Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TILLAMOOK: 2116


Let me impose something upon you.

What will Tillamook look like in 2116?  A hundred years used to sound like a forever chunk of time to me, what separated the modern world from the old, but as I grow older every day I realize now that a century is but a small component in the great human experience.  

In 2116 much of the usable pasture land will have been long reclaimed by a rising and everly acidic sea.  Salt marsh and estuary will take the place of field and pasture flooding centuries of local livelihood.  What industry still remains is but a shadow of itself but a hundred years prior.  Tillamook’s namesake, its precious dairy industry consolidated.  Market and societal forces push the need for dairy products from a federally subsidized necessity to cut-rate industry; only the wealthy survive.  Over time the smaller farms were bought out, crowded and pushed into oblivion.  The only survivors were the automators, the ones who held back those market forces by augmenting labor practices to robotic automation.  After the initial impression of robotic dairy practices wore off in the early 2000’s we locals realized something real quick, low wage jobs in this blue collar community were being drowned out.  The only people who work dairies anymore are robotics systems engineers and skilled repair technicians, drone consulting companies.  The cows are nothing but a medium for the industry, going along chewing their cuds and the only care they have is unloading the weight off their hind ends. For them not much has changed, all but pasture time is strictly monitored by drone fences that may shock them if they go too far.  Taking the job of field hands and corralling dogs they sit stationary over the precious green pasture with a watchful Infrared sensor that can detect cows, birds, rodents, cats.  These drones are the Farm Operator’s eyes and ears.  Like the useful tractors of old, after the great drone boom it became less and less common to see wheeled craft on agricultural operations, it was calculated as usable land that was otherwise being driven on.  In 2116 land is everything.

Global sea level rise throughout the last hundred years saw some of the most raw and brutal sides of humanity flare.  Mass human migration from places like the South Pacific islands, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and all low lying places like Florida, Louisiana, Holland, the Yucatan peninsula are but a few that were drastically affected.  People slaughtered by the millions with Malaria, Dengue and other tropical diseases.  Religious conflict flared like never before as millions of Indonesian Muslims flooded into Hindu and Buddhist mainland Asia.  As places like New York, Miami, New Orleans, Corpus Christi began to crumble off the map it started to become apparent that the standard models of world governments were beginning to fail.  Every community forced to fend for itself as socialized assistance, disaster relief and even the world militaries began to feel the economic burden of societal collapse.

Tillamook was not spared this collapse, every industry affected.  Logging was primarily used for specialized products as board-grade timber gave way to much more economically and ecologically sustainable crops like hemp, with it’s ability to be used for almost anything from fibrous materials, hempcrete, clothing it was eventually seen as a better market alternative to wood fiber.  Logging took a big hit and in communities like Tillamook it nearly all but died.  What tree-fellers still existed relegated their times to on-site robotic drone systems engineering, saw maintenance.  All trees that were still cut were done pertaining to economically sustainable business practices.  What used to be called “slash” was now considered a treasured energy source for the power-burners. Nothing was wasted in the natural resources industry any longer.  The great marketable forces of the Tillamook State Forest gave way to state and national parks and recreational aspects as the need for wood practically dropped to zero.  
The 3D structure-printing is a big time industry in 2116, using a hemp fiber medium and layer-printing everything from houses to barns to skyscrapers and space colonies.

In the late 2000’s the Pacific Ocean, along with all the others hit a critical PH tipping point.  Global shellfish began to die at a dramatic rate, which not only affected the seafood industry, but the entire food chain.  Removing marine mollusks and crustaceans from the ecosystem was felt worldwide.  Places like Japan and much of Asia that relies on heavy sustenance from the sea were hit the hardest.  Tillamook County was not spared by this either.
Netarts and Tillamook Bay oysters and clams died within two years of the critical oceanic acidity levels rising.  They were already stressed and those familiar with the problem watched it happen in slow form.  Year after year the shells of oysters and clams began to show severe signs of physical weakening and after a certain point the microscopic larvae couldn’t draw enough calcium carbonate from the water to create new shells and entire populations began to die.  Barnacles, Goosenecks, Mussels, and myriad other shellfish die along the coastline.  Fisheries and otherwise fertile crabbing areas offshore began to show up empty.  Salmon runs all but cease save except for the hardy individuals which leads to a complete closure of the commercial fishing off of the Oregon coast.  It was already all but dead when toxic levels of mercury were showing up more and more in fishermen's nets.

Our county economy was hit the hardest.  With the diminishing of the dairy industry and all but cessation of the logging and fishing industries Tillamook began to shrink in population.  Over the years the community had not focused on anything but the working industries that served them throughout the past, we were not ready for such an unstable future.  Our younger generations leaving and never coming back, off to greener pastures.  We realized all too late that we had a retention problem and before we knew it the population went from a stable ten thousand to just under nine hundred fifty.  With the automation of all the industry it was feasibly impossible for anyone to consider staying.  Thank the drones, the automatons.

It’s not all bad though, our community persists and familiar names are still here, just not as many as there used to be.  


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