Sunday, May 31, 2009

To mulch or not to mulch? That is the question

So I have a question for you all, call it ethical or philosophical, but help me answer it, please.
Perhaps I should make it a theoretical question, then if anything untoward should happen you may or may not be able to link me to it.
So lets say there is a city park. A city park that has had a pile of damn good looking bark mulch piled 4 feet high in one of its parking lots for say, 3 or so months. Say that a local neighbor noticed that this pile has gotten a little smaller in the past few months, but in general, the bark mulch has sat there, unused and more importantly UNPROTECTED.
Now say this same neighbor had a pretty nice yard/garden going and was interested in getting some bark mulch to help keep weeds in control, tidy up the look of his/her flower beds, etc.
Now for the ethical question. This is a tax paying, generally law abiding citizen - Does this person have the right to take some much desired bark mulch that is not being used by the city (at least not as far as he/she can tell)? Keep in mind that he/she would not take all of the bark mulch, in fact there would be little of a dent noticed.
For those of you reading and wondering to yourself, "Is this really what she thinks about and debates in her head?" Well, the answer to you is a pathetic, "yes". I run through this park 2 or so times a week and this pile of bark mulch taunts me every time. I may just break down and do a late night reconnaissances mission later this week.
I drove by said pile on my way to daycare this afternoon, and I think someone else may have had the same idea...there seems to be a large dent in the pile. I'd better act fast, while the gettin's good!


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  2. I propose you look at the situation from a different perspective. Perhaps take a look from the "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?" approach. Similarly, if mulch is sitting in a pile not being used, is it actually mulch? In this framework then, it seems to me that said mulch does not actually exist unless it is being used for its purported purpose --- that is, as mulch. Therefore, it seems you have a duty to take some mulch, if only to justify the existence of the mulch! In many ways, you are doing a good deed (normatively speaking) by taking a bit of said mulch.

    So, my dear sister, I say put those night vision goggles on --- I see a midnight mulch mission in your future ---- for the good of all mulch!

  3. Or, the city is using the mulch for its parks (or is planning to do so once they get the opportunity). So in essence, if you steal that mulch, you steal from all of the taxpayers and from all of the citizens of the city. Really not all that different than if you were to just go ahead and swipe some of the swings from the playground.

    Or think of it this way ... If you had a pile of mulch delivered to your yard but didn't spread it for a while, would I be entitled to just go take some of it on the grounds of "hey, who cares if it's on her property and she paid for it, she's not using it."

    But if you're comfortable with that ....

  4. Well, I'm not sure if it's the same as "swiping a swing from the playground", but the mulch could be for a nearby playground that you frequently go to w/ Audrey? I wouldn't take it.

    (The word swipe - reminds me of when Audrey says, "Swiper, no swiping!"

  5. Okay -- so apparently I am the immoral one of the bunch. Okay. I can live with that.

  6. Well, the general consensus is to leave the mulch where it lies, so be it. I guess the rest of you have as much Catholic guilt as I do. I mean really, lets face it, if I were going to take the mulch I would have done so 3 months ago. But the that I hadn't thought about hmmmm...