Weapons of Mass Restoration

In an article available on NPR’s (National Public Radio) website, they discuss a pretty ingenious sort of home-grown environmentalism going on in New York. Small groups of people are getting together and making seed balls, which are comprised of seeds native to an area, mulch, and red terracotta clay all mixed together and formed into a small ball shape. Participants then distribute the seed balls around town in areas that have been “developed” (or were going to be, before the economic crisis slowed or strangled projects) or abandoned and left to deteriorate. With both public and private projects either on hold or down the tubes, landscape that was in beginning to mid-development stages (which tend to be an eyesore at best) is now left in a stagnant shambles. In an effort to make a cheap, easy, and proactive difference, these groups make these seed balls and distribute them across a wide area, usually where soil is turned and where there is little actual construction activity is taking place.

I really think that an idea like this is pretty fantastic, so long as you’re using a seed that is native to the area and isn’t a particularly aggressive sort of plant that would take over the habitat. As several people point out near the end of the article, it’s a way for people to make a difference in their community and do something to make it a more beautiful and pleasant place to live, without a large expenditure of money or effort. Not that such expenditures aren’t a worthwhile investment, because they certainly are, but even in the best of economic times it can be hard to garner funding for public works projects, especially those specifically meant to make a community “prettier” so that citizens feel more at home and take more pride in the area they live in. But an idea such as this, with it’s great simplicity, is really wonderful.

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