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Report from 2050: Gardening on Mars

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Reynard Loki
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["Reports from 2050" is a series of imagined reports from the year 2050, supported by current news, discoveries and scientific predictions. To see what's real and what's not, click on the links within the text.]

JANUARY 21, 2050 (RBO Press Office) -- Astronauts at the Free People of Earth Mars Station -- also known as "Red Base One" (RBO) -- celebrated the fruits of their "green thumb" labor yesterday when they sat down for the first meal made completely with vegetables grown in the Martian greenhouse.

"I would like to take this historic moment to thank all the astronauts and scientists of all the space agencies of the 21st century who have made the Martian greenhouse a great success," said Free People of Earth (FPE) president Willow Smith, at a press conference at Kid Cudi's Citadel, which will dock next week with the FPE Space Station for Jay-Z's 15th annual Roc-Tha-Planetz Tour.

"It was absolutely delicious and nutritious," said astroecologist Gaius Baltar, who arrived at RBO last month. "I was born and raised on a farm outside of the town of Cuffle's Breath Wash, so to be a part of the inaugural 100% locavore Martian dinner was a huge thrill that reminded me of how amazing food tastes when it's grown right in your own backyard."

The success of the Martian greenhouse is based on the groundbreaking HydroTropi research done four decades ago, in 2010, by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The HydroTropi study (short for "Hydrotropism and Auxin-Inducible Gene Expression in Roots Grown Under Microgravity Conditions") showed astroecologists how to control directional root growth through hydrotropism stimulus. On Earth, roots grow up and down, but in microgravity situations, roots grow sideways.

"Martian fare will be 100% vegan," said FPE Secretary of Ethical Consumption Natalie Portman, who presided over the dinner on Mars. "Part of my reason for being vegan is because it practices respect and love for life all through the day, so three times a day, you make a decision to eat food from things that have not been killed or abused," Secretary Portman told the guests at the dinner's opening ceremony.

"And part of the reason that planet Earth is in such a bad state today is because of the meat industry, which has not only inhumanely slaughtered billions upon billions of sentient animals who can feel pain, but has also destroyed the atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions and decimated the rain forests -- and the species that used to live in those ecosystems -- through land conversion for livestock feed lots," said Secretary Portman. "For life as we know it to survive -- and when I say 'life,' I mean all living things -- the human diet must be vegan. The alternative is simply not sustainable, both technically and morally."

In 2010, the United Nations told the world to eat less meat. But carnivorism still increased over the past 40 years as the human population exploded to the current and unsustainable 9.3 billion.

Secretary Portman's speech received a standing ovation by the dinner's attendees, who included Ambassador Sandra Oh, Ambassador Zooey Deschanel and Captain Lilliolani ("Lani") Paula Lum Watson, the daughter of Captain Paul Watson, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2030 for his work defending whales as the founder of Sea Shepherd. The dinner menu featured Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff, Rosemary New Potatoes, Broccoli with Kasha and Black Bean Sauce and Fettucine Alfonso.

"The only thing missing was a big glass of Martian Nebbiolo," Dr. Baltar quipped, referring to the Italian wine grape variety that he brought to Mars last month. Dr. Baltar is leading a group of scientists working on the RBO Viniculture Program, which hopes to produce the first batch Martian wine and brandy in 2053.

This year, the meat industry officially broke through the Earth's "safe limit," according to a new report released by the Brussels-based Institute of Planetary Change (IPC). "The increase in livestock production to feed the Earth's humans has officially pushed the levels of greenhouse gas emissions, biomass consumption and nitrogen emissions into the red zone," said IPC director Ty Thorn.

"Earth has been our home for the hundreds of thousands of years," said President Smith. "But it will not last. We have used it and abused it and now it can no longer support us."

President Smith has been a longtime advocate of the Human Population Control Solution, also known as POCOSO, developed by the Center for Biological Diversity. According to a Cornell University study, "12 billion miserable humans will suffer a difficult life on Earth by the year 2100." The colonization of Mars will begin in earnest by 2065.

"Mars is our future," President Smith said. "But as we look forward, we must be very careful not to make the same mistakes that have led to the extinction of millions of species, the suffering of so many people and other sentient Earthlings and the destruction of so much of what made our Big Blue Marble so special. After all, as American philosopher George Santayana rightly said, 'Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.'"

[Part of the series " Reports from 2050 ."]

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Reynard Loki is a New York-based artist, writer and editor. He is the environment and food editor at AlterNet.org, a progressive news website. He is also the co-founder of MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio whose projects (more...)

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