There is one simple act everyone can do that guarantees a reduction of carbon in the atmosphere and helps a local ecosystem in multiple ways without question.
Plant a tree. Just plant a tree. Or plant two trees. Or plant as many as you want, but just plant a tree. Get your friends, family, and co-workers to plant a tree. Trees are one of the definite answers to the question. The benefits of planting trees are almost too numerous to mention. To name a few: they absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, increase property values, reduce rainwater runoff that causes soil erosion, buffer noise pollution, cool your home, streets, and communities, and they can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve one’s mood.
The type of tree you plant depends on what pleasures you want the tree to offer. If you want to see blossoms in spring plant a flowering dogwood, crab apple, or red bud. A fruit-bearing tree like pear or cherry have beautiful blossoms with the added benefit of fruit for pies which is always a good thing.
One thing to consider: The warming climate is affecting what trees thrive in which latitude. Here, The current mix of maple, beech, and birch, forest biologists note, is already shifting northward, and the oak and hickory forests south of us are headed our way. If you are thinking beyond the next 20 years or so, consider planting the hardwoods to come rather than trees that might do less well in higher heat, avoid trees known for easily broken limbs, and get good advice about any conifer.
But please don’t plant an invasive, defined as a tree that triumphs over native plants, doesn’t support local wildlife with anything they are used to eating, diminishing biodiversity, and may harm the environment. These include quite a list, from Norway maple, Ailanthus (tree of heaven), Callery pear, Amur maple, Amur Corktree, Common Buckthorn, Glossy Buckthorn, Black Locust, Box Elder, Quaking Aspen, Russian Aspen, Tamarisk, and White or Sliver Poplar. Use a reputable nursery. It either won’t sell these trees or will label them as invasive. For more information, google invasive trees or visit these sites:
Maybe you are just starting a family and want to plant a sapling and watch it grow with your young kids. The tree becomes indelibly tied to you, your family, and your memories.
Maybe you want to provide a flowering tree for pollinators, or a conifer for a patch of green to relieve the unremitting grays and browns of winter. Maybe a large shade tree that the kids can climb, you can put a swing on, and that feeds the critters. An oak tree or native maple would be a good choice.
Whatever you want from a tree, there is one for you. And, for many years to come, you’ll be doing a little something to combat global warming. Just plant a tree.