William Rossin/istockphoto


Trees are some of the most useful creatures on the planet. They can be used to sequester carbon. The average tree removes 2,000 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere during its lifetime. Trees curb erosion and can clean over 2,000 gallons of water in a year. Trees can also be used for energy-saving purposes. Shading an air conditioner can save you a little under 5% on your cooling bills. If you planted 20 trees per year, you would offset carbon enough to basically be carbon neutral.

There is a North American tree that stands head and shoulders above the rest in height and carbon offset potential: the American chestnut tree. The American chestnut tree grows faster and larger than other hardwood trees. Because the chestnut grows so fast and so large, it can sequester more carbon is a shorter period of time. Chestnut wood is less porous and therefore more durable. It is a popular pick when crafting high-quality furniture and serves as a handy building material.

The chestnut tree also yields food. The chestnut fruit is delicious and nutritious. Chestnuts can be grilled, boiled, roasted, canned, eaten fresh or fried. They are excellent as a stuffing. They can be candied in a sugar syrup and then iced. Chestnuts can be ground and milled into a flour, and then used for anything from pancakes, pasta and sauces. Bread made from chestnut flour stays fresher than regular flour.

So go plant a chestnut tree.

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