Friday, April 29, 2011

Arbor Day

While I was listening to a college radio station this morning, the host was chatting about the contrast between big business and the environmental movement. "The oil industry has money, but the environmental movement has the collective." He went on to assert that the collaborative nature of the environmental movement, sharing members and resources, allows for many leaders who vie for progress not power. The power of the environmental movement comes from everyday people making choices in their everyday actions-- and in this way, the collective can affect change. For example, my students recently implemented a water bottle recycling program at our high school, capturing 1.3 tons of plastic in March alone. Needless to say, the actions of individuals, positive or negative, have a combined result.
With Arbor Day upon us, it seems like an appropriate time to encourage the collective response of planting trees. Instead of a national day of consumption-- cards, flowers, candy, toys-- let's honor a day dedicated to improving our natural habitiat. The collective act of planting trees has great political power too. Wangari Maathai started the Green Belt movement in Kenya one tree at a time-- the end result was massive in terms of the environment and the empowerment it provided.
And why not plant trees? We need to counteract those lost annually to overdevelopment and to storms in order to provide a healthy environment to animals and people alike. Consider adding a tree to your yard this spring, or simply protecting the ones you have. Or instead of giving out a rubber bracelet for a fundraiser, or a tchotke as a wedding favor, consider sharing saplings. Those trees might just add up to a forest.

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