As the news stories careen towards ever-scarier pronouncements (now even mainstream presses are admitting we might've passed peak oil, and objections to global warming have become the feeblest murmurs), one might wonder "What the heck can I do?"
When I was a kid, my grandparents and parents owned a theatre. During the summer months, they also did children's theatre productions. So I was a toy in Babes in Toyland, a dancing skunk in Johnny Appleseed, and a singing Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. Remembering the story of Johnny Appleseed (even though the version in the play is much dramatized from his real life), it occurs to me that we could all take a page from his book. Johnny Appleseed is known for planting orchards of apple trees, as well as fostering community, and helping out those less fortunate than himself (to the point where if people gave him clothing, he only kept the worst pieces for himself to wear and passed on the nicer items to others in need).
Right now, community and local food are two things that will be increasingly important as we head into an energy-poor future. For most of us, whether we live on suburban lots or in the country, we've got places we might be able to plant sustainable food sources for future harvesting. Of course, what is available to you to plant as part of your permanent landscaping will vary depending on your local climate, which direction your lot faces, how many shade trees you already have, and other variables. In our area, there are lots of options open for planting, including nuts like walnuts and filbert trees, a huge variety of fruit trees, and fruiting shrubs.
In a last fit of fall gardening, I picked up five more huckleberry bushes and three of a new variety of evergreen blueberry that fruits for 10 weeks a summer instead of fruiting in one short intense burst. I'm determined to both squeeze in more edible landscaping into areas that we have, and also to replace some of my least favorite shrubs (legacy of the previous owner) with fruit-bearing raspberries, huckleberries, blueberries, etc. We also planted a cherry tree this year, and I'm thinking of squeezing in a filbert somewhere. We have a yellow plum, purple free-stone plum. asian pear, and two red apple trees already.