Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Arbor Day Ardor: One Acorn at a Time

You’re a certified, granola-crunching tree-hugger. Friday, April 29 is Arbor Day.

You know what to do: Plant a few huggables. Do your part. Make the place prettier, pump up that carbon cycle.

You’ll feel good about yourself, and you should.

But as you roll up your sleeves for your Arbor Day frenzy, consider Elzeard Bouffier, the protagonist of The Man Who Planted Trees. Jean Giono’s powerful fable, first published as a magazine article in 1954, tells of how, in the years following World War I, Bouffier — one acorn at a time, one tree at a time, one day a time –transformed thousands of acres in southern France from a war-ravaged moonscape to a lush and beautiful forest.

The results, ecologically speaking, were predictable: Where once no plant, animal or person had lived, life in all its variation was reborn, and flourished.

The Man Who Planted Trees is a parable, of course. But every writer from Plato on down has understood what a powerful short-cut to the truth fiction can be.

I will resist a tectonic digression into noting the ironic enthusiasm with which America’s current federal government of choice is handing over access to the national forests to the timber industry at your expense.

No, I guess I won’t: You already know (don’t you?) that millions of tax dollars — your money — are being spent to roll back legal protection of America’s national forests, and to subsidize the building of thousands of miles of logging roads in those forests, for the sole purpose of enriching the logging industry. That’s “industry,” as in profit and nongovernmental, private/shareholder ownership.

You will not get your percentage.

Where’s the outrage?

(If anyone in the well-appointed boardrooms of this industry has even heard of Bouffier, they presumably consider him an obsessive-compulsive fruitcake — and a fictional one, at that — even though the singlemindedness with which the industry is ravaging these publicly owned resources makes Bouffier ‘s dedication look like dabbling in a window box.)

I hear you asking the disconsolate question: In the face of new proposals forthousands of miles of tax-paid logging roads to cut down 300,000 acres of old-growth trees in Alaska alone, affecting 2.5 million acres, what can I do?

Well, you can take inspiration from others, who have been inspired by Giono’s book to take tangible action action — from a teenager in North Carolina to group of senior citizens in California — and have planted tens of thousands of trees from coast to coast.

You can educate yourself on the monstrous injustices with respect to corporate taxes and subsidies that we barely notice them anymore. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, 46 companies with combined profit of $42.6 billion paid no federal income taxes in 2003 alone, and instead received rebates totaling $5.4 billion. (The government is counting on that sense of futility. Annoy the government. Your self-esteem will soar.)

You can buy the book, of course. Or the CD by the Paul Winter Consort, narrated by Robert J. Lurtsema. Or the award-winning, 1985 animated film based on the book.

And share them with your friends.

You can take heart from the fact that environmentalism — which the government wants you to see as a secular, Godless, soulless juggernaut of sentimental folly — is being increasingly understood as a profoundly moral and even religious issue by those who at first glance might seem unlikely allies.

As the recent, 35th anniversary of Earth Day fades into memory, you can also take note of World Environmental Day — Thursday, June 5 — on which nations around the world will remind us that not all “furriners” fit handily into the stereotype of rainforest-burning, sulfur dioxide-spewing idiots.

It’s their planet, too, and they know it.

In many ways, they’re a lot smarter than we are.


The Future Is Hopeless, So Give it Your All

The never-ending national election in the United States, the “surprise” pro-Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, climate change … the list goes on and on about how easy it can be to lose hope in the future.Like many of life’s frustrations, or overwhelmingly large topics, most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the […] Read More

How Carbon Farming Can Save the Planet

Carbon farming alone is not enough to avoid catastrophic climate change, but coupled with new economic priorities, a massive switch to clean energy, and big changes to much of the rest of the way our societies work, it offers a pathway out of destruction and a route to hope.Along the way carbon farming can also […] Read More

Welcome to the Lyme Wars

Lyme disease infects a minimum of 300,000 people per year in the United States and millions more throughout the rest of the world. Symptoms run from mild lethargy to severe arthritis to heart disease to incapacitating mental dysfunction. Although tests have improved over the past decade, they are still not completely reliable, and antibiotics are […] Read More

Look Under Your Feet for Global Soil-utions

For several years, Chelsea Green has been publishing books that look under our feet for solutions to some of the most vexing problems facing the planet – hunger, drought, degraded farmland and grasslands, damaged waterways, and much more. Those books focus on (mostly) one thing: Soil.  In 2016, we’ve published two more important books that […] Read More

Feed Bees Biodynamically with Bee Tea

In this excerpt from An Unlikely Vineyard, Deirdre Heekin offers tips on how to biodynamically care for bees – just as they do everything else on the farm. Here, she provides a recipe for “bee tea” which is useful when feeding bees between winter and spring, when a hive has been robbed, or when starting […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com