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Rick & Euan (fail to) Save The World by Richard Whitehead
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Euan Keith

Brenda E. Teufel

Thomas Potte

Eta Leufelia

Arthur "Arri" Soleman

Igvarts Loberman

Lotte Essendorf

"Acey" Bates

Richard Whitehead
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Future Views Magazine
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University Fees and Debt
Who is the main beneficiary of university education, the student, the employer or the nation?

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Units of measurement and the end of space.

Euan Keith's      
Pollution Solution Part One button
Six Point Pollution Solution
Part One   "Flowers In The City"
brighten our cities with many tiny garden?

Euan Keith's      
Pollution Solution Part Two button
Six Point Pollution Solution
Part Two: "The Transformation of Waste"
Instead of landfill, waste could be a valuable resource.

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Atlantis Reinvented
Hidden blueprints for the new cities of the sea.

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Arabian Mights & Maybes
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Desalinated reverse rivers powered by nature

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The Unpublished Manuscript
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an alternative to the traditional public house

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You Are A Winner
A willing victim is the best victim.

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Maybe our prisons are not as wonderful as all that.

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The Bright New Pants Manifesto
The hilarious solution to invevitable change

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The Hullabalo
A raging argument is discovered

Euan Keith's
Six Point Pollution Solution

 Part One:    Flowers In the City
        Euan's simple suggestion for making cities brighter and cleaner.
        1,440 words

My mate Euan, you should meet him, he is one hell of a talker, he never stops. He's been yacking away to me for years and this afternoon I thought I'd see whether I could actually remember anything he has ever told me. Here goes...

Euan Keith's flower box pollution solution

The other day we were walking across town, me in my usual taciturn, morose, engrossed mood, he with his chirpy, incessant prattling. As I recall, he had been telling me about a recent political debate when I nearly made a mess of my shoes.

"Watch out for the dogsh- " shouted Euan, I couldn't quite hear him above the noise of the traffic. A police car with its siren blaring was coming down the road, an ambulance was coming up from behind, a forty footer released its air brakes, a bus was pulling away from the nearby stop and a scooter with a faulty exhaust screeched to a halt right by my ear. Luckily I had seen what he was shouting about before I actually stepped in it and managed to miss.

"In the old days," he tried to continue above the racket, "people emptied their potties into ..." the lights had changed and the scooter was pulling away amidst a plume of smoke with a few gratuitous revs as if to remind the world of the soaring costs of motorcycle maintenance.

I knew what he was telling me even though I couldn't hear what he was saying, nevertheless I shouted in his ear to repeat it. He tried, but each time some other noise intervened, drowning his words.

I kicked a loose bundle of paper, it contained half of someone's lunch; chips spilled onto the road and a car squashed them as it parked.

I nudged Euan's elbow, there was a 'Greasy Spoon' cafe a few paces ahead. He nodded and we entered.

As the door closed behind us I became acutely conscious of how much easier it was for people to hear one another speak.

"What I was saying was," he continued, "people used to empty their chamber pots into tanks which were collected by horse-drawn carts."

The waitress arrived and I wondered where this conversation was leading. When it came to food and drink some subjects were more suitable than others. We ordered burgers and tea.

"Anyway," continued Euan, "the point I am making is that many people regard the indoor flushing toilet as the single most important invention of the past two hundred years -"

The door opened letting in noise and a gust of exhaust fumes, I tried to pretend it didn't bother me.

"- but imagine what it must have been like before. Today we take it for granted, like it was inevitable but think what must have been involved."

The waitress brought our teas.

"How easy can it have been," Euan continued, to propose knocking holes in every home and public building in the country, how enthusiastic were councils at the prospect of digging trenches in every street of every town, village and city? By comparison, building the railways was a cinch."

"So," I commented, "it's been done, you can't re-invent what's already in common use." I wondered what he was getting at.

"Today we are confronted with new problems," he continued, as bubbly and enthusiastic as ever. The door opened again as a couple struggled to leave with their buggy. Euan paused until the roar of traffic was once again dampened.

"What do people want?" he continued, "cleaner air, less litter, more colour, fewer vehicles, less noise and to arrive at their destinations in the greatest comfort and in the shortest time."

The waitress brought our hamburgers.

"What's that got to do with potties and toilets?" I asked before sinking my teeth into the bun. Euan was already chomping.

"Overcoming resistance. We could solve all our pollution problems if we wanted to just as we solved the problem of chamber pots and out-door privvies. Building the sewage system was a huge undertaking, yet we did it."

"Ah yes but the nation was a lot richer then, in relative terms," I countered.

"No, it had more to do with political will and popular support," said Euan.

"Okay so what's your great new invention?" I tried to think of a witticism along the lines of a self-flushing street cleaner but nothing came to mind.

"Firstly," he swallowed and drank some tea, "imagine if most city windowsills were adorned with flower boxes." I raised my eyebrows and started to laugh.

Euan Keith's flower box pollution solution   Euan Keith's flower box pollution solution

"Imagine if there were sufficient incentives to persuade anyone with an even vaguely green finger to make the effort to keep and care for flower boxes." My shoulders were shaking as I failed to control my mirth.

"And this is going to solve the problems of city pollution?" I asked with a grin of mocking disbelief.

"Seriously," he implored, "if every window had a flower box, the air would be enriched, the environment would be brightened up and to some extent noise would be absorbed."

"And this is going to solve the problems of city pollution?" I asked with a grin of mocking disbelief.

"On its own, no, of course not, it's just 'Part One' of my, 'Six-Point-Plan,' silly," Euan tried to control his annoyance, he was scowling.

I stopped laughing at him and let him continue.

"Seriously," he enthused, "what would it be worth to have at least half of all windows ornamented with a flower box?"

I raised an eyebrow.

"To pay for each one would cost a fortune but if people were encouraged to make the effort for the sheer hell of it, a big difference could be made without too much expense."

ivy grown green lamppost

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"Meaning?" I asked.

"Competitions." He seemed to assume I knew what he was getting at. I pulled a face.

"Think about it. There could be a twice-yearly prize for the prettiest, the most exotic, the rarest, the most peculiar, the most imaginative and the biggest flower boxes respectively. Take a look at a city's annual budget, huge sums are spent on the most trivial of issues - a million pounds is not a huge amount of money. What's our air worth? A million quid could be divided up into twenty five prizes of ten thousand pounds, seventy five prizes of five thousand pounds and three hundred and seventy five prizes of one thousand pounds each. That would generate a lot of motivation, people would pull out the stops if they knew they stood a reasonable chance of a windfall like that."

Flower Box Competition Poster
Flower Box Competition Poster

"Better than gambling," I suggested.

"Or there could be hundreds of prizes ranging from £150 up to £20,000. With numerous prize winners each spring and autumn people would be encouraged, without any obligation, to brighten up the environment and make our cities brighter, cleaner, pleasanter places to live." Euan was leaning forward, he was really keen on his idea.

I pulled a face, I was not convinced. "Nobody would buy it," I said, "our councillors and politicians are a lot of greedy killjoys, they'd rather introduce more fines, taxes and penalties than do anything imaginative like that."

"Think of the benefits," Euan continued, undeterred. "Not only will people be motivated and their efforts rewarded twice over, once through the pleasure and satisfaction of creating something beautiful and secondly when they win, but the gardening and flower industry will take off like never before."

"You got shares or something?" I quipped with a smirk.

"No-o," he scowled and folded his arms, pushing himself back in his seat.

I tilted my head, he had a point, I granted him that.

The door blew open, heads turned, someone coughed. A young woman sprang from her seat and shoved it shut.

I washed down the last mouthful of burger and emptied my mug.

"I'll get this," said Euan, reaching for his pocket. I contained my smile, knowing what was coming next.

Euan looked in his pouch, put it away and drew out his wallet. He searched every compartment, the corners of his mouth steadily drooping as he realised what I had already known, he had not enough cash to pay for even half a cup of coffee.

Without a word I went to the counter and settled our bill.

Stepping back into the street I looked up at the many windowsills, there were three floors of windows above most of the shops and sometimes cupolas as well. I saw one flat with several flower pots perched precariously on three window sills alongside each other. They contained nothing more than dried sticks and withered leaves.

"What about the other points in your, 'Six Point Plan'?" I asked.

"Not now," he said, "I'll tell you about the rest some other time, that is, if you're interested."
(1,440 words)            

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