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.
What are you doing? said Harlan. I’m grazing, said Blurtso, I’ve got to get this grass under control. What about school? said Harlan. School will have to wait, said Blurtso. O.k., said Harlan, I’ll take notes for you… is there anything you need? No, said Blurtso, I’ve got plenty to eat, and the snow will quench my thirst. O.k., said Harlan, I’ll tell the professor why you’re absent. Thanks, said Blurtso.
Hello, said the professor. Hello, said Blurtso. Your roommate told me why you missed class, said the professor. I’m sorry, said Blurtso, but this greenhouse is my responsibility. Your responsibility? said the professor. Yes, said Blurtso, it was entrusted to me, and I’ve neglected it too long. I admire your sense of duty, said the professor, but your grade will suffer. That is a price, said Blurtso, I’m prepared to pay. On the other hand, said the professor, I might be able to give you service-learning credit. Service-learning credit? said Blurtso. Yes, said the professor, for doing something that benefits the community. How does this benefit the community? Your greenhouse, said the professor, could be a model for self-sustainability in Cambridge. A model? said Blurtso. Yes, said the professor, but you’d have to be willing to talk to people about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. I’m doing it, said Blurtso, because I waited too long, and I can’t wait any longer. Exactly, said the professor.