Recycling: Boosting the Sea’s Food Chain
The sun hadn’t yet reached up to horizon’s lip when I met Samuel on the beach. He stunk of strong rum and half the beer in Bridgetown.
“I couldn’t sleep”, he said through puffed grey hard- seeing eyes, his face lined like the Orinoco delta, his nearly white beard bedraggled like a heap of wet cane chaff. He was a ‘dropout’ professor of anthropology.
“What have you thought of this time?” I asked, hesitantly. You never knew what you’d get out of Samuel when he’d been doing his best to drink down the town all night. Drinking loosens his brain waves, if you get what I mean.
“The fish,” he says. “This time it’s to do with the fish, and how we should think about giving back to the sea what we take from her daily. Fish stocks ‘going through’ on a world scale, as you know.” he says.
“Fish stocks, timber from the Amazon, petroleum, fresh water, ….” I was about giving him my list.
“And the main reason,” he cut across my words like a cutlass swipe, and repeated,
“ And the main reason ?” His blood shot eyes glared into me for an answer.
“World Human Population spread?” I murmured.
Samuel buried his head in the sea at our feet. Small fish flicked off and away each side of him. And who could blame them? Fish can smell too.
“Think about it, Rawdon,” he said, spitting out water. He always got my name wrong. “Instead of us using up timber and holes in the ground to burry ourselves, we need to give our corpses back to the sea.”
Well I’d thought about that myself, several times, so I asked him how he would do it.
“Chum!” He said. “All you need is a powerful grinder about the size of a 747 jet engine, and designed on the same principle. Chum is the answer. The body goes in one end, chum out the other, blasted out into deep sea water, simple! Simple as sprat food ! Done!”
“Thrilling,” I said, amused,… pondering.
Samuel had a valid idea. Look at the advantages. Saves timber for billions of coffins, saves the huge amount of energy used in cremation and the carbon exhaust and smog that goes with it, leaves land for farming instead of graveyards, allows the human body to recycle quickly back where it came from, and, above all, feeds the micro organisms at the start of the food chain in the sea.
“I’ll shake your hand on that one Samuel. But who is going to listen to us?”
“What happens when the crabs and fish all done?” he answers, the glint of early coppery sun giving him the regal glowing charm of a ,… Neptune.
“ I need another drink,” he says. I needed some fresh air, I thought, and wishing him farewell, left him contemplating restless sea.