February 18, 2015

If I Must Fly, I Must Also Plant A Tree.


I fly…to places where my children live, because neither my legs, nor a bicycle will get me there. I could take a train or a bus or my car, but that takes more time than I have.

I fly…to England because that is my spiritual home and I crave it.

I could take a boat but that takes more time than I have and ocean liners are an environmental disaster. (sewage, garbage, yuk!)

I flew to Kauai because I wanted to sit at the base of Bali Hai and speak to the Gods about a certain dream I have.

I will fly to Poland after leaving it 45 years ago to visit my mother’s grave and to find my father’s resting place and to let my tears soak into the earth of the place that I love and left so long ago.

I will fly to France one day to write, if those Gods at Bali Hai had ears for me.

I’m conscious of the fact that I am part of an environmental compromise when I fly. I’m against fracking, oil drilling, gas mining, and on and on it goes. But I still live in a way that requires use of those fuels, when I drive or worse, fly, or heat my home, although I do use wood heat (carbon neutral) much of the winter, and purchase gas from a composting facility for my furnace.

What can I give to my Mother when I use her resources to fulfill my needs and desires? It’s true, I try to curb flying, and make decisions not to fly at times because of the environmental cost. But when I do fly, I plant a tree or two or five.

I’m not erasing the damage created by my flying when I plant a tree. I’m still part of the problem, but am making an effort to become part of a solution, not the solution, because the solution would be to stop flying altogether.

I like to take cues from Mother Earth about what she needs and wants. I see that she asks the wind to scatter tree seeds for Her. She’s partnered with bears to plant apple trees and blueberry bushes wherever they roam. Squirrels plant oaks and a great variety of nut trees. Planting trees is one way for me to cooperate with nature.

Imagine if every person on every plane everywhere planted three trees every time they flew?

Imagine if an airline planted three trees per person that flew on each flight in their name? Any airline execs reading this? It’s time to start paying a little extra for our decisions, because the planet has already paid.

If it wasn’t for man/woman, the planet would be a verdant forest or jungle of trees. Anytime man leaves an empty field; nature attempts to re-plant it. First the grasses. Then shrubs native to the area. Then softwoods like birches, aspens and poplars. A spattering of evergreens, if there is seed in the area that the wind can carry, and then hardwoods. Re-generation. It’s nature’s way of healing our Mother.

So where can I start?

Begin at home: If there is room on your property, plant some trees! No room, plant on your neighbor’s lawn…permission granted first, of course. Unless you’re developing a guerrilla tree planting idea!

What will this cost me?

I always think of what the cost is to my children, if the planet they inhabit is broken because of my lifestyle. Although I have planted two to three year old trees on my property, seedlings are a good choice as well, and they are considerably less expensive.

I’ve run out of room to plant trees in my yard, so now look for parks or community gardens that are in need of donated trees or fruit/nut bearing cultivars.

In my area of Georgian Bay, Ontario, farmers and the conservation authority are partnering in some pretty amazing reforestation schemes. Empty farm fields are planted with seedlings to prevent soil erosion and to regenerate what two centuries of logging has destroyed. The farmer provides the land, the township the trees, and voila! I can make a donation to the conservation society to cover seedling and planting costs.

Once I searched the web, I found that here were a plethora of options for tree planting initiatives. I could choose to plant trees in any number of countries, to suit whatever stirred my earth mama soul on any particular day. I’m listing three here but there are more to choose from, depending on area, or what goal you are aligned with at the moment. Will you join me in planting some trees the next time you fly and pass the idea forward? It’s a little thing that will grow into a greener future.

Trees For The Future. Creating stronger communities in Africa. Choose a donation amount for trees planted in a farmer’s forest garden that will prevent soil erosion, fence in livestock and provide shade.

Plant a Tree U.S.A. This group also has charity/organization/school programs that can serve as fundraisers. The sky is the limit, and even a small donation makes a big impact.

Tree Canada. Choose from seed kits, seedlings, donation options and even holiday stocking stuffer ideas.


Planting Half a Million Trees through Art, Commerce & Service. {elephant Partner Amber Lotus}


Author: Monika Carless

Editor:  Travis May

Photos: Courtesy of Author

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