Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Going Native For the Planet
Last Saturday people all over America got busy outdoors, planting native species to make America more beautiful and more ecologically balanced. The National Planting Day is an initiative by Keep America Beautiful designed to encourage the public, community leaders and local governments to plant and re-plant native species instead of exotic and ornamental plants.
Native plants, sometimes known as indigenous plants, are plant types that evolved over thousands of years in a particular region, so they have adapted to the geography, climate and water profile of the place. Because there is such harmony between them and the environment where they exist and thrive, they play a key role in attracting pollinators and insects, which feed birds and other animals.
However, as suburbs grow into former native habitats and make them fragmented, native species are losing space (not to mention the competition from ornamental plants). There are several advantages in cultivating native plants: They are essential to provide habitat for wildlife; they are lower maintenance and generally provide environmental services such as conserving water and protecting soil from erosion. In short, they are pivotal for the proper funcioning of an ecosystem.
"Seemingly small choices can have huge impacts on our environment, including choosing to plant only with native species," said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Matthew McKenna. "Through National Planting Day, we hope to build nationwide momentum and grassroots advocacy for sustainable beautification and community greening practices."
It's also important to use compost when planting because it provides essential organic matter to soil, besides adding water holding capacity, better nutrient retention, improves soil structure and supports socially responsible recycling programs.
Although Saturday was the designated day for National Planting Day, anyone can get engaged with the project at any time. Activites are still happening, so those interested in joining the fun should contact their Local KAB affiliate.
The initiative is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture's People's Garden Initiative, which is part of the USDA's partnership with KAB to create food gardens across the U.S. In order to be recognized for growing a 'People's Garden', communities must embrace sustainability and plant native species.
Image credit: KAB