Sweating like crazy, Nova twisted her dark hair in a pony tail with the hair band she kept around her wrist. Here it was November and she was sweating. Just another example of global warming. Across the globe reports of unusual weather made this year a record breaker as far as climate change. The Northeast, notorious for their harsh winters, barely had an inch of snow this year. She got reports from a relative who lived in Albany and the temperatures never dipped below thirty-five degrees. Yet in Texas they received just over two feet of snow! Last week, the Tribal Council met on the reservation to discuss ways that the Hopi Indians could be proactive in helping to change the way the world treated Mother earth. Her teacher’s assignment was a challenge, but one she looked forward to. There just had to be a way to save the ozone layer!
Nova lived in the last house on a quiet, dead-end street lined on both sides with ancient oaks. In Spring through the end of summer, the trees formed a green, shady tunnel that made coming home a beautiful experience. But in the fall, it was like walking through a celebration. Fiery reds, brilliant yellows and oranges lit up the street like a living fireworks display. Her mom’s house wasn’t anything spectacular, a small, one family clapboard-style home badly in need of a fresh coat of paint. But her mother made the yard charming by lining the shale walkway with beds of hundreds of blue and white forget-me-nots. Her mom’s name, a true Hopi name, was Polikwaptiwa which meant: Butterfly sitting on flower. Most who knew her, though, called her Ti.
“Nova? Is that you?” her mother called out from the living room.
“Yeah, mom, it’s me,” Nova answered, heading for the kitchen, “We watched the scariest film ever today in Mrs. Selbert’s class, mom.”
Nova grabbed a handful of giant strawberries, stuffing one in her mouth and groaning with pleasure as the sweet, red fruit flooded her mouth. “It was about the future, mom,” she said, drooling red juice, “Earth was a like a burning ember, uninhabitable, because we killed it by depleting our ozone layer. Mom, this could really happen, it is happening and no one’s doing anything about it!”
“Our ancestors predicted this would happen, Ayashe,” her mother said, calling her ‘little one’ in Hopi, “A shaman had a vision that the people who came from over the ocean would ‘turn the sky to fire and make Brother Sun kiss the Earth.”
“Seriously?” Nova asked, fascinated, as always, by stories of her ancestors, “What can we do, mom? How can we reverse this? And mom, please stop calling me ‘little one’, I’m almost eighteen years old.”
She sat on the couch with her cell phone checking her messages. Her mother was watching a movie about some boy who had an auto-immune deficiency and lived in a bubble to keep out germs. As she listened to movie, an idea started forming.
“Mom, I just had an idea!” Nova declared, “What if there was a way to somehow create something similar to what the bubble boy is in that would stop methane gas from ever reaching the ozone layer?”
“You mean like some kind of a bubble?” Polikwaptiwa asked, “But how?”
“I’m not sure yet,” Nova admitted, “but it has to be invisible and it can’t interfere with our atmosphere. It has to be in between the atmosphere and the stratosphere.”
“Nova, I don’t think it would be possible,” her mother debated, “how could scientists create something that could encircle the entire Earth?”
“Mom,” Nova argued, “if they can create a machine that can smash particles together, they can figure out how to do this.”
Nova was excited by her idea, but first, she needed to do some research. She needed the expertise of a chemistry professor to help her to find an oxygen-based gas with harmless properties. Something as sweet and gentle as baby’s breath, yet as ferocious as a tiger when it came to eliminating methane. With an expert’s opinion, they might just make her idea work. It was a long shot, but damn, it sure sounded good.
Nova was so excited as she entered Mrs. Selbert’s class on Monday she could barely sleep the night before. Not only did she have her homework assignment done, she had a guest speaker. Professor John Hammond was so impressed by her idea, not only did he help her research it, he contacted people in high places. What Nova came up with was nothing short of genius and the best part was, it could actually work.
Andrea Selbert entered her class and was surprised to see a grown man sitting with Nova. Curious, she called Nova up to the desk and asked if everything was alright.
“It couldn’t be better, Mrs. Selbert,” Nova said smiling ear to ear. “As a matter of fact, it just might blow your mind.”
Andrea waited until all of her students had settled down before she addressed the homework. The kids were doing a good job of being polite and not staring at Nova’s guest, which was more than she could say for herself.
“Okay, good morning!” Andrea greeted them, “I hope you all had a great weekend and found your homework assignment challenging and fun. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m dying of curiosity to know why Nova has a guest, so let’s allow Miss Duwahoyoema to present her assignment first.”
Nova stood up, along with her guest and came up to the front of the room. She introduced her guest as Professor John Hammond, a chemist and biology teacher at Arizona University.
“Good morning, students,” John began, “your classmate, Miss Nova, approached me over the weekend with one of the most intriguing ideas I’ve ever heard concerning the global warming issue. She told me about a movie she’d watched called, “The Boy In The Bubble” and how this bubble protected the boy from germs. Now this is where it gets interesting. May I?”
He asked Andrea for the use of the blackboard and at her nod, he went up and drew what she supposed was the Earth, then two more circles about and inch apart around the Earth.
“As you know, most of the earth’s atmosphere is found in the troposphere,” he pointed to the first outer circle, “seven miles up from Earth’s surface, after that we have the stratosphere where the ozone layer exists. Nova’s proposal was to include one more layer in between the two that would not only protect the atmosphere from ultra violet rays, but also disperse methane gas and render it harmless.”
Andrea was fascinated by what Nova came up with. It was brilliant and she was so proud of her for going all the way with this.
“Finding a gas or substance with all the requirements literally took the whole weekend and to be honest, I didn’t think we’d find the answer,” he continued, “But we did. Just recently some caves were discovered in South America on a remote island in Patagonia. They found that the system was about twenty limestone caves with some very interesting rock formations. When chipping off one of the rocks for study, it revealed a gas pocket of totally foreign gas never before discovered. After analyzing it, it was found that the gas had a contradictory affect on methane gas. It eliminated methane from the air by creating its own bacteria, harmless to life on Earth, but deadly to methane.”
“This is absolutely incredible, Professor!” Andrea exclaimed, “I’m so excited to think of what this could mean!”
“As I was, Mrs. Selbert!” John agreed, “As a matter of fact, I was so excited, I contacted some colleagues of mine who were also enthralled with the idea. They pulled some strings and spoke with some members of the Environmental Protection Agency. As we speak, they’re working on a way to make this happen. If it works, and we can find a way to disperse this gas around our planet, your student here just might be the youngest person since Malala Yousafzai to win the Nobel Prize!”
Andrea was speechless. She was amused when a few of her other students crumpled up their assignments as if to say, ‘how can I beat that?’.
Jasha raised his hand, and the professor nodded at him to speak.
“Sir, how come this was never brought to anyone’s attention before? I mean, it just seems so obvious to me as to how the gas could be used, why not anyone else?”
“Good question,” John commended, “In light of the recent outbreak of unrest around the globe, I think the global warming issue was just put on the back burner. As usual.”
He pointed to another raised hand.
“After the film we just watched, Professor,” Naomi Sykes pointed out, “I don’t think we have time to wait, do you? Personally, I’d like to think that my children and their children will have a better future than the one portrayed in the film and I think that this needs to be done soon!”
“I agree and that’s why we’ve been in contact with the president,” John announced, smiling at the gasp of surprise from around the room, “Now here’s the good news; Next week there’s going to be a meeting with the UN Global Warming Society and Nova thought it would be a good idea if a select handful of students from around the globe attend to speak of their concerns. The film you just watched will be also be on the agenda to further back up our voices. You guys are our future! You need to speak of your concerns and anger over the careless way previous generations have treated the planet!”
With that said, John shook Andrea’s hand and asked if he could go around the room and take notes from different students stating their ideas and thoughts about global warming. She acquiesced, pulling Nova over to the side as he did so.
“Nova, I can’t even begin to tell you how impressed I am by your presentation today,” she praised, “I am in awe of what has transpired because of it.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Selbert,” Nova blushed, “keep your fingers crossed for the meeting next week. You’re coming, right?”
“Are you kidding?” Andrea gushed, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
As it turned out, the meeting was a complete success. With over five hundred students from around the world speaking their concerns in conjunction with the film, the president granted full funding to make the bubble a reality. Top scientists from all over the globe, including those who managed CERN and HAARP, worked together to form the protective layer of gas they called, “BioDomesphere”. Although the positive effects of the bubble wouldn’t be felt for some time, the future of Earth was looking positive for the first time in a long time. Nova became the youngest person on the planet to win the Nobel Peace Prize and went on to become one of the top scientists involved in protecting the planet.
Andrea Selbert continued teaching and watched as her first class of the day filed in.
“Class, welcome,” she greeted them, Your first assignment of the year is write an essay of ideas to solve the growing issue of the pollution of our oceans…”
© 2016, RissRyker518. All rights reserved.
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