My sister sent me a wonderful gift not long after Ayhan was born: a used Little People Noah’s Ark. A fun toy with lots of parts that I can imagine my son playing with for several years. The only issue is that I don’t really want to call it “Noah’s Ark” and embed that Biblical story in Ayhan’s subconscious from so early an age. It’s fine as a cultural story and literary reference, but not as a founding myth. So let me introduce Little People’s newest playset:
Bob and Brunhilde’s Boat of Biodiversity
Meet Bob: a master carpenter and permaculture expert living in an ecovillage on the coast. As climate change hits 3 degrees and scientists reveal positive feedback cycles have accelerated–with massive amounts of methane hydrates now burbling up from the deep oceans–Bob takes things in his own hands. His ecovillage is doomed to sink under the rising sea, so he builds a large boat and then raids a small local zoo where he steals a pair of each of his favorite charismatic megafauna species: pandas, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes, and so on.
He puts them on his boat, and he and his wife Brunhilde, the famed German zoologist, care for their new menagerie until the storms and floods come, and as the ocean swallows up the ecovillage, off they float in search of higher land.
Of course, with such large animals they quickly debark once higher land is found (a week later), as there’s no way to keep 40 days of food for such giant beasts on such a little ship. But fortunately most of them make it to their new home. (Food did get scarce so the elephants were sacrificed for the greater good–but by that point their total population had shrunk so far that there was no longer enough of a gene pool to keep them a viable species anyway).
And life began anew. At least until the other hungry environmental refugees who had also been displaced from the coast came searching for food. Most of Bob and Brunhilde’s flock got away, but the giraffes, not surprisingly, had difficulty hiding from hunters.
And while that might seem a pretty gruesome story to tell a kid, is it as tough as the original? After all, God wiped out the entire human population except for one family, and pretty much all the rest of His creation too–which is far worse than what happened to Bob, Brunhilde and their menagerie.
Have fun Ayhan!