[Inspiration] How Green is Your Thumb?

When it comes to both climate change and social justice, growing green things has huge potential.

The Drawdown project has an extensive section on the changes we need to make to our agricultural processes. If we can switch to “regenerative” agricultural practices (things like no till, cover crops, and using beneficial insects for pest control), we can sequester a heck ton of carbon dioxide, improve crop yields and make food cheaper.

Daniel Christian Wahl, writing on Medium, discusses how we might create a global effort to spread regenerative practices. You could contribute by doing something in your community. What could you do, right now, to introduce local landowners and gardeners to regenerative practices? If they need a nudge, you can point to carbon marketplaces like Nori, where you can get paid to store carbon.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Ron Finley is changing the urban landscape of Los Angeles by being a ‘gansta gardener.’ He’s defied local bylaws to plant gardens in otherwise ecologically dead zones, and encouraged other people to do the same, helping establish dozens of community gardens. He’s done a TED Talk and there’s a documentary featuring him as well.

Take a look at your yard. Does it have to be grass? What do you think you could grow yourself? Have a good look at all the vacant lots in your city. Check out the church lawns. Which of these might be converted to a community garden? Do you have older neighbours who have land, and who could use the fresh vegetables? Could you start and maintain a garden for them?

If vegetables aren’t your thing, don’t forget flowers. Most urban areas are wastelands from the pollinator’s perspective: non-native species they can’t suck on or eat, grass that is of no interest, and heavy use of pesticides and fertilizer. Can you convert your lawn to something more interesting? If you can, did you know you might be able to get a nifty certificate for doing so? In Canada, for example, the Canadian Wildlife Federation offers a habitat certification program. Your local jurisdiction might do the same (and if it doesn’t, how about starting one yourself?!). Meanwhile, you can enjoy all the birds, bees, toads and frogs that will visit your garden. And who doesn’t like flowers?

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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  1. Learn more through local plant clubs, garden classes provided at botanic gardens. And a Master Gardener class is available through University of California.