2023, Senior, Creative Writing
Climate Hero: Carvey Maigue
This story is a work of fiction inspired by Filipino inventor Carvey Maigue.
Agent F stood in the precipice of a Norwegian mountain, carefully inspecting the heavens for any peculiar signs. “It won’t take long now,” she mumbled, finally getting a breather from the long trek that she had to take just to get a clear vantage point of the coming astronomical wonder. It was her much-needed vacation from the usual arduous and tiring missions of her agency. Out there, it was chaotic and discordant, caused by the jarring noise of polluters trying to destroy the remnant of civilization. But here within the expanse of the icy landscape, there was nothing but peace, tranquility, and an occasional dance of colorful lights.
“The Aurora Borealis. I’ve always longed to go North just to see it,” Agent F told her superiors before she left for her holiday. As a citizen of a faraway developing nation, the idea of seeing such blue-green radiance was a distant dream. Yet now, she was within minutes of finally experiencing the spectacle of lights.
[Agent F! This is an emergency. Respond immediately, code red. I repeat this is a code red emergency.]
The spy’s phone buzzed and whirred as similar warnings echoed. Code red. The highest form of calamity that the entire agency of Climate Defenders could ever face. Sighing and a bit exasperated, she picked up the contacting device. “What’s the problem, headquarters?” After what seemed like an entire hour of silence, a low bass voice greeted her, introducing himself as the secretive leader of their organization. Even F herself had not met him before; for him to speak meant this mission was about to be the most dangerous task in her lifetime.
[Your fears are confirmed, F. The polluters… have won. They managed to cut off the entire grids supplied by windmills and other wind energy stations. That was the last hope for renewable energy, as we still cannot use solar panels due to the thick layers of air pollution clouding the sunlight. Entire cities are suffering blackouts, F. Children are crying, citizens are fainting from the heatwave. The polluters will exploit this opportunity to bring back their fossil fuels and coal industries. Everything that Climate Defenders have worked for in the past 40 years, every last piece of the natural environment that we tried to preserve… is gone.]
Overwhelmed with rage, F rode on her jet ski and hurtled away from the chilly mountains. “What do I need to do, Sir?”
[We believe there is a final chance for us. Your country, Philippines, had one inventor who was working on perfecting a device that may save us all. We don’t know how it works. But we are confident that it can change the energy landscape.]
“You want me to go back home and find blueprints?” F guessed as she made her way to the rendezvous point, where a chopper was waiting for her.
[We have the blueprints, F. What we need to find is a “missing piece,” a “missing ingredient.” You have to hurry. A chopper has already been sent; you’ll find your partner waiting for you.]
“Partner?” F was taken aback as she boarded the plane – another agent clad in the same Climate Defender uniform greeted her. “Agent U, from the United Kingdom,” he whispered affably.
“I usually work alone,” F interjected. “Why would the agency pair me with another spy?”
U smirked. “We believe that our mystery inventor from the Philippines was awarded a grant by an English research institute from the UK. He was working on something solar-powered.” The fellow eco-warrior passed F several yellow folders containing annotated papers and confidential documents. She browsed through the inventor’s profiles before hearing U shout, “We’re here!”
Floods raged and swept the landforms of the archipelago. Islands were nearly sunk from the deluge caused by unstoppable thunderstorms. Wherever you glanced, there was a surge of water from the overflowing seas. “This is the Philippines?” U’s eyes showed a hint of surprise and anticlimactic disappointment.
“Yeah. This was… well, this is my home.” F shed a tear as they disembarked from the helicopter, both emblazoning a raincoat. F tried to glance around to see any glimmer of hope, but there was nothing but typhoons and flooding. She could picture herself back then as a five-year-old girl playing tag with friends in the streets, or making picnic forts at the meadows while eating her Lola’s hearty soup. And now, the same streets and meadow were submerged by the torrential waters. All the innocent laughter, the silly childish dances, the delectable meals… all swept away.
“I’ve seen the climate crisis affect countries up close, but not as gloomy as this one. I’m so, so sorry, F.” U patted her shoulder.
“Hey, it’s alright. This is the sad truth. UK and other well-off nations, you’re more resilient. But here in the smaller, less fortunate countries, we struggle to survive,” F fought back her tears. “Maybe that was what the inventor was trying to do. Survive.”
A few minutes later, they entered a protective rain shelter theorized to have belonged to the inventor. They scoured papers, read diaries, and searched the place inside and out, only to find no trace of the missing ingredient. “It’s hopeless! We tried, but… Philippines… my country is a place for survivors, not some treasure trove of hope.”
“F, wait!” The male agent pulled his female counterpart to some scribbles on the wall. “Look at these drawings!”
F was struck with amazement. “No way.” Aside from the messy streaks of colors, there were drawings of children playing and dancing in a circle, and sketches of a grandmother’s herbs and soup. F had her Eureka moment, realizing that her childhood and that of the solar inventor were not so different. Just as her childhood had sparked her motivation to join the agency, the inventor’s childhood must have inspired his blueprint! She had seen the documents – this mysterious scientist was creating a unique form of solar panels, panels that moved around like playing children, and used herbal turmeric chemicals inspired from the herbal soups his grandmother had prepared for him. “This inventor – he’s just like you, huh? Not just a survivor. He was a dreamer.” U elbowed her.
F smiled. “Just like me…” She looked again at the messy streaks of colors. “Northern lights. He was dreaming the same thing… We were both dreamers.”
[Headquarters, this is Agent F. The missing key is Aurora Borealis! Auroras change UV light to visible light; by using the herbal coatings and the shape-changing panel design, we can mimic the style of auroras and absorb solar energy despite the clouds of pollution!]
F smiled after hearing their team cheering on the other side of the phone.
“Ready to go back?” U held her hand.
Walking out of the shelter, the two waited for the chopper to reach them. F took one last look at her surroundings: typhoons poured down from the heavens, and floods devoured the isles of her country. This would change soon. Perfecting renewable energy would be the first step to resisting the polluters’ regime, the first step to reclaiming the poisoned world.
“We can save the world, F. We can save Philippines. I promise you that,” U beamed, and F smiled back.
“Of course, we only need more dreamers.”
Ever since I was a child, I was always considered by family and relatives as a "young dreamer" as I often fantasized about ideas and innovations that could change the world. When I was accepted into a prestigious science high school in the Philippines, my worldview was revolutionized; I learned that research and innovation are not driven by funding or resources, but by the dreams that we want to materialize in society. I channeled this in my creative story piece, and I hoped to show that the fight against climate change and the preservation of our ocean ecosystems starts with a simple daydream. We know so many climate heroes, may they be as popular as Greta or as lesser known as the central scientist of my story (Carvey Maigue), but all of them started with a single dream - a dream that transforms into an invention, and an invention that transforms into progress.