Prompt 060: Sunless Afternoons
60. You and your family have moved to a place in the world with very little sunlight. How will your afternoons change when they're completely shrouded in darkness? What will you miss the most about those sunny days and why?
Let me think of a handful of scenarios where this would occur.
- Near the north or south pole (I actually want to live somewhere in Antarctica for like a month, at least sometime in my life)
- A space colony on a planet that has a rapid day-night cycle (this doesn't sound so appealing)
- A post-nuclear scenario, where radioactive dust circles the planet and blocks most of the sunlight (not appealing despite the cooler temperatures year-round)
- A subterranean lifestyle, one where I only come out during daylight at very specific times and/or for short periods.
- I somehow become a vampire. (I definitely would not want to be cursed with eternal life in this hellscape...)
In the best-case scenario of those presented above, I can imagine living in Antarctica. Lots of fortified, provisioned, and -insulated- science stations and bases down there. There have been research stations in operation on that continent for over 50 years, so it's safe to assume that they've worked out most of the kinks of prolonged human existence there. One of the items on my bucket list for quite some time was to go SCUBA diving in Antarctica, so I could examine all the incredible, rare wildlife that exists under the ice.
I wonder if I could hack it, really. It's an extreme environment, and I'd need to step up my physical attributes so I could endure what I imagine are some significant physical strains. I want to possess worthwhile skills before I go, also: welding, carpentry, pipefitting, vehicle repair, electrics, and so on. Realistically speaking, I think my trip to the eco-compound this coming May would be beneficial in this regard. Mental health would also be a concern: could I handle the intense environment, the intense isolation, the existential threat of a power-outage or whiteout?
Of course, with the way Antarctica has been thawing, it might be easier than I imagine to make something like this happen...
Speaking of climate change, and incidentally the eco-compound, living in a partially-underground structure may be in my future. Although the afternoons wouldn't be shorter in terms of sunlight, I can imagine a future in which people would want to stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. Equatorial regions of the planet may become too intolerably hot for humans, forcing them to migrate to milder climates (the USA being one of them).
The advantage of this kind of structure, when compared to a typical house, is largely economic. The design of the building requires much less heating and cooling, which in turn would reduce energy bills. Ideally, I won't be living in a typically-designed home when I finally settle on purchasing a piece of land and living in and on my own property. I'd prefer the kind of dwelling that's best-described as a "hobbit house," with a thick earthen roof, surrounded by woodland.
But the reality of climate change is that a reasonable person can expect average temperatures to rise throughout their lifetime. I think the days of intensely cold winters are done, at least for a few hundred or thousand years. I'm not going to debate the cause of it, since at this point I don't think pointing fingers at humanity for its mismanagement of the planet will solve anything. Rather, I'd focus on what's in store for the future, near or far. The future is bleak, and warmer, thanks to human activity. And for that, I imagine spending fewer and fewer afternoons in the sunlight.