This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses Would you email a tree? (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian/W. Meier/Corbis)
This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses
Lexile

They provide shade, air to breathe and an undeniable sense of grandeur. But would you ever write a letter to a tree?
 
Officials in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that for many, the answer is a resounding yes - The Guardian's Oliver Milman reports that when they rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees in a bid to help identify damage and issues, they discovered that city residents preferred to write them love letters instead.
 
The city is calling it "an unintended but positive consequence" of their attempt to help citizens track tree damage. On their urban forest data site, Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses to each of the city's trees so it would be easier to catch and rehabilitate damaged trees.
 
Then the emails began to arrive. Milman writes that instead of damage reports, people began to write fan mail to trees, complimenting their looks and leaves and telling tales of how they'd helped them survive during inclement weather. Some trees even write back.
 
The effort is part of a larger initiative to protect Melbourne's 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline. But it turns out that Melbournians have always been arboreal enthusiasts: the city council notes that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eu

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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


COMMENTS (5)
  • jeannah-cot
    8/10/2017 - 03:08 p.m.

    One of the benefits of the trees writing back is the person who wrote the letter will be tempted to write a new one to a new tree. The trees themselves can write back, but people can write it for them.

  • izabellan-cot
    8/10/2017 - 03:12 p.m.

    One benefit of trees writing back is that it lets people know that someone saw their comment about the tree. People probably write back as the tree when they are just people.

  • peytonk-cot
    8/22/2017 - 02:34 p.m.

    The benefit of the trees writing back is actually quite large. If the writer feels engaged, they may want to communicate further with the tree. The writer might be helping out directly, or indirectly (depending on how they communicate with the tree). As for how the trees write back, well, it should not be taken literally that the trees actually write back. If the whole situation was started by Melbourne officials, it is very likely that the emails sent by the the tree are written by Melbourne officials. That is how trees benefit from writing back, and how they actually, you know, write back.

  • Tylerl-dav1
    8/28/2017 - 09:14 a.m.

    In response to Austalia giving trees email adresses, I agree that it will help trees in Australia. One reason I agree is that it lets people feel more connected to the trees. Another reason is that if the trees respond they can tell what happens to the trees around them. Even though it is a little strange, I think it could work.

  • Addisonj-dav
    9/25/2017 - 08:58 a.m.

    In response to this article, I agree that it was a good idea to initially start a project like this, where people can interact with nature in a way that people react to people today. One While the outcome may not have been what they expected, it sure was a pleasant surprise. The reason I agree is that most people don't find much pleasure in going out and doing activities and want to stay in and do everything via technology. This is the best of both worlds. Another reason is being able to connect to something as if it were a person gives a whole new meaning to that thing. And emailing trees sure does a lot of connecting. Even though some inquire it is an abnormal concept, I believe it can and has had a beneficial outcome.

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