Plant it forward

Where to plant that cedar tree sapling you received on Earth Day?

This week, we celebrated Earth Day, and to commemorate this auspicious day, one of the local coffee companies, Ethical Bean, has sent me a gift.

It’s a tree.

OK, it’s not a huge tree, just a sapling (I think it’s a cedar) planted in a paper coffee cup. But not just any coffee cup, it’s a 100 percent biodegradable coffee cup, the very same type of cup the carbon-neutral roastery cafe uses to serve up its fair trade, organic brew.

All I have to do—according to the instructions affixed to the cup—is plant the entire package, cup and all, into the soil, and I’ll be doing my part to help cut carbon emissions.

While my colleague blithely placed his cup-o-tree on our lunchroom table “for the taking,” and assuaged himself of any green guilt, I feel a sense of obligation to ensure this little tree gets a good home. Maybe it’s because I grew up playing in the woods, scaling trees and turning them into forts. Maybe it’s because I drove to work today.

So, I check out the website of the company that supplies these trees to unsuspecting giftees like me. Forever Green Trees has a wealth of info on its website extolling the virtues of planting trees, like how a single tree can absorb a tonne of CO2 over 40 years. And how the average Canadian tree will rid the Earth of about 2.9 kilograms of carbon per year.

A little investigation helps me ID my little tree: Thuja plicata, a Western red cedar—and B.C.’s provincial tree. Since it can grow up to 50 feet and live for 1,500 years, I’m encouraged to “plant it in a location that will allow the tree to grow to maturity.”

No pressure.

But if I choose a good spot, just think of how much carbon this cedar can absorb for generations to come.

Any suggestions?