Would you email a tree? (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian/W. Meier/Corbis)
This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses
June 15, 2017
Assign to Google Classroom
They provide shade. They give us air to breathe. And they have a clear sense of majesty. But would you ever write a letter to a tree?
The answer is yes for many in Melbourne, Australia.
The Guardian's Oliver Milman reports that the city rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees. It is a bid to help identify damage and issues. But officials found that city residents chose to write trees love letters instead.
The city is calling it "an unintended but positive consequence" of their attempt to help citizens track tree damage. Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses to the trees. This is on their urban forest data site.
The IDs and email addresses made it easier to catch and mend damaged trees.
Then the emails began to arrive. Milman writes that instead of damage reports, people began to write fan mail. The writers praised their looks and leaves. Some told tales of how they would help them survive during bad weather. Some trees even write back.
The effort is part of a larger initiative. That is to protect Melbourne's 70,000 city-owned trees. The fight is from drought and decline.
It turns out Melbournians have always been tree enthusiasts. The city council notes that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eucalyptus trees. Those trees would "absorb bad gasses" coming from a nearby manure depot.
Assigned 77 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What is the benefit of the trees writing back, and how do they do it?
Write your answers in the comments section below