Editor’s Note: The Quackers are three awesome ducks — Rusty, Richard and Sydney — from the canals of Venice who are on a mission to educate the community about the dangers of global warming and the importance of practicing sustainability, all while surfing the most gnarly waves possible.

The last rain drops slid lazily across the leaves before dripping to the ground. As the dark clouds raced away patches of sunlight moved in to take their place. The trees stretched their branches higher, eager to bask in the rays of the returning sunlight.

The rain was gone. We were anxious to get back in the ocean even though we knew it would be several more days before it would be safe. When you are used to surfing everyday, waiting 72 hours after a storm because of all the chemicals in the water feels like an eternity. 

We needed something to take our minds off surfing and the wait. A game of Monopoly was the only thing all three of us could agree on. 

As we played Richard and I felt sorry for Rusty.   The “loss” seemed to be affecting him the most.  Every few minutes he would sigh and say something like, “Remember the good old days when we would catch waves all morning long? I sure miss those days.” Anyone would have thought it had been weeks instead of just days since we last surfed. All of a sudden in the middle of the game he just stopped playing and sat staring into space. We knew it was time to get Rusty moving and out of the house.

Nothing pleased him. He didn’t want to skateboard or ride our unicycles. When we suggested a swim at the pool he groaned then whined, “I can’t! Don’t you know the ripples in the water look like waves and that would make me think of the ocean and that would make me think of surfing? That’s just mean.”

It was Richard who finally remembered that the best way to reach Rusty was always through his stomach.  He coaxed him out of the house with the promise of the largest, ice blended, green tea boba that money could buy … if he took a walk with us.

Rusty clumped along behind us, shoulders sagging and head hanging low. Matter of fact that was exactly what he was doing when he found it. There it sat right in the middle of the sidewalk, a shiny black rock shaped like an egg.

Rusty shouted out with excitement. We ran back hoping it was money he had found.

At first we did not share his excitement. To us it was just a rock, but when we saw how happy it made him it became special for us too.

Rusty continued admiring his rock and happily declared he was starting a rock collection.

For the rest of the walk Rusty kept his eyes wide open and his nose to the ground. It was amazing the number of rocks he found just by walking down the street. They were all shapes, colors, sizes and textures. By the time we reached home all of our pockets bulged with his rocks.

He immediately jumped on the computer to learn more about rocks. Soon he said, “Did you guys know the whole Earth is made of rock?” Actually we didn’t. Then he told us there are three types of rock, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. That was news to us too. The rock he found turned out to be sedimentary.

As Rusty studied he came across a recent article on a rock called peridotite. Recently scientists discovered it has the amazing ability to absorb carbon dioxide, our main greenhouse gas! They found that when carbon dioxide comes into contact with peridotite it changes from a gas to a solid mineral, such as calcite. When Rusty read that it had the potential to become a significant tool in the fight against global warming, he really became excited.  

With more research Rusty found that peridotite was the most common rock found in the Earth’s mantle, the layer directly below the Earth’s crust. In some places it can also be found on the surface of the Earth. One of those places where a vast amount can be found is in the Middle East in Oman. It also shows up in the Pacific Islands of Papua and Caledonia and along the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

When Rusty read that California had surface peridotite but in smaller amounts, a funny look crossed his face. He thought for a while and said, “What if we had more surface peridotite in California? Wouldn’t that take care of all our greenhouse gases?” Before we could say anything he jumped up and ran outside. 

The next thing we knew Rusty was dragging miner’s lamps, pick axes and shovels in from the garage. He grabbed the phone as he yelled, “Do we have enough money in the checking account to rent a hydraulic excavator? Let’s get a move on!”

In theory it was a wonderful plan but we had to tell him no. It took some doing but we finally convinced him that the plan was too big, even for us but watch out, now he is recruiting volunteers.

Phyllis and the Quackers can be reached at phyllis@phyllischavez.com. The Quackers have a new, amazing Web site! Stories, pictures and a blog at www.thequackers.com.  

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