We’ve got a waste problem. The problem is not just that we’re creating waste, it’s that we don’t know we’re doing it – not really. We can’t see it.
There’s no pool of sludge.
There’s no cloud of toxic gas.
There’s no leaky barrel.
We know it’s there, though. We can see what it does.
The stuff accumulates, invisible, until it starts to leak into our lives. We’re not even sure what’s causing it as plants and animals move away, or become sick, as the ground dries up and crops die, as strange things happen to the trees, detectable only when maple farmers notice they’re not getting sugar like they used to.
Things are changing. Something is creeping through the world around us, poisoning it. Something is in the air above us, and though we know it’s there, we can’t see it.
Of course, we’ve been warned. The waste buildup has been invisible, not undetectable. The changes to wildlife and weather – all of that was predicted years ago when the accumulation was detected, and like the man who finds arsenic in the well, they warned us.
They warned us many, many times, and now the poisoning they warned us about is so advanced that we cannot recover. Not anyone in this generation, or the next.
We can live happy lives, but not normal ones – not by any definition that’s been useful in the past hundred thousand years. We’ve created something powerful and dangerous. We’ve unleashed an eldritch force that has covered the earth as it has not done for eons. We’ll live with our invisible monster, and love, and laugh, and kill and steal, and create, and do everything we’ve always done, but we’re sharing the planet with something that was buried long before our ancestors were crawling through the dust of a strange planet. It’s something that has no malice, and has no pity. It’s something that can’t be killed, but it can kill us. It’s something that has the power to wipe this planet clean of our kind, and of everything we recognize as life.
We’ve woken it, and while it may not kill us, the rest of our lives will be defined by it.