The year is 2037. The population of St. George as well as the rest of the world has doubled since 2017. There are now homes reaching from the airport on the east to the Shivwits reservation on the west and from the Arizona border on the south to the north entrance of Snow Canyon State Park. St. George, Hurricane, Santa Clara, and LaVerkin are all one contiguous residential area.
During the last 20 years, the home builders, suppliers, and real estate developers have done extremely well, but now there are few places left to build. The city of St. George planners failed to recognize the inevitable costs associated with all of the building but concentrated instead on collecting the tax revenues associated with the many housing projects. The city has been barely able to keep up with the infrastructure to supply water, sewer, electricity, and roads to all of the new developments. Although a water pipeline from Lake Powell was considered, it was never approved by voters, so now there are water shortages. Most of the golf courses and city parks have been neglected or have been converted to residential developments. Because the state and local planning departments did not mandate that homes be built with energy-saving devices such as solar panels, there are occasional brownouts partly aggravated by everyone driving electric-powered vehicles and charging them at home.
The only jobs in St. George now are in the healthcare industry, tech industry, the university, and the service industry. Wal-Mart, Target, Smith’s, Harmon’s, and other large stores are now mostly automated. You order what you want online, and you go to a drive-through and pick up your goods, a practice that was started in 2017 at some stores. When you go to a restaurant, you enter your order into an automated kiosk, and you pick up your order at a window, also started back in 2017. The university now requires a bachelor’s degree to mow the lawns or clean the restrooms. Gasoline stations have mostly vanished except for a few automated machines.
Meat supplies have mostly unaffordable to most people due to the cost of production. State and local planning departments failed to foresee the value of protecting farmland, so much of it has been paved over for housing. Food is becoming scarce due to competition from other countries’ increasing populations and the loss of farmland in the United States. Because St. George has no food production, it relies solely on what can be imported, so is vulnerable to shortages, transportation costs, and fluctuating prices.
A trip to Zion and other national or state parks is similar to the way Disneyland was in 2017: reservations required, long lines of people, high access fees, and human waste and pollution everywhere. Some of the other parks have been converted to industrial areas for mining and other resources after they were declared “dead.”
Due to a lack of jobs and most wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, the economy is collapsing. In order to stave off mass starvation and open revolt, a minimum livable wage has been established by the federal government so everyone gets a modest paycheck whether they work or not. Medical and dental care are beyond the reach of most citizens.
The federal government has made a belated effort to manage the population increase by mandating a one-child-per-family rule and engaging in numerous overseas wars. Just across the border in Nevada, a “euthanasia resort” has recently opened where people over the age of 60 can lie down in luxurious accommodation for “eternal sleep” in exchange for a federal government payment to their families of a substantial amount of money.
Perhaps back in 2017 the people of St. George should have been a little more receptive to conservation, solar energy, and state, city, and county planning. Perhaps they could have foreseen the result of having four, five or six children who are now left to deal with the world as it is. Perhaps they could have been a little more flexible when laying out building codes, recycling, water conservation, and the use of the abundant solar energy available here. Perhaps they could have refused to purchase items from stores who replaced people with automation. Perhaps.
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