You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘trees and quality of life’ tag.
There is an article in last week’s Inner West Courier about Ian Moss, Cold Chisel guitarist & Annandale resident, “saddened by the loss of an 80-year-old tree he dubbed the “queen of the block” in Pritchard Lane after it was poisoned & had to be cut down last week.” The 28-metre (91.8 feet) Eucalypt was growing in the back garden of a nearby property so someone had to sneak in to someone else’s private property to poison the tree. I find this appalling & slightly scary. Imagine not knowing who of your neighbours poisoned your tree. I imagine it would erode any trust or friendship.
According to the article in the Inner West Courier, vandalism to trees has been growing in the Inner West. The article was also posted on FaceBook, which is where I saw it. After leaving a comment I received the following reply.
“According to Marrickville Council there have been 9 requests to Council to investigate reports of tree poisoning in the last 12 months. There have been 19 requests to Council to investigate reports of tree poisoning in the 12 months prior. Marrickville Council also said it does not consider tree poisoning to be a major issue in the area. I thank the Inner West Courier for sharing this information.
I was shocked when I read this. How can Marrickville Council not consider the poisoning of 28 trees across Marrickville LGA to be a major issue? Is it because they think the numbers are low or because they have greater issues regarding trees to deal with?
How many other trees were poisoned, but not reported? Quite a few people will not be prepared to report on their neighbour. I am presuming that the 28 trees poisoned were large trees. Large trees can be worth thousands of dollars to Councils in green infrastructure. Many Councils consider trees to be major assets & even give them a dollar value.
When people refer to the ‘Leafy Suburbs,’ they are connecting an environment that has a significant green canopy to big money & financial affluence. People with money like to live in areas that are beautiful & trees provide this. Areas with few trees are regarded as poorer, less desirable places to live. Any real estate agent will say the same thing.
Taking this into consideration & the fact that it takes decades for a tree to grow to a significant size & provide the most use to the community & the environment in terms of stormwater uptake, erosion management, carbon sequestration, pollution capture, oxygen production & other things, how can the loss of any tree by vandalism not be regarded as a major issue? Any tree lost is a loss to the community. Some mature trees do have to go because of disease & decline, but a healthy tree to be secretly poisoned is unnecessary loss caused solely by the selfishness of one to another.
Ian Moss is grieving for a tree that was not on his property. He could only see the tree. This shows that people connect to trees in the street, in the gardens of others & on the horizon. If you are like me you will have favourite trees that you always look at when you drive past even thought the tree is far away from your home. In this house we often say that we are almost home because of the trees that we pass. The vandal did not improve things for anyone else, but themselves.
Back in February 2011 Waverley Council took a man to court because they could prove that he vandalized a tree. He received a hefty $19,000 fine. I can bet that almost everyone in Waverley LGA knows that they take on a huge risk if they damage trees. This is the same for Leichhardt LGA where a friend repeatedly says, “You wouldn’t get permission to remove that tree here.” Yet, here in Marrickville LGA, by Council’s own admission, 95% of requests to remove a tree are processed with a tick, even when it is significant, historic streetscape & habitat for a critically endangered native animal. In Leichhardt LGA trees are not removed if they drop branches. They often are in Marrickville LGA.
1. A horrific article about the city of Cancún in Mexico where the climate change
summit was just held. 25 people died when a build-up of methane gases from the rotting mangrove forest buried below the hotel where they were staying blew up. It attracted my attention because of the methane from the Tempe tip land that is being developed. What was once a small fishing village, Cancún now gets 7 million visitors a year. Massive development removed most of the mangroves & the area paved & concreted, then built. Sewerage is deep injected underneath the drinking water aquifer, but is now seeping into the aquifers & into the ocean & damaging the nearby Mesoamerican reef system, the second biggest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. This is a story of ecological disaster due to overdevelopment & is interesting reading. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/09/cancun-mangrove-paradise-megasprawl
2. The community is campaigning to prevent the Los Angeles County from removing 179 coast live oaks & about 70 Sycamores in an 11-acre canyon area so they can spread 500,000 cubic yards of silt, rocks & vegetation scooped out of Santa Anita Reservoir. Many of the trees are 100-years-old & the coast live oaks are not common anymore. “How do you replace a 100-year-old oak tree with a sapling?” http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-oaks-20101204,0,1304653.storypling?”
3. The English government has established the Big Tree Plant campaign. They are about to spend £4.2 million on planting 1 million trees across urban areas over the next 4 years. They are targeting deprived areas saying the trees will improve the quality of people’s lives. “It is almost an accepted wisdom that a property positioned on a pretty tree-lined street surrounded by shrubbery is more appealing than its counterpart on a concrete-clad bare & barren road.” This article speaks about the benefits of trees on wellbeing, mental & physical health, less graffiti, dumping, vandalism & other things. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11889768
4. Community tree group Friends of Trees in Portland US launched a pilot program to help low-income seniors take care of fallen leaves. Community volunteers rake the leaves & take them to a recycling facility helping people who have trouble doing this themselves. I think it is a great idea. Not only is it community minded, but it would also help remove anxiety about the ‘mess’ made by fallen leaves. Leaf litter is high on the list of reasons given why trees are removed from gardens. http://actrees.org/site/news/newsroom/friends_of_trees_launches_program_to_help_ove.php?tag=news
5. Johannesburg, known as the ‘largest man-made forest in the world’ has 6 million trees. Imagine. In contrast Soweto a township of Johannesburg has very few. The Soweto Greening Project is trying to remedy this by planting 6,000 trees since 2006. Their eventual aim is to plant 200,000 trees in Soweto. For comparison, it is estimated that we have 20,000 trees in Marrickville LGA. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/11/18/johannesburg.urban.forest/?hpt=C2
6. Research by the University of Florida has found that ants play a central role in stopping animals from eating trees, including elephants. “Swarming groups of ants that weigh about 5 milligrams each can & do protect trees from animals that are about a billion times more massive.” http://www.physorg.com/news202651455.html
7. The US Geological Survey Texas Water Quality Centre in Austin has found that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) used in surface sealers based on coal tar are responsible for the large increase in organic pollutants in lakes, rivers, & streams over the past 40 years. “The thick tarry sealers are widely used in the US to coat blacktop driveways, parking lots & paved portions of playground.” PAHs are known to be carcinogenic. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19829-organic-pollutants-tracked-down-to-us-parking-lots.html
8. A wonderful article debating the Ocean Beach Forrester’s 3 arguments to
remove a healthy Torrey Pine because it is leaning toward the road. “How odd. Instead of thinking of creative ways to rebuild this sidewalk & save this tree, that is an endangered species, the city is thinking of creative ways to scare people into thinking the tree will fall over & must come out.” “… that tree is about 80 feet tall. And, the root systems on these trees are two & a half times their height. At 80 feet tall (23.4 metres), the root system on this tree would be substantial. Fall over? Break maybe if you hit it with a tank! A tree rooted like that isn’t falling; it’s leaning. This tree needs to live because we need our trees. There is no compelling reason to kill this one. We can live around the trees. Our zeal for organization & straight lines needs to allow for some deviations, some curves. Beyond that, this is a living thing & cutting it down would be killing it just to make our lives a little easier.” I think this article could be confronting to many Councils in Australia. http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/peoplespost/nowthatsfunny/article_9bb7eb00-0147-11e0-9bce-001871e39ea8.html
9. A very interesting article from the Seattle Displacement Coalition about
the upcoming Council elections in 2011. They cover many issues. This is some of what they said about trees. I think it’s applicable here. “As we come out of the economic downturn, we need mechanisms in place to preserve our trees, green space, affordable housing & the physical & social character of our neighborhoods — the things that make this city livable — before growth accelerates again to the runaway levels we experienced before the recession hit. There’s something wrong with advocating for open space preservation outside the city but once across the city line, aiding & abetting the pouring of concrete & wiping out of trees, stamping out every last vestige of nature for urban dwellers outside of parks. Good stewardship of our environment begins right here in our own neighborhoods, protecting our trees, preserving space for essential urban gardening, saving urban streams….” http://www.realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/5013/
10. The following comes from an Editorial in the Glen Ridge Voice in
response to a recent Tree Commission about overseeing the health & well-being of the borough’s publicly-owned shade trees. I have lifted a section that again demonstrates the difference in the way Americans view public trees. “In return, we encourage the public to heed some of the borough’s advice about tree care – don’t pile up too much mulch around the base, go easy on the fertilizer use & keep the weed-whackers away from the tree (those things really hurt). And please, ask questions & raise concerns if you have them. We can’t say it enough: Gen Ridge needs its trees. After all, it is a tree that forms part of the town’s seal, along with the equally iconic gas lamps. We call upon the council & the shade tree commission’s members to do right by those trees & the people who benefit from them.” Inspiring words. http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/111579264_Keep_us_in_the_shade___and_the_sun.html
11. Trees take up air space. 3 Pin oak trees are the centre of a row where the company that owns the 1st story of a garage & the air space want the trees removed because they ‘could damage the property.’ The garage, (ground floor) is owned by the state. Neither the state nor the community wants the healthy trees removed except the company that owns the airspace. http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Town-contests-tree-removal-866880.php
12. The full-length indie film ‘The Future of Food’ by Deborah Koons Garcia “provides an overview of the key questions raised by consumers as they become aware of genetically modified foods.” You can watch ‘The Future of Food’ for free by clicking here – http://bit.ly/fJZtNX