Thursday, April 25, 2019

Planting Hope

I watched as the scraggly squirrel that lives in our backyard spotted the bright red blossom on our willowy baby pomegranate tree from its perch on our fence.

When Dan planted the durable, heritage pomegranate and fig trees in our greywater basin, he knew we wouldn't be harvesting them anytime soon. It would be a while before the little pomegranate would even be able to bear the weight of its fruit. Watching the scruffy squirrel scamper away with its flower, I realized it will take years until there is enough fruit for all the garden critters, much less us. But I see now that Dan was planting more than just fruit. He was sowing something for future inhabitants - maybe our boys. He was planting hope.

As our country's political landscape heated up, we watched as one of our neighbors built a metal fortress around their yard and posted NO TRESPASSING. Meanwhile, we planted edible moringa along the sidewalk - an invitation for our neighbors to partake. I tended the seeds daily, watching happily as they peeked through their mulchy blanket reaching for rain drops. Dan had planted hope along with the rain.

And I have to admit, I needed that hope to deal with the political climate especially in the face of climate change. It seemed like everyday another environmental protection was being dismantled by our politicians. The effects of climate change were already being felt here in Tucson: the early summer with its rising temperatures and the sporadic, unreliable downpours. Our flourishing moringa was struck by a microburst!

Then the government came out with a report announcing that we had 12 years to do something to offset the worse effects of climate change. I took that as a Call to Action (as did many of my peeps.)  But some people misinterpreted that to mean it was already too late - we had 12 years until the shit hit the fan - so we might as well party and go out with a bang! That's a perfectly reasonable reaction - if there is no hope. But...


There are lots of positive actions we can take to improve the outcome.

Let's start with something simple. Start by planting one native tree. Or save one tree.

I know. I know. The general response is, "How can one person make a difference?" The answer is: one person can't.  But nobody said you have to go this alone.

What if we all planted one tree? All of us. Billions of us. And then we planted a second tree...

What if  we worked together as a community to install rainwater harvesting systems in every yard to water our edible forests and gardens? There would be enough water for every home in Tucson! The city and county are already installing these systems all over town. What if we all decided to stop cooking with palm oil to prevent the industry from cutting down more of the rain-forest? Those trees sequester carbon! Sure, there's a lot more we need to do. But this is a start. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we worked together!

Right now we need to plant hope more than ever before.

We can get inspiration from the moringa that got hit by a micro burst...

It's thriving now! Growing from roots deeply planted in hope.

Read more:

For the love of Tucson: Creating a desert oasis to combat climate change

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