Wilhelm Scheruebl Jr.








Honorable mention Fairytales 2020 competition

I close my eyes and imagine I’m walking through a thick forest. Sunlight flashes through the treetops and the rustling of the leaves sounds like a string concert. Memories of our family vacations back then come to my mind. The big trees I stood under, the chirping birds I listened to, the wind that blew through the leaves, the moss and the damp fog. It’s been so long since I felt grass under my feet. I remember when my little brother excitedly shouted “I’m done” after engraving his name on a thick tree trunk. My parents sat on the picnic blanket and enjoyed the food we had brought with us. I wonder if the engraving was still here.

I am still leaning back in my chair and slowly breathing in the air. I enjoy every breath of clear, fresh air that flows through my lungs ... inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

Usually it is a sharp pain in my chest that painfully pulls me out of my memories. Today, however, it is my colleague who enters my office and asks me worriedly if everything is fine with me. I place the inhaler next to me and answer that he doesn’t have to worry and I am only lost in memories. After I tell him about my family adventures in nature, he tells me that he never had the opportunity to experience a real forest because he is too young. I can see the sadness on his face.

However, he remains serious and turns back to the real reason he came to my office. The latest report of the last tests we ran is now ready. Everything is in line with our expectations. If everything goes according to our calculated schedule, our invention will soon appear in the world.

After he has placed the documents on my desk, I thank him and add: “If everything goes well, you can soon feel the grass under your feet.” He leaves the room with a hopeful expression and a small smile on his lips. Before that, he told me quietly that this was his motivation to work with me here. Then he closes the door. I go back to my desk and focus on the report ...

Drawings, plans and bureaucratic forms. It is difficult to concentrate on work again after one of these emotionally charged reviews of nature and silence.

Today there is a constant hustle in the city. I am surrounded by stressed people and noise all around the clock. Most of the vegetation has disappeared. For this reason, the heat is unbearable during the day. In the city, the skyscrapers cast at least some shadows. Researchers and technologists have been trying to imitate vegetation for years. However, none of these technologies have yet been able to get close to reality.

My team and I have also devoted a long time to developing a method to reintroduce vegetation in cities. The plants are initially protected in closed tanks but give people the opportunity to breathe a daily dose of clean air. It took us a long time because the soil was unusable, and the sun had become dangerously strong. But we are now shortly before phase 1. The first pots will be set up in the urban spaces. Where there were telephone booths a few years ago, tank-like structures are then placed.

For a certain amount of social credit, people have the opportunity to buy fresh air and breathe in. Of course, we can use our wages differently. For a luxurious meal in an excellent restaurant or we could expand our small apartment with new furniture. But basically, we have no choice anyway. The toxic air endangers our health considerably.

A step forward for some people, but not for the entire population who has to fight for their lives every day. Our long-term vision is to raise enough clean air and strong trees in these pots, to then plant them outdoors and hopefully later be able to reforest entire landscapes. we use the remaining seeds from plants that are stored and reproduced in seed banks. That was the easiest part of the process. After that we had to deal with the difficulty of creating an environment in which the trees can grow and develop. They must be able to get used to the apocalyptic environment such as heat, polluted air and dry soil before they can be released into the “wilderness”.

According to today’s successful result of the test report, we can finally officially present our development to the world.

The first pots will then be set up in cities this week. Consequently, there will be smaller versions for everyone at home. We as a society must work together to finally take the right direction after politics at the beginning of the 21 st century failed to make the right decisions that could have helped prevent disasters in the early days of climate change. Now it’s up to us. I hope that my team and I are not the only ones who are trying to actively counteract this disaster. We have to use the knowledge and skills we have acquired to develop new measures together.

The only way to break out of global misery is to show people that they can actually change something.

I am just one person among many - with one thought among many.

© Wilhelm Scherübl Jr.