Published on December 28th, 2012 | by Scott Cooney


A Fun, New Green Tradition: Tree Planting

A few days ago, I posted about holiday traditions, and suggested that I was looking to start a new sustainable holiday tradition this year that was fun and uber green: planting trees for forage-able food and carbon sequestration. As we know from sister site PlanetSave, planting trees is a wonderful way to fix carbon and reduce global warming.

This post is a followup based on our experience. I’ll start by saying that it was a team effort. We chose a hiking trail we like through some dry lowland forest nearby, so that, effectively, we were also going for a hike on Christmas Day. It was not hard to recruit helpers. Mike and Vanessa (pictured, above) heard about the idea and immediately asked if they could join in.

I had been growing papaya and avocado from seed for the last few months, not for any particular reason except that I like to grow stuff in my garden boxes, and one day decided to try to see if I could grow an avocado pit into a viable plant. When that started sprouting, I did another, and then decided to grow some papaya from seed as well, since there’s so much GMO papaya, I thought someone, at some point, would appreciate a good organic seedling.

First we planted two organic papayas at Mike’s house in a corner of the yard that was unused. But we also liked the idea of planting trees in a public place, where others could enjoy the “fruits” of our labor for decades or a century to come. So off we went, galavanting into the woods with 5 papaya seedlings and two avocados, a machete for clearing out some undergrowth and giving some sun to our seedlings, a pickax, handshovel, and several jugs of water.

We hiked maybe 20 minutes up the trail until the weight of the cooler full of water convinced us to stop, and chose some locations for trees to go. After that, it was wonderful manual labor….digging, chopping, clearing…moving a lot of dirt around. Mike assessed the native and invasive vegetation in the area, so we cut some of the invasives and created some room for our fruit trees. For someone who spends a lot of his life in front of a computer, it was just super fun work. After we planted the seedlings, we doused them with water, and Vanessa gave them a blessing for strength and longevity. Here’s some photos! I’d highly encourage you to take on your own tree planting tradition!

As we pointed out last time, trees in the tropics can lock 100 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere per year. There are few better impacts we can have in the world to help mitigate carbon emissions while also creating organic food…and having fun at the same time.

Enjoy! And if you take this tradition on, please post below with your experience, thoughts, and ideas.


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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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