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Publisher Notes on THE LEAVES IN WINTER

THE LEAVES IN WINTER is about possibilities and peril, hope and the horrific. In a time when human society is expanding in so many ways, the specter of instability looms.

Is human civilization sustainable? How long do we have before compounding issues of ecology, resource management, politics, and population converge upon a final crisis?

World institutions and thinktanks call for a new kind of global goverance, a universal economic framework to ensure social justice, and rigid regulatory authority to prevent the ravages of climate change. Given the choice between allowing civilization to collapse and the planet to be decimated by abuse — or acting decisively in the long-term interest of the human species, what will the global power elite do?

We live in a time when incredible what-ifs are possible — both for good and bad.
Will biotech unlock the secrets of life extension?
Will designer viruses become a socio-political tool?
Is there a compromise between doing nothing and accepting the horrific?

The facts are too sobering to look at. It has become easier to look away.

50,000 years ago, world population was 10,000. All humans were concentrated in one tribe living in an African region where today the Kalahari Desert is in Namibia. The San Bushman tribe still lives there.

It took 48,000 years, until 1804, for our population to reach 1 billion.
About 150 years later, by 1927, that number had doubled to 2 billion.
Almost 50 years later, by 1974, that number had doubled to 4 billion.
By 2025, estimates say that number will double again to 8 billion.

If all of human history was compressed into one year, then
January - first ape
October - first ape-man to walk upright
28th of December - modern humans appear
31st of December - the human tribe spreads out from Africa
January 1st - we've populated the globe

If our options for the future were clear, if the choices were easy,
someone would have already made them.
Regardless, all indicators point to one of two possible outcomes —
Either we find a solution to the human problem or nature will do it for us.

THE LEAVES IN WINTER is a terror ride through one winter in the life of a species. How we face the dilemma of survival in a time of great confusion and ethical ambiguity will determine much more than what kind of society we have in the future. It will decide if we exist at all.

 

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2050

The leaf is jealous of the tree
whose life extends beyond the cycle of seasons.

In turn the tree is jealous of the forest
whose life extends beyond that of a single tree.

But it’s the forest that’s jealous of the ephemeral leaf
whose life never need buttress
against the sting of the Age of endless winter.

For some the way will be made straight.
For most there’s no escape from fate.

Some dare not see the forest for the trees.
Some would rather burn than freeze.

The coming storm shows no compassion.
What once was green soon turns ashen.

Nature abhors a vacuum.
But even more,
She abhors the unnatural.

What have we become?
How long do we have?

Who will ever know
if all of us go?

 

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The Leaves in Winter

The seasons have all kinds of leaves,
yet unforgiving winter has only three.
There are leaves that have fallen,
leaves of hope for when warmth returns,
and a third kind.

Some leaves, caught by a sudden early freeze
long before they have a chance to turn color and fall,
stay green when nature would rather take its course.
They don’t know they are dead.
They linger on the tree long into winter,
out of place for their time,
and only nature’s blustery insistence
finally brings them down.

Equally unaware,
the living are too close to life
to realize that life itself has a season.
The callous winds of winter,
impersonal, capricious, and unrelenting as they are,
not only clear the way for the leaves in Spring,
they routinely, dispassionately,
if less often,
fell the ancient tree.

 

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