That's right, native plants can provide health benefits to the planet, local wildlife, and you!
Incorporating native plants into your outdoor spaces can have several wide-ranging benefits. Increased green spaces have been shown to have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. Native plants provide nutritionally useful food and shelter for wildlife, and even can be considered carbon sinks.
“The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding. Its jobs will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous.”
~ Wendell Berry
There is a common misconception that public policy or funding is needed to create lasting and measurable change. It is true that money can grease the wheels of progress, but it is also true the motivated masses can turn even the stubbornest of wheels. In a world of crowd-sourcing, it seems increasingly likely that incremental "green" changes, like planting a few native shrubs in your yard, can become global movements and begin to carry the weight that programs like the Marshall Plan had for rebuilding after WWII.
The Red mulberry
Native to the US, and hardy in zones 4-9, the red mulberry is a great example of one native plant that can bring multiple benefits to your green space. Its large leaves and fairly rapid growth can bring a lovely shade tree into your future sooner than you think.
The tree provides many red to almost purple-black berries that are a lovely tart flavor in the Summer. These nutritious and tasty berries can be used for cooking but will also provide local wildlife with a healthy food source. When the tree is filled with berries, you will struggle to find a moment that a squirrel or bluebird isn't doing their best to taste them all, jumping from branch to branch excitedly.
With this one plant/tree, you can provide a wonderful aesthetic for your lawn, create a rewarding and mentally beneficial green space, and also actively contribute to the protecting biodiversity in your neck of the woods.