Earth is a Green Planet
Earth is a green planet. There was a period of human history in which the planet had a lovely balance of green and blue with just a hint of white at either end, but a little over 2,000 years after Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross for giving too much of a damn, the white had vanished entirely. Human beings loved the color green. In fact, they were so fond of it that they decided that, as a species, it was a necessity that they were to save the color green from extinction. They didn’t want to end up like the polar bears (Their favorite color was white).
Due to a desperate change in corporate morals,
megacorporations of the time suddenly changed their business models from unsustainable consumerism to capitalizing on conservation. You may ask how one does this. Well, it’s a lot of moving parts. Most people don’t understand the business side of a green planet, but they get their bill at the end of the month and they pay it in full. This is how the earth became so green. In fact, the very last surface of the ocean that stubbornly stayed blue was finally covered in gorgeous flowering algae the same day Julie Ann Albright started her very first day at the
recently renamed Greengle corporation as a Vision Capture Analyst.
Walking to her first day in the office, Julie was amazed by the beauty of the Greengle headquarters’ grounds in the lush Jungles of Silicon Valley. The sprawling complex was composed of perfectly polished platinum steel which sparkled pure white against the sun’s (significantly less than before) harsh beams of light. The platinum beams were interwoven with lush gardens of raining branches and vines that would amaze even the most staunch treehuggers and the numerous water features wafted the scent of brominated water through the open air. Julie paid no mind to her usual frugality when taking in her surroundings because, as a new specialist working in the central headquarters, any greenery planted by Greengle was free for Julie’s viewing pleasure. In fact, the main reason she got this job was that Greengle has recently taken over the landscaping of Julie’s neighborhood and she wasn’t financially capable of keeping up with all the new flora introduced into her community. She’ll be able to keep her AmazonRainforest™ Deluxe Apartment now that she has been granted amnesty from Greengle. Walking closer to the front doors, Julie ran into a familiar face.
“Good morning, Julie,” Greeted Julie’s greatest friend, Natalia, who came to wish her a happy first day on the job.
After their eyes met, Natalia immediately shut hers. She’s saving up for a new garden overhaul in her backyard. Plus, she needs to keep paying her monthly subscription for the weeping willow that Julie loves so dearly.
“Natalia, how splendid!” Julie acknowledged with her well of eternal optimism.
“I’m just so proud of you I had to see your face before the big day!” Natalia squinted open her eyes to see the toothy grin Julie had adopted.
“My girl, you are an absolute treasure,” Julie proclaimed and the two women hugged. “I really should get moving, though. I don’t want to be late on the first day. First impressions are important you know. I’ll see you tonight!” Julie patted her shoulder and ran off before she could hear Natalia’s response. Of course, Natalia had no way of knowing this with her eyes closed.
“See you around,” Natalia said blindly.
Inside, the Greengle Tech Center was wildly out of date. Screens covered almost every wall and servers hummed at wildly high temperatures. The flooring was all but crumbling into bits and the air reeked of stale corn chips. One could say a titan had fallen, but Greengle would prefer to say the titan adapted, just like the human being no longer needing their 5th toe. The
Greengle Tech Center and the rest of silicon valley was the world’s pinkie-toe.
Upon her entrance into the facilities, a security guard asked for Julie’s identification. She, not yet having identification, was shuffled into a side room alongside about a baker’s dozen other new recruits. The room was entirely white except for the old-style chalkboard about 2 meters in front of them which of course was that unmistakable shade of greenish black every chalkboard is. Each recruit thought to itself that it should say hello to the others, but in the end, none said a word to the other. Not even Julie.
About fifteen minutes later, an established member of Greengle finally strolled into the room. He was wearing the iconic hemp-derived, green Greengle jumpsuit. This uniform was said to keep workers performing at a better standard than before when much of the time at Greengle was spent trying to feel better than your coworkers, plus the classic coloring was a reminder of the top priority of Greengle: Make the world a Greener place.
“Good morning to y’all, the newest and brightest workers the world has to offer,” The supervisor greeted. “You’ve managed to join our team on a landmark occasion. Just a few hours ago, Greengle algae has grown over the last uncovered square foot of
the ocean’s surface. Today, the world is entirely green, and now we put it into your hands.”
This news sent goosebumps through the crowd. For people like Julie, it was out of excitement and accomplishment. In others, it was more hesitant. The type of hesitancy that leads you to be bold enough to raise your hand on the first day.
“Yes, the person with their hand up?” Called out the supervisor.
“What about the fish?” A fellow recruit challenged. “I beg your pardon?” Asked the supervisor, stunned. “What about the fish? Or rather more pressingly, what about
the whales, and dolphins, and porpoises, and all the other sea creatures that rely on open water?” He pressed further. “We’re saving the planet.” The supervisor reassured. “Aren’t they part of the planet as well?” This final question clearly crossed a line. The stale corn chip air was silenced for much longer than expected.
“Enough,” The spokesperson clapped their hands like an animal trainer, and the security guard who was checking identification earlier rushed into the room and carried away the rebel. “Any more questions?” They asked. At that moment there were no more questions that needed to be asked. “Great let’s continue. So you are all very well versed on the ancient art of computer sciences. Though our company has progressed past the
expansive need for new code, you will all have the great pleasure of working alongside the beasts themselves within our computer lab.”
After about an hour-long introduction and orientation within that little room, Julie and her fellow coworkers were finally brought to their brand new workstations. Julie’s, though a bit cramped, had enough room for her monitor, a control board, a policy manual, and her company-branded pad of elephant dung paper. People paid big money for this stuff, but it was offered to her for free, how exciting! Not too long later, Julie began her first proper moments of work. As outlined by her introductory meeting she was to be monitoring the visuals of various Greengle clients which, yes, was limited to the entire world population. Although, Julie only had to worry about patrons in sector 4069384830832, which included her very own neighborhood. How quaint?
You see, in the name of saving the planet, much of the human population opted to install permanent lenses over their eyeballs. Within these lenses was the technology to monitor each individual's sightlines, this is how companies began to identify where and where not to focus their resources when it came to pollution and deforestation. It worked for a while. So naturally, most people implanted these lenses into their
children from birth. Natal units have an excess supply of these optical lenses and are ready to perform the simple procedure at the drop of a hat. Over the years, it became less important to the actual cause of saving the planet, but humans are creatures of habit so the procedure was grandfathered in with the many other useless rituals humans perform in their lifetime. It’s all very much in the vein of circumcision.
Julie had always been aware that companies tracked her every vision, yet being on the other end of it sent a slight chill down her spine, especially when her display read the name Natalia Everglenn and she was met with the blurry image of herself through Natalia’s squinted eyes. Behind the image of herself were the Greengle tech facilities. This feed was from that very morning. And though the greenery alongside the building was indeed very blurry, Julie knew it was the seeded eucalyptus that lined the outside of the Greengle tech building. According to her training, if a plant can be identified by the analyst it is to be marked as viewed in the books so that it can then be properly billed to the viewer. Julie did just that.
“Very good, Julie.” Mouthed the supervisor quietly enough so as to not disturb the work of those around them.
Julie thought it wouldn’t be wise to interrupt her own work with a gratuitous response. Instead, she shook her head up and down.
After that initial scene, the monitor changed its image. A view of a backyard deeply familiar to Julie from the hundreds of times she had joined Natalia for evening tea on her patio. The scene was yet again of Natalia this time hard at work planting new violets into the recently emptied flower beds all over her garden. Julie wondered to herself how in the world Natalia could afford all these new seeds when she didn’t even work. Her husband certainly wasn’t making enough as a neighborhood landscaper for them to privately upgrade their own landscape and public greenery was outlawed almost a decade ago.
After her run-in with the neighbor, Julie moved on to the next incident flagged for approval. This time it was not Natalia. Julie was relieved as she did not want to spy on every moment of her best friend’s day. Now, the monitor displayed a scientist studying the verdant vistas of the recently defrosted continent of Antarctica. His permanent address must be in Julie’s sector. How exciting for her that she gets to see a window into a life so unique to her own.
He was plucking fruit from the Greengle pear trees in his research compound. Each pair was rated with a percentage of ripeness by the viewing glass in his eye. Julie spent
considerable time calculating the amount of fruit, their percentage of ripeness, and their corresponding price point. When large batches like this are plucked, it's best for greengle to have a human eye confirm the AI’s findings. She wondered what he was to do with his bounty. Was he to make a pear cobbler? A pie? Maybe even fruit salad? After the fruit is charged for picking it is no longer considered merchandise and therefore is no longer monitored by greengle glass lenses.
After the considerable time spent with the mathematics of pear trees, Julie’s monitor found itself with vertigo as she examined a construction worker high above the city on a platinum beam. He was installing the aquaponics system throughout the hollow innards of the greenery-sustaining metal. Way down below the worker was the many different transports carrying the foliage on their backs to be installed onto the giant dish-like ceiling he was replumbing due to increased rain. This situation fell into a grey area. Because The worker was installing Greengle foliage he was technically working for the company but because he wasn’t on the payroll and he wasn’t legally given amnesty so there was no federal law sparing him from the charges. Julie needed this job, so she did what she could to ally herself with its wants and needs by charging the worker’s account every time even a glimpse of the far-off Ivy edged into his vision.
This about brought Julie to the end of her half day of work. While exiting the cave-like room that was the screening room, each worker was greeted by the behemoth screen that publically displayed the performance rating of everyone to everyone. Julie was at the top.
Imagine being a child on Christmas morning and running down the stairs to see that Santa had brought you more presents than you expected. That is the magic that Julie felt that afternoon.
As invited earlier, Julie made her way back to Natalia’s porch for evening tea. The garden’s new flowers and fruity saplings transformed the vibe of the little patch of green almost entirely over Julie’s 4-hour shift.
“How’s the Job?” Natalia extended the obligatory formality, though Julie now knew Natalia had no interest in Greengle. “It’s oddly exciting. It brings me a whole new perspective. But I guess that’s what happens when you get to literally look through your neighbor’s eyes.”
“Really that life-changing? What type of business are our neighbors up to?”
“Well, George working atop the new doughnut downtown, that quiet guy at the end of the street is studying pears, but get
this,” Julie took a breath as her eyes got big, “He’s doing it in Antarctica.”
“Wait really you saw all of that?”
“Yes and I even saw you planting these very violets.” Julie gestured to the newly manicured yard.
“Oh, you’ve literally spent all day watching us?” The normal face Natalia wore around Julie had been shattered. “You watched me plant these?”
“Yes.” Julie pointed to her eyes. “Don’t you know-” “Of course, I know about the lenses. I didn’t think there was a desk job with a drone sitting and surveying my every move!” Natalia sweated. A beat of silence passed like the light evening breeze that started to tickle the willow that was designated for removal the next week. Natalia composed herself. “That’s splendid that you get to be such a close part of our day.” Natalia smiled while crossing her ankles.
“It’ll help me feel like I’m seeing more than just my apartment walls, you know?” Julie prattled on.
“Is your tea empty?” Natalia focused on Julie’s half-full teacup.
“It’s getting a little drafty out here. Maybe you should be heading home,” Natalia further implored.
“I think it’s a nice end to a rather warm day.” Julie wasn’t the brightest when it came to social cues. “Well with the draft and a half-empty cup, that tea’s got to be getting cold.”
“It’s quite warm still, actually.”
“But it won’t be for long. Uh, let me head inside and warm up the pot.” Natalia grabbed her mother’s antique tea set and brought it inside to her kitchen. “Make yourself comfortable out there, I’m going to warm up the pot.”
“Sure,” Julie Ann Albright smiled.
Left with no better option, Julie surveyed the new foliage in the garden. The violets were an odd shade of mauve rather than the bright, well, violet, but their petals were so perfectly groomed that she excused them. Then exploring the saplings that stood at roughly her waist, she couldn’t figure out what sort of tree it would become.
After about a minute of trying to remember the various natal states of many different species of tree, Julie was interrupted by the sudden and boisterous sound of Natalia’s in-home communicator from inside the trapezoidal house. Assuming it would be a little while longer now, she kept sweeping through the garden until she found the discarded cardboard of a label.
On the white arrow-shaped piece, Pyrus Communis was scribbled in the messy handwriting of a permanent marker.
Pyrus Communis: A Pear Tree.
Julie had two options now. Let her longtime friend and high tea buddy get away with her crimes against nature, or turn a blind eye.
A few moments later Natalia finally returned with a warmed teapot.
“Sorry for the delay my stovetop is becoming finicky.” Natalia apologized. Julie did not respond. Instead, she stood entirely still holding up the pear tree label. “What is that?”
“A label from your new saplings isn’t it, Nat,” tears began to well at the edge of Julie’s glass-like eyes. “Or please correct me if I’m wrong.”
“We’re making a difference, Jules,” Natalia pleaded. “Greengle has done so much for us. The world has been saved and is the greenest it has ever been because of them. You have to trust the work we do there.”
“There’s another way.”
“Communal planting? When we put the arteries of our world into the hands of the people. They clog them up and slowly kill the planet.”
“We’re doing good. We’re liberating ourselves from an unjust monopoly.” Natalia’s voice had reached the volume of yelling.
“You’re my best friend,” Natalia addressed while returning to her seat and sipping her cup of tea. “One instance of communal planting won’t shatter the structure of eco-economics.” Julie chose her words so as to not align herself with a side of this argument. She was indeed now a worker, she couldn’t afford to state an opinion.
“Thank you for understanding.” Natalia assumed Julie had seen the light.
Of course, you and I know that if enough slipped through the cracks then all the hard work that the humans had done to save their precious green would have been for naught. Think of the polar bears!
The next day Julie went to work and did exactly as told.
The earth stayed green for the next millennia. The humans didn’t stick around that long. The insects stuck around the longest as the carbon dioxide multiplied and greenery began turning brown, but in the end, they too vanished. Earth was left with mushy tones of brown until the earth was no color for it
was reverted to nothing by the explosion of its own life-sustaining star. Yet for humans, the Earth is a green planet.
Aiden Cordon is a writer and student at Columbia College
Chicago. He is best known for crafting YA Fantasy adventures as
well as messing with the genres of magical realism and
speculative fiction. Currently, he is hard at work on his novel
debut novel. Aiden grew up in northern Illinois on the border of
two corn towns, Joliet and Minooka. There he learned the value
of escapism for the low-income queer mind. When he isn’t busy
forcing the Homosexual-Marxist Agenda upon the youth, he’s
focused on learning cool lightsaber tricks and learning about