If in doubt plant a tree


Today is National Tree Day, Planet Ark’s Australia-wide tree planting day.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed but trees are suddenly cool again.

In the lead-up to National Tree Day Planet Ark have been running a TV ad spruiking woodas the “Ultimate Renewable”.

But trees are not just getting a rebrand; over in New Zealand, globally-happening Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, recently set a goal to plant one billion trees by 2028.

And back in Australia, Agriculture Minister, Dave Littleproud, not wanting to be outdone by the Kiwis again, announced that we were planting a billion trees by 2030 too.

We are moving into an “New Age of Wood” complete with wooden skyscrapers and plastics made from wood (?).

You may ask what’s going on and why have we suddenly rediscovered our inner-Lorax?

Or as an easily excitable friend remonstrated the other day, “WTF!? Haven’t trees always been good for the planet?”

But I think there’s something deeper going on with us and trees – deep down we may not know what to do as a species but we kind of trust that they do.

My youngest son, for instance, is seldom without a stick in his hand and his natural response to any largeish tree is to climb into it.

Trees anchor us; serving as a constant through generations. We play in them, kiss beneath them, sing songs about them, get arrested trying to save them.

Our most desirable suburbs are the leafy ones.

We plant comforting and familiar trees in ours garden.

We feel happiest living within our timber framed houses, sitting on mid-century Danish wooden furniture in front of crackling wood fires.

And then there is also a redemptive side to trees. We use trees as penance for our high emissions sins.

When we need to atone for a long-haul flight we quantify the transgression in terms of how many trees we need plant.

And despite all the football fields of forests we clear each day it’s curious how much we trust in trees to make things right for us.

And perhaps even though we don’t actually know how we’re going to get ourselves out of our climate emergency it seems that the best thing to do when we’re in doubt is plant a tree.

Have a great week



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