Planting Should Be Fun!

(Photo Credit: www.lewisginter.org )
  • (Photo Credit:  www.lewisginter.org )
    (Photo Credit: www.lewisginter.org )

    I always find a road trip in the US relaxing because I see greens.

Last Saturday we traveled all the way from Charlotte to Roanoke, Virginia to see a good friend.

Driving through interstate- 77, I could not stop admiring the trees; big and small of different varieties. The lines of trees are endless as it accompanies us on our road trip.

The sight of rich greenery even in a closed car doesn’t prevent me from inhaling the heady tonic of the leaves which smell like that popular “efficacent oil” ointment back in the Philippines.

The driving distance from Charlotte to Roanoke is 2 hours 57 minutes or approximately 200 miles. It is fascinating and I can never have enough of nature.

It is all trees, no huts or any structures along the way; not to mention the panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge plateau; beautiful in my eyes as the song says.

I searched through Google for the date on when Americans planted trees since they looked pretty ancient and this I found: It originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, by J. Sterling Morton.

The first Arbor Day was held in the state of Nebraska on April 10, 1872 where an estimated one million trees were planted that day.

Though usually observed in the’s spring, the date varies, depending on climate and if the season is suitable for planting. They have this holiday in the US called Arbor Day (from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) in which people and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.

This observation of mine is true in all the road-trips I’ve had in my three years in the US; from North Carolina to Florida, NC to New Orleans, NC to New York, NC to Washington DC even the nearby states of South Carolina, Georgia or Tennessee.

With this in mind, I remembered the daily commute from Tagoloan town to Cagayan de Oro, specifically at the place overlooking the Malasag Eco-Village that teemed with green and brown patches and rows of houses and other structures.

The green is dwindling even going to Bukidnon. The province once known for vast, verdant forests are now but a figment of our imagination as it laid bare.

You don’t have to ask me why. You know as much as I do what happened in the years that followed. If you’re still doubtful why not ask the big loggers themselves, though I highly doubt they’d be honest about it. Small-loggers are not blameless but they have their poverty as their defense.

The sight of a vibrant, rich forest not only relaxes the eyes but it’s good for the environment too. The only way for future generations of Cagayan de Oro residents to avoid the nightmare that is Sendong (and by extension Sendongkoy) of December 2011 is to roll up one’s sleeves and plant trees.

Having said that, why not just plant trees but look after them as well? There is a law where candidates for graduation should plant a tree before graduation. What happened to that law? One thing is sure, it is broken.

If they can do it here, we can do it too. We have a Department of Environment that is supposed to motivate people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. What is happening is that this department prefers to process tree-cutting permits more.

I know this is a collaborative effort of government agencies, national and local; with help from the community and the private sector, why not make Cagayan de Oro green again?

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About Dennis Susan

I love people, and I love to tell their stories.
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