Permapeople tomatoes in a bowl

tl;dr If every person on the planet grows 10 tomato plants a year, we could offset Germany’s annual CO2 emissions.

I think everyone should grow some plants. If you have a (backyard) garden, a balcony, or just a windowsill, you should grow something. There are a lot of direct and indirect benefits from doing that. I will focus on some of these.

To help regenerate the environment

I think this the most obvious and should be enough to start growing whatever you like immediately. One tomato plant fixates 1.5kg of CO2 per year on average[1]. If every person on the planet grows 10 plants a year (~ 7.594.000.000 people), we could sequester ~1.1 billion tons of CO2. This is more than the annual CO2 emissions of Germany.[2] Sure this is a simple calculation, and it is not accounting for CO2 spend on the work and materials you need to grow that plant, but you get the idea of how powerful your backyard plot can be. Also don’t forget the billions of tomatoes this will produce and they would not need to be produced and delivered through highly emission inefficient food systems. If you really care about this reason, then there are plants for even better sequestration of CO2 than a tomato[3].

To lower your expenses

Don’t worry. I am not talking about money here. Sure, many people have enough space to grow enough food to sell it at some scale, and you can try it with your 10 tomato plants from above, but you can lower your expenses by growing your own plants in many different ways. One obvious way is to consume your own produce. Suppose you use it for food, medicine, or raw materials like wood and fiber. If you can grow some things by yourself, you need to buy less. Another way is to use it to swap your produce with friends, family, and neighbors with other products you are not producing by yourself.

To (re)connect to nature

Growing a plant is a magical experience. You will see the magic of life and how much patience you need for this to happen. Seeing the first little green spikes pushing out of the soil will make you happier than the last binge-watching session you had. And imagine all that excitement and waiting for the first ripe tomato for you to harvest. It will feel like being five again waiting for Christmas. And then you eat the fruit that you grew by yourself, and you taste pure success. If you need a visual to that feeling, watch the scene of Castaway with Tom Hanks when he managed to make fire. Just do it without the fire, please, or you will kill your happily grown CO2 offset.

Happy growing 🌱✌️,

Ben

I made fire

[1] http://www.lessco2.es/pdfs/noticias/ponencia_cisc_ingles.pdf

[2] https://ourworldindata.org/co2/country/germany?country=~CHN

[3] https://www.researchgate.net/post/Which_plants_and_trees_consume_the_maximum_amount_of_polluted_gases_in_the_atmosphere