For the purposes of Earth Day (which really should be every day), I am going to exploit some family history:
My mom was a fan of compost long before compost cones made the whole setup easier. The little compost container by the side of the sink was a regular fixture in each of our successive homes. A homemade structure out in the back yard would contain all of our leftover fruit and vegetable peels. However, when I was in graduate school, my mom ordered a worm bin and put it in the basement.
The first day that the worm bin resided in the basement, my mom called the worm bin hotline to ask why the worms were looking so peaked and tired out. "They have jet lag," the customer service representative explained.
My mom asked, "Do they have personalities?"
The representative paused, and then said, "They have a collective personality."
Soon after, the worms staged their first jailbreak. Mom got them back into the bin, but after that, my brothers and I refused to go near it. My mom tried to convince my brothers and me that the worms were actually good tenants. We said NOTHING DOING, and told her that we would continue to put fruit and veggie scraps into the compost container upstairs, but when it came to feeding the worms, she was on her own. Every time the worms broke free, mom would yell, "Worm alert! Worm alert!" and try to get us to help her round them up. We were stubbornly uncooperative. Years later, when the worms finally died, my mother wept over their carcasses.*
These days, vermiculture is quite fashionable. My daughter does not care for most animals, but is a fan of insects and earthworms. I might be persuaded to host a "wormery" for her sake, but not until all of the other household projects on our list have been completed. That's a pretty safe statement to write.
Happy Earth Day!
*Yes, okay, that is an exaggeration. Many thanks to my mom for letting me take creative license with this story.