Tree aesthetics

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There are so many trees, and not enough. We need a billion trees, a trillion. But even a single tree can tell a beautiful story.

There are four hundred trees stacked in a vertical forest in Hubei Province.

Heatherwick Studio’s 1000 Trees housing complex in Shanghai is two years behind schedule but it’s here.

Tree aesthetics are here, too: We’ll see them more and more. Trees are our friends, our saviors. Hope in a time of climate change.

They call 1000 Trees “verdant and striking.”  I’m not sure this is what verdant feels like. But when other megacities strip their poor neighborhoods of shade trees, just one can be a lifeline.

The thing I remember about Shanghai is the hot, dirty smell; a crackling, sweaty garbage scent of people and possibilities that shook me up and took me over. Some parts of the city were verdant to me: the avenues of the French Concession were green and dotted with shade. But thatt was ten years ago, twelve years ago. A lot can change.

Trees are a kind of equity: you can find out your city’s score. There are more people than trees in San Francisco these days, but the coverage isn’t even.

You’re guilty of using too much carbon, but at least you can offset it by buying a tree. That’s why we need so many. Be careful, though: forest offsets aren’t always what they’re supposed to be.

At dusk one day, when it was warm and sticky, I took a few minutes to count the trees on our property. There were twenty three. Some of them are tall and proud, some of them only just getting started. Twenty three. Suddenly one thousand doesn’t seem like much, and a trillion doesn’t seem anywhere near enough.

Further reading:

It’s not climate change, it’s everything change
The Falkland Islands have no native trees.
• An argument that science have a court system like the law.
What can a technologist do about climate change?

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Radar, week 8: Insatiable appetites – Start here

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