a pyramid, though they could easily see how it could be toppled if one below became too mobile, or one on top exerted too much pressure.

at the Transition Town Totnes offices

One said he would one day be a rich man, whilst others spoke of marriage, children, and fine clothing, and another spoke of freedom and adventure.

To the storyteller of the town that was not too big and not too small they had come to together weave a story web to see how it was they would be in the future soon to be.

Soon, in the realm of Image Ination, built they a city, GreenCity, and a village not far off, EcoVille. It seemed the women preferred city life, maybe because it was more familiar to them, and the men a smaller place, perhaps because there were more opportunities to be had to make a fortune as an entrepreneur.

Of challenges they had a few, each settlement something different, till the time of the flood, which came first to EcoVille and thereafter to GreenCity. T’was the flood that really showed the Babylonians that it is not upon pyramids that resilience is built, but upon goodwill, good neighbours, and good relationships.

The climate it did change, as all knew it was wont to do, at the end of an age, and rain storms came to their land.

When floods came to EcoVille there was one of their number whom they had nicknamed FlowerPower, who saved the day. Twas a man they had before sometimes laughed at for he was able to represent poverty so well they could not ignore it. Came the crisis though, and FlowerPower had just the skills required; together the people of EcoVille were able to build a dam under his expert guidance. With this they were able to save their village from drowning, and harness the extra water for power.

When the rain storms caused flooding to reach GreenCity too they called out to their neighbours for help, and the EcoVillians sent FlowerPower, who worked with them too to build a dam.

T’was soon after this that the peoples of the two settlements came together to celebrate with a gathering, all that had happened to them in the years leading up to the floods that preceded 2030.

Told the peoples their stories, of how they had fared during the long years of separation, when one challenge had preceded another, and all had been too concerned with surviving to have much contact with even their closest neighbours.

The people of the city told a tale of slowing down, little by little, though first they had grown in size. New people had arrived, migrated their way. The inhabitants of GreenCity were a kind and compassionate sort, many women sat up on their council. They organised a meeting to create new ideas and organized new projects to share. They built houses for all of their new people.

It was at this point, when all were nicely settled in that the city became overrun with foxes. It was a great dilemma for such a peaceable people. To allow them all the run of the city they could not, but to kill them off was just too inhumane. To the neighbouring village they turned, knowing the country folk were sure to have the answers to such a challenge, and sure enough they did; for they counted hunting as one of their skills, and offered to hunt down those red brown pests once and for all. But the people of GreenCity were distraught; how could they live with themselves with the death of all those foxes upon their consciences?

At last harmony was found; t’was agreed that some of the foxes must indeed be culled, to bring the numbers down to a manageable quota, but that an area in the centre of the wood in the centre of their fair green city should be given over to their bushy tailed visitors. Live and let live, said they, no matter our differences, for one never knows when diversity will be the solution. And so it was that GreenCity became famed throughout the land for its green wooded areas full of wildlife and flowers, and its fashionably dressed people in their splendid scarves of reddish brown fox fur tails.

Whilst GreenCity was concerned with very practical matters of all its visitors who wanted to stay, the inhabitants of EcoVille were busily creating a new communication network, for the internet had crashed in definitely. It is thought that they reinstated postmen and much fun was to be had as the younger members learnt the joy of a letter on the mat.

Meanwhile in GreenCity the last supermarket had closed its doors. It was not the tragedy many suspect it might be. By now, with the practise they had had keeping their fox population to manageable numbers, many of the inhabitants knew how to hunt, and not only that, they had turned many of their fields over to vegetable growing and there were amongst them those skilled in breadmaking, and since the city had its own spring, all of these activities were easily supported. Enough milk, cheese and meat they produced from the animals they kept.

EcoVille, being in the countryside, did not seem to have the challenge of food the city dwellers were facing. Instead, they were faced with a problem of people power, or should we say, lack of it. It turned out, that in a village, being small, all hands were needed to get all the jobs done, but not all were so eager. There were those who needed to talk about how they were feeling, in these changing times, and before they could contribute they needed to talk. A meetings centre was constructed where regular gatherings were held, especially for the purpose of airing feelings, and once this was addressed, things between the people began to get easier in the little village.

Just in time …for it was becoming really important to recycle and reuse as much as possible, and Mr Recicole dreamt up a way of the village being able to trade with other places. With his expert recycling skills he was able to teach the others enough to open a recycling factory, built with the aid of his good friend and colleague Mr Cashman, who paid for all the building work to be completed.

No sooner had this venture become established when along came the floods and all other work stopped for a while until the now famous Flower Power Dams had been built.

As the EcoVillians were leaning to build their first dam, power cuts were affecting the people of GreenCity. Fortunately they had been a very aware city and had many solar panels already upon their roof tops, and a wind powered generator did they count amongst their prized possessions, so essential services continued. Meanwhile the inhabitants were discovering the joys of having more time on their hands, for with less energy to go around, they were having to make up their own entertainment. It is said that they sang and danced long in to the nights, and that many a new artist was discovered amongst their midst as painting became a pastime where before people has sat before screens for hour after hour.

As life in the city slowed down, and the people rediscovered the pleasures of a slower pace of life, the inhabitants of EcoVille were still working hard. They had acquired a community farm and were busy turning it into a forest of local trees they could harvest for the production of all kinds of useful things.

So busy were they that they found they had quite neglected their winter firewood and as the nights drew in they found no logs for their fires, for all were wet from the rain storms. Undetered by this setback, into the polytunnels went the wood, to dry out for the next year, whilst they thanked their forward planning nature and heated their homes with the help of solar panels and wind powered generators.

Again some of the villagers’ entrepreneurial nature caused rifts in the settlement. Some complained that things were moving just too quickly, what with Mr Cashman injecting money into all the new business enterprises that would ensure the village’s future success and Mr Recicole constantly having ideas for new ventures. Whatever shall we do, bemoaned the unhappy people, what with some who move quickly by nature and others of a gentler more laidback inclination? From the future the message was received; the skills of all must be valued, for there is a time for all things, and each one of us is perfectly equipped for one such of those times, and we never know when one or other will be called upon to serve, so let each do what is his or her passion, and let none judge another, but let a time of work for you be a time of rest for some, and be ready to rest when it is others whose skills are called upon, for all must have rest and play, for what is life if it be full of toil, and what use your work anyway if it is not that which you love best of all.

And then it came to pass that the by now famed floods threatened GreenCity and those that were skilled and so inclined went off to assist their neighbours.

As the tales of 2030 were shared the Babylonians soon realised that the story of the future was wholly in their hands, and that their decisions counted. Their story web had taught them that the skills of each were needed, and that choosing what to do by the things that make us feel happy is very simple indeed, and more, that when we choose in this way, everybody wins, there is no need for competition, war, or hoarding.

The future read, the Babylonians sat down to a feast of ham and eggs, all parcelled in bread, and wrapped around by shiny silver foil.

“Recycle it” called out She of Ethical Stance, and each square of shiny silver foil was carefully smoothed, folded and put away, for next time.

One more merry band of young time travellers has safely crossed the Sea of Image Ination into the future, and returned, to tell their tale, of how the future is safe, in their hands.