Ah, the celebrity obsessed culture we live in. It seems part of our devolution as a species that we spend more and more time and energy wrapped up in the lives of celebrities. But celebrity worship is nothing new. Be it local heroes on a basketball team, superheroes in comic books and movies, or the saints, gods, and demons of old, humans always gravitate towards celebrities.
That has got me thinking about the celebrities of the future. On a changing planet with more extreme weather disrupting our lives, we will likely see climate activists shine in the public limelight. I mean it is already happening.
Climate action figures like Bill McKibben or Dr. Jim Hansen walk in a room and a whole pile of environmentalist swoon. Personally I am gaga for UN Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres. I can’t stop googling her.
Here at Climate Stew we like to envision a hopeful future. Not that we imagine everything will go smoothly. There is climate disruption ahead–the greatest challenges that have ever faced us as a specie. But we really believe that people will respond robustly to the crisis. In addition to radically decreasing our pollution and navigating through the Great Transition to clean energy, we will have to deal with monster storms and on-going assaults from nature–pests, flooding, drought, and food shortages.
Preparing for disasters, fortifying our communities and coastlines will take a lot of work and creativity. We wonder than–is it possible that some of our future heroes and celebrities will be engineers. In this fanciful report from the year 2165, Timothy Meadows shares with listeners the story of Les Trois Haricots, or the Three Beans–Pierre Tremblay a civil engineer from Canada, Marcela Aquilar a structural engineer from Mexico, and Sunday Mwanamwabwa, an environmental engineer from Zambia. (transcript below)
Oh and listen to the end to find out what they will advertise in the future.
Behold the Celebrity Engineers!
That Day in Climate History
I am Timothy Meadows. It is Saturday, January 26th, 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History. The 21st Century was the golden age of celebrities. Not only colorful personalities from the world of cinema, television, and music dominated the news, but celebrity chefs, home decorators, and fashion designers with their colorful lives delighted and distracted the public from the growing fears and realities of a changing planet.
The most unlikely celebrities to emerge in the late 21st Century was the trio of engineers known as The Three Beans or Les Trois Haricots. The media dubbed them The Three Beans because of their unorthodox and inventive use of beanbag technology. Pierre Tremblay a civil engineer from Canada, Marcela Aquilar a structural engineer from Mexico, and Sunday Mwanamwabwa, an environmental engineer from Zambia, were responsible for some of the most ambitious and creative building projects of their time.
For example, their elegant and functional flood walls in Lower Manhattan not only protected the city from rising tides and storm, with these walls the Three Beans also built community. Whimsical benches designed into the levies created spaces where friends or strangers chatted. Large low round structures not only stored emergency supplies but also served as tables where families gathered for reunions, business professionals met, and activists organized.
The Three Beans also designed thousands of projects throughout Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Pacific Islands using and developing inexpensive materials to build shelters for disaster relief and permanent structures to withstand extreme weather.
The Three Beans also provided endless entertainment with their flamboyant fashion choices, often wearing matching outfits. Their lively interactions in public and the festive atmosphere they generated wherever they went, kept them regularly in the news for nearly 30 years. During the Parisian flash floods of 2073, standing in front of the Lourve, Pierre Tremblay famously cut off his and his fellow engineers’ trousers exactly 2 centimeters below the knee before dashing into the famed art museum with their patented inflatable waterproof containers thus saving priceless pieces of art. What were once called Pirate Pants became the fashion craze forever known as La Coupe de Pierre.
Wherever they went, the Three Beans injected play and beauty into their innovative and highly effective adaptation designs. On this day in 2165 we remember that day in Climate History.
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