This is Suzy Starlight with CCTV – Cambridge Community Television – reporting live from the greenhouse at 2010 Clippety Clop Way, where the Harvard co-ed, Blurtso Lundif, is taking a stand for responsible living. Tell us if you would, Mr. Lundif, when did you first decide something had to be done? Yesterday, said Blurtso. And what is it you hope to do? I hope, said Blurtso, to graze on the grass that has grown amok, so that all plants can have their fair share of sun and sustenance. Their fair share? said Suzy. Yes, said Blurtso, and live in an environment of conscientious moderation. Conscientious moderation? said Suzy. Yes, said Blurtso. And how long, said Suzy, are you prepared to work towards that end? As long as it takes, said Blurtso. And you will remain in your greenhouse for the duration of the project? Yes, said Blurtso. How very admirable, said Suzy. Is there anything you would like to say to our viewing audience before we break away? Yes, said Blurtso. And what is that? said Suzy. Do you have a pumpkin pie? said Blurtso.
It’s like a sauna today, said Harlan. Yes it is, said Blurtso. I’ll bet it’s unbearably hot in here in the summer, said Harlan. In the summer, said Blurtso, Pablo opens the door and the windows in the roof. Too bad, said Harlan, we can’t do that with the earth. What do you mean? said Blurtso. You know, said Harlan, global warming and the greenhouse effect. What? said Blurtso. The heating of the earth’s atmosphere due to fossil fuels and deforestation. Is that bad? said Blurtso. Disastrous, said Harlan. Why? said Blurtso. Because, said Harlan, it leads to extreme weather, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and the extinction of species. Which species? said Blurtso. Many species, said Harlan, penguins, seals, turtles, flamingos, salmon, clownfish, koala bears, polar bears. Polar bears? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. I like polar bears, said Blurtso. So do I, said Harlan. We should do something, said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, we should.
It sure is warm in here, said Harlan. It sure is, said Blurtso. That’s because a greenhouse, said Alex, turns solar energy into thermal energy, which in turn creates a convection process. What? said Blurtso. Solar energy, said Alex, passes through the glass and gets absorbed by the ground and plants. The plants convert the sun’s short wave infrared rays into long wave infrared rays—into heat energy—which can’t escape the glass. Because the air is trapped, the warm air near the ground rises and the cool air near the ceiling falls, turning the greenhouse into a convection oven which forces the air to become warmer and warmer with each rise and fall. A convection oven? Said Blurtso. Exactly, said Alex. Does that work on a small scale? said Blurtso. Of course it does, said Alex. So I could bake a pumpkin pie, said Blurtso, in a miniature greenhouse?
Your greenhouse was all we talked about today in class, said Harlan. Really? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, the professor gave us an article to read about Degrowth Theory. Degrowth theory? said Alex, isn’t that an oxymoron? An oxymoron? said Blurtso. Yes, said Alex, a concept that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements; growth implies increase, “de” implies the opposite, so you might as well say decrease. The professor explained that, said Harlan, he said the word implies the increase of communities choosing to decrease their consumption, a world where more people choose to live a simpler lifestyle. What does that have to do with my greenhouse? said Blurtso. Your greenhouse, said Harlan, is a local, self-sustaining environment, you could live forever in this greenhouse if you chose to. Except, said Blurtso, for pumpkin pies. You could grow pumpkins, said Harlan. How would I cook them? You’d have to plant some fast-growing trees, said Harlan, and use the wood for fire. Or use solar energy, said Alex. Isn’t it hard to grow solar panels? said Blurtso. It’s impossible, said Harlan, but you could trade with others in the community who had what you need, and eventually reduce the size of your environmental hoofprint. My environmental hoofprint? said Blurtso, I don’t think my hoofs are too big.