Friday, April 25, 2008

A World In Need of Trees

As Joyce Kilmer said in Trees, a poem every Catholic elementary student had to memorize, at least in my childhood :
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
And I still know the damn thing by heart, as fortunately it's a short one. Trite and sentimental as it is, it celebrates a certain truth - the indispensable loveliness of trees. Okay, yes folks, it's true, another Arbor Day post. The last one wasn't exactly about Arbor Day, but this one certainly is. The idea of a tree, or an existing thirty foot shade oak, is a lot lovelier than the planting of new trees, especially in an urban environment. Despite the fact that urban trees are great investments: they absorb greenhouse gases, lower ambient temperatures, lower energy costs by providing natural cooling, mitigate the heat island effect, fight both crime and cancer, and just all around make us feel better, most American cities' tree canopies are shrinking in relation to the city growth. City budgets are inadequate to manage the maintenance of older trees, and most residential and commercial developments just haven't planted them. Tree planting and tree maintenance are not tasks to be lightly undertaken, as an article in this morning's WaPo, makes abundantly clear.

Cities once planted trees because they were beautiful. Now trees are being retasked as "green infrastructure" managed by "urban foresters" to work as powerful energy-saving, carbon-sucking, wastewater-treating tools to save the planet. But as the mayors spin their green dreams, their releaf teams have had to confront a brutal reality: Planting a tree is a lot harder than it looks.

Urban tree farming can be a time-consuming, expensive and exasperating experience -- like children, trees require years of maintenance. Businesses complain about the cost, neighbors about the sap. Their roots are murder on sidewalks; their limbs tangle with power lines. (The Greening of America; Ambitious Tree-Planting Programs Are Sprouting Up Nationwide)
But there is a lot of good news here: despite the difficulties, cities across the country, from Los Angeles to New York, are undertaking ambitious tree-planting projects. Many states, like New Mexico, have also realized the enormous benefits that come with releafing, and now have reforestation projects under way. On Tuesday, HR 5867, The Energy Conservation through Trees Act, was introduced in the House. This legislation would create a grant program to help utilities with programs that target tree planting to reduce energy demand. The end result would be lower electric bills for homeowners and lower peak load demands for power companies.

The bill would use science-based guidelines to ensure trees are planted where they won’t affect pre-existing infrastructure, block solar panels or wind turbines, or damage power lines. Utilities would work with nonprofit tree-planting groups or similar municipal groups who would act as technical experts. Federal money would have to be matched by nonfederal dollars. (News from American Forests)

If, on this Arbor Day, you'd like to find out what releaf projects are happening in your community, The Alliance for Community Trees has a city-by-city, state-by-state list of organizations and neighborhood groups working to bring trees and all their legion of benefits back into our streets and our lives. Check it out, get involved! One of the lives you improve will be your own.

Technorati Tags:

posted at 11:25:00 PM by marigolds2

| +Save/Share | |

Links to this post:

Create a Link


"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • Kathleen Parker's latest primer on how to be a re...
  • "They were mistaken"
  • McCain's war
  • After Pennsylvania (continued)
  • Plant Zones Shifting as Climate Changes
  • Clinton and Iran
  • What Will Bee, Will Bee
  • A bird in the hand
  • Shakira on Capitol Hill - now this is news
  • Conventional wisdom on parade



    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    www TBV




    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links



    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory



    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse