Mix sea mud with manure. Put it in a bucket. Add sand, water and wires. And presto! You’ve got electricity.*
This strange invention can power a laptop or a light.
How does it work? The bacteria in the sea mud eat the manure. In the process, they give off electrons. The electrons travel to the wires, which lead to an electricity storage cell.
Humans give off electrons too, when digesting. But our electrons split oxygen atoms inside our bodies. This means you and I could not easily power a laptop.
In discussing this with my family, I observed...
“See? Sometimes we think that complicated things are more impressive and important. But, in this case, the simpler organism can do an important thing that the complicated one (us) can’t.”
There’s a lesson in that somewhere. Maybe even one which could help us consider caring better for creation, in both its complexity and simplicity.
*I heard this invention discussed on NPR, on January 13, 2007.
Photo by L.L. Barkat.