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In the World
A clock struck six AM. In hurried mode, Holtzclaw Wert aroused from his sleep and proceeded to get dressed. At sixteen, he had already achieved the Presidential Medal for the Environment. He locked in on a career as a professor and excelled at his studies. From the first time that he encountered a leaf on his shirt as a four-year-old, Wert wanted to study plants. His time as a junior botanist and agricultural pupil prepared him to tackle the world around him, but something nagged him. Something was amiss in the world. Why did everyone want to burn fossil fuels and damage the sacrosanct ground beneath his feet and the trees surrounding him and the air he breathed? He wished that his hands could meld into the folds of a hollowed out stump. He fantasized for the moment where he could become a swamp and house all the newts and salamanders and enshrine himself in the solitude of a murky morass.
A Bold Statement
Wert carried his phantasms with him from high school into college. As a sophomore student at Luther Burbank University in Dover, Delaware, Wert promoted the notion for a living space devoid of all connections to oil, gas, nuclear power, or anything else but solar and wind power. With his crew, Earth's Dearth, they carried a sign emblazoned with shocking highlighter and a bold statement that read “Life to Earth,” the group charged forth with the notion that all beasts and fowl and plants deserved all the glory and man; a seat at the table of humility. They fought with the conviction that the Earth was not man’s place to carve out into his own image, but to be looked at as a refuge from the onslaught of human action. From the petitions to local companies, they knew that they couldn’t say what they meant in a complete way.
They had to go about with an alleged appeal to the positive. They weren’t saying “Death to Man,” oh, no, they were promoting the vitality of the planet. Or so they claimed. Wert and his lot eked out an existence by growing plants and eating them straight from the gardens they grew. He met this crew as equals. Not in rights, but opportunities and outcomes. A junior at the college, Kirsten Angelina Wenders was the lead botanist on the team. She trained Wert on the chemical processes which went into agricultural engineering. Burt Temerson negotiated the various deals which the group financed through selling their fruits and vegetables on the streets of Dover, and rounding out the collective, Kenneth Lockton ensured that the press covered their protests. In reality, each member interchanged positions with each other. No hierarchy existed.
Task to Tackle
“We’ve got to grow grass, like weed,” Lockton said. “I’ve got a master strain that I’ve been dying to see grow to fruition.”
“We’ll have time for that, but we must focus on this Haley Square Stadium protest. That’s our main objective," Kirsten said. Earth’s Dearth, as they called themselves because they felt that they were what the planet lacked, would hold a gathering to advocate for the complete separation of man from planet. Their goal was to foster an understanding of how to deal with emissions from factories and businesses by telling entrepreneurs that their deeds hurt Mother Earth.
“We must act now,” Temerson said between tokes of a bong. “If we are to sustain an outreach to a like-minded society, then the time is calling for us to spring into action.”
Wert looked about the group. “We’ve got to hit the chemical plants. They’re doing the most damage. A strategy must be put in place to establish our intentions. Burt, I think this call's for you.”
“Yes. I’ve already phoned the dean’s office and I’m working on getting in touch with outside political leaders to see if they can support the cause,” he said.
“And I’ll print up some flyers and posters and placards to help spread the message,” Lockton said.
Around the dorm room, Earth’s Dearth scampered about trying to decide which project to start on, as they never could decide on which task to tackle. So, after about an hour or so of smoking, sleeping, and staring blankly, they came to the conclusion that Wert would handle all of the duties. He was always sober and kept the best grades, excluding Kirsten. He brushed some seeds and stems from his jacket and raised to his feet.
A Curt Tone
“I’ll do it for all of you,” he said. “Never fear when old Holzy has your backs.”
“HOLZY!” The three chimed at Wert. He gathered some papers and plans that had been strewn about the room. He struck out armed with the ideas and notions which had impelled the four that comprised Earth’s Dearth to seek justice. As cavalier as ever, Wert stomped all over campus. Wakened from their weekend slumbers, students all over went to their doors to see from where the pounding originated. He hounded down professors and admonished them for not taking a stand on the critical issue of the ecology. A man on a mission, Wert engaged with the faculty and the staff which took care of the stadium where the protest would take place. For a long time, Wert waited outside of offices for coaches to return. When coach Gip Trely came across Wert, he nearly knocked the frail student down to the ground.
“Coach Trely! I would like to discuss with you the possibility of my group’s rally to be held on the field,” Wert said with a curt tone of voice.
“Well, first you’re going to have to get the dean to sign off on that type of function. See me when you’ve got permission.” Coach Trely went into his office and closed the door in Wert’s face. He furrowed his brow and continued on his quest, unbothered by the coach’s demeanor.