It’s time to start polluting the Fox River again

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Disclaimer: This article is a work of satire. 

A year ago, almost to the day, Ed Berthiaume wrote an article on Lawrence’s website in which he argues that the river bugs which cause a plague of biblical proportions each spring on campus are actually a sign of environmental progress, since their large numbers show that the Fox River is able to support quite a bit of life. This is great news! I am happy for the environment and proud of Lawrence and the surrounding community for reversing a century-long trend of pollution causing poor river health on our campus. I look forward to seeing how Lawrence continues to move forward towards its environmental goals like installing solar panels, our Net Zero Björklunden project and commitment to carbon neutrality.  

And yet, I can’t stop thinking about how every day the river bugs remain dormant in the Fox, their numbers grow. The plague had already started by this time last year, and was almost unbearable. If my options are to suffer for two days or kill the Earth, the choice is obvious. We have to start polluting the Fox River again.  

Before the river started getting healthy, we had been doing this for like 150 years, so we should be pretty good at it, but I have lots of ideas to get the ball rolling. The first is simple. This campus creates a ton of garbage, so rather than pay top dollar to have it hauled away to sit in some dump or incinerator somewhere doing nothing, or worse yet, send it on a barge over to China or Malaysia and help their economies, we could be putting our garbage to good use right here on American soil! Into the Fox it goes! We could make an event out of it: there’s nothing physicists and engineers like better than to make slingshots and catapults able to hurl enormous amounts of material over long distances, so what better way to celebrate our wonderful STEM program than to sponsor a contest? Members of the team able to construct the machine that throws the most amount of trash from the Main Hall Green into the Fox win massive scholarships and free t-shirts. Instagram will love that.  

Another option is to disrupt the ecosystem more directly. You may be familiar with the recent event in which a TikToker released 250,000 ladybugs into Central Park for less than $200, and while sure, that’s “environmental terrorism” or whatever nerds are calling it these days, it would get the job done. The ladybugs would eat all the food before the river bugs could get to it, and while a plague of ladybugs is not that much better than a plague of river bugs, at least ladybugs are cute. Again, Instagram would be pleased.  

With that said, it doesn’t have to be ladybugs. Any creature as small and stupid as the river bug is bound to have many natural predators like fish, birds and spiders. If ladybugs are cheap, I can’t imagine spiders are very expensive, and releasing thousands of fish into the Fox would be a great source of fun and food alike! Imagine being able to go fishing right in our own backyard; and if we released enough, we could even sell them to the school to put in the dining halls. Eating locally is great for the environment.  

My last suggestion makes the most sense of all. Our sewer system seems to be falling apart before our very eyes, so let’s kill two birds with one stone and redirect the sewage system directly into the river. According to research, the average person produces around six pounds of feces per week. This research does not account for people who eat fourteen meals a week at the Andrew Commons, so let’s multiply by four to get a more accurate estimate for your average Lawrentian. There are around 1,500 of us who are here for around 33 weeks of the year, so by my calculations that’s 1,188,000 pounds of shit per year that we can dump right into the river. If that doesn’t do the little fuckers in, God knows nothing will.  

Stay safe out there, and every time you swallow a bug this spring, remember that this all could be avoided with just three simple steps.