“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
Franklin D. Roosevelt had once called them “the lungs of the Earth,” millions of poets have been inspired by them, and millions right now are fighting to save them.
Yes, we’re talking about forests. Just a simple walk in the woods or the neighbourhood park can calm and invigorate our senses, isn’t it? In fact, the forests are so crucial to the future of our planet that the UN has declared March 21 as the International Day of Forests. For many years now, this amazing global celebration has been creating awareness all over the world about the importance of forests. They are after all one of our greatest natural treasures that we must preserve and protect, right?
But, why should we celebrate forests for just a day?
At Planting Hopes, we say, let’s celebrate forests today and every day!
Forests are the lungs of the Earth. They are like giant, green sponges all over the globe, through which our planet breathes. Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide and give us oxygen, cleaning our air.
The world needs wood and not just for construction, paper, furniture, etc. As the world’s population grows, with it the hunger for energy. Currently wood accounts for approximately 45 % of the world’s renewable energy supply. Encouraging and modernizing this industry can help find new and sustainable ways to produce bioenergy.
Healthy forests mean a healthy environment. Forests trap carbon to prevent global warming. They stabilize the climate, control atmospheric temperatures, protect watershed areas, regulate the water cycle, and enrich the soil. And that’s not all that forests do for our environment!
Quick question. Do you know, which is the world’s largest forest?
The Amazon Rainforest. Do you know that the massive Amazon biome spans Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana? Its landscape contains 1.4 billion acres of dense forests, which is half the Earth’s remaining tropical forests. The health of Amazon is crucial to the Earth’s well-being for the rainforests contains 90-140 billion tons of carbon, which helps stabilise climate.
- In order to observe the international day of forests, how about creating a community garden and getting a step closer to nature?
A community garden can help transform people who happen to live in the same place into a united community. It celebrates diversity in individual plots while creating opportunities for people to work together and learn from each other—about gardening, food preparation, and more. They learn to respect each other’s differences and to appreciate what they have in common. Community gardens build relationships that last beyond the growing season.
Here’s a quick checklist for you to get started:
- Form a planning committee and take preliminary decisions
- What kind of garden – vegetable, fruits or a combination?
- Who will the garden serve – seniors, underprivileged people, children, people who are just looking for an alternative to refuse?
- Will the project benefit a particular group or neighbourhood?
- Organize a meeting and form committees to accomplish key tasks: funding & resource development, activities, communication.
- Approach a sponsor. Contributions of land, tools, seeds, fencing, soil improvements or money are all vital to a successful community garden.
- Choose a site
- Make sure the site gets a few full hours of sunlight daily.
- Do a soil test for nutrients and consider the availability of water.
- Prepare and develop the site
- Clean the site and develop your design
- Gather your resources and include plans for a storage area for tools and other equipment, as well as a compost area.
- Arrange for land preparation – ploughing, etc or let gardeners do their own prep.
We of course will elaborate further on each of the steps discussed above in future blog posts. However, the purpose of this first edition is to get you excited about the prospect of a new neighbourhood garden get started down the path to a greener thumb for your entire community.