Un-Un-Cat, Episode 21. — The White House Lawn.

The minute the previous administration vacated the White House an impressive private army of carefully screened grounds crew, gardeners, botanists, and naturalists selected from nationally renowned horticulture, native plant organizations, and ecological gardening groups moved in and began cutting up the sod of all the lawns. The team worked quickly and efficiently, moving the grass and trucking it away to install in planned out chunks on new green roofs with greywater systems on carefully prepared root-tops on government buildings around D.C. where it would grow un-cut for her term as POTUS.

U.G. knew this was extra work, but she wanted to not kill the grass, the grass itself is not the enemy, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, lawnmowers and leaf blowers that cause both carbon emission pollution and noise pollution are what needs to change to save the health of the soil and water. She also asked the gardeners to keep most of the existing fauna, hedges, and trees to be incorporated into the planning of the native plants, never mowed, wild yard.

Immediately preceding the inauguration many news stories shifted focus to the crowds gathering around the fence peeking in between the bars to witness the entire White House lawn turn to brown dirt. As soon as they had cleared off the grass, gardeners with surveyor’s equipment began measuring and marking the area around the White House grounds with posts and colored string. They also removed the old in-ground sprinkler system to be replaced with a drip irrigation greywater system for the most thirsty plants in the yard. Then dump trucks of soil, sand, mulch, sawdust, and bark chips were raked in layers to form garden beds, walking paths, and a couple of duck ponds. They didn’t finish with all the dirt moving before sunset on the first day, but they made substantial progress.

President Green’s transition team had asked months in advance for the gardeners to prepare an announcement for the evening news. The biologists and nature organizations each had a line or two to read in the PSA (public service announcement). And U.G. spoke first.

“Dear America,

I am a believer of actions speaking louder than words. Today we are installing an all American native plant and wildflower walking garden to replace the old European style mowed White House lawn. This is important because the White House lawn is simultaneously symbolic and actual, one small plot of plants to help save the bees, the native pollinators and all the small creatures at the base of our ecosystem.

The lawn here is an example of Native plant gardening in the public eye to serve as a symbol for a movement every American who has any space to grow plants in, can participate in, to help preserve the soil, water and small creature around their homes and businesses.

100% of the work here on our lawn and the cost is being done with grants from our Nation’s’ leading gardening, plant nurseries, nature conservation groups, and biology organizations. A plan had been drawn out and each area of plants will be marked along the walking paths with little placards.

A time-lapse video of the White House Lawn transformation will be posted after the four-year project is complete. All the work will be done with people power as much as is physically possible and realistic. Wheelbarrows, wagons, shovels, rakes, hand mowing, and hand trimming tools. Let’s make the shovel and the rake be our new exercise instead of treadmills and gym equipment.

As we add plants we will also be adding hatches of butterflies, and other carefully selected insects, and tadpoles and salamanders to the ponds, as well as using ladybugs and other natural plant symbioses instead of any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Check out our instructional videos, we’ll show you how to make a native plant yard in your area too.

The soil has been prepared and well-composted to mulch. U.G. doesn’t want the area around the White House to smell like animal manure or fish fertilizer.

Everything we do, all the biology and science for all the plants and critters we study here will be posted at White House slash lawn. Seeds from seed banks and wildflowers will be available to purchase for your own yards, and window planter boxes, and green roofs, not for profit, but to save the bees and the base of the natural food chain all across America.

We will also share how to properly collect seeds and plants from land before construction projects and other sites many might not think to gather plants from to grow native plant yards appropriate for each climate region as well as links to participating nature organizations and nurseries in every state. Let work together to save the bees and the small creatures in the soil all across the country and unlike many things we can do to have a fighting chance against climate change we can do this nearly for free, and some people will save money they would have spent on their lawns by not having to mow, feed or water. There is an estimated 52 million square acres of lawn in the US. Just imagine how many square miles of ground we can give back to nature if everyone participated with even half of the area of their current mowed lawns given back to nature.”

The video was cut together from gardens and nurseries all over the US. With the beginning and ending clips featuring U.G. in her own greenhouse porch and yard of wildflowers, she and Lee had planted and maintained around her house.

Meanwhile while the public and mainstream news was freaking-out about the dirt moving around outside, inside the White House President Green was focused on the execution of a several-month-long information gathering project about how to be the best Commander in Chief she could be for the United States military. She had been listening and gathering information, sorting the data and doing the math for her entire political career. She had been perfecting a system that allowed people to communicate data and tell their story in a way that felt was most comfortable to them.

To explain, it is a statistically based fact that more than 85% of all surveys are completed by less than 12% of the population. The percentage of people who answer surveys gets smaller with the number of questions in a survey and the rate the questions repeat and overlap. I.e. repeating the same question in multiple ways. Predominantly those who are OCD, (obsessive compulsive disorder) are the only type of personality to feel obligated to make it to the end of lengthy surveys. Most people only answer a few questions, get bored or angry and click boxes as fast as they can to get the screen to close or don’t fill out surveys at all.

U.G. and the telepathic AI-Critter had figured out years ago that the best way to get information, is to let people choose how to bring what they need to say, to you.

Some people are verbal communicators. They are often “phone-people” and choose to call and talk if they are given the option. Others need to process by writing everything down and communicate best via written letters. A third group, the worst of whom are now trolls and used to be the mob with pitchforks before the invention of the internet. This group, innocent intentions or not, they prefer to instant message, comment and chat into the ether of social media. The best social media agitators are not anonymous protesters, they are the revolution who make history. But, it takes all three types, the speechmakers, the writers, and the activists to make society whole and healthy.

The AI-critter likes to joke that these three groups are “vent types”, as in people choose how to vent, and depending on if they need to remain anonymous to survive or not, many will do a combination of these three approaches to communicate their story.

The US military makes up a small highly trained, specialized sector of the American population. U.G. wanted feedback from at least 10%, but preferably 15% to make sure to get at least 3% of data past the compulsively obligated survey and paperwork filers. She made the effort to personally explain to the generals and secret service that she had big plans for the military and she needed to hear from them first. To be the best leader she could be, she needed the military themselves to personally weigh in on anything they felt important for the betterment of the nation as specifically correlated with them, before she started giving orders.

She explained to the generals and the heads of the secret service, both FBI and CIA and including ICE and the Coast Guard, that she was requesting feedback from every level of military personnel. She explained via both written memo and video that she was asking them to answer any part of one or more of five topic questions that interested them, in any way they liked: an official military email, a voice mail, a video, a security protected private chat forum, and if need be some would be meeting with her to deliver their messages in person in the manner they personally felt most comfortable with and all data would be viewed, read, listened to and sorted in the situation room, by a team who would do nothing else until the “survey” data was sorted.

President Green’s five questions for the military were:

  1. Domestic military experience and skills; what is the most important work that we should do for the Nation?
  2. The American military presence abroad; what is the most important work that should be done to strengthen America’s relationship with other countries around the world?
  3. The United States Veterans Affairs; what should be done to make it stronger for life after military service is completed.
  4. Upgrades of equipment, systems, and tools; what works, what doesn’t, suggestions and thoughts for future designs.
  5. Last but not least, the biggest area of improvement for the US military, in your opinion.

President Green sent out the memo to all branches the minute she was allowed to do so, before they started tearing up the lawn outside the White House. The feedback was slow at first, they didn’t know her yet, didn’t know how honest they could be or if they trusted her.

But, as U.G. started to meet those selected to deliver their messages in person, shook their hands, thanked them for their service, and they faced her, the reality of her furry face and paws with claws bigger than their fingernails. Then they returned and reported back to their fellow soldiers and the flood gates opened. If President Green was anything, she was for real.

For months, several hours a day, she would check in on the review of the data being collected after her regularly scheduled security briefings. Patterns began to form in the data and some very useful suggestions were prioritized. She had gathered some intel from a surprising 27% percent of all the US military personnel. Thousands were small comment sized letters, but she had learned a lot. She was on her way out for a stroll on the garden paths to see how the wild yard was doing when a man who reminded her of Dean rushed from a tour group.

The AIC reached out towards him to protect her at the same time as security blocked the man from getting too close.

“I know someone you want to know.” He hollered. “I know someone!”

And for a flicker, the telepathic AI-Critter saw something that caught her attention. A large human-sized black cat with yellow eyes.

“Let him approach, don’t worry, he won’t hurt me.”

“Madame President? Are you sure?” Asked the security guard closest in proximity to her.

“We have his ID, Madame President this soldier is AWOL, missing in action.” One of her security who held the man reported to the guard closest to her.

The man was thin, grey-haired in a well worn in loose-fitting grey suit and a light khaki dress shirt, his dress uniform shirt, worn under his civilian jacket. U.G. moved toward him and no one stopped her. She held out her paw. He saluted then shook her “hand” very awkwardly. But, more out of frustration about being held back, there was no fear in his dull gaze.

“You were in the same unit with my home security Dean, tho’ you know that is not his real name,” U.G. said with a smile.

“No. I mean yes Mrs. President Green. Terrible name. Dean? He’s alive?”

“He’s alive and well.”

“After my tour, I worked with protective custody, a detail for translators. I have information about someone you should meet Mrs. President.”

U.G. could see the Cat clearly in her mind’s eye via the telepathic AI-Critter now. Unlike Dean, whose mind the AIC had a difficult time reading because it was loud and warbled with irregular thought patterns; this man’s mind was quiet and full of almost still visual images like reading an open picture book.

“Here. I brought a letter. I thought you should know.” He hastily tried to hand her a letter, but the guard removed it from his jacket pocket for him. “We should scan this. And him. Inside.” The guard attempted to caution.

“It’s okay, the letter is not sealed and it has been handled and read many times. I can see that from here.” U.G. took the letter. “Thank you, soldier.” Her gaze took in both of their facial expressions before she unfolded the letter glanced at it just long enough for the AI-Critter to read it and folded it back up and put it in her jacket pocket.

“Corporal Davis, I..” He stopped speaking because they were preparing to remove him from the walkway in front of the White House.

“Let him go. Do not detain him. It is not a good idea to lock some people up. Let him go unhindered, please.”

They did as she asked. U.G. saw the Cat-person speaking in the man’s memory as Davis walked away. The Cat was in their protective custody on US soil, and she was going to find him. She had completely given up hope that she would ever see another Cat-person like her in her lifetime. “That was thrilling.” She purred under her breath.

“Pardon Madame President?” Her security guard asked. “Did you say something?”

“No. Nothing of importance, let’s go take a walk and see how the wild-yard is coming along.”

“Well, the dirt is getting more interesting, they keep planting more and more things. I’m surprised there is any room left.”

“Did you know gardening is the most popular hobby in the world?” U.G. asked him.

“No I did not, but it doesn’t surprise me.” His focus shifted back to his job of keeping her safe as one of her Chief of Staff and the Secretary of Energy walked up to them walking along the same wild garden path heading the opposite direction. She had asked for them to meet her in the yard and walk around together after lunch. They had a lot to discuss and the topic had very little to do with gardening.

U.G. knew she would never understand what “humans,” think as they are using up the Earth’s energy and resources as if the small planet was infinite. When a species is gone, it is gone. She knew this all too well, in a very personal way because she was almost the last Cat-person on Earth. Two old predators at the top of the food chain, too old to have kittens, at least there was another dimension for the Cat-people. She worried about the human’s underestimating what they require to survive in their world. Even tho human people are omnivores they still have better odds to thrive in a healthy ecosystem. President Green looked out at the clumps of newly planted ground, a dash of tiny sprouts of bright neon green in the rich dark soil surrounding the larger sprouts of plants that grew best from bulbs and rhizomes. She took a deep breath and smelled the fresh living earth and thought of Lee and how much he loved to dig. Plants in dirt, the foundation and building blocks for life in every climate region on planet Earth, starts with healthy small creatures in the soil and water. And the White House lawn was as good a place for respecting them as any plot of land on Earth.

2019–2020 Un-Un-Cat story episodes are science fiction prototyping about ‘How to postpone the apocalypse’, Cat seriously has a plan to save the humans.