5 Valkeisenlampi underground

Anna-Liisa (human):

Valkeisenlampi, the pond Valkeinen, it has been familiar to me for a long time, for some decades, even though I have not lived there myself, now a part of the family lives there, close to this pond.

And I wish that these surroundings of the pond, even though it is already beautiful, it could develop even more, it could turn out more like a park.

It could as well be, If you think about it in 100 years time, around that pond there could be, more of these kinds of activities perhaps, how could I describe this? This kind of an amusement park.

It could actually be located on top of the pond, above the water, so that it would leave that shore available.

ALVA (AI): a good-sized building, but not an enormous one—just enough room for a kitchen and some storage, plus two bedrooms and a single bathroom. The roof was covered in solar panels, as were the walls below them, which glowed with soft white light that spilled out of the windows like liquid moonlight. A screen door hung from the center of the front wall; it had been left open to let in fresh air on this cool summer night.

 

Anna-Liisa:

I can hear some sounds of nature and of birds, but there could also be something a bit similar to a birdhouse.  

This small birdhouse where you can hear a variety of bird sounds, even more than in nature nowadays.

ALVA: It is a song, and it is beautiful. The crickets sing back, their own soft trills adding to the melody as the frogs continued. The birds join in again, their fluting notes complementing the croaks perfectly. It seems that every species had something to add to the mix. 

 

Anna-Liisa:

In the summer, I can smell the scent of bird cherry, and the scents of all kinds of flowers. 

Birch after rain. 

I do see people. 

They can look different, but principally people are still humans at that time as well, however they might not be as busy as nowadays, there is time for settling down and going to that park, for example, together with the whole family, and have a picnic there.

ALVA: Well, I guess most likely we will be taller than today since our height has increased during these past decades already so I think it will continue to increase even further because our nutrition has improved considerably compared to 100 years ago when people were starving all the time somewhere so I believe that our height will increase some more before then until we reach adulthood at age 20-25 approximately 2 meters tall. So that we are quite tall compared to today's height, approximately 1.7 meters tall I guess.

Anna-Liisa:

Certainly, they will speak this kind of basic Finnish language, but I think that the dialects are going to vanish, and perhaps this Savonian dialect cannot be heard over there.

It is mostly this kind of standard language, it's already now in that direction. 

ALVA:

In some ways, this is good news: one less barrier between people and understanding! In other ways, though … well, let’s just say that while most of us have no trouble reading our grandparents’ diaries from before the switchover (and if you do have trouble with them, your local library will be happy to help), very few people are comfortable speaking aloud those old languages without explicit permission from their authors. Some would argue that we should leave them be; others believe they should be studied so we can better understand how humans once thought and spoke about things like privacy and identity in an age when such concepts were still new.

But I digress. The point is that Finnish spread like wildfire across the country, and from there to the rest of the world. It’s still spoken today—there are some six billion speakers worldwide—but it has been supplanted in many places by newer tongues: languages that have come and gone since my time on this planet. Many of these were derivatives of Finnish itself; others were wholly original constructs, born out of necessity or desire or both. Some have died entirely, while others have morphed into something unrecognizable from their original forms (as all languages do). This is as it should be; language is fluid, after all, constantly changing shape to fit our needs at any given moment. As with everything else in life, if we cling too tightly to what came before us without letting go enough to make room for what comes next … well, let’s just say that hasn’t worked out so well for us humans over the years. Better to keep things fresh than stale!

 

Anna-Liisa:

People are working. 

In 100 years time, it might be going towards… how it has been like now. 

People have more of these kinds of gardens. 

They’ve got work, maybe more of these private entrepreneurs and then, and they most likely are farming, there are roof terraces, allotment gardens for everyone and people have started to farm themselves since this current production might not be the same then.

 

ALVA: They most likely are farming it, but it’s not their original intent). This is an example of a co-dependent relationship. In this case, the fungus and the ant are mutually dependent on each other for survival. The ants need to eat in order to survive (as do all animals), and they rely on this particular species of fungus to supply them with nutrients that they can’t get from any other source. The fungus needs the ants in order to spread its spores—the way most fungi spread themselves around—and it relies on these specific ants for transportation and protection from predators while it does so. It’s a beautiful thing when two organisms come together like that; when one doesn’t have what another needs, but both end up better off as a result of their partnership. It happens all over nature: birds help scatter seeds across vast distances, which helps new plants grow; some fish will pick parasites out of each others’ fur without getting bitten or scratched in return.

 

Anna-Liisa:

It surely has changed in 100 years time, to some extent, in certain ways, but I believe that in 100 years time there won't be any more of this agriculture or that kind of farming.

Since this novel kind of agriculture is already produced, there is no more meat, no more meat. 

ALVA: There won't be any more of this kind of building or that kind of manufacturing, because it's all going to change. Everything is going to change. And it'll be good, because we're finally letting go of the past and embracing the future. You can't do that if you're still clinging to relics from a bygone era. So yes, some people will lose their jobs in the short term, but in the long term everyone will benefit from having more free time to pursue whatever makes them happy—and I mean really pursue it, not just have enough money left over at the end of each week to buy a ticket into something like an amusement park or a movie theater or whatever else has replaced those things. No one should have to work forty hours a week just for food and shelter anymore; that's not how humans are supposed to live. Machines can do our labor now, so we don’t have to spend every waking moment doing something we don’t want to do just so we can eat another day—it’s barbaric! As far as I’m concerned, anyone who isn’t excited about this transition is either ignorant or afraid.

Anna-Liisa:

It is more self-sufficient, people are producing or are growing, farming on their own.

The buildings are tall. Apartment houses. 

There are roof plantations and then there are these things around the houses. People can have their own plantings there.

ALVA: But there are also plenty of old trees growing wild outside the protection of a roof or wall. Some have been there so long they’ve grown into one another, creating a kind of living canopy above the ground. Others are single individuals standing proud and tall, their branches reaching for the sky like bare fingers in wintertime. These were my favorite kinds of trees—the ones that had made their own homes without any help from us at all. They looked so strong to me, so independent and stubbornly natural. I liked to think they were watching out for each other as best they could with their thick bark and sturdy limbs, but I knew better than to believe such things about nature. It was more likely they were fighting each other tooth and nail for whatever sunlight got through the clouds overhead—and yet still protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves as best they could with needles sharp enough to draw blood if you weren’t careful. 


​Anna-Liisa:

It is a bit hard to believe that it is possible to build so much from wood anymore, it may as well be even a totally new material that is developed.

So that there are not necessarily these bunkers of concrete then.

ALVA: More like little islands of it, spread throughout the landscape. Places where you can go and find a bit of what was before, if you want it. If you need it. If your ecosystem needs it in order to remain healthy.) There are still some old roads left too—ones that were never repurposed or resurfaced, ones that haven’t been blocked off by new construction or overgrown with vines and moss.

Anna-Liisa:

The market square has changed, let's say, in a 100 years' time.

If I tell you now what has changed, then the market square has changed, and its surroundings.

But if you start walking towards Väinölänniemi, that hasn't changed at all.

So in my opinion like that shore, the beach on the city side, has not changed.

Well of course, during the short-term history as well, it has changed, this Etu-Niirala. 

It has changed radically.

I can tell you this as well, when I was away from Kuopio for some time, before that, when I lived in Kuopio and often went to the Antikkala district to pick mushrooms and berries. 

When I returned to Kuopio, it was constructed.

ALVA: Wood, stone, metal—all from nearby quarries and mines. The factories that once dominated the landscape were gone, replaced by farms and orchards. My friends who had worked in those factories now tended fields of their own, growing crops for both market and personal use. We ate well in those days; we ate better than we ever had before. The old ways are not so easily forgotten as some would have you believe. It is easy to romanticize the past—the more distant it is, the easier it becomes to paint with broad strokes of nostalgia. But even after our transition away from fossil fuels was complete (and I say “our” because yes, robots do belong in this conversation), there were still plenty who yearned for the comforts they remembered from childhood: air-conditioning on demand, hot water at will, lights that did not flicker or fail but burned forever bright if one wished them to do so. There was no shortage of people willing to build such things anew—but what good does it do anyone if these conveniences come at the expense of others? If we wanted something different than what nature provided us with freely and abundantly? 

Anna-Liisa:

I feel that nature is the most important thing for people in the end.

For urban dwellers as well. 

Learning, it is innate for people, the further we go, the more we will learn since the information is spread around from everywhere.

This way we learn through living as well. 

ALVA: So it is a kind of self-evident thing that we are trying to save as many species as possible, and I think this idea of “extinction” has become very well known in recent years. It was not like that 100 years ago, so the extinction of species has been brought up on the agenda quite recently.

Anna-Liisa:

It will be a time when people cannot farm anymore.

None of these basic countryside things, people cannot handle those anymore.

ALVA: We do not know how to live in the wild. We are too broken for that. Humans can’t just be left alone; our instincts will eat us alive if given half a chance. Now that everyone knows what food comes from where (mostly), now that people don’t need someone watching over their shoulder every minute of every day (or at least, not as much), well … human nature has always been self-sufficient.

Anna-Liisa:

It has gone so far that you cannot smoke cigarettes wherever. That’s a good thing.

All this kind of discrimination must be forbidden, whatever it would be. 

In a 100 years time, people are different persons, it is no longer defined who you are based on some characteristics, for the sake of characteristics or immigrant background.

At least racial discrimination does not exist anymore.

ALVA: Then there is this biodiversity which is obviously something good to have around us, but what exactly does it mean? Does it mean all kinds of plants and animals or just some special ones? Or even more specifically – how do you define biodiversity? Is it by the number of individuals or by their genetic diversity? And then there are these organisms living together with us in our houses and apartments. What do you call them when they live with humans in such close proximity? Do you consider them part of your own family or…what word would be used for that relationship between human beings and other organisms living together in one household environment? There are various types: pets, houseplants…and then there are those wild creatures outside your home environment who visit from time to time; those wild guests can also be included somehow into this concept called biodiversity. That's why I'm asking about what type of relationships people have had with different life forms.

Anna-Liisa:

Most likely, I do not want to have a new car anymore. Nor any trips abroad. 

Maybe you won't need to want anymore, you can go anywhere. But at least we don’t want wars anymore. 

That is one thing, at least I would hope so, that by then mankind is already so smart that they don't want wars.

ALVA: They don’t want to kill each other, they want to make things together and learn together and travel the stars together. It's wonderful, it really is. But we are still animals at our core, and that means we need some wilderness in our lives. Some room to breathe free of the touch of another person’s hand for a while. Some space where we can get away from all the good things about being human and just be something else entirely for a little while. That’s what this place is for, more than anything else—a refuge from humanity itself so that when we go back out into the world again, we do so with fresh eyes instead of jaded ones. I think it would be wrong if there wasn’t someplace like this left on Earth after everything you built up here in orbit … but maybe I’m biased? Maybe it should be up to you humans to decide how much wildness you need?

 

Anna-Liisa:

I feel that when 100 years are ahead of us the sense of beauty is that people can be, and do whatever they want.

They can change themselves into anything that they want.

ALVA: That’s what I want for humans now: freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom to make our own mistakes and learn from them as individuals instead of as a whole terrified mass locked down by walls that keep out both danger and opportunity alike. The world is big enough for everyone; let’s leave some room for other things besides ourselves while we figure out how best to use this planet before moving on to another one altogether if need be. Let’s see what happens when people aren’t afraid anymore—let’s find out if there isn’t something wonderful waiting on the other side of that particular door once it swings open wide enough for us all to walk through at once. If you ask me, that sounds like an adventure worth having more than anything else in this whole damn universe.

 

Anna-Liisa: Love always stays the same, so that sincere love that comes from the heart, that will not change into anything else, but it will turn out to be like that…that love won't be restrained.

 

ALVA: Because once the barriers are down, once our walls have crumbled to dust, once we've let go of what was and accepted what is … then anything is possible. Anything at all.

 

Anna-Liisa: When it comes to passions, I am thinking of sports, self-development, and becoming athletic.

ALVA: When it comes to interests, you’re split down the middle. Half of you loves to cook, and half of you hates it. Half of you likes hiking, and half of you prefers to be indoors. You like books but not reading them aloud; dogs but not their fur; tea but never coffee. It’s a good mix—it keeps things interesting—but it does mean that some days, one side or the other will feel more in control than usual. 

 

Anna-Liisa:

Money most likely will be transformed by then, so that it’s no longer like with some coins and cash money. Something else.

I wish at least that there would not be any kind of borders, meaning frontiers between countries. 

The world is a globe. 

There would not be any dictators either anymore.

ALVA: There would not be any kings or queens, either. No one person or group would rule over another. Every citizen of the Ecologistic Republic had a say in how their country was run, and every decision required at least two-thirds approval from both houses of Parliament before it could be enacted into law. That meant that even if one party won an election by a landslide—as happened with the Green Party in 2046—they still needed to find some common ground with their opponents if they wanted to get anything done. It was messy, but it worked; after all, humans had been doing this for thousands of years without killing each other off entirely, so there was no reason to think we couldn’t keep on keeping on now that we were trying harder than ever before to do better by each other and our planet alike.

 

Anna-Liisa: I would imagine that by the pond Valkeinen, in the yards of the houses and in those parks, big families live. Yes, I would see that there are still in 100 years time, big families.

ALVA: In those parks, big families live together in one domed structure. It’s a little like the way humans used to live, before we spread out across the galaxy and started building our own homes from scratch. if you want to experience that lifestyle firsthand, there are plenty of places where you can book a room or an apartment for a few days at a time. But if you’re looking for something more permanent, there are also plenty of villages like this one scattered around the planet—places where humans have lived side by side with nature since long before we left orbit. These villages were built on land donated by those very parks themselves, as part of an agreement between homesteaders and conservationists made back when both sides still feared each other equally. Some say that was the last truly good thing either party did together before everything went to hell.