The Kinky Green


This Christmas, I’m Thinking Trees

Posted in Uncategorized by Joy on December 9, 2013

I had a whole post typed out last night when my phone died. Perhaps it’s for the best; it wasn’t at all coherent.

I was in town the other day & saw signs of Christmas everywhere. Well, mainly in the grocery stores. Employees donned Santa caps & festive shirts. Decorations adorned the aisles & shelves. Dancing Santa greeted me at the entrance, shaking his tail to the non-stop Christmas jams. (Lyrics about snowmen & sleighbells & chestnuts on an open fire just don’t seem right when it’s face-melting, deal-with-the-midday-swelter-by-napping-in-the-shade, where-the-heck-is-the-rainy-already hot.) A man tried to sell me a Charlie Brown tree on the street. I declined.

Don’t get me wrong; I want trees. I want the people in my community to realize that planting trees now can mean the difference between their children & grandchildren having food & not. Having workable land & not. Having the rains they need to feed their crops and not. And I want them to act on that knowledge.

The knowledge that it’s all about trees.

Cooking, bathing, building, staying warm, staying dry… when you’re not removed from the basics of sustaining life by the conveniences of modern life, it’s impossible not to know that these things all require trees.

Soil fertiity, soil erosion, the water cycle, successful harvests, pollination, a balanced diet, thriving wildlife, sustainable ecosystems… These things are all require trees, too. But the links are somewhat less obvious.

What is obvious is that the trees are disappearing. The soil is disappearing. The rains are no longer reliable. The land is less fertile. Fruits & other food for forage is less available. Bees have fewer places to nest. Animals have fewer places to make their homes.

Trees. So important.

Because of the way the land system is set up, most folks in Zambia don’t exactly own their land. In a society of folks who are more or less renters, it’s hard to impress the importance of planting trees that may not yield a benefit for years to come.

I keep going back to my years as a renter. If I had planted 1 fruit tree at every place I rented since I struck out, about 8 of them would be producing fruit now. More than 8 families would have had access to free fruit this year. Sure it wouldn’t be me eating that fruit, but what if some like-minded tree-loving fool thought to plant an orange or fig or apple or pear tree at my future abode a few years back?

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2 Responses to 'This Christmas, I’m Thinking Trees'

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  1. So true, just reading this makes me want to goplant a fruit tree somewhere in this yard. I think that will be my next little project.

  2. Alicia said,

    Oh you so had me when you talked about planting trees in rental properties or places we don’t expect to be. So self-centered to think I won’t plant that tree because I won’t be here, but the future birds and the animals and the people would be benefiting and I care about them.


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