You’re probably sick of the debate about global climate change. Me too. Maybe you feel like you can’t make a difference? Here’s an idea that might make you feel better: Plant a tree.

In the United States, Arbor Day is nationally celebrated on the final Friday of April. Strangely, despite the continuous news cycle around climate change, the simple act of planting a tree on Arbor Day seems very under-reported in US media.

Planting a tree is not going to stop the debate about climate change, nor is it going to stop climate change itself. It will, however, give you the moral high ground in a debate with coworkers. Even as you do a small part to help fight smog, you’ll empower yourself to be smug. That’s a win, surely?

Roots of the Holiday

I’m not even sure Arbor Day is a holiday. It’s a nationally recognized day to go plant a tree (or trees). It’s a day to think about nature and the circle of life.

It seems to me extremely odd that so much of the conservation movement has gotten tied up in partisan politics in the US. All of us live on Earth. As The Tick, once said of the need to protect our planet, we must protect the Earth because it’s where we keep our stuff.

Started in the 1870s in Nebraska, the US Arbor Day movement continues to have a strong presence in that state. Millions of trees have been planted through the inspirational seed of Arbor Day.

We could do more to make it feel like a real holiday of course. Having a picnic with your newly planted tree might be a fun tradition. Get the whole family involved. Perhaps give an Arbor Day gift? Or Take family photos in front of your tree each year to show how it and your family change over time?

What if I can’t?

Maybe you can’t plant a tree for some reason. You live in an apartment or you’re physically or financially unable. There are other ways to participate. One of the easiest is to donate to the Arbor Day Foundation. You can also look at recommended organizations from the National Forest Foundation.

Will it stem global climate change?

I strongly suspect that planting a tree has more positive potential environmental impact than boycotting plastic straws. I have not done the math on this, but the tree potentially grows and generates oxygen and even leads to the growth of more trees. It provides shade, it helps stop erosion, it gives squirrels and birds and insects a home, etc…

You can plant a tree for moral reasons, for aesthetic reasons, for ecological reasons, or even economic reasons. If all goes well, your tree will live long after you’re gone and continue to provide benefits for generations. If you can participate and either plant or help support others to plant a tree this Arbor Day, please do!

This dog is going to be pretty busy.

What else can I do?

I don’t want to turn this into an advertisement, but there has been so much talk about the paperless office over the last two decades, it’s worth mentioning that a lot of what Apex Process Consultants does has an impact on reducing paper. Our latest product, Apex Forms, is all about making it easier to perform work functions online. Despite evidence that a lot of initiatives to “go paperless” didn’t really work, the rise of tablets and mobile devices in the past decade has made the success of such efforts more attainable. (For example, note the irony that the book about the myth of a paperless office is now available on the Amazon Kindle.)

People love paper, but with tools like Apex Forms, it is now possible to shift a lot of those tedious paper-driven office activities onto screens that don’t need a paper version. Workflow, document management, digital signatures, tablet-based data collection — there is a huge range of technologies that make going paperless less of a pipe-dream and something more companies can actually implement. The dream has finally started to be reality.

So plant a tree for Arbor Day. Or support a tree-planting charity. Also, give us a call to see how we can help your company move towards a paperless future with Digital Business Automation and Apex Forms.