It’s always a good day to plant a treeThis Arbor Day – or any day, for that matter – why not go out and plant a tree?
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
It’s possible that a lot of us were caught flat-footed when it came to last Friday’s Earth Day observance. Oh sure, we were headed into Easter weekend and all that, and one could certainly be excused for passing over it, right? But the reality is that Earth Day isn’t what it was in 1970. That’s when it capitalized on the nation’s emerging environmental consciousness following Rachel Carson’s ground-breaking book, “Silent Spring,” as well as the anti-war fervor and the protest movements that seemed to surround any issue concerning social consciousness.
Today, concerns over our environment have by no means gone away, but it seems some of our fervor has been lost over the crushing economic downfalls of recent years. While most of us still support all of the things that Earth Day stands for, chances are not a whole lot of us gave it more than lip service this year.
And now, Arbor Day is upon us.
Traditionally observed on the last Friday of April, Arbor Day dates much further back than Earth Day and as such, it runs a far greater risk of having its original intent lost on today’s generation. How many of today’s youth (or yesterday’s, for that matter!) even know quite what the word “arbor” means? It’s an old-fashioned name for an observance that dates all the way back to 1872.
Ouch! How can something that’s been around that long possibly have meaning in today’s fast-paced, electronically charged, highly “wired” world?
The first Arbor Day took place in Nebraska after journalist and politician Julius Sterling Morton decided his state would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees. He started by setting a precedent on his own land, planting shade trees and wind breaks for beautification and conservation. He then proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. More than one million trees were planted statewide on that day. In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton’s idea began to spread, and today all 50 states as well as several countries of the world observe Arbor Day or an equivalent event.
It seems that much of today’s Arbor Day observances have been relegated strictly to school children, however, who often take field trips and plant trees in homage to a day and a concept that predates them by more than a century. But even way back in Morton’s day, he had a far-reaching vision – to see those school children continue to care for the very same seedlings throughout the years to come and take ownership in the world they would inherit as adults.
And no matter how “connected” and high tech our world has become, that’s a concept that still holds water today.
This Arbor Day – or any day, for that matter – why not go out and plant a tree? It’s an easy and meaningful contribution to the future of our world.