Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There Just Ain't No Justice

For a few weeks each year nature sends notice that winter approaches. Temperatures begin to drop, squirrels rummage for food to fill their larders for the coming winter, and it's all heralded by a dramatic show of autumnal color.

In reality we are witnessing a heinous crime.

The Unfair, Cruel and Inhumane Manufacturing Employment Practices of the Common Deciduous Tree
It's a sad example of how a factory employs workers when times are good and discards them the moment things get a bit difficult.

The industry of turning water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis. Trees excel at this business. Roots are drilled to take water from the ground and leaves are employed to extract carbon dioxide from the air and use the sunlight they absorb to turn the water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Leaves are hard workers. They toil tirelessly seven days a week from sun up to sundown without overtime pay, health care, sick days, lunch or dinner breaks, vacations at the beach or chance for promotion.

Both oxygen and glucose (sugar) are highly valuable products. The tree finds a ready market for the oxygen (people use it to live and breathe) and uses the sugar either for maple syrup, or to open up new branches. When everything is hunky dory and the raw materials are plentiful, the leaves of deciduous trees are kept rich with the promise of endless chlorophyll for all.

But this turns out to be just a ruse on the part of the tree's management team.

In the autumn when the days get shorter and dryer, management gets the jitters and begins to think about curbing production until the supply of raw materials and cheap energy is back to where they like it (and to ensure their year-end bonuses are safe). While they have enough product stored in their trunks to sustain them until next year, they say they can't afford to feed unproductive workers. They need to cut costs. So what do they do? They shut down the shop floor. The supply of green chlorophyll is cold-bloodedly shut off from the leaves, leaving them a ghastly yellow and orange color. They're left out in the cold to whither and die silently and drift to the ground to be cursed at by people who have to rake.

This happens every year.