When I give a shout-out for planting trees, people react as if they are going to drop whatever they are doing to plant one – or many. But rarely does anyone revert with an update! Why can’t action on the ground match the initial enthusiasm?
If I ask, people will come up with excuses – to either not plant any, or promising to at a later date. I have a counter-reply to whatever one may say – but it’s a chore to repeat myself and try to get myself understood. If you want to plant a tree but have reasons not to, read on…
Where do I plant one?
Look out of the window. If you see a spot where a tree might grow, plant one. Of course, if you own any patch of land, no matter what it’s been earmarked for, you can always find space for some trees on it.
Whose permission do I need?
No one’s if it’s your own land. You may want to consult the management of your residential or office block if you want to use community land. You could go to your local administration if it’s public land – but in countries like India, they may not be able to find provisions to give you any formal permission. You might as well go ahead and plant the trees on public land – no one is likely to object.
I can’t plant on public land!
Of course you can. You are public too. As long as you are not creating any obstructions, or taking over spaces used by others, you can plant a tree. I know of people who did on streets outside their houses – they now get shade, fruit and immense gratitude from birds and insects.
I don’t have the time.
Understandable – most of us are bound to white-collar slavery. Find volunteers or pay someone to do it for you. And do pop by from time to time to check the progress and to talk to your trees.
Can I just sign a cheque?
If getting someone to manage your trees is also a lot of work for you, there are entities who can be paid to plant and manage trees with your donation.
Who will look after the trees even if I plant some?
Ideally, make it a self-learning hobby for yourself. Else, pay a gardener to do it for you. A warning: most gardeners will try to impose their knowledge upon you. Don’t assume they know best about the choice of trees and their care. They tend to be trigger-happy in use of harmful chemicals; that should be a big no-no.
Which trees do I plant?
Go for native species, those that are useful to birds, insects and small animals like squirrels. Mix up species to improve biodiversity. Don’t forget fruits trees for human consumption.
Won’t the trees create a mess?
We are in a mess due to paucity of trees on the planet. Whatever you call a mess – fallen leaves, bird droppings, insects etc. – are what we need to sustain life.
What about the mess and noise created by birds, insects and squirrels?
Unplug your Bose, and pay attention to nature’s music. Learn to attribute sounds to their respective species, including different calls for mating, to warn about dangers etc.
What’s in it for me?
Life. A longer, healthier, happier one. Would you rather have something else?