What will we be proud of 50 years from now?
Last July, it was 50 years ago when heard those unforgettable words coming from the Moon, “The Eagle has landed.”
This August marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, a musical festival of peace and celebration that, as singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell put it, involved close to half a million golden stardust people “getting back to the garden.”
These moments not only define us as a human race, but also define a generation seeking a new way.
Which makes me wonder, what common purpose of today will we be proud to celebrate 50 years from now?
Will we be celebrating how we got a handle on cyberbullying? What if we could prevent children and those with low self-esteem from being victimized over the Internet? Or what if we could halt cyber influence on election outcomes? Both would be powerful wins worth noting in the history books.
Or, will we be commemorating how we finally managed to put an end to prejudice of all kinds? Imagine how good it would feel to go to sleep each night knowing that your friends and relations no longer had to deal with a daily dose of terror arising from intolerance. What if, instead of spending energy to be on constant alert for danger, people of all colours, ages, political stripes, gender affiliations, and religions could just focus on living happy and productive lives? Achieving a state of widespread acceptance for others would, I’m sure, make future generations proud.
But, what good will it do to fix our unenlightened ways if we don’t have a planet to live on? Which brings us to the matter of climate change. If we don’t start taking climate change and the rising amount of carbon in the atmosphere seriously, it’s unlikely there will much to celebrate 50 years from now.
So, what can we do about it?
It may sound simple, but we could plant trees. We could plant them in backyards, on rooftops, on balconies, along medians, in parks and green spaces, in brownfields and clearcutting scars, and even in the middle of sidewalks like they do in New York City. And since trees like their own company, as their roots support and communicate with each other, it’s almost always a good idea to plant more than one.
Why are trees important? Because they capture carbon and use it as their building blocks to grow big and leafy and tall. Locking carbon into trees, instead of letting it run amok in the atmosphere where it harms us in a global warming sort of way, is a good thing for our planet. Indeed, planting trees might be what saves us in the end.
Planting trees could also be the great equalizer of our time. People of all colours can plant trees. People from different political parties can plant trees. LGBTQ people can plant trees. People of all ages can plant trees; trees aren’t ageist. And trees don’t care what religion you are when you are planting them. For a boost of self-worth, trees will thank you by doing their best to grow, even in adverse conditions. Planting trees as a group effort might help people understand other points of view and what it means to work together.
I suppose planting trees is really about “getting back to the garden,” that idyllic utopia of peace and connection. Maybe 50 years from now people will celebrate all the good things that came from our desire to take climate change, prejudice, and cyberbullying seriously by doing the simplest of things. Planting trees—now that’s in our best interest.
For more in your best interest, follow Sheelagh @sheesays or visit www.ideagarden.net.