(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)
Deep in the Milky Way stood the Happy Earth. This planet had been blessed with water, oxygen, and carbon-based food sources. These wonderful features bestowed upon the planet life-forms like us polar bears, which is why it was labeled “The Happy Earth” by its glad-to-be-alive human inhabitants.
One day a few thousand years ago, a human entrepreneur noticed that the Happy Earth had grown colder, and it was difficult for many entrepreneurs to find food to sell. He placed a small carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet.
“Happy Earth, why do you let us starve in the cold? This is unpleasant and unfair.”
The Earth pondered for a while, almost falling asleep in the process. Then he spoke: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the water from my rivers and flood the great plains to grow more food than you need. You can then sell the surplus and buy status symbols.”
The entrepreneur looked confused: “But Happy Earth, I can’t change the flow of your waters. This would destroy the fish and animals who depend on the sanctity of your mighty waters.”
The Happy Earth replied: “Do as I say. Redirect the flow of my great rivers.”
And the entrepreneur did so, and there was much food for all. Of course, this new food was mainly starch-based and the people who grew it had to remain sedentary, but the entrepreneur and his associates got to buy a lot of status symbols with the surplus.
A few decades later, the entrepreneur panicked when the Happy Earth flooded a large agricultural zone, endangering the lives of an entire civilization and its consumers. He placed his new designer carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet once again.
“Earth, why do you damage the very agricultural zones that you have counseled us to create? Now, many thousands of people have no food, and these agricultural workers have long lost the ability to hunt and forage.”
The Happy Earth spoke with much sadness: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the sand from my mountains and use this sand to block the waters where hence they flood.”
Once again, the entrepreneur hesitated: “But if I remove so much soil, this will create great scars on your beautiful complexion.”
But as with the previous suggestion, the Happy Earth insisted that the entrepreneur do as he says, and all of his mountains were subsequently flattened in order to block all the rivers at strategic points. The civilization was saved, and its population doubled every few years, which lead to many new status symbols for the entrepreneur.
This process of technology-failure leading to more and more invasive technology continued until the Happy Earth was a giant, lifeless, grey orb with very little complex life on it. Only us polar bears and a few aggressive human entrepreneurs remained.
The entrepreneur, on his deathbed, knelt one last time to ask the Happy Earth for another bit of advice on how to progress. By now, the carpets under his feet were laden with gold and platinum strands. “Happy Earth, what will we do now that you have no more rivers, mountains, air, or food?”
The expensive rug beneath him then trembled as another human dug his way out of the underground bunker he had been living in for many years.
“Gentle Entrepreneur, I’m not really the Earth. I’m another human entrepreneur like yourself. I was just trying to motivate you to do exciting things because I was so bored in my cave.”
And then they both died of heat exhaustion.