The Green Grenadier

Summary: A series of explosions blossom across the Sahara, leaving green shoots in their wake.

When I met him on the dunes of the Sahara, he looked more like an artillerist than ecologist. He held a revolver grenade launcher, an obsolete South African Milkor MGL. He launched a shell over the crest of a nearby dune, with a jolly laugh escaping his lips as it ruptured. He saw me and the camera drone, and he invited us up. He pointed downwind of his recent strike.

"The Sahara's alternated between green and grainy sand for thousands of years," he said. "So why can't we adjust that cycle to our liking?"

He pulled out one of his grenades for a closer look. "Each of these explodes into biodegradable fragments, spraying hundreds of these little fellows around."

At that, he pulled out a small flechette from his pocket. It was a small spike of translucent plastic, containing a seed and nutrients.

"These take root, leading to ground stability and more water retention," he explained. "And after the initial seed-bombings, my comrades' drones plant other species to add biodiversity."

He explained how this eco-engineering process was facilitated by co-opting obsolete military hardware. I was incredulous for most of it, but I sent my camera drone to survey the immediate area. The line of green stretching up from the Mediterranean coast was a testament to his unconventional methods.