Planet Earth Protectors, The River's End

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Teplan’s dad led everyone towards the side of the house and through a door leading into the A-frame garage. He flipped a switch and lights came on in the back half of the garage. Along the back wall was a long counter with stools tucked underneath. At each stool was a workstation with its own extendable light and extendable magnifying glass laying in waiting. There were compartments that ran along the back of the counter filled with soil, rocks, and small tools.

Teplan’s dad sat down, opened the drawer in front of him and took out two droppers, two spoons, two small pieces of glass, and a little scale. The small glass plates became the observation decks for a small spoonful of the soil from the river and the soil from the farm.

He pulled a key out his pocket and opened a compartment built right into the back wall of the workstation.

Carefully removing three small glass bottles, he explained: “These bottles will test for different chemicals in the soil and tell us how polluted it is.”

Mr. Guard, using the dropper, sucked up some fluid from the first bottle and dropped a droplet onto each pile of soil.

“I’ll drop a portion onto the soil samples and if the soil doesn’t bubble, it means it has no oxygen.” Everyone leaned in closer so they wouldn’t miss what would happen.

No bubbles.

“Hmmm, that’s not good,” Mr. Guard said as he reached for the second glass bottle. “When the contents of this bottle mixes with the soil and the soil falls apart, it means the soil has the proper amount of nutrients. If it doesn’t fall apart but turns lumpy, it means the particles in the soil are empty, and it’s basically dead.”

Again, everyone leaned in close to watch. Mr. Guard dropped five droplets onto each pile. All four of them watched without blinking. The soil did not clump, but looked like it actually got harder.

“That’s not good either,” said Mr. Guard. “I want to do one more test. If there are any pollutants in this soil, they’ll turn bright in color.”

Mr. Guard took out some of his own potting soil and pulled the large magnifying glass over top. “First, we’ll try it on some potting soil to show what it’s supposed to look like.”

Everyone’s eyes were glued to the potting soil under the magnifying glass.

Mr. Guard added a drop of the third bottle to the potting soil. Nothing happened. “See? This potting soil doesn’t have any pollutants or contaminants at all.”

He then dropped the same amount onto each sample: one from the sample they managed to scoop from the river and one from the piles of mud stuck to their clothes from the big pig farm. They stared at the magnifying glass, waiting. After a moment, it looked as if someone had plugged the mud into a wall in December because the soil lit up like a Christmas tree before their very eyes.

“Wow,” Mr. Guard mumbled. “Each color means a different contaminant.”

All began counting colors.

“It’s no wonder nothing lives at the river anymore,” Terah said.

While staring at the soil samples on the table, Teplan turned to everyone. “So, we can prove that the soil from the river is the same soil at the big pig farm, and that the soil is super polluted. We must be able to stop them now, right?”

Everyone went silent thinking about what he had just said.

They all looked at each other with raised eyebrows and nodded their heads.

Mr. Freedden held up his forefinger as if to tell everyone to hold on — he had an idea. “What about writing a letter to the media explaining that the big pig farm is buying illegal Clean Soil Certificates and is polluting and ruining our land and rivers and we have the evidence to prove it? We can send the letter to my friends at the newspapers. Actually, we need to tell as many people as we can that this is going on. If people know this is happening, they’ll want it to stop!”

“That’s a great idea!” Terah exclaimed.

“We’ll get started on the letter right away!” Teplan added.

Mr. Guard recorded all the soil findings on his laptop and put all the tests into the compartments of a tin box. He put the tin box into a safe underneath the table, locked it and they all went back to the house.

In the front living room, Mr. Freedden and Mr. Guard opened their laptops and began gathering email addresses of media outlets all over the world. Teplan and Terah sat down beside them and together whipped the following:

Dear Friends,

We are writing to let you know about an atrocity that is happening right now, in our own backyard.

Our land and rivers are being ruined!

The big pig farm is putting way too much nitrogen on the soil and it is killing it. Once the soil dies, the nitrogen then seeps into the river and kills everything there, too!

To top it off, the pig farm is buying illegal Clean Soil Certificates! That means there is something wrong with the soil. They need to be stopped and we have the proof to do it! Please help us stop these polluters and please contact your government representative to ask for an investigation into this matter.

Together we can all make a difference.

Thank you.


The Guards and The Freeddens

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