Interstates

The title for this blog came to me as I was driving back and forth on the interstate between my home town and the town where my daughter attends college. Here in the “heartland” of the United States there are endless fields of corn and soybeans, but the median and the strips of land beside the highway contain nothing but grass, mowed low to the ground. Mile after mile of unshaded highway reflecting heat into the atmosphere. Mile after mile of fertile land supporting nothing but useless grass.

As I drove back and forth, I began imagining what the highway would be like if all that unused land were planted with trees and shrubs. I imagined blessed patches of shade shielding my eyes from the incessant glare of traffic. I imagined tall and short trees and a variety of shrubs giving interest to the boring landscape and soaking up greenhouse gases. I mused on the wildlife that would flourish in the shelter of those trees and shrubs.

Interstate highways criss-cross the United States, covering thousands of miles. And while some are shaded by trees, many more are not. What if we began planting trees along the edges of interstates, as a first step towards replacing the forests being destroyed in the tropics?

I’m not the first one to think of this, of course. Check out this article from Scientific American:

“Why Can’t We Plant Trees in Highway Medians”: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-can-t-we-plant-trees-in-highway-medians/