Green is More

March 25, 2010

This essay was submitted to a Sustainable Cleveland contest sponsored by EcoWatch Journal. It Won! Kris and I got to attend the EcoWatch Annual Dinner at Landerhaven and meet lots of great people, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr! In June, 2010, the essay was published in the EcoWatch Journal.

Note: We are proud to consider ourselves Clevelanders!

Green is More

Green is more than a color. It’s more than a movement. It’s more than a walk in the woods or a walk to the end of the driveway with a recycling bin. It’s more than the whales…more than the dragon flies…more than the native plants in vacant lots…more than a check in the mail by the end of the year.

Green is more.

The age-old black muck that lies below our ridges…rotting leaves from robust maples, oaks and ash…light alluvial silts beneath the dark waters of our rivers purposeful and proud…these things whisper of a green legacy stretching back to the glaciers two-miles-high…to the tribes and the trappers…to the tamers and the farmers.

Green is more than what we do…it’s what we breathe. It’s what we inherit…it’s what we bequeath.

Green is, above all, action. It is the slow turning of vast timeless wheels grinding out countless interactions beyond the comprehension of the human mind. It is a summation of the competing reckless energies of every living thing.

And still…green is more.

Green is God. Green is Science. Green is Zen. Green encompasses impossible opposites, then joins them in exquisite beauty and leaves mankind, with all our frailties and limitations and possibilities, observing and participating with a sense of awe and reckoning, laughter and tears.

Why am I green?

Why do I live?

I grew up in the nursery community of Northeastern Ohio. Our nursery roots go back over 150 years. It’s a proud tradition of fruit trees, berry bushes, ornamental shrubs and trees. My wife and I run a nursery and garden center specializing in perennial plants, ground covers and small shrubs. We raise plants for the landscape trade, for homeowners and gardeners. We believe in horticulture. We also believe in native plants and the natural areas of Ohio.

Tonight I watched a coyote meander across one of our fields. We host other players as well…fox, deer, wild turkey, rabbits, ground hogs, muskrat, red tailed hawks, herons, cranes, owls, the occasional bald eagle, and many other creatures requiring the open space, wood lots, creeks and ponds to survive. Encounters with our extended flock are like enchanted visitations.
We attended the original Earth Day during college. We travelled around the country and lived in the Rocky Mountains. We raised a family and showed them back-packing, camping and climbing. We walk our parks and marshes and beaches. We kayak our rivers and lakefront.

We aspire to provide an example of responsible environmental stewardship on the lands we manage for a brief time. During the last year I joined the board of the Ohio Invasive Plant Council as well as the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association and seek to promote constructive collaboration between the two. I co-founded a water council tasked with monitoring agricultural runoff. I work with LEAP, CMNH and other groups to further responsible behavior in this wonderful corner of our state.
For me, at this point in my life, green is believing…and green is action.