DAN LAMBE: PLANT TREES TO HARVEST SOLUTIONS
Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation, travels around the world promoting reforestation and informing people about the benefits of trees.
In this interview, he shares his views on how to invite citizens to be part of the reforestation of their cities.
ABOUT THE ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION
Arbor Day is an United States annual holiday that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.
“We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees”.
This is the mission statement of the Arbor Day Foundation 1, a nonprofit conservation and education organization that was founded in 1972, the centennial of the first Arbor Day observance.
The Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Their actions include education and conservation programs.
“The heat represents an important issue, shade and any kind of green space would help to reduce the heat pressures for the citizens”.
HOW CAN WE MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO PLANT TREES?
To engage individuals in tree planting we need to make sure that they understand why it is important and how are they going to benefit, how the neighborhood or they community is going to benefit from trees.
If it is a tree for they own yard that is going to generate shade over their home and reduce the need to run air conditioning or whatever it may be… that is an easy sale, a lot of people would want to plant those trees.
If it is a tree that makes their street a beautiful line boulevard like Paseo Montejo, everyone wants to live in a street like that. Is necessary to understand the personal value that a tree has, but also how it can add value to the community.
It takes a lot of effort to ensure that citizens understand the benefits of green space, so you can make it easier by creating volunteer opportunities where they can just show up and learn by doing and creating opportunities simple to understand. Making information available of how to plant trees, how to maintain trees, how to prune trees so they can take care of the trees, not just plant them.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN OBJECTIONS PEOPLE HAVE TO PLANTING TREES? HOW TO OVERCOME THOSE OBJECTIONS?
Everyone loves trees, not everyone likes to take care of trees, so one of the biggest objections we hear is “they are dirty”. They drop leaves, they drop pods, branches. And that is a challenge.
If we can make people understand what the benefits are (how they generate tree shade, increase your property value, that they make your home more inviting, etc.) if the benefits outweigh those modest, small bothers; then, they generally don’t care.
There are people who complain that trees might block business signs, sometimes people complain about trees might create places where bad things could happen, because they create shade and dark areas; but what our research shows is that tree-line business areas increase business, increase sales.
Tree-line communities increase the neighborhood watch, the neighborhood engagement, and lower criminality. We need to make sure people are aware of those benefits.
HOW TO PASS THIS MESSAGE TO FUTURE GENERATIONS?
For young children, we do not want to scare them with climate change, floods and droughts, all those challenging issues.
We want to inspire them and help them to connect with nature in a positive way, in a not threatening way.
We want them to have happy positive memories about tree planting and tree care: experiences at schools, participate in the creation of beautiful parks, activities that invite them to come out of their houses and engage in the neighborhood.
Full article in our 03 printed edition.
1 For further information visit the Arbor Day Foundation webpage at www.arborday.org