I’ve been thinking about trees a lot lately.

Have you seen this video with Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and writer/climate activist George Monbiot? I encourage you to watch all 3 minutes and 39 seconds and show it to as many people as possible. The gist is that planting trees is, forgive the pun, low-hanging fruit as a solution to drawing carbon out of the atmosphere.

I personally get a little frustrated when I think about planting trees, because I do not have property on which to plant one. Because of that, I’ve dug a little deeper (whoops, another pun!) into the topic. Is there something tree-related that I and people like me can do?

I recently joined a book group of women who read primarily nonfiction on the topics of the environment and nature. The group was born when all of these women, who did not previously know each other, took Openlands’ TreeKeepers program. Openlands trained them on the care and planting of trees and they got experience by volunteering for a set amount of hours. You can read more about the program here.

Maybe you do own property but don’t have the resources to buy trees or the wherewithal to plant trees. Our friends at Metropolitan Water Reclamation District have a terrific program called Restore the Canopy, Plant a Tree. The MWRD launched this program in 2016 to aid in managing storm water and educating communities and schools on the value of the tree canopy that has been depleted over the last century. The initiative empowers the residents of Cook County with an opportunity to restore our region’s tree canopy and reduce the chances of future flooding. They give out free 18-inch oak saplings. You need to be sure that the place where you plant them can accommodate a 50-80 foot mature tree. If you need help planting it, contact the TreeKeepers.

I encourage you to find out about tree-planting opportunities in your hometown. Go to your city’s website and search for “tree or tree planting”. A tiny bit of research on different websites revealed lots of different programs. Some free, some reduced and some opportunities to make a tax-deductible donation to the city’s tree-planting fund.

Fall is often considered the best time of year to plant a tree. You don’t have to wait until Arbor Day. Did you know that Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872? Me neither. But my digging deeper into the tree topic led me to that information.  It also led me to a website called lovetoknow and an article on the importance of Arbor Day.  The author Kate Pullen suggests that besides the obvious activity of planting a tree to celebrate trees, another way is to learn more about the use of products that are derived from trees, which leads me to my next topic: toilet paper.

We at Collective Resource have recently become superfans of a bamboo toilet paper called Who Gives A Crap. If you have seen us recently, you may have received a sample from us. We think that an excellent way to celebrate trees is to not cut them down and not flush them down the toilet.

I hope that you have the opportunity to take some time this fall to take a walk in the forest. The benefits are great according to Dr. Qing Li, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. The term was invented in 1982 by the then Director General of the Agency of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, Tomohide Akiyama, who stated that the people of Japan were in need of healing through nature.

Healing through nature. That sounds good.

Author Details
Zero Waste Consultant | Collective Resource, Inc.

Mary Beth strongly believes that, “It’s always better to be doing something rather than nothing.” If you’re thinking of composting at home, she can help you work out what your particular “something” can be.

She’s confident a solution can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs and ambitions. “Anyone who eats can be a CRI customer, whether you are an individual or a large organization. I want you to understand the advantages of composting, and I can show you how CRI can make it easy.” Mary Beth has successfully designed waste diversion strategies for individuals, schools, houses of worship and other communities. She’s received the governor’s Environmental Hero award for her work at her daughter’s school. Whether you’re starting with a backyard bin, a kitchen bucket, a worm farm, or large-scale commercial collection, Mary Beth can be your good-natured guide.