It’s Time to Make a Little Easy Money


Richard Mason

It’s Time to Make a Little Easy Money

What if you could add thousands of dollars in value to your property, reduce your summer cooling cost by 20% and, if you own a retail store, increase your sales by 25%, all by just spending a few dollars?

Of course, there’s not a one of us that wouldn’t jump at the chance to do that. After all, there’s something built in us as Americans that makes us want to make money, save money, and make our property more valuable.

Well, the answer is so simple you won’t believe it; plant trees. Yep, that’s it, and there are dozens of studies to prove that the simple act of planting a tree will do exactly that. Consider the following studies:

(1) First and most obvious, a big shade tree next to your house will cut your electrical bills during the summer by at least 20%. Satellite infrared shots of blank downtowns are noticeably hotter than an area with abundant trees, and the difference in cooling shade trees in a downtown brings in more customers to a tree lined street than to a street with a hot sidewalk.

(2) A beautiful residential lot with shade trees surrounding a house will add thousands of dollars to the appraisal. In some Dallas subdivisions it is common-place to see home owners bring in large trees costing $15,000 to $20,000 after they finish building their house. They know that not only are these trees visually pleasing to the eye, but they are adding value to their property.

(3) A recent government survey concluded that potential customers were more likely to shop in stores that had trees or other landscaping around them than stores that didn’t. In fact, the study also concluded that customers believed the goods offered in these stores were of better quality and they were willing to pay more for them. Sales in the stores with trees and landscaping were sometimes more that 25% higher that stores with no landscaping around them. Just think of the blank parking lots around our state, and consider that if the property owner would just spend a few dollars on planting trees, the surrounding stores would see a strong increase in retail sales.

(4) A yard of beautiful shade trees will not only cut your utility bills, but will add thousands of dollars to the appraised value of your property. The IRS agrees with trees having a real property value, and if lighting or a high wind destroys a significant tree in your yard you can take a casualty loss on your income tax.

(5) If you are going to plant a street tree or a tree in your yard, I have two recommendations: the autumn red maple and the crepe myrtle tree. This variety of maple has been developed for the south, and of course the crepe myrtle is a great all round tree, but please don’t chop off the top of your crepe myrtle each spring. A crepe myrtle is a tree not a bush.

It seems we find it hard to lose the “slash and burn” attitude of our grandfathers who cleared hundreds of millions of acres of virgin forest in our country, and the idea that trees add value is sometimes hard to understand. However, citywide tree planting is becoming an important part of many downtowns. I was just in Houston, and in preparation for the Super Bowl, Houston planted thousands of trees. Several years back the City of Chicago started a tree planting program to plant a million trees within the city limits. They have exceeded the initial million goal, and today, if you want a tree in your front yard, call the city and they will come plant a tree for you at no charge.

It’s easy to sum up the numerous advantages trees offer home owners or business owners. For the dollars spent, trees will add more value to your property than anything you can do. So this year while the planting season is still with us, head to your local nursery and buy a tree. It will pay dividends for years to come. Of course, here in Arkansas, most of us can easily find small trees that landowners will gladly give away; so plant a tree and make a little money!!


The Coming Apocalypsel Climate Change

Richard Mason

The Coming Apocalypse—Climate Change
Hurricanes with 200 MPH winds so large they cover half the Gulf of Mexico, 10 to 15 foot rise in sea level makes hundreds of coastal cities un-inhabitable, millions of acres of farm lands lost to cultivation, several billion of the earth’s people starving, heat waves that render millions of acres of crop land a desert, and sectional wars to secure food supplies.
Yes, that’s what is facing the world today, and scientists tell us that another three degrees of warming will set off an irreversible tipping point where there will be no recovery. Is this really our future? Has Climate Change, caused by human activity, become a fact instead of a theory, and we are domed if we don’t reverse the problem?
Over the past five years the numbers of scientists who have said “Climate Change is real,” has skyrocketed to where the actual numbers of documented scientists who have signed on as believers are almost 100%. As numbers reach these heights “theory” becomes fact, and if we look at the past, we can see “Flat Earth, Evolution, and now Climate Change,” have all become fact instead of theory. Of course, it’s easy to see why Climate Change is real. The Earth’s temperature is setting records each year, and this last year’s average temperature is the hottest year on record. And as the ice melts in the Arctic and Antarctic and five hundred years floods become common, many scientists believe we will soon reach the desperation stage of a crisis.
Just looks at last year’s weather; the Texas coastal area around Houston received unbelievable amounts of rain this past year, and in north Louisiana a 23 inches of rain was dumped on the area during one storm. That was a five hundred year rain—one that may become commonplace in the years ahead. The tornado season now extends into areas of the country were they have never been recorded. For the past several years world record average temperatures have been set each year. This has caused many scientists to call the situation a Climate Emergency.
We are already seeing the results of a 1.6 degree temperature rise on earth as melting polar ice has caused a rise in sea level that has already put 5 Solomon Islands underwater. As we look at our recent ultra-severe weather we can expect an increase in wildfires, an ever increasing intensity of hurricanes, the continued extinction of wildlife, and an increase melt of polar ice, which of course, will give a rise in sea levels.
India recorded its highest ever temperature ever on May 19th, 2016 when the heat in the town of Phalodi, in the western state of Rajasthan, shot up to a burning 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
But let’s look a little closer to home. As we look back at our August 2016 rainfall here in Arkansas, we marvel at the all-time record that was set, but look farther south to Louisiana. The increased warming of the Gulf and the change in wind patterns that has occurred makes South Louisiana tropical. That right and that August rainfall we had was a taste of being in the tropics. Tornadoes up north, floods down south, wild fires in the west are all the result of Climate Change. In five year it will reach the crisis level and the night of a 100 tornadoes or a 25 inch rain will occur every year. We must react to this impending disaster!
In the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, the apathy about Climate Change must be encountered with facts until even the rigid of the doubters’ cave in. We must hurry the demise of coal fired plants that produce electricity no matter what the cost, and new automobile and truck standards of emissions must be strengthened. And our country must take the lead, and not be dragged into the situation kicking and screaming. We must use our economic clout to demand countries like China and India, which heavily trade with the United States, will have enhanced controls on emitting carbon dioxide, or there won’t be any trade.
We can’t allow the nay-sayers to prevail in this fight. Our grandchildren and their children will never forgive us if we hand off to them a world that has been damaged so severely the life on the planet is tenuous for millions.
I guess you might wonder why I seem so concerned about the effects of Climate Change? Well, twenty-years from now when my great grandchildren are feeling the effects of ignoring Climate Change, and they ask me, “Jocko (that’s what my grandchildren call me), why didn’t you do something before it was too late?” At least I can say, “I tried.”