In Other Words – why it is important to plant trees

Basil English,

Basil English, Silviculture supervisor of Newfoundland’s Forestry and Agrifoods Agency

People often say that planting trees is a good deed for the environment, but when you try to add it up, you realize the value of a living tree is incalculable to our planet and the species on it.  So to get to the root of the matter, we interviewed the Tree Guy aka Basil English, Silviculture supervisor of Newfoundland’s Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.

Is planting trees good for the environment?

Yes with out a doubt! 

Does it help address climate change?

So there are a few ways in which planting trees help address climate change: some of the direct-effective benefits of plantings trees are that they absorb carbon and release oxygen.  We breathe what they create.

Trees also help mitigate climate change by keeping urban temperatures cooler areas in the summer by providing shade to buildings and homes during summer. This reduces the need for the use of air conditioners (though not so much here in Newfoundland!). In winter trees block wind and reduce wind speeds keeping houses and buildings warmer, which also helps reduce energy usage

Does planting trees here in Newfoundland make a difference in other parts of the world?

Climate cycles have no borders, but it’s difficult to see direct impacts. BUT any measure taken in any single country will have benefits everywhere. By planting trees, we increase the carbon we sequester and we reduce energy consumption.

Does planting a tree in your own backyard make a difference?

Large-scale tree planting projects have larger impacts on the environment, but individuals planting trees can have a bunch of benefits by helping people act in a way that is very real, physical and connects people with their environment. Too often people feel helpless when it comes to global environmental challenges. This is a way people can look at the tree growing as something tangible. 

In urban settings, trees provide habitat for birds and larger animals, and improve aesthetics (and property values). They also make people feel good – there are many studies showing that people’s mental health can be improved by nature, which helps them feel more content and with a better sense of wellbeing.

Depending on where you live, trees can also help reduce noise pollution from cars, buses, and industry.  

What are some of the environmental benefits of planting trees?

On the larger scale, trees and forests are part of the earth’s ecosystem. Trees help improve water quality by filtering water pollutants. In addition, they slow down the movement of water which reduces the risk of flooding. Trees also can sequester pollutants from the air, water and soil.  

When is the best time to plant trees in Newfoundland and Labrador?

It depends on your ability to take care of the tree. Through our Department’s reforestation program we plant trees on an industrial scale – millions of trees – and those trees are usually on their own so we usually plant from spring through summer so that the trees have time to acclimatize for the winter. It is really about being careful and making sure the roots are handled carefully and the tree is well watered. So if you are planting in your backyard you can probably plant from May (or when it begins to thaw) to September/October. 

So there you have it! Planting trees is a good deed for the environment, and for yourself, and it doesn’t matter if you plant 1, 2, 3 or even 100 trees – it’s all good! So grab a shovel and get your hands dirty!

thegreenrock.ca is proud to partner with Junior Forest Wardens NL for the Annual Tree Sale.   In Other Words is a project of thegreenrock.ca – Guide to the Good. You know when people start talking about the importance of taking care of the environment, and you’re interested, but it’s hard to pay attention when they talk about the microns, the quarks and parts per million? In Other Words makes scientific information understandable and practical.   If you like it, share it!

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think planet. live local ~ how do you fit in?

the challenges of the great big world can get a little smaller when we all work together to take action!  for Earth Day 2016 thegreenrock.ca, with support from Memorial University’s Office of Public Engagement and the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods, asked human beings how their actions fit in with their larger planetary system at the Suncor Fluvarium Earth Day Fair in St. John’s.

good news: people are taking action!  so many things – from recycling to composting to saying no to plastic bags, buying less and riding more, and generally keeping the planet in mind.  every little bit makes a difference, but to put all these great actions in the great big context, we asked Dr. Sean McGrath, Head of the Department of Philosophy at Memorial University and core member of the For A New Earth group, to offer his perspective.

there is hope!  we are all part of the solution by taking action together!

 

 

 

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Happy Earth Day!- living la vida local

last Sunday thegreenrock.ca, with support from Memorial University, Department of Forestry and Agrifoods, and some really cool local businesses launched the How do You Fit in? initiative during the Earth Day Fair at the Suncor Fluvarium.   It goes like this:  the earth is one big beautiful interconnected system, and we all have a role to play in caring for it.  When it comes to ‘thinking planet and living local’, we asked, “How do you fit in?”

how do you fit in

and guests to the Fluvarium answered!   the liked the sneak-peek preview of the Habits for Your Habitat ~ Guide to the Good site that we’ve been building on the past months; they lined up for the white spruce seedlings which we completely ran out of;  they wanted to win the excellent “Living Local” draw with some of St. John’s finest – goodies from St. John’s Soap Works, a ‘Shop Local’ poster, a gift certificate from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, as well as locally made fire-weed jam from Casey’s Crafts.  (congrats Nicole!)

But the biggest deal of the day was how people see themselves fitting in – and there are so  many ways.  Answers came in English, Spanish, Korean on paper, in voice, in video and in art.  Turns out there is great love on for the earth, and once our voices join in unison we will do a better job of caring for our planet.

Let’s keep going!  thegreenrock.ca is now moving into phase 2  which is the development of a creative ‘talking pictures’ and an some insight on living la vida local with Dr. Sean McGrath from For A New Earth. The responses we received were very inspiring !  We can’t wait to share it with you.

Stay tuned

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spring! into waste reduction

one year’s worth of waste – http://www.zerowastehome.com/

one weeks worth of waste. how much of this could go somewhere other than the landfill?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March is here (in like a lamb out like a lion maybe?) and as it always does it brings ideas of spring and spring cleaning.  we need to make space for fresh new energy. the best to do that long term is to think about what we bring in.

habits we practice at the household level have a huge impact on reducing waste.   believe it or not, it’s possible to leave very little on the curb – check out Bea of www.zerowaste.com and Lauren of trash is for tossers for leading edge examples.  these two mavericks have waste reduction down to a science and an art.   as well as being very dedicated, they live in centres where facilities exist that make their choices practical.   great ideas!  and although all the facilities don’t exist (ie, we can’t bring jars to the brewery to get filled with beer), there are many things we can do to reduce waste.

this is a mash-up of suggestions of living the waste-free lifestyle from Bea and Lauren, with a bit of local practical knowledge thrown in.

  • what’s in the trash? – have a look at what’s in the bin.  if you’re the greater St. John’s metro area, figure out what can be recycled (cans, cartons, bottles, etc, check the city of St John’s recycling program), what can be composted like organic waste – check out the Botanical Gardens,, what really shouldn’t be going to the trash at all (hazardous waste), check out Eastern Waste Management , what can be rehabilitated or donated (check out Habitat for Humanity ReStore – link updated and other donation-seeking organizations). For all of it, all over the province check out rethink waste. like their website says, “RethinkWasteNL.ca provides Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with easy access to everything we need to know about managing our waste – all on one website.”
  • when buying, buy package-free and/or bulk – sometimes the packaging is recyclable, but even if it still takes work to recycle it.  less is more! You can visit the Bulk Barn to buy in bulk or you can go to the Food for Thought store  as well, and shop the markets.  the St. John’s Farmers’ Market doesn’t run in winter, but the Winter Market and Some Good Market do!
  • the best way to avoid food waste is to prepare the right volume of food for your family, and eat it.  (easier said that done.)  cooking and baking at home (having minimized packaging at the purchase phase) leads to less waste!

 

all of these ideas can add up to a  huge difference to what hits the curb.  and when the demand is there to create more infrastructure to reduce even further.

 

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green is the new red: Valentine’s winter market

on Valentines day we celebrate our love and appreciation to the people we care about but we can do so while supporting our community and our planet !

check out some amazing local treats from creative hands and farmers cellars at the Valentines winter market from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion. there will be a variety of local vendors including  farmers bringing meat and eggs, artisan cheese, homemade bread and baked goods, spices, art, jewelry, t-shirts and apparel handmade soaps and much more!

local products typically have a smaller ecological footprint and they also help to build our community and local economy.

love ❤ xoxo

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thegreenrock.ca is a non-profit that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like and share!

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the people have spoken ~ we want local!

it’s a day to talk about the importance of local business.  a while back thegreenrock.ca started a survey to find out how ‘local’ fits into consumer purchasing decisions.

it turns out that ‘local’ is an important consideration for people when they are buying, and, even more encouraging, people would buy more local goods if they knew local options where available and they knew how to access the goods.  the results of the poll will help us build Habits for Your Habitat – Guide to the Good, and that will make it easier for those of us in the Northeast Avalon to include more ‘local’ in our purchasing decisions.

here are couple of highlights –

  • it shows that buying ‘local’ is a significant factor for the majority the people Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 5.32.36 PM
  • and the poll also shows that there is a significant potential for local businesses to increase the market share for their goods and services.  when asked how they felt about the percentage of local spending,  86.6% of the respondents said they would spend more locally if they knew local options where available and they knew how to access the goods

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all good news!  thanks to all those who participated.

You can see the survey’s summary of response  in this link:
https://docs.google.com/a/mun.ca/forms/d/1l7y7RJCePhkzai8jfUV-rMgdWTnuwze1jeYTpjocSFM/viewanalytics

 

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Habits for Your Habitat ~ Guide to the Good

survey 1 shot

Since 2011, thegreenrock.ca has been sharing stories about great local, green and savvy initiatives.  Along the way we’ve been talking to loads of local business owners, environmental practitioners, and community organizations.  So good, so inspiring, and so needed!  We realized that there is more we can do to make our communities more sustainable and more resilient, and we are working on it!

Habits for Your Habitat ~ guide to the good is work in progress that will make it easier and more practical for people to make sustainable choices. It’s about what we do where we live.  The new platform will promote local businesses (kitchen-table operations as well as thriving storefronts), highlight organizations, profile cool people and translate complex science into practical tips for everyday habits.

Since things ‘local’ are key to project success, we are surveying consumers,local business owners and community organizations to identify how ‘local’ fits into purchasing decisions and marketing activities.

think planet.  live local.

 

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thegreenrock.ca is a non-profit that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like and share!

facebook thegreenrock.ca, google+ thegreenrock.ca