Earth Bucks: A New Economic Model

Even in dry country, water falls from the sky. Along the way, it imitates gophers. Yes, gophers. Here’s what the gophers are up to:

Sorting Rock!

It’s the season for moving out of home and starting a new hole, each to his own! As the gophers might say, if we were to haul all of our soil to the top of the hills and let it go, it would sort itself out nicely on the way down. Driveway dudes could catch it at the bottom. Greenhouse crafters could scoop it up at the top.

But I digress. The water has been playing this game, too:

Subdivision Curb

Do you see the sand caught in the cracks?

Well, here’s a look at what a curb might look like if it were part of a water screening operation:

Water Grate

Niftily sorting sand

Gravity is capable of doing a lot of work for us. Streets could be designed that sorted runoff into silts, sands, and gravel. They could even be designed to deposit it at convienent pick-up points. I don’t think this is a frivolous idea. We’re already doing the sorting … with petrochemicals and heavy, imported machinery. Neither the oil nor the machines it powers are free. It’s just that there’s a form of accounting that allows for their cost. What if we had a form of accounting that allowed for free work? Under such a system, the man who allowed this emergency fire access road to cut across his hillside of cheatgrass …

… might be economically rewarded for blocking the erosion that results. Three months, and look at it! Within a year we’ll have the Grand Canyon. As it is, he grazed his cattle on the new bunchgrass a month ago, but has pulled them off now that the cheatgrass, scourge of the West, has started up in the spring rains. Does that make sense? Don’t ask me…

Doe Enjoying a Cheat Grass Salad

And foregoing the nicely watered shrubberies next door to get it. This is the good stuff.

Now’s the time to send cheatgrass for a loop. But, as I said, don’t ask me. Ask the pros.

Sometimes the best things in life are free.


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