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US Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day on 22nd April 1970.  On the first Earth Day 20-million Americans protested calling for an end to actions that resulted in the deterioration of the environment, calling instead for sustainable practices.  The outcome was fantastic in that the US Environmental Protection Agency was established & the Clean Air, Clean Water & Endangered Species Acts were passed in parliament. The first Earth Day is seen as the start of the modern day environmental movement.

Maybe the tree in a hidden park in Tempe can be released from its unnecessary imprisonment before Earth Day 2012

In 1990 Earth Day was taken global. 200-million people in 141 countries participated. This time the outcome was recycling was taken seriously across the globe.

The first UN Earth summit was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.  In 1995 President Bill Clinton presented Earth Day founder, Senator Gaylor Nelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On Earth Day 2000, the focus was on global warming & clean energy.  5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries participated.

On Earth Day 2010, 225,000 people attended a Climate Rally at the National Mall in the US.  Also, James Cameron, the director of the movie Avatar, launched a 1-million global tree planting initiative as part of ‘A Billion Acts of Green’ campaign. The goal of planting 1-million trees has already been reached with 31,000 people planting over 1-million trees in 16 countries.  Earth Day established the Canopy Project & all trees planted will be counted in the UN’s Billion Tree Campaign that aims to plant 1-billion trees across the world. Landcare volunteers in Australia participated in this.

The Billion Acts of Green has a participatory website where individuals or organizations can pledge to do one or more ‘acts of green.’  There are ready-made choices to select or you can elect to write your own.  The pledges get listed on the website.  At the time of writing 72,358,011 pledges to do something green for the environment were listed.  That is phenomenal interest from the community.

This is a really creative Earth Day video made by Greenpeace. The message is the same even though it is 1-year-old. 90-seconds –

This is a 3-minute video that explains why deforestation is a global problem –

My act of green will be to use the car less & walk more. Happy Earth Day.

Red Flowing Gums, or in this case a pink version, are important sources of food for urban wildlife. They are small trees industry recognised as suitable street trees under power lines. Not only are these trees fabulous for urban wildlife, but they add significant & beautiful colour to our streets for many months of the year. Even in autumn, the leaves & branches provide seasonal colour

Those who know me know that for a good chunk of last year I had a dream to start a campaign across Australia to plant 1 million trees in 1 day.  Some people had the reaction of  “Whoa! Unachievable.” I didn’t think so & nor did the majority of people with whom I spoke. What was needed was organisational skills to bring together the necessary components &, most importantly, a famous person to be the public face of the campaign.  My face was definitely not suitable.

land at the back of Tempe

I had it planned, knew whom I would contact & was at the stage of deciding whether to make the leap or not.  Then Tony Abbott said he would plant 20 million trees if he was elected & I threw the whole idea out the window.  I had the idea that either side of federal politics would implement something like this now that such a proposal had been put into the public arena. Mind you, this was before Copenhagen.

I have been really excited about the many community/government supported tree planting programs world-wide.  There have been some fantastic mass tree planting achievements, some of which did occur in one day.

The Macedonian people planted 2 million trees in one day in 2008 (1 for every citizen). A year later, riding on the excitement of the previous years achievement, the Macedonian people got together & planted an extraordinary 5 million trees in 1 day in 2009. I get excited just writing this.  What an amazing thing for a community to do.

This morning I read another tree planting story that made me very happy.  Felix Finkbeiner, a 12 year old German boy decided to plant 1 million trees across the planet when he was just 9 years old.  He did a presentation at school & his idea gained wings, super-sonic wings.

Teachers & his family must have supported him, because the media became involved & they too supported his idea. Plant for Planet was formed, three years later, Germany has 1 million extra trees & tree planting in the name of this organization is happening in 70 countries. Isn’t this both amazing & wonderful. Plant for Planet aims to plant 212 million trees world-wide, 1 million trees on each country of the world. (not a typo) 1.4 million trees have already been pledged for planting.

One campaign of Plant for Planet is Stop Talking & Start Planting aimed at adults.

a gorgeous Eucalypt in the grounds of a petrol station on Parramatta Road Camperdown

Sure, there are cynics who dispute the validity of climate change & others who will say the trees will die. Regardless, with the rate of urbanisation & deforestation world-wide, we need trees & so does the wildlife. I don’t believe we can continue at this rate of tree removal & cementing of the earth without serious consequences.

Those involved in Plant for Planet are not planting small saplings. They are planting 4 metre high saplings with significant sized trunks that would have a far greater chance of survival. I presume they are also doing the obvious & organising regular watering to ensure the trees become established, strong & healthy.

Any organisation can become a part of this program & I am hoping local schools in Australia will become involved. Last year, quite a few people thought I meant to campaign for 1 million trees for Marrickville LGA. When I balked they were surprised saying the LGA could certainly fit another million trees.  I don’t even know what that would look like.  Perhaps only like Sydney’s North Shore.

We could however cope with 100,000 new trees across this LGA if private gardens joined in. Imagine what it would look like 2-5 years after planting was completed.  I think our part of the Inner West would be transformed.  The wildlife would be better off & I have no doubt we would be better off too.

Closer to home, Marrickville Council does have it’s own tree planting/bush care regeneration volunteer opportunities.

  • National Tree Day 2010. This year, Marrickville Council is planning to host National Tree Day along the Cooks River foreshore at Steel Park where the Waterplay Park will be constructed over the next few months. Sunday, 1 August 2010, Steel Park, off Illawarra Rd, Marrickville. Put it in your diary.
  • Friends of Camperdown Cemetery. 3rd Saturday of every month 9.30-11.30am. Meet inside the grounds of St Stephens Church, Church St Newtown.
  • Marrickville Landcare. 4th Sunday of every month. 9.30am -12.30pm. Meet at Marrickville Golf, Sporting & Community Club, Wharf St Marrickville.
  • Friends of the Cooks River Valley Garden. 2nd Sunday of every month 9.30am-12.30pm. Meet behind the Jets Sports Club at Tempe Reserve, Holbeach Ave Tempe.
  • Inner West Environment Group. 3rd Sunday of every month 10.00am- 1.00pm. For location details, contact or 9560-9281.
  • Marrickville Community Nursery. Wednesday 10.00am-12.00pm. Saturday & Sunday 10.00am-1.00pm.  Located at Addison Rd Centre, 142 Addison Road Marrickville

For more information, on any of these volunteer opportunities contact the Biodiversity Coordinator for Marrickville Council 9335-2254 or

autumn colour

Not exactly about trees, but important in that the issue of greenhouse gas emissions from street lighting was debated just last night at the Marrickville Council Meeting.  The Municipal Association of Victoria has called on State & Federal Governments to help local Councils replace old street lighting with new energy-efficient technology. Called the Give Our Streets the Green Light campaign, it aims to replace an estimated 330,000 local street-lights with 80W mercury vapour lamps. This change will provide an energy saving of approximately 70%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78,000 tonnes & save $7 million per year. Significant.

On to trees proper: The UTAS School of Geography & Environmental Studies is conducting a national survey to help build a comprehensive picture of Australian attitudes related to trees in cities so if you have an attachment to a tree or a memory relating to trees from your childhood, then tell your tree story now.

It looks like the beautiful Nobbys Headland Newcastle will soon be opened to the public for the first time in more than 150 years.,427001?

Bridge Street, the tree-lined main street of Murray Bridge is lined with Eucalypts & Jacaranda trees.  The Eucalypts are going to be removed by Murray Bridge Council because they believe the trees are too big. Now several business owners have said they want the Jacaranda trees removed as well as “they frequently dropped leaves and flowers, forcing businesses into a constant battle to keep their sidewalks clean.”

Some of us look forward to Jacarana flowers & their purple carpet. I wonder what the financial impact will be once Bridge Street is devoid of trees?  Research has found that shops in tree-lined shady areas earn 11% more as shoppers stay longer & spend more.  If I owned a business, I would be clamoring for the trees to be retained.

Green sites in Maitland are vanishing with close to 90% of the city’s green field sites marked for development. Less than 10% of remnant vegetation, including woodlands & native scrub, remain in the Maitland LGA.

As part of a tree rejuvenation project, Singleton Council is removing an unspecified number of trees in Burdekin Park to rid the park of bats that live there. They will chop the trees down between dusk & 11pm so the bats have no home when they return at dawn. The State government has granted approval under the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act for the removal of the trees under specific conditions.” “It was resolved by council to plant trees of a similar species to the ones being removed.”

Now that the bats which have lived for a couple of decades in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens are about to be kicked out, Campbelltown Council quite reasonably wants to know whether the Macarthur area is at risk of being swamped by 22,000 grey-headed flying foxes. The Botanic Gardens Trust, said, “it was unlikely the flying foxes would come this far west & were more likely to settle in Gordon or the eastern suburbs.” My last post spoke about flying foxes leaving QLD & migrating as far as Adelaide & Tasmania. The Botanic Gardens Trust said, “If the bats moved into areas that were inappropriate, like out west, we’d follow a contingency relocation program.” Hope they do this for the bats about to lose their home at Burdekin Park as well. My guess is that people are going to be complaining loudly because bats have come to live in suburban gardens.  I hope I am wrong & the bats find perfect new homes where people won’t decide they have to move on again.

A COMPANY accused of allowing illegal tree trimming in an environmentally protected zone on a prime Hastings Point Property says it was carrying out maintenance.

The EU is set to finally ban illegal timber in 2012 with MEPs to vote on the proposal in July with the European Council voting in autumn. Companies will be required to state where their timber was harvested. This is a terrific move with up to 40% of the world’s wood production thought to come from illegally logged tropical forests.

11 members of the US Congress have written to Prime Minister Rudd, urging him to fulfill an election promise to ban imports of illegally logged timber.

In magnificent news, the Sindh Forest Department Karachi Pakistan has decided to declare the entire mangrove forests of the Indus Delta as Protected Area. The mangrove forests are located at four geographic locations along 1,046 km of coastline.

Also fantastic news, The Global Environment Facility will fund a “Great Green Wall,” a pan-African proposal to reforest the continent from west to east to battle desertification & reforest northern Africa. $119,000,000 (96 million euros) has been allocated to achieve this. The wall of forest would be more than 7,100 km (4,400 miles) long & average 15 km (9 miles) wide.  The Great Green Wall will travel through Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal & Sudan.

Fossils found in the Isle of Wight in England have shown the way Fig Wasps pollinate fig trees has remained unchanged for at least 34,000,000 years. Fig trees need wasps to transfer their pollen to other trees, while the wasps need figs to lay their eggs inside.  Each of the more than 800 species of Fig tree needs a specific wasp, just 1.5 mm long, to pollinate it.  For me, it’s nice to know that both the Fig Wasps & Fig trees existed 34,000,000 years ago.

There is a very interesting article with Agus Purnomo & Yani Saloh, Special Assistants to the President of the Republic of Indonesia for Climate Change regarding Indonesia’s pledge to reduce deforestation.  It’s a multifaceted issue involving palm oil developers, timber companies & the livelihoods for tens of millions of Indonesians.

Breakfast amongst the Grevillea flowers

Whenever I look at this photo I think of love - "He ain't heavy, he's my brother" kind of family love

I found a fabulous article by Brian Sewell: My plea to save the London tree -Everywhere the birds are nesting, but still the tree men come — surgeons they dub themselves, but butchers, despoilers, ravagers & rapists are terms that suit far better these barbarians at the garden gate. Mature trees are supposed to be inviolate, protected by preservation orders & even the most necessary & responsible pruning requires the display of notices of intent & consent from local planners, but these often useless safeguards are easily ignored.  Last week, to the north of my garden, down came a lofty eucalyptus, & to the south, a spreading Atlantic cedar, but not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, & within minutes they were altogether gone.

And further into the article – Developers fell them to crowd extra houses on a site, supermarkets to accommodate superstores, railways to keep leaves from the lines & local councils for safety reasons that are often absurd. We should cherish them & for every one felled, we should plant two.

There is a photo of the Royal Oak in Richmond Park estimated to age between 700 & 800 years old. This is amazing in itself as Oaks seldom survive past 600 years. The tree has huge split in its trunk that has got to be more than 2 metres long. Amazingly the local Council hasn’t chopped it down. They put a park bench right next to it instead.

To Papua New GuineaAn article from The Guardian says – The forests of Papua New Guinea are being chopped down so quickly that more than half its trees could be lost by 2021. Mostly the deforestation is done by multinational logging companies.  Satellite imaging has recorded the loss of rainforest since the 1970s.  Like many other poorer countries, Papua New Guinea says – rich countries should pay them to protect their forests as a way of tackling climate change. Personally I think this is a good idea & the only fair thing to do.  There is quite a strong movement coming from the UN to turn countries into ‘forest guardians’ rather than forest loggers. Papua New Guinea is the home to the world’s 3rd largest tropical forest so their contribution in the management of climate change is significant.

To Canada now where Trees Ontario is about to reach a total of 10 million trees planted in Ontario since 2004.  65 tree planting agency partners & over 2,000 landowners were responsible for planting the trees across the province.  The program started in 2004 when Trees Ontario and 2 agency partners planted 42,000 trees in 4 sites throughout the year. The year was so successful many other agencies joined. Six years later 65 agencies are involved, plus landowners.

In August 2007 the Ontario government started the 50 Million Trees program as part of its commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.   They plan to achieve this by 2020 just 10 years away.  Trees Ontario plans to plant 10 million trees per year by 2015 with the help of the government as part of its 50 Million Trees program.  Fantastic stuff.

I admit I don't know what this sign means

Madagascar is home to the very precious & protected Rosewood tree. Unfortunately it is being illegally logged almost to extinction for Chinese business, who use the wood primarily to make replicas of antique furniture & musical instruments. You can see furniture made out of this wood in Sydney.  Trees with similar grain across Asia have been depleted so the forests of Madagascar are now being targeted. Estimates of the value of Rosewood trees felled over the past 12 months are $167 million or more. Serious money & without serious intervention it is highly likely the Rosewood will be logged to extinction unless people across the world decide on a policy of ethical shopping.  It is happening for coffee & chocolate, so why not Rosewood furniture, musical instruments & ornaments?

In the last week of May 2010, 52 nations attended a conference in Oslo & “agreed on a non-binding framework to funnel aid promised by the rich world & set up monitoring standards to ensure money flows are based on solid results. Such frameworks are known as Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Degradation) programmes.”

According to the UN world global deforestation is responsible for more than the CO2 caused by vehicles, trains & planes. Each year forests the equivalent to the size of England are chopped down.  tp://

In May 2010 research led by Professor Corey Bradshaw, of the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute found Australia was ranked as 7th worst in habitat conversion, 9th worst in fertilizer use & 10th worst in natural forest loss taking out overall 9th place of the 10 worst countries for environmental impact. I find this shameful.

“…since European colonisation we’ve lost over half of our forests & the ones that remain are largely fragmented, so we have done quite a bit of damage.” said Professor Bradshaw.

Casurina branch - the Cockatoos like to eat the seeds

The city of Seattle in the US is making significant changes to their urban agriculture guidelines for 2010, which is also the Year of Urban Agriculture.  I think this is of interest here, as world trends are starting to consider food-growing sources should be closer to cities because of transport costs, global warming, pollution & drought.  Seattle has a number of items in their guidelines including allowing more community gardens & urban farms in residential areas as well as on the top & sides of buildings (how exciting) & allow up to 8 female chickens per residence.

Campus Road Community Garden, a more-than-6,000-square-foot community garden on the grounds of Brooklyn College in New York was to be paved over to make way for the expansion of an athletic field. (How this works I haven’t quite worked out). Instead a Judge blocked Brooklyn College from commencing this work & the case will go before the court on 25th June 2010.  Perhaps the community will get to keep their substantial community garden that has operated since 1997.

In Manchester USA insurance company The Cambridge Mutual Fire Insurance Co is suing a Council for negligence. They say the Council Tree Warden & the Council were “negligent & careless because the tree was not inspected & removed before falling” on the home of residents on 6 April  2009. The Council disputes this saying they inspected the tree & arrangements were made to chop it down 2 days before it fell on the house.  Now that’s bad luck.,0,1190967.story

Not quite related, but interesting regardless, a 29 year old woman, who had been living in the Cambodian jungle since 1989 & was rescued in 2007, has escaped her family to return back into the jungle.

Can't talk about 'dogging' without a photo of a dog-this one is smiling because his owner loves him enough to put him in a harness while travelling

1.    In Darwen, Lancashire UK, 6,000 trees were chopped down to stop ‘dogging.’  Never heard of dogging?  Neither had I.  Dogging is sex in the bush, or woods if you are English.  This 12 hectare area must have been lovely because people went there in droves.  It was next to an expressway, so perhaps they just could not wait until they got home.  United Utilities who chopped the 6,000 trees down said the trees were dangerous.  Of course they would.

2.        In Worcester USA, around 2,400 street trees & 23,624 trees on private property throughout the city died as a result of an ice-storm in December 2008 & the subsequent infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle.  According to the article in The Telegram, the community is devastated by the sudden & radical change to the streetscape, which is now bare & has affected property sales.  The city intends to plant 2,400 shade trees by end of 2011 to replace the street trees that were lost.

3.        In March 2010 Indonesia launched the “One Billion Indonesian Trees for the World” program. There is world-wide concern regarding the rapid deforestation happening in Indonesia for palm oil plantations, so this program will help significantly.

4.     The Brunei Times reported that Brunei will plant 60,000 trees in ecologically degraded areas during 2010 to support biodiversity.

5.        An American arborist, Gut Sternberg successfully spearheaded an internet campaign to save an historic Osage Orange tree in Kewanee, Illinois. I find this wonderful because this man used his knowledge of trees to save a tree that the council was going to remove.  I need someone knowledgeable like this in my life.

6.       Walmart in Henderson Tennessee, America has been ordered to replace 120 of the 170 trees they topped in their parking lot.  Henderson Mayor Scott Foster said the community is “livid” & asked “how did they think they were going to get away with it?”  He would fall over if he saw some of our examples of ‘routine pruning’ by power companies.  It’s a shame because trees are the only council asset which appreciates.

7.      Detroit, once the mecca for heavy industry & car manufacturing is planning to change a space equivalent to ¼ of its city into farmland & community gardens to bring food supply closer to the city.  They will use the vast areas of empty houses & land to do this.  It is estimated that there is 33,500 empty houses & 91,000 vacant residential lots.

8.       Band Pearl Jam donated US$210,000 to Cascade Land Conservancy to plant 33 acres of native trees & plants around the Puget Sound to offset an  estimated 5,474 metric tons of CO2 created by their world tour in 2009.   Fantastic action that is getting respect from around the world.

stunningly beautiful- a residential street in Cooks Hill Newcastle-bet everyone wants to live in this street

9.       Bridgeport USA with a population of 138,000 is planting 100,000 shade trees to help cope with summer heat.  They have launched the Adopt a Tree program where the Council will spend $35,000 on planting trees on residents’      properties.

Reminds me of Blacktown City Council who gave away 77,000 trees free to residents last year.  Bridgeport Council also plans to map all trees with 6 inch diameter & above.  Mayor Finch said, “Planting a tree gives you a feeling of empowerment & you’re helping the environment.”

Don’t know what happened below.

properties.  Reminds me of Blacktown City Council who gave away 77,000 trees free to residents last year.  Bridgeport Council also plans to map all trees with 6 inch diameter & above.  Mayor Finch said, “Planting a tree gives you a feeling of empowerment & you’re helping the environment.”

properties.  Reminds me of Blacktown City Council who gave away 77,000 trees free to residents last year.  Bridgeport Council also plans to map all trees with 6 inch diameter & above.  Mayor Finch said, “Planting a tree gives you a feeling of empowerment & you’re helping the environment.”



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