Why hello there, traveler, and welcome to the "Apocalypse Tour." This is the walking and architecture tour for all those catastrophe lovers out there, where we note the locations that significantly impacted species 947's collapse (947 were also known as humanity [hyoo·ma·nuh·tee]). We discuss the physical, digital, and sensual locations that contributed to humanity's untimely end on a tiny planet called Earth in the year 90,423 XE (what humans may know as 2XXX AD).
Today, we are looking at a propaganda monger called The Heartland Institute, which produced denialist literature meant to convince Species 947 that everything was fine and that their environment was not, in fact, collapsing. Denialists are common in collapsing ecosystems (for a more infamous example, see the wedon'tgiveaglorp death cult of Deoruta VI).
The headquarters for this unsavory organization was tucked away in an ecologically unstable community known as a suburb [suh·brb] — a type of community known for its unsightly and wonderfully disgusting architecture. The Heartland Institute was no different from every other sprawling building constructed during the downfall of human civilization. The giant house, referred to as a McMansion after a popular meat patty of the time, was a massive tan structure that snaked its way down a suburban street.
One immediately comes away with the impression that there is much to look at and not at the same time. One could be mistaken for believing that some unforgiving God duplicated the same hideous features over and over again in a holovid-building game. Why the flat walls that eke across the property? Why the hideous window frames that, when shut, make it look like the house is boarded up? And why the green sign vaguely reminiscent of an upscale Earthling dining establishment known as Olive Gardin (no, connection, as far as I can tell)?
Ultimately, why were so many resources spent building something that made it seem like even the architect was bored designing it? We may never know.
What we do know from temporal research is that the massive size and unfriendly composition are partly because suburbs were about an individual's right to have a lot of stuff over community resources and emotional connections. That may seem strange and unhealthy to a species like yours, capable of surviving for millions of years without imploding, but the economic and philosophical foundations of the American Empire were deeply selfish and unstable. History has proved that point for us!
In a suburb, ideally, one interacted with as few individuals as possible. They required the use of metal death vehicles called cars to move around from place to place. An informal caste system existed between those who used such vehicles, called car-users, who found it easy to reach almost anywhere in their community, and those who shamefully decided to use their appendages, known as legs, to get around instead. These latter beings were referred to as pedestrians, and extra points were awarded to humans who ran over them with their death vehicles — something that reminds me of a game popular in the lowest levels of the Galactic Capital.
The humans behind The Heartland Institute loved this way of life. They loved cars, hitting things with said cars, and they especially loved that these vehicles were powered by gases that generated death chemicals such as carbon dioxide as a byproduct. It was essential to this organization that the production of these death chemicals went unabated. The Heartland Institute produced propaganda downplaying or denying outright these chemicals' contribution to the climate adjustment period we all know eventually destroyed their ecosystem.
For example, check out this denialist propaganda by Linnea Lueken, released in the human year of 2023, arguing that fracking, a process that used the pressure of a water-mineral compound to extract oil and gas from beneath the surface of the Earth, did not cause water pollution.
Oh, Lueken, her delusion would almost be adorable if it did not help contribute to the extinction of most humans on the planet, plus or minus one or two warring tribes. For a more credible source on fracking, please check out this human study examining the risk fracking had on infant development, this breakdown of a study proving that it contaminated water in Wyoming, or just use your common sense that there are consequences for putting contaminated water into the ground.
The Heartland Institute was founded in 1984, as Species 947's oil and gas industry was beginning to realize the harm it was having on the planet. The token hoarders in charge of such businesses sought to fund a competing narrative that muddied the waters, as the now-extinct Earth saying went. It was specifically founded by David H. Padden, a former director of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. Both Cato and Heartland allegedly received heavy funding from members of the old and gas industry. The Heartland Institute did not publicly disclose its funders; however, various reporting from the historical archives noted funders such as the Mercers (who made money from hoarding shiny circuitry) and the Koch Foundation (a gas company), among others (see the Financial Money Slugs of Ollillon to better understand the inner psychology of such parasites).
The organization had been noted for convening an annual "International Conference on Climate Change," where some of the biggest whose who of climate denialists came together to assure themselves that they definitely were not leading to the death of the planet. Fun fact, the last conference ever, happened secretly inside a billionaire's survival bunker. A faulty plumbing line burst, drowning everyone there (an all too common occurrence for those bunkers, but that's a topic for another time).
For our temporal travelers, if you would like to visit The Heartland Institute over at 3939 N Wilke Rd, Arlington Heights, IL, know that all suburban Meat Patty houses are quite concerned with privacy and security. A thick hedge surrounded the perimeter well into what humans would call the 21st century — although, like everything in suburbia, it is pretty accessible by a metal death vehicle.
Note — for the humans who have somehow bypassed our encryption protocols, take comfort in the fact that this is a joke from a normal human and not a retrospective on your species' imminent demise.
DO NOT use this information to stop this future because that would create a time paradox and go against your people's laws, as well as Medium's ToS., which I'm told are very important. I AM NOT encouraging you to take the law into your own hands, something I cannot do as an appendageless species.
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About the Creator
I write long-form pieces on timely themes inside entertainment, pop culture, video games, gender, sexuality, race and politics. My writing currently reaches a growing audience of over 10,000 people every month across various publications.