I didn’t finish laying mulch around my garden in the spring, and I’m paying for it now. The hot, humid weather in mid-summer kept me away from the garden for too long, and now, in addition to late-season tomatoes, beets, carrots, and potatoes, the garden is now filled with a healthy crop of weeds.
I find that weeding can actually be a very relaxing, soothing activity. Not when you’re standing out there surveying all of it that has to be done, of course, but after you actually start the job. Weed by weed, you see progress being made and feel a satisfying sense of accomplishment. It’s just you and the weeds—and the birds, the flowers, and the breeze. It becomes almost a meditative activity, allowing ideas and thoughts to surface that you might not encounter on just another day around the house. In fact, I discovered an idea lurking in the back of my mind that could very well be the answer to many of our country’s—indeed, our planet’s—problems. I’m thinking about sending it off in a letter to President Obama. Might well save his presidency.
It’s in the weeds. Why, in just a couple of hours the other day, I hauled off four large bucketfuls to the compost pile. And then it hit me: there’s a lot of biomass here, just in my small garden. Why couldn’t some technical genius out there figure out how to convert that to biofuel?
Many people believe that technology is going to save us—from fossil fuel depletion, climate change, whatever else is lurking out there to threaten life on this planet. Some say there are technical geniuses already working on solutions for the future, like turning water into fuel. And we know there are technical experts who have figured out how to use corn and soy for fuel. So, I say—why not have them work on weeds? Here’s how my plan would work (after said genius makes the weed-fuel discovery):
• Government subsidies to the petroleum industries would stop. Instead, they would go to the weed-fuel industry. Oil refineries could be converted to weed-fuel refineries. Abandoned mill buildings (maybe even abandoned houses!) across the country could also be put into service as fuel manufacturing facilities.
• Government subsidies to farmers to not grow certain crops would also be diverted to the weed-fuel industry.
• Unemployed people would be put to work all across the country gathering weeds from poorly tended garden beds, city parks, town commons, baseball fields, and cracks in sidewalks.
Think of the benefits! No more fossil-fuel emissions warming the planet. No more harsh, environment-polluting chemicals needed to control weeds.
Weed harvesting is a sustainable activity that would offer job security to those so employed. (Weeds just keep coming back, no matter what you do.)
Without weeds, garden beds would become more productive, creating more food. Cropland now being diverted to grow soy and corn for biofuel could be put back into service growing real food for real people—hunger problem solved!
The meditative aspects of weeding could help stimulate productive thinking among workers. And with some workers performing their task in close proximity to others, this could mark the return of the sense of community that many people say is now lacking in our country.
Since the courts have ruled that corporations are people too, my proposal for the weed-fuel industry would be that the CEOs, managers, and supervisors would have to spend a certain amount of time each year among the workers, harvesting weeds, so they could help the corporation gain an appreciation for those actually responsible for the company’s profits. And workers would be required to invite someone from the corporate hierarchy to their home for dinner at least once a year, so execs could see how real people reallly live on the wages the company pays them. And, with government subsidies directed to the weed-fuel industry, companies should be able to pay workers a decent living wage.
In fact, with a compensation structure made up of a base salary plus a commission on pounds of weeds harvested, this could become a very attractive occupation for people, and there would be no special training required. These jobs could not be outsourced to India or China. With built-in fitness features, the work itself would provide aerobic workouts and strength training, and would do wonders for waistlines across America.
It’s so crazy, it just might work.