Monday, May 22, 2017

A Scavenger Cleans the Scene

The town doesn't pick up leaves bagged in plastic. Some landscape crew hadn't gotten the memo, however, so these plastic bags full of leaves sat in front of a rental on Linden Lane, creating an eyesore for weeks. Maybe it was months. They sat there so long the UV radiation started degrading the plastic. What to do?

Time for Mr. Sustainable to swoop in with his greenmobile--able to jump puddles in a single bound around the block--to turn a lose-lose into a winsome win-win. "Sure," he thought, "I could use the leaves. Leaves are always useful, for keeping moisture in the soil, contributing nutrients, and smothering weeds. The chickens will scratch under them for bugs. Happiness will prevail. The more leaves the merrier."

This is the sort of service scavenging species provide in nature every day. We think of them as no better than beggars, freeloaders, opportunists. A vulture exploits others' misfortune, and yet they too serve by picking clean what is foul. They find utility in others' messes, and leave the world a cleaner place. We should rank them, and their willingness to view trash as a resource, more highly in our estimation.

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