这些时刻大自然 因垃圾而繁荣




We’re not going to say garbage is good. It’s smelly and sticky, and the only people who love it are green hairy Muppets with poor interpersonal skills. But the good news is garbage isn’t always toxic. When we dump a bunch of our trash somewhere, that might not be the worst for nature. It might even be the best for nature.

我们不会说垃圾是好的。又臭又脏,唯一喜欢的人是人际交际能力很差的绿色毛茸Muppet。但是好消息是垃圾并不总是有害有毒的。当我们把 垃圾倒在某个地方时,也许对大自然来说并不 太糟糕。

A Lush Forest Sprang Up from an Orange Peel Dump

橙子皮垃圾堆上长出茂密 的森林

At the start of the 1990s, a juice company had a huge orange tree plantation up against a protected conservation area in Costa Rica. Tree plantations, while literally green, are not generally considered great for natural biodiversity. The juicing factory also produced tons and tons of waste, consisting of tons and tons of orange peels. They had to dump these peels somewhere, and a scientist brokered a solution. What if they were to give up some of their land to the conservation area? Then, the stewards of that area would take all that waste off the company’s hands, for free.

1980年代初期,一家橙汁厂在哥斯达黎加的一处保护区的对面种植了一大片的橙树园,。树木种植园,字面上来看是绿色的,通常被认为对于生态并不友好,。而橙汁的生产同样会产生成吨的 浪费,包含成吨的橙子皮。他们必须把橙子皮倒在什么地方,而此时一名科学家提出了解决方案。他们放弃一部分他们的土地给予保护区 怎么样?之後,那个地方的管理人员免费从公司手中拿走废料。

The juicing company agreed, and the conservation area handled the waste, by dumping 12,000 tons of it right on the protected land. This lasted right up until someone sued, saying that this was a crooked deal to defile a national park. The Costa Rica Supreme Court now put an end to the project.

橙汁公司同意了,而自然保护区接手了这些废料,以直接向保护区倾倒12000吨的方式 。这一直持续到有人起诉,声称这是破坏环境,这是玷污国家公园。于是哥斯达黎加法院终止了这个项目。

So, this was some dirty scheme that was justly stopped, right? Not exactly. The party who sued wasn’t really someone concerned about a national park but a rival juice company wanting to mess with their competitor. And those tons of orange peels, though waste, weren’t really hurting the area. They were decaying and supplying nutrients. A decade and a half later, scientists surveyed the area and found that the land where the peels had been dumped had thrived, with more than double the living biomass as the unsullied parts.


The forest had benefited hugely from the orange infusion, and this was with the original program having been quickly cut short. Clearly, whenever a law is passed to protect an area, we need to repeal it.

森林从橙子汁中获益良多,而且这还是在最初计划被缩短的情况下。显然,无论何时通过一项法律来保护一个地区 ,我们需要废除它。


Britain’s Most Biodiverse Spot Is an Industrial Waste Site


Humans destroyed Canvey Wick in a series of different ways. Canvey Wick is a corner of one island in England, and early in the 20th century, we used it as a dumping site for gunk pulled out of the Thames. Then it was going to be an oil refinery, so we laid down huge circles of asphalt that would become foundations for construction. Then the 1970s got too weird, so we abandoned the refinery plans and also abandoned the site. We’d apparently taken a marshland and ruined it.


But we hadn’t. Because the land that was left behind contained a mixture of soils more varied than anywhere else in the country. This resulted in what’s been dubbed a brownfield rain forest. It now fosters a wide array of species who live nowhere else in Britain. Species like otherwise unknown kinds of bees, and the bombardier beetle, which will blow noxious fluid from its belly at you in an audible explosion.


Or Hedychrum niemalei, a parasitic wasp, or a second type of wasp with carnivorous larvae, and... Okay, we just remembered nature is terrifying. Maybe we need to get that refinery built after all, so we have fuel for our flamethrowers.

或者是一种寄生蜂Hedychrum niemalei,或者一种食肉性胡蜂的第二形态,,还有,,,好吧,我们刚想起大自然是可怕的。也许我们最终还是需要那座精炼厂,所以我们可以给喷火器添加燃油。


NYC Drops Dead Subway Cars in the Ocean, for the Ocean’s Sake


Thousands of subway cars were in active use in New York City from 1964 all the way into the 21st century. Finally, the city took these aging clunkers out of service and buried them at sea:

数以千计的地铁车厢以各种方式从1964年到21世纪在纽约市频繁使用。最终, 这座城市让这些老旧的车厢退役,而且将之埋入海中。

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Okay, that doesn’t look like something the sea would appreciate. The smell alone from those cars renders them lethal to humans over extended periods; one could only imagine the effect they’d have on fish. But actually, we don’t need to imagine, because we’ve seen the result, and it looks pretty good:


This was not another mob scheme to dispose of NYC trash in the dead of night. It was a plan to build an artificial reef that would spark coral growth. These cars also provide plenty of room for medium fish to congregate (packed like sardines) without predators being able to squeeze their way in.


The program was a success. It turned out much better than, say, the time Florida tried making their own reef using old tires, and disaster ensued.


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Australian Parrots Have Moved to the City to Raid Dumpsters


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Our dumpsters provide food for all kinds of vermin. They attract rats, they attract roaches, and in Sydney over the past decade, they’ve started attracting sulphur-crested cockatoos. This is a bird normally associated with more wooded areas and looks a bit more fancy than your typical city pigeon.


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Cockatoos are smart. They won’t only peck at bags sticking out of dumpsters but have taught themselves to open sealed bins. They can also, on occasion, open windows, though we can’t imagine why they’d want to.


For now, the sight of one of these birds will strike the average Sydney dweller as a strange treat. Given time, however, we’ll surely all be socially conditioned to see them as pests. Raccoons are cute and we’d all love them if we saw them for the first time, but when a homeowner sees one scratching at their garbage cans, they reach for their gun. If you see a sulphur-crested cockatoo, you should also note that it might outlive you. These birds can live to be 100, while the average Australian will die in the next three years.

现在,看到一只这样的鸟对于一般的悉尼市民来说是一件奇怪的乐趣。然而,假以时日,我们一定会在社会上将之视为害虫。浣熊很可爱,每个第一次见到它的人都会喜欢它。但是当一个房主看到一只浣熊在他们的垃圾桶里乱翻的时候,他们 会伸手去拿枪。如果你看到一只凤头鹦鹉,你应当注意到它可能活得比你长。这些鹦鹉可以活到100岁,而澳大利亚人则会在未来的三年里死去。


The Lone Tomato


The island of Surtsey in Iceland is less than 60 years old. In 1963, underwater volcanos erupted, and we saw this new landmass poke its way through the surface. We named it after Surtr, from Norse mythology, because people in Iceland are pretty metal.

Surtsey on November 30, 1963, 16 days after the beginning of the eruption.


Though the island was pure barren stone, not much time passed before observers noticed life popping up on it. It started with moss, and then came lichen. Then came the insects. Seals from the ocean flopped up there to hang out. Decades later, the island had soil, with bushes and worms.


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Back in the 1960s, though, scientists detected life there skipping some steps in evolution. Ágúst Bjarnason came to the island and investigated a 5-inch plant that had sprouted. It was a tomato plant. That made no sense. Solanum lycopersicum was a New World plant originally, and it took centuries of sextive breeding to get it in the shape it is now. It couldn’t grow on a new, isolated island thanks to spores blowing in the wind. How had it got there?

然而1960年代,科学家们发现那里的生物跳过了一些进化的歩骤。Agust Bjarnason 来到了岛上发规了一株5 英尺高的植物。这是一株蕃茄 。这不科学。蕃茄一开始的时候是一株新世界的作物,花费了数个世纪才变成了现在这个样⼦。

The plant was growing out of some kind of organic lump. Bjarnason looked closer and realized it was a human turd. Some prior scientist had visited the island, defecated there and left behind both a tomato seed that had passed through his digestive tract and the fertile soil necessary to foster that seed into a seedling.


Let us rejoice at the thought of this stubborn tomato. We should all take it as evidence that nature is perfectly capable of dealing with our shit.