Streetscape in Dulwich Hill where there are quite a few tall street trees.

Streetscape in Dulwich Hill where there are quite a few tall street trees.

Today I watched a TED Talk by Sebastião Salgado – photojournalist & forest restorer.

He was born in 1944 in Brazil  & lived on a farm. He went to university, gained a Masters in Economy.  When the dictatorship happened in Brazil, he & his wife moved to France, where he got a PhD in Economics & then worked for an investment bank. Then he became a photographer & thank goodness he did.

In the 90s he lived & photographed the devastation that was Rwanda & as a result of seeing such brutality, lost his faith in humanity.  He got sick. His doctor said this was the result of seeing so much death in Rwanda so he & his wife went back to Brazil to the family farm, which was given to he & his wife Leila by the family.

When he was a child the farm that supported 28 families was 50% rainforest.  On this return, the land was dead with less than half a percent rainforest.

“To build our development we came to a huge contradiction that we destroy around us everything.”

They decided to plant trees to restore the rainforest & planted about 2.5 million trees of about 200 different species.

“Only local species. Only native species where we built an ecosystem identical to the one destroyed & the life started to come back in an incredible way.”

They gave the land to the government to be a National Park & created Instituto Terra & then started raising money in the USA, Italy, Spain & Brazil to restore forests.

Planting trees & working to heal the environment made him start to want to take photos again, so in 2004 he did & out of this work over twelve months came several books.

He speaks about restoring to balance out the development we have & says, “The antique Brazillian Rainforest has been destroyed 93%.  The Redwood forests of California are gone.  India had no more trees. Spain has no more trees.  We need to rebuild these forests.  The only factory capable to transform CO2 into oxygen are the forests. ”

“The trees are the hair of our planet.”  – as he then describes the benefits trees bring to the water cycle.  He says that trees are essential for us to breathe & to have water for our planet & that we must start repair the damage done to the ecosystems on the planet.  He also says that if he could do it, we all can help in some way.

Although Sebastião Salgado talks about restoring forests, I believe we should be doing the same with our urban forest.  Wildlife lives here & needs food & habitat. People also need trees & we benefit in a surprising number of ways from a good urban forest.

Anyone can see that our planet needs help.  We may not be able to plant a forest like Sebastião Salgado, but we can plant trees in our garden or join local tree-planting initiatives like Council’s own National Tree Day or do both.

We can contact Marrickville Council & ask for a native tree to be planted outside our home if there is room on the verge.  Council are open to suggestions of other areas that need trees in the LGA as well, so it doesn’t need to just be outside your home.   I think there is room for tall trees in many of our parks as well.

Sebastião Salgado’s TED talk lasts around 16-minutes.  I highly recommend watching, as it is very inspiring.  It’s also great to hear someone talking passionately about trees.  You can watch the video here –

http://bit.ly/12xpcm0

Here are some of Sebastião Salgado’s photographs – http://bit.ly/ZVVbK4

I love this patch of bush created by Marrickville Council & if memory serves me correctly, by local residents as well.  It is on the cliff at Richarsons Reserve going down to Thornley Street.  It is the only piece of bush that doesn't give access to people that I kn ow about in Marrickville municipality.

I love this patch of bush created by Marrickville Council & if memory serves me correctly, by local residents as well. It is on the cliff at Richardsons Reserve going down to Thornley Street in Marrickville South. It is the only piece of bush that doesn’t give access to people that I know about in Marrickville municipality.

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