In life, everyone aims at becoming a better person. Some people start their own business, others donate time to charities, and whether it is out of altruism or selfish drive, what we do gives us pride and a level of self-fulfillment. For anyone who supports the environment, which I hope we all do, planting a tree can be an activity that is equally rewarding and beneficial as the methods above.
First, let’s look at why.
By far, one of the best ways we can help support our natural environment is by giving back what we have already taken. Deforestation is a harsh reality in today’s world. In fact, 80 percent of the worlds natural forests have already been destroyed. Similarly, 90 percent of West Africa’s coastal rain forests have disappeared over the course of the last 100 years. And with 70 percent of the earth’s land mammals and plants residing in forests, the problem is not just our own.
Deforestation also includes consequences for the global environment. Trees inhale carbon-dioxide, a green house gas, and exhale oxygen. The destruction of rainforests and mass consumption of tree removes what experts call the “carbon sinks”, and the machinery and burning accompanied with deforestation only helps contribute more greenhouse gases.
That all said, regularly planting a can be a worthwhile gift to Mother Earth and the rest of us. Planting a tree or donating to a tree planting charity like Plant a Billion Trees (spearheaded by the Nature Conservatory) returns our carbon sinks and helps provide resources for the future. And with projects like Plant A Billion Trees, you know your support is going to the right place. On top of being committed to protecting rainforests and the biodiversity within them, they also work to provide local communities with clean water and hydro-energy.
Inspired yet? If so, here’s a quick “how to” on planting a tree:
- First, be sure to choose the right time of year for your planting. Avoid the hot season and instead aim at fall or early spring when things start to cool down.
- Make sure you’re not above your septic tank or power line when digging your hole!
- Now with the details out of the way, choose the tree you’d like to plant!
- Dig the hole! Always be sure give enough space for the tree and the area around it – try digging around two to three times the width of the tree. Also, be sure to have a small mound in the center of the hole that lifts the tree up. This will prevent the tree from drowning!
- Place your tree in!
- Cover with soil (and compost, if desired).
- Water! This will remove any air pockets and help the soil settle properly.
- Cover with two to three inches of mulch (if desired).
- If need be, stake the tree so the roots set it correctly for the first year.
- Sit back and be proud of your deed!
Hopefully, we can all get into the habit of planting a tree a few times a year. Depending on your point of view, the difference made by planting tree may be a lot or a little, but we’re here to tell you there is a difference nonetheless. The most important thing to remember is that it’s fun, it gives back to the earth, and it’s easy. So, with a good tree planting season right around the corner, how about we all plant a tree!