God created this beautiful earth but sometimes we aren’t very good at taking care of it. Nature is so beautiful but humans have really neglected our responsibilities to care for it. Luckily there are still people who dedicate their time to caring for this planet even when most of us turn the other way.
Two ecologists named Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs decided to carry out a little experiment. The asked an orange juice company in Costa Rica to dump discarded orange peels and pulp onto forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste.
The company could dump these peels and pulp onto the land free of charge, and the deal was agreed upon back in 1977. One year later a thousand trucks went to the area and dumped out over 12,000 metric tons of orange compost.
This land was left untouched for over a decade following the dump. They created a big sign with yellow lettering to mark the land so that it would be easy to find when they return. 16 years later, Janzen recruited a graduate student named Timothy Treuer to go and take a look at the spot. He was to travel there and report back with his findings. He told him about the sign they created reassuring him that there shouldn’t be any issues finding the plot with all of the orange compost. However, Treuer could not find the sign or the large mounds of orange compost. He followed the exact direction and wandered around for half an hour with no luck.
All of the scientists were puzzled. However, they soon realized that they were looking at the right plot of land! They were shocked because it looked nothing like it did years ago. Compared to the other land surrounding the area, Treuer described the side-by-side comparison as “night and day.”
“It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems,” Treuer said.
The vegetation became so thick that they couldn’t even locate the sign. They published their findings and continued to study the area. There was better soil in this area, a healthier forest canopy, larger and strong trees, and a new species of weasels even appeared. It is believed that it was all because of the orange compost that was dumped there over a decade ago.
Now these scientists have a message to share with large companies: “We don’t want companies to go out there willy-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it’s scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential,” Treuer said.
In 2015 Treuer was finally able to clear out enough brush to find the sign they had been looking for. How amazing is that!?