Plant a tree. Start a garden. Save the planet. Save yourself.
Plant trees to step on the toes of our carbon footprint
How much space do you have in your backyard? If you are fortunate enough to have just a few extra square feet, then you can increase both your property value and well being* by planting a tree. What kind of tree? That depends on what use you need. You can plant a fruit tree which will provide food for your family. You can plant a shade tree if your yard is hot. You can plant a tree to shield people from seeing inside your house. Or, you can simply plant a tree for aesthetics.
Trees and plants have a process called "carbon sequestration" by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass (trunks, branches, foliage, and roots) and soils. As trees are large, they are more effective at this, but plants can sequester as well.
Trees just don't help the climate, they help us. A psychology study revealed that the more trees that were located in a neighborhood, the healthier residents in the higher density tree areas felt. Planting a tree in your yard will literally make you feel calmer.
The more trees in your neighborhood, the richer and younger you feel,
A 2015 study by Omid Kardan et al. show that 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger.
Don't want to commit to a tree? Start with a container garden
Say like you are in a housing situation where you cannot plant a tree. Renting, small space, bad soil are not barriers to gardening and doing your part to help fight the effects of climate change.
Like lettuce for salads? Get a wooden crate box and your local wine shop. They sell them for $5-10 dollars and drill a few holes in the bottom. If you don't have a drill, drive a nail through and take out and repeat a few times until there is enough holes at the bottom to create drainage. Then go to your nearest plant store, buy some potting soil and a pack of lettuce seeds. Spread soil to a depth of about half the crate, then scatter the seeds evenly and pat down. Place the the crate on a few bricks in a sunny spot and be amazed at the results.
If you don't have the space or resources for the wine box method, any long planter found at the plant store will do. I prefer the size of the wine boxes which yield a better a result as seen below.
Other countries have taken the lead in climate change. We have the resources to do our part.
In May, the Philippines passed a law where all students are required to plant 10 trees to graduate from high school. This is is a brilliant initiative to get young people to take responsibility for fighting the negative effects of climate change, and to be involved with nature. People in the US and Canada can do the same with programs and initiatives if we ask our local representatives to help. It seems quite rare for a politician to turn down proposals to build concrete blight for profit, we need to start asking our leaders to help us create some beauty for a change.
How to plant a tree from a container.
- Squeeze the container to loosen the root ball from the pot.
- Tease out the roots and loosen up the root ball soil.
- If any roots are circling, lay the root ball on its side and prune the root at the point where it begins to circle. You may need to use a shovel for larger circling roots and shave down the side of the root ball.
- Remove extra soil from around the top of the root ball until you find the root flare of the highest major root.
- Lift the tree by the root ball and lower it into the middle of the hole. The root flare should be level with the soil surface
- Stabilize and straighten the tree with back fill soil.
- After planting, water the tree thoroughly.
- If you have mulch, spread it around the base of the tree, keeping it about four inches away from the trunk.
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