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2D_Fu Zhengjie_Senior_GOLD

Looking around at the serene environment, it is a common sight to see dodo birds as well as the koalas all across this planet. There are plenty of them across this planet. People here are always smiling at one another, brightening up others’ lives. Everyone on this planet goes around using bicycles and not cars, causing minimal pollution to the surroundings. Everyone here cares for the environment and constantly puts in their utmost effort to take care of it. For example, everyone here only wears sustainable clothing and does not use plastic at all as they want to be as environmentally friendly as possible. This is the perfect planet where everyone ‘lives’ in, this is the perfect life that everyone wants, this is Planet B. “This place is perfect, if only Earth is just like this…” I thought to myself.

It is the year 2060 and one of the main and prominent problems is climate change. It has definitely become more serious since the 21st century, and it is bearing down uncaringly on us. Climate change has caused the living conditions in this modernized time and age to be really poor and it has caused many people to fall ill easily.

Everyone is aware of the effects of climate change, they know that the environment they live in is going to get more polluted, they know that the weather is going to get hotter if they do not help, but no one is willing to face it. No one knows how to face it. This has resulted in everyone escaping to Planet B, a place where everything is opposite of reality - no climate change, no pollution, beautiful skies and lovely weather. Planet B has been part of our lives for a long time and everyone enjoys it. You may ask where and what ‘Planet B’ is. Well, it is simple. Just by putting on a VR headset, you are immediately immersed into another world, another dimension called Planet B. Real life is not living up to expectations, thus this Planet B was created by a group of people who were sick of reality. However, this VR game does not come cheap and is available only in affluent countries. Inside this Planet B, everyone cares for the environment and acts responsibly as they want to make up for how they act in reality. No one knows how they can undo the effects on Earth and so, they make up for their actions in Planet B.

‘Planet B’, everyone around the globe is familiar with these two simple words. Everyone around the globe loves these two simple words. Almost no one ever logs off the game and cannot live without it. I am one of those who will never take off the headset as I do not feel comfortable without it. It is an integral part of my life that I cannot live without. I can have the headset on till the point where I even have headaches and I will not even complain. Even when I take off my headset, my mind will still be thinking of Planet B and I do not notice what is happening in the real world. My whole life is situated around this headset and I would just log into the game for the whole day.

After a few months, climate change is getting more serious yet no one is willing to step up. Temperatures are getting higher around the world and the weather conditions are becoming more and more adverse. Everyone is still waiting for someone to take the initiative thus there is not much progress. There is an organisation known as “HELP” whose main objective is to get people to help them out with their effort to solve the problem of climate change in reality. However, no one wants to step forward and help them. Everyone just disregards their efforts and aren’t willing to face the problem.

One day, when I was wandering around Planet B, I felt the need to wipe my forehead. I knew that I have been continuously wiping my forehead for the past few days, yet I wasn’t sure why it was happening. It was constantly cooling in Planet B but I often felt the urge to wipe my forehead. This did not make sense to me but I reassured myself that I was fine and should possibly take a break from playing for such a long time.

Suddenly, just when I was about to log off the game, a bright flash lit up the whole place and I was blinded momentarily. When I regained my composure, I realized that it was the representative from “HELP”, Christine, and she was telling us something from the huge television “…. All of you need to wake up now before it’s too late! PLANET B IS NOT REAL! ACKNOWLEDGE THAT FACT! Even if you do not want to help us, we have already hacked into the system to make Planet B’s conditions alike the real world. It will get hotter and the smoke will gradually get thicker here. We have no choice but to hack this game’s system as there is no other way to get all of you to help. Earth is currently suffering and the temperatures are rising. The pollution is getting worse yet all of you only know how to stay in this perfect world…” she continued reprimanding us for our irresponsibility. She then showed us pictures and videos of how bad the pollution was across the globe, and I realised that the situation was way worse than I thought. The videos and pictures show how people living in deserts in Africa are suffering from shortage of food due to the recent dry season without much rainfall. They show torrential floods in other parts of Southeast Asia flooding away their crops and livelihoods. It made me realise that climate change is way more serious than what I previously thought.

Suddenly things started to make sense, I realised why I have been wiping my forehead continuously these past few days. I immediately ripped off my headset and opened the curtains which I always keep closed in my room. The pollution was much worse than what Christine had described, it made me reel back in shock and terror. My shirt felt wet to the skin, and I soon realised that it was actually drenched with sweat. The reason I have been wiping my forehead was because of my sweat. The weather has been so warm that I have been sweating, yet I was completely unaware of this fact as I was too immersed into the game.

‘PLANET B ISN’T REAL.’ This sentence was imprinted into my mind. I realised that I have been stuck in Planet B, an augmented reality that wasn’t real and until yesterday I treated Planet B as if it was a second Earth. Planet B made me think that Earth’s condition was still all right and now looking at reality with my bare eyes made me think twice. Everyone had been too immersed in the game and we all have not been helping out. We have to know that Planet B isn’t real and it isn’t a place for us to run to. It is just an augmented reality; we shouldn’t have been just trying to act responsibly there. We have to all act responsibly on Earth. It’s the Planet which is real and can affect us in reality.

After a few days, the majority of the people were starting to help out as they all wanted to have an Earth which was devoid of climate change. Factories began to stop burning as much fossil fuels and there were less cars driving around such that carbon emissions dropped. I was determined to help out as I had been running from this problem for too long. We have been putting this problem aside for too long and we need to face it head on.

After picking up rubbish at the beach, my parents and I completely drenched with sweat. One week ago, I was at my house playing on ‘Planet B’ and yet I was here now cleaning up the beach to help the Earth. “So many changes have occurred within a week,” I thought to myself. As I walked home, I saw that there were many people all out of their houses and helping with climate change together. It was the first time I have seen so many people on the streets without their headsets. Everyone was putting in their own effort and this change was a positive one.

Day after day, more and more people are out there helping out with climate change. Everyone has a part to play and everyone needs to stop running from the problem of climate change in reality. This is because there is no Planet B in the real world. Planet Earth is the only thing we have and we need to wake up, before we lose our only home.

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