Monday, October 15, 2007

Plant Trees

I woke this morning thinking about John Chapman. I had a new version of his song in my head. "Oh, the world is good to me, and so I thank the world..." the spirit of Johnny Appleseed seems appropriate to our current situation.

When we biked up the Blues Highway, it was hard to find shade. I remember thinking there must have been forests there before all the cotton and peanuts were planted. As much as I appreciate cotton shirts and peanut butter, the whole planet would be healthier if there were more trees in North America, instead of all those open fields.

I've since written notes to legislators, encouraging incentives for planting forest crops like fruits, nuts, and maple sugar. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and produce oxygen for us. They provide shade and shelter while replenishing the aquifers and offering food.

Right now I'm in a Maryland neighborhood that has marvelous walnut trees. This nut, which grows on the Pacific coast as well, is particularly appropriate for the American diet. Its proteins match with grains to replace meats (another source of greenhouse gas), and it contains lecithin, which could help obese people to digest their stored fat.

So I lay this morning imagining myself gathering walnuts in a canvass bag and bicycling them to be planted in the nearest area where there are no walnuts. As I planted them in their new home, I could gather seeds from local trees to distribute further. All the while I'd sing about how good the world has been to me.

I'm likely to follow that dream, but the geek in me says to put technology to service in this endeavor. I'll start a Yahoo Group <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/plant_trees>to discuss tree planting and use the mails to share seeds. Please join us and spread the word. Together we can reforest our continent with the most appropriate human-friendly trees.

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