Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Are you awake? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. Have you ever thought about suicide? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. Why do you think people do it? I don’t know, said Harlan, I suppose we all need a reason, at least one pure activity to go on living. One activity? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. Like what? said Blurtso. Like anything, said Harlan, love is an activity.
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.