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Today is Blog Action Day www.blogactionday.org. I am joining more than 7,000 others in 135 countries to write about climate change. I am non-apologetically passionate about the issue. The more I read, the more afraid for the future I become. If the scientists are even half correct in their estimations, it is going to be a very hard world to live in. They say these changes will happen in a very short time, probably within one generation. Unless we make changes now, the world as we know it is going to change dramatically & not for the better. We will likely see more climate related disasters like those that have dominated the news lately. Major suffering of both people & other living beings will be a norm. I think what we are leaving for our children is shocking.
The Great Barrier Reef is dying & we are doing nothing to stop this despite warnings to change our pesticide use in the region. We are losing the world’s glaciers at a phenomenal rate. In Patagonia, tourists are being taken to watch the glaciers crumble into the sea. The glaciers in Tibet are not only retreating, they are failing to grow at their base. They are the source of water for 7 major rivers that provide water for a good chunk of Asia. It’s unthinkable to have no natural water for these regions where billions of people reside.
Currently, we have about 20 million environmental refugees. Islands in the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans are threatened by rising sea levels, so much so they will exist no more. Not way in the future, but soon, within a few years. We have lost so many species of animals, insects, birds & plants & we are continuing to lose them at an unprecedented rate. Drought is going to be commonplace with 70% of earth’s surface expected to be classified desert by 2025. These are just some of what is happening & I think too much to ignore.
Atmospheric Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are currently at (350.84 big typo) 387.84 parts per million. 350 ppm is regarded as the upper level we should aim to return to. Scientists think if we carry on with what we are doing, CO2 levels will keep rising & when they reach 430-480ppm, the planet will tip into climate crisis. This is a dire situation for living beings if this is allowed to happen.
I am a fundamental believer in Think Globally-Act Locally, meaning there are things we can do in our own backyard that will have an impact globally if enough of us do it. As this is primarily a tree site, I will concentrate on things I think we can do which relate to trees in our LGA.
Trees are magicians when it comes to life. One large tree produces enough oxygen (O2) to support 2 human beings. They also sequester & store Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in their trunk & branches continuing to do this their whole life. The bigger they grow, the more O2 they produce & the more CO2 they capture & store. Street trees remove 9 times more pollutants from vehicles than trees located further away from the road. They prevent soil erosion & rainwater loss by absorbing water through their roots, leaves & trunk. Trees also have a monetary impact in that they reduce power bills for cooling & significantly increase property values. I have written more about the value of trees in the page ‘About Street Trees’ located in the left-hand column.
I think we should be leaving the environment in a good, if not better condition for our children & for future generations. Our children have a right to a clean, safe world. Instead we are leaving them with an uncertain future where even our oceans are expected to be so acidic that within 10 years, the shells of crustaceans will dissolve as fast as they can grow them, if they are able to survive such conditions. I believe we also have a moral responsibility to other living beings; animals, insects, birds & sea creatures.
In this LGA, we can aim to have a tree canopy comparable to Sydney’s North Shore. We can write to Council & our Councillors requesting that Council:
- Not plant tall growing trees directly under powerlines or next to light poles because Energy Australia will only come & lop them. If you look, a huge percentage of trees in our LGA are heavily lopped by Energy Australia. It looks ugly & ugliness impacts on real estate value & on our health.
- Plant tall growing native street trees in the spaces where there are no powerlines. This will allow trees to grow freely & develop a decent canopy.
- Cut holes into cemented areas along footpaths & plant trees in them.
- Replace unsuitable saplings with native tree species that will provide food & habitat for birds & animals. There are Ring-tail Possums living in our street trees now, yet the trees that are suitable homes for them are being removed at an alarming rate. Ornamental Cherry & Apricot trees (Prunus) do nothing for our birds & native animals.
- Install a simple PVC watering pipe into the roots of each new tree planted & establish a tree watering system like Ashfield Council, which will result in less trees dying during drought.
- Establish a Significant Tree Registry to keep the few remaining beauties we have.
We can plant tall statue native trees trees in our gardens. We can plant a appropriate bird attracting tree or two in the nature strip outside our residence & water them until they are established & in times of drought. We can also plant trees in areas we know are wastelands & there are many in our LGA. We can also plant suitable undergrowth that feeds & supports small birds.
Council’s magazine Marrickville Matters contains a coupon which allows you to have a free plant from the Community Nursery at Addison Road Community Centre, valid until 28th November 09. Ask if they have any native tree saplings.
We can join local groups that actively work to help our environment. There is a list of local groups with contact information in the left-hand column. We can participate in campaigns to save public trees that are not in our immediate neighbourhood. Many of you do already & I thank you for this. We can also write to Energy Australia about their street tree management practices. Their rules look to be iron-clad, but Mosman Council thought they created significant enough damage to their trees & had a public campaign about it.
I know there are many others who feel the same way about trees in this LGA as I do. I also believe that the Labor, Greens & Independent Councillors in this LGA are also concerned about climate change & are not anti-trees.
People power is a wonderful thing. If it is done peacefully & with respect, we are more likely to be listened to. Marrickville Council & the Councillors do many good things for this LGA. They are always asking for community input when it comes to development & infrastructure. We just need to show them that we would like input regarding public trees as well. I am sure that if enough of us do this, we will meet with a positive response. Everyone will benefit; birds & animals will have homes & food, our health will be better, our property will be worth more, our environment will look nicer & our bills will be less. Importantly, the change we create now will benefit our children & the environment in the future.