The book Ready Player One is a science-fiction novel written by Ernest Cline. It was released in 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller. This post-apocalyptic like novel takes place in 2044, after the world has been struggling through economically hard times due to environmentally degradation. The only escape in this brutal world is a virtual reality video game called OASIS that lead character Wade Watts to use advance technology to fully engage himself within the game. The creator of the virtual reality video game, James Haliday hid a large fortune in the game that everyone is competing for after his death. The first person to achieve all three keys would unlock the fortune and own the corporation OASIS.
In this novel you can see that there is hardship due to environmental impacts caused by the “Global Energy Crisis”. The crisis was caused by burning up all the natural fuels thus causing a destroyed environment that was beyond repair. This book maybe science fiction but compares to the scary reality of todays society. An example of environmental impacts in the real world is going on in The Magdalena River Watershed. This watershed is the principal river for Colombia located in South America.
The watershed provides a huge support system for surrounding communities, 80% of the Colombia’s population lives in the basin of this watershed (Population of Cities in Colombia , 2018). Similar to the Book, the watershed is facing hardship due to environmental impacts caused by an energy crisis. Due to an increasing population in the basin there is an increasing demand for hydropower energy, the basin’s major source of electricity. Colombia’s nonrenewable resources include gold, coal and petroleum. Coal and petroleum mining add pollutants to the river but with the hydropower being produced it reduces the amount of nonrenewable fuels to be mined because the hydropower has become a reliant source of energy.
The construction of dams to harness the energy from The Magdalena River has caused disruptions in the surrounding environment. The Quimbo Hydroelectric project was completed in 2011, it has achieved energy security and stability of Colombia but has came with the price of flooding and low crop production (Stories in Colombia, 2018). The placements of the dam have also impacted the environment for fish by flooding, displacing them and destroying their habitat. The flooding has resulted in people being displaced due to their homes being flooded, along with a high unemployment rate due to a decrease in fish production for the locals that depend on the land to making a living they have been forced to move to different areas to survive.
Displacement has also occurred due to war conflict caused by drugs and illegal armed troops, people are also seeking refuge in slums which are villages settling in flooding zones located in the lower Magdalena area. The people are seeking basic needs and are forced to live in poverty to survive. They settle near the river to find fish, water, and fertile soil to grow a little number of crops to. This increases the danger of flooding the population that is seeking refuge in the flood zones.
A similar situation as occurred in Ready Player One, people have been forced to live in “stacks”, trailer homes constructed to pile one each other in the poverty-stricken village. They were constructed to save space, labor, resources. The area provided refugee to people who needed to live closer to major cities when the energy crisis hit. The stacks are scattered around the suburbs of larger cities creating refugee for people uprooted from their dying smaller towns.
The future for The Magdalena River basin seems to soon be completely reliant on hydropower dams with 42 more major dams proposed to be constructed. This will help achieve better energy security and stability for Colombia but will continue to contribute to poorly planned hydropower problems in the river. Some things that the Government of Colombia is planning on doing in efforts to promote a better Magdalena basin that improves the economy and conservation efforts are to start promoting conservation of the environment, floodplains and hydric resources being better managed, and sustainable farming practices to produce enough food for the growing population.
Like in the book, the environment can’t bounce back if we exploit it to a point like they portrayed in the book. On top of the very top trailer of the stacks were solar panels placed to provide renewable energy to the stacks. A result of them being forced to use solar as a source of energy because there weren’t any nonrenewable resources left to burn. An increase of population in the book and in the river basin as a made a huge impact on energy resources. In the fictional reality of the stacks can also become a all too real reality of what we could be facing if we continue the energy consumption path that we are on.