In the late 20th century, politicians, a handful of scientists and a Vice President in the United States of America started to raise the alarm about Global Warming. Some people paid attention but many others ignored the warnings., having been through the ice age warnings , holes in the ozone layer and much more worried about total annihilation by nuclear war than Global Warming. The greenhouse effect had no effect on the population. The rest of the world was preoccupied with their political maneuverings, their rumblings about religious superiority, and some countries, just finding enough to eat. Global Warming was a Rich nation problem
In the early 21st century, the name was change to Climate Change and it gained some ground as the UN and its members around the world decided to “do something” about climate change sand made promises to reduce CO2 emission. These promises had been made earlier but that was when it was Global Warming. Climate change had more political impact. Still the idea of climate change was most polarizing in the rich nations. The poor nations were poor. They had no cars, no factories; they faced disease at epidemic levels and death by starvation becoming the norm. Climate change was last on many nations’ list of troubles.
The idea behind Climate Change was that the ice caps would melt. Proof was thrown around in the form of charts and historical data. Polar Bears became the poster child for the ice caps melting. Their plight in feeding themselves in a world of decreasing sea ice was the rally cry of environmentalist. Save the Polar bears save the world. Correlation implied causation and nay-saying scientists were not really paid any attention even though the populace was told that their cars and factories, their carbon foot print was the reason for Climate Change. People did not want to give up on their cars, their factories, and the flights to Hawaii when it was too cold in Minnesota. They needed the family car to drive to the local wildlife parks to visit nature. They wanted their microwaves their coffee makers, their processed foods. People wanted lots of goods for less money. Other countries wanted to produce those things for the richer nations, keeping their factories going and their people feed. Their factories not really regulated in the amount of pollutants they spewed despite the promises made by their leaders.
What happened was exactly what the Paleo-Geologist and Paleo-Climatologists said what had happened before and would happen now. Those scientists who were not afraid to perform actual science and to quote real figures joined in the cry. It was too late. The trendy climate change folks were right, Kind of. The ice caps in the north were indeed melting and at a fast rate. While the earth’s atmosphere seemed to be warming up, the cold ice melt crept into the oceans, cooling them down significantly. Winter was longer and snow was piling up in places not normally seen. Arizona had blizzards and the Mojave Desert was freezing every winter.
Once it started, there was no changing it, no take backs. The cold water created a cold climate and in the early 22nd century, the earth was gripped in a blanket of ice for 9, 10 months out of the year. Many places were covered all year not seeing the retreat of the ice and snow. As the ice advanced communications broke down with other countries. At first, there was worry that radicals would get a hold of weapons and try to wipe us off the earth but it soon became apparent that no one was worried about their political or religious agendas anymore. In the United States, the only places not covered in snow and ice was the southern tip of Texas and the lower half of Florida. It was not to say they did not get the snow and the cold but it retreated every year for a brief spring and summer.
Both of those states saw an influx of people coming to live. Moving in. It was ok until the food started to run out. Texas declared it a republic and shot people at their borders. Florida let anyone come I and many folks starved to death. Eventually there was few left to bury anyone. Corpses were set ablaze in huge piles. The same for the other states. People were starving. There was never long enough to grow enough food to feed everyone. As the ice and the snow advanced and stayed longer every year more and more people died.
The survivalists or Preppers as they were called did ok. Most of them were also gone the first year after the government shutdown and the ice did not retreat. Many of them had been preparing for a war or the temporary loss of electricity or a governmental take over. They were prepared for a year or two, but many expected to be able to grow a garden and to hunt to supplement their stash of food. The ice prevent end that after a few years and many of also starved to death in the bunkers or they left them and starved to death or died of exposure out on the great plains of ice.
That’s not to say there was nothing to hunt, there was. It was that the prey was different. One was no longer hunting elk or dear. The Polar bears that had become the poster child for Climate Change became populous as the ice covered the earth. The Seals, Polar Bears favorite food, also became abundant insuring food for the Bears. In the sea, the cold-water fish flourished even as the warm water fish died off. Just the lack of commercial fishing precipitated the bounce back of many fishes and whales. There were also some birds that did fine. The penguins of course, but also many other sea birds also seem to adapt to the colder weather. Most hunting was confined to area where the ice met the sea. It was dangerous as many times prey was also the predator.
Of the humans that did survived; many of them were not those who had completely prepared for disaster. While there were some groups who were prepared, those who were involved in the growing of marijuana and the making of other illegal drugs that became very valuable. Most of them were paranoid enough to have a plan to outwit the authorities, so most of the had already stocked up on food stuffs. That way they could survive a siege. They also had the growing equipment and knowledge to maintain the equipment, to create power sources. They also had food stashed. Those groups who were the most successful were those people who put aside their differences and blended with teacher other, the survivalist with the pot grower, the militarist with the religious group.
With the survival of people, there came the problem of communication and the trading of goods. One found that 10,000 packages of Top Ramen got old and if their neighbors 100 miles to the east wanted to trade for some cans of chili, well someone had to set that up. Medicines were scarce and precious. There was an unspoken rule that you did not trade or ask for trade when medicine was necessary. The chemist who had made recreational drugs now turned to making rudimentary medicines. Getting the medicines from place to place in a timely manner was challenge.
The answer was,of course, the Ice Riders. The ice was dangerous. Ice is not solid, it moves,groaning and splitting. It changes itself constantly. One day the ice would be a solid thing, the next day it was fractured with crevasses that had no end. The Ice Riders not only knew the Ice they rode on huge horses and some had dog sleds. The Horses were big shaggy beasts that were steered with the riders legs only or as some said with intuition, mind speak. The dogs also were as big as the timber wolves if not bigger. The dogs were mean and would kill a man with the slightest provocation. The dogs and the horses were loyal only to the Ice Rider and the Rider was loyal back. They too would kill a man for touching their animals. This was not just out of love for the animals but they were they ice riders lifeline. Most of the survivors would eat either one of them in a heartbeat, fresh meat being so scarce. Where the ice riders came from, no one was sure. Some said they were the scientists that predicted the ice age, but that was ludicrous. Soft bellied scientists would starve with their eye stuck looking into microscope. Some said they were what were left of the Military, those men of the marine, the army. Some said they were the decedents of the Inuit, the native people of Alaska and Canada who dealt with 30s and 40 below. Some said they were the children of all three. No one really knew what they did know was that the Ice Rider, those mysterious people of the ice, were the lifelines, the bringer of information, medicines, other things, some things that were not necessary to preserve life but made life better. They were mistrusted, feared, and welcomed in all settlements. They were the Ice Riders.