Take Action And Plant. Our Planet Needs It Now.


Tomorrow, April 22, marks Earth Day 2021. A day dedicated to diversifying, educating, and activating the worldwide environmental movement, the power of Earth Day lies in its ability to raise environmental concerns to the forefront of society’s consciousness.

It’s particularly timely in the face of all that’s happening: Piney Point wastewater discharges; dramatic declines in insect populations; devastating fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Truth be told: with such constant negative news on the environmental front, I appreciate the optimism at the core of this year’s Earth Day theme, Restore Our Earth™. I recognize the potential this theme has as a rallying call to action.

And, with such an important call to action, I’d like to focus on the important roles plants (and especially native plants) can play in efforts to restore our earth.

By now, I think all of our readers recognize the importance of plants in our natural ecosystems: native plant communities sustain wildlife, insects, and soils. Perhaps less well known (but no less important) are the ways plants treat stormwater, mitigate the urban heat island effect, remediate contaminated soils, and more.

In fact, one study showed that across five cities, trees accrued benefits that included energy savings; atmospheric CO2-reductions and improved air quality; stormwater runoff reductions; and increased property values. According to these researchers’ calculations, trees returned between $1.37 to $3.09 on every dollar invested in tree management.

(If you’re interested, the i-Tree suite of online tools allows you to quantify the benefits of trees on a very granular level. Input data relevant to the trees on your property and see how valuable they are!)

Closer to home, a study released by the Florida Department of Transportation in March 2014 estimated that the ecosystem services provided by Florida’s roadside vegetation (including carbon sequestration, runoff prevention, improved air quality, and support of crop pollinators) was worth nearly half a billion dollars.

As a gardener, I’m an eternal optimist. I know the healing power of plants. As an accountant, I love to see hard numbers that validate that plant-based natural processes are a smart way to build a better future for our planet and ourselves.

As we work to Restore Our Earth™, I’d like to quote the following advice from Earth day.org:

“Don’t underestimate your power. When your voice and your actions are united with thousands or millions of others around the world, we create a movement that is inclusive, impactful, and impossible to ignore.”

So, please #TakeAction. Please plant something green this weekend. Our combined future might just depend on it.