The Way Forward

Earth Month and Little Miss Figgy Withit

Little Miss Figgy Withit is having a growth spurt. At 6″ tall at the tip of her one and only leaf when she arrived in our mailbox, she shrunk a little within a few days. The leaf, dry and crisp, fell, and suddenly our little fig tree was bare. A sign of hope, however: one tiny green nodule about halfway up. And within a day, another where the leave once was.

Less than one week and one new planter later, she unfurled three new leaves while shooting up towards the grow light. I tried not to blink so as not to miss her hopeful reach, knowing it will pull her from six inches to six feet someday.

For a couple of weeks now, she has been outside in the elevated garden box, getting used to the elements. She has four full leaves, another enroute, and a tiny one growing closer to the soil. Fellow plant and nature lovers will understand the joy each new bit of greenery brings.

Little Miss Figgy Withit is the first tree I have grown. She will, theoretically, outlive me. Taking care of a living being that will continue after I’ve died is new to me. I once had property that I felt stewardship over, but the trees were well-established, and I spent more time cutting back nature than encouraging it to grow. This is different.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson

I don’t know that this dwarf fig tree grown in a container will ever cast enough shade to sit under but being an apartment dweller, it’s the best I can do. Perhaps it will find a yard someday, grow taller, and someone I do not know will enjoy a fig grown from my sweet little tree.

In the meantime, there’s another way I can plant a tree that will make a difference on a more global scale. I can donate to an organization whose primary focus is planting trees. And it only takes a dollar. One dollar plants one tree in a place where it is needed most.

One Tree Planted defines itself as “a non-profit organization focused on global reforestation.” They have projects in over 40 countries and have planted over 40 million trees globally.

Projects span from helping with reforestation in areas impacted by wildfires to restoring forests affected by industrial practices to focusing on rehabilitating broken ecosystems. Donations for tree planting projects can be as little as one dollar.

We want to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees. Together we can restore forests, create habitat for biodiversity, and make a positive social impact around the world.

~ The One Tree Planted Vision

If you’d like to get into the nitty-gritty, One Tree Planted is sponsoring Earth Month planting events internationally. They are also a partner of the UN’s Ecosystem Restoration initiative. This project spans decades and has created an Ecosystem Restoration Playbook:

“The 21-page guide describes approaches to restoring eight key types of ecosystem – forests, farmlands, grassland and savannahs, rivers and lakes, oceans and coasts, towns and cities, peatlands, and mountains. It also lays out how all parts of society – from individuals and community groups to businesses and governments – can become part of #GenerationRestoration, a global movement to restore ecosystems everywhere for the good of people and nature.”

I’ve only recently found this resource and will be exploring it next.


A reminder as we enter Earth Month. The news will often be grim. And our actions may often feel insignificant. May we each find the strength to continue with what we can do regardless.

Cultural shifts happen on a different level; they come into view only when we step back enough to see a bigger picture changing over time. A newspaper photograph viewed through a magnifying glass may appear only as tiny dots. When it seems as if our lives and choices are like those dots, it can be difficult to recognize their contribution to a bigger picture of change.

― Joanna Macy, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy

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