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Can We Scrub The Planet’s Atmosphere – One Individual Forest At A Time?


We’re looking for land. It’s a thing of ours – all the ancestors were miners and ranchers and farriers and they all had “spreads.”

They lived close to the earth and they learned to work it, alongside their crops and animals. We used to visit, before our family succumbed to the Jet Age and moved away to bigger, more modern homes and smaller parcels of land – built for Dad’s two cars.

Gradually, the family plots were whittled down and rows of identical houses went up on “our” apple orchards and stables – the ones we used to play in as kids. Well, we want that back again… so, like a gazillion other people we’ve taken to the InterWeb and started a search for land in far off places.

And, like all those other people, we’ve toggled the remote view drone up for a look at the property and always, always – we notice how deeply scarred it is.

Bulldozers, graders, unused above-ground pools and expanses of concrete patios with garden gnomes and elf bridges, and inevitably we groan, sit back and intone “what a waste.”

It’s us, okay, we get it. We’re different and a little nuts. But if we’re going to plunk some coin down for some land we’d like it to look like California and not Russia after the Battle of Kursk.

So we’ve been thinking a lot about restoring land, returning it to its original state, complete with streams or a pond, a place you’d mistake for a small park if you were to send up a drone of your own.

Looking around for others of like minds and finding a few other disturbed souls who have started “de-paving” or reforestation efforts, often on their own land, it has been heartening to see others sharing our thoughts in the midst of continued sprawl, paving, and earthly scarring.

Before you smirk and mutter “Portlandia Freak” sotto voce and silently pray for a sink hole to consume our net zero home consider this: what if this approach was the standard for our building, our lands, going forward? Smaller, easier to power and maintain dwellings on larger lots with individualized food production and systems geared toward self sufficiency?

Some people are moving in this direction, eager to restore an arid landscape to its former glory and full potential. We’re planning on following suit, unless our future acquisition requires no repair, so that our spread can do its share of removing CO2 from the atmosphere until the scientists get those scrubbers working and climate change on the run.


  1. A heartwarming tale. The stuff of dreams. There’s a reason anecdotal stories are just that, TED lectures, stories, and not a BODY of verifiable facts or trends. Anecdotes are not sufficient in and of themselves for any conclusions to be drawn. On the contrary, during this fifty year period of time, how much water has been added to aquifers in Texas vs how much has been sucked from them for agriculture, petro-drilling, housing, etc. Where does the water come from? Has rainfall increased or decreased in Texas in the last fifty years? These are all verifiable measurements. Water a potted plant and BEHOLD, it flourishes. That is different from restoring an aquifer that has been shrinking for decades and that spans multiple states. Dream on, but don’t imagine that your homestead is any more than a prickly pear temporarily anchored in a sea of shifting sand.

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