Arbor day, a holiday devoted to planting trees; that’s just the best. The idea of Arbor Day started in 1872, when J. Sterling Morton, then a member of the Nebraska Board of Agriculture, introduced a resolution that the day should be: “epspecially set apart and consecrated for the planting of trees in the State of Nebraska and…hereby name it Arbor Day; and to urge upon the people of the State the vital importance of tree planting ….” Since then, the holiday has spread across the country. How can you celebrate this noble day? Well, plant a tree of course. You can visit the Arbor Day website for step-by-step instructions. No yard? you can also explore different ways to give a gift of a tree or tree-planting.
Besides actually sinking a tree into soil, there are other ways to support arboreal respect and abundance–here are five places to start.
1. Mind your paper towels and napkins. Virgin fiber is that which comes straight from a tree. Doesn’t it seem a waste to use a tree for a single-use item? Well how’s this: If every household in the United States replaced one roll of virgin-fiber paper towels with 100 percent recycled paper towels, we could save 1.4 million trees. If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins with 100 percent recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees. With those numbers in mind, using virgin fiber for single use items seems simply outrageous. For more facts and details about alternatives, see Paper Towels and Napkins Vs. Cloth.
2. Embrace your “trash” trees. Sumacs, pincherries, chokecherries, wild plums, and lots of other fast-growing native trees–weeds, as some people like to call them, pffft–spring up and grow like mad. While many look at these “trash” trees as a nuisance near refined gardens, a tree by any other name is still a tree! The best part? Most of these trees are heaven for wild bird populations!
3. Read The Lorax. Start an Arbor Day tradition with an annual read of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, the amazing children’s story that strikes an ecological warning about the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth’s environment. Read Eric’s lit crit post about The Lorax here.
4. Tame the junk mail beast. In a single year Americans receive 19 billion catalogs in the mail. That boils down to 3.6 million tons of paper at the cost of 53 million trees. Ouch. And that’s not to mention all the rest of the junky junk mail that seems to flood our mailboxes like a swarm of locusts. Read Stop Junk Mail, Save a Tree to learn how to beat the pulp out of this ongoing problem.
5. Get in the tree spirit. According to ancient Celtic lore, there is a magical tree associated with each month of the year. Find out which one is your helper and learn valuable information about your personality from the wisdom of the trees. Read Your Celtic Tree Horoscope to see which tree you are.
Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living