Roland Stahl
April, 2020

     Oak:  Is there any recourse?  Is this plague of humanity going to destroy this fine planet of ours?  For so long they were relatively harmless, living off the land, eating enough of the other animals to keep them under control, and eventually planting annual crops to augment their diet.  But then they began propagating at an alarming rate, overgrowing their land, fighting one another with ever more deadly weapons, and then they began the Great Annihilation, during which they began the sustained slaughter of us trees, enlarging their own areas of occupation as our own acreage began to diminish, steadily and relentlessly, for all these years, with no end in sight.  Even as the desert encroaches, every last stand of trees is under threat.  This has continued unabated since the people came out of their trees and began to live and work in towns, doing all kinds of monkey mischief.  This Annihilation has accelerated recently, as people have figured out how to destroy trees by the millions of acres every year.  

     Cedar:  They don’t seem to realize that they are ruining the planet.  They don’t recognize any of the signs.  Life has been dying off at an accelerating rate for many years now ~ how can they be so stupid?  Is there any way these people can be stopped?  What are their weaknesses?  

     Fig:  Our greatest hope has been that they will kill each other off, but their weapons have become so deadly to life that if they use those weapons, the world as we know it will be biologically devastated, and none of us will ever recover our former health, if we survive at all.  

     Walnut:  Isn’t there some other way we can eliminate the threat posed by these people?  Instead of destroying them entirely, perhaps we could work out some peace agreement with them, by which they would limit the range of people on our planet.  If we could keep all people on special reservations, so that the rest of the planet may be unspoiled by them, perhaps the ecology of the planet could recover.

     Hemlock:  The problem with that is that it wouldn’t work unless the reservations were very few and very small.  In order for any peace to work, the race of humans would have to agree voluntarily to reduce their numbers to a much smaller population; and that is contrary to their nature, which is to survive, thrive, and increase.  Indeed, all of Nature works on that plan, but these human people have taken it to a dangerous extreme.  

     Maple:  I think the only long term solution is to find a predator for the human race, to keep them in control.  As long as they have no effective predators, they will just increase themselves into chaos, destruction, and oblivion, and take all the rest of us down with them when they go!

     Ginkgo:  That has been tried.  None of the big animals has had any chance against the people, but the small animals have had a better chance.  Numerous plagues over the years have tried their hand at diminishing the human race, and a few have had pretty good runs, but the people always seem to win in the end.  They actually track it down and contain it, until none is left alive.  

     Olive:  That isn’t entirely true ~ there are quite a few that are still out there.  They have learned how to change and adapt to different controls so they always manage to keep alive in pockets, ready to burst out again into virulence at any opportunity.  

     Cherry:  But few of them are very effective ~ they just nibble at mankind’s heels.  Our friends, the mosquitoes, the rats, and the bats, are doing their part, faithfully keeping those little beasts in circulation endlessly.  But what we need is something harder to control, something more contagious, and harder to treat.  

     Peach:  I think we need to use every ally we’ve got.  Harry them from all sides, to keep their numbers down.  Perhaps, all together, we can wear them down.  

     Banana:  How about some way of making them infertile?  That’s the main problem, after all.  If there weren’t so many of them, we might be able to tolerate them.  I think that none of your “little beasts” are going to have much effect on the human population unless they can find a way to impact their fertility.  Otherwise, no matter how much damage they inflict, a whole new generation of people will just come right back, like cockroaches.  

     Spruce:  That’s funny, Banana!  You ought to know how they will do it.  Once people lose their fertility, they will just figure out a way to propagate people in vitro, or something.  

     Hazelnut:  Perhaps there’s another way.  What if, somehow, people could learn the error of their ways?  Perhaps they might be made to realize their folly, and could voluntarily make some of the changes that will relieve the stress on all the rest of the biological life on the planet.  I know we usually think of people as monumentally stupid, but sometimes they seem to be pretty clever at figuring things out.  Maybe they will change their ways.

     Sequoia (winking at the olive trees):  I hope you are prepared to wait!  Judging from past experience, it may take anywhere from two to six millennia before they figure it out.  I don’t think the planet has that long, frankly.  If we don’t do something pretty quickly, then the collapse of life here will become irreversible.  It will be useless if people finally figure it out after it is too late to save the planet.  

     Beech:  And so, once again, we are reduced to our last hope ~ the deus ex machina.  

     Mango:  If only the Gardener would come back!  This world has never been the same since the Gardener left.  She would know how to deal with the people problem.  


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