Friday, July 24, 2009

Frank Herbert's DUNE: The Future of Our Earth?

One of the science fictions that really give me the shudder is Frank Herbert’s Dune. I shiver not because of what the book exposes, but the possibility that the fiction of this story might one day become real in our own world.

Paul Atreides was the heir of the Atreides dynasty, a highly honored clan in the universe. At 17, he and his parents moved to the planet Arrakis, the home of spice and the driest place in the galaxy. In this universe, spice is the means of transaction, a sort of “money” or “foreign exchange” as we may put it in our word. Whoever controls Arrakis controls the universe. But, the natives of Arrakis themselves are wretched people, scorched by the sun and lived in dunes – forever treasuring a drop of water like precious diamond.

There was an instance where Paul’s would-be mistress, Chani, asked him what his home planet was like. Paul explained of springs, streams, rivers and oceans – things she had never heard, never seen, and never imagined – and her heart melt with longing for such beautiful a place.

It is a wonderful and very complicated work, but the thing that stabs me most is the probability that one day, our beloved Earth will turn out exactly like Arrakis! Alvin Toffler, the futuristic scientist, once predicted that in the age to come, people won’t be fighting and struggling for solid gold or black gold (petroleum), but for “blue gold” – WATER! There will come a day when water becomes so rare, mankind will prize it like prizing pure gold!

The signs of this occurrence have begun taking place in our day. People start having difficulty getting clean water for their daily needs. Some springs have dried up. The oceans are polluted and contaminated. Environmentalists shout warnings against water contamination.

Has anyone taken heed?

If we continue taking these environmental problems for granted, it is not impossible that in the near future we shall be craving for clean water and won’t be able to find it! Will we rather let our next generations living in a planet like Arrakis, the center of the universe yet the most wretched planet in the galaxy – a place where its inhabitants would give away anything in exchange for water supply?

Save our planet! Love our forest! Be kind to nature!

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