World Environment Day 2012

Today is World Environment Day, a day where we should think about ecology and all things green.

The theme of WED this year is the green economy which is defined as :

 one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbonresource efficient and socially inclusive.

It’s good to see green economy programmes being run around the world in places like Honduras, and Tunisia.

It’s good to see a lot of cities in the world greening up. Amsterdam is considered to be the most bike-friendly city in the world. Brazil has launched the Green Passport initiative in an attempt to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment; while Barcelona is a leader in Europe in the provision of solar energy.

Sydney tries to be green, but where she falls over in my opinion is in the public transport sector. It is a nightmare to get around in Sydney if you don’t have a car. And even if you do have a car the roads are so congested and so badly laid out that it takes ages to get from point A to point B.

Many people I speak to outline the stress they feel traveling to work in the mornings because the roads are so bad. They also outline how much easier it would be if they could work from home (very green activity as you are not traveling anywhere) and with the technology that exists in the workplace today there really are no excuses for employers not to allow that at least one or two days a week. Unless you’re supremely inflexible, that is.

Welcome to Sydney. City of congested roads, stressed out commuters and inflexible employers. With the people who have the power to change things (state and local governments) unable to agree on anything except that they need more time off to deal with the stress of it taking two hours to get to work in the morning.

It’s not easy not being green.

All this talk of roads groaning with traffic is somewhat depressing, so I have to turn to the thing in my immediate environment that always cheers me. The majestic, humble tree.

There was a slogan in the 1960s that said – BIKE FOR A BETTER CITY – but I believe that – PLANT TREES FOR A BETTER CITY – is more apt in our modern society.

Think of the habitats planting trees creates. Think of the trees sucking all that carbon out of the air. Think of the ways trees can lift your spirits. Think of the shade on a hot summer’s day.

A street without trees is desolate, grey. A street with trees is vibrant, full of birdsong and the scent of blossoms and leaves.

On World Environment Day I would like to honour the tree. It may sound like putting a small bandaid on a large, gaping wound but I feel that planting trees, fighting to maintain the existence of established trees and rallying to provide the community with more green, open space is a good way to start greening your local economy.

So today why don’t you plant a tree? Sit under a tree? Write a poem about a tree? Hug a tree? But above all, realise the importance of trees in our modern world, in our built-up cities and towns full of concrete, steel and glass.

No town can fail of beauty, though its walks were gutters and its houses hovels, if venerable trees make magnificent colonnades along its streets. 

~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs, 1887



21 thoughts on “World Environment Day 2012

  1. Here’s something for you:

    ‘Take a tree. Hang a sign on it announcing ‘Something marvelous is going on here!’. Everyone who has the least sense of wonder will stop to find out what is going on. Such a sign does hang on every tree — addressed to all the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch’ (Rutherford Platt, 1952)


    1. I really like that a lot, Travelrat. It’s so true. I might just hang some signs on trees over the next few days 😀


  2. Here’s to the tree! And W.E.D. Again a pleasure to stop by, love your collection of tree photos. I agree, they are one of nature’s most special things.


  3. A lovely photographic celebration of trees in this city, Selma. They are in abundance in Sydney which is one of the city’s saving graces. Now, as you say, if we could just sort out the mess that is our roads and get some safe city bicycle paths going…..


    1. You are so right there, Bluebee. The trees and parks we have in Sydney save us from becoming soulless. I know what you mean about the bike paths – I wouldn’t want to ride a bike on any of them. I have seen too many close calls with cars lately for that. Scary 😯


  4. Hi,
    I didn’t know it was world environment day, I again have learned something new. 🙂
    Our traffic is just as bad here in Brisbane as well, so you are not alone down there in Sydney.
    Love the photos, really nice.


    1. Oh I meant to ask how you got on yesterday with those terrible winds you had, I saw a bit of it on the news, I hope everything is alright in your area.


      1. You are so kind for asking about the storms, Mags. It was a ripsnorter. Fortunately, we sustained no damage to anything but on the way out this morning I noticed a lot of trees down. The shadecloth in the school came down and was flapping everywhere. So far though, I haven’t noticed anything really bad in my area. It was a wild night, however!

        I think the traffic’s bad everywhere, isn’t it Mags? Modern life, I suspect!


        1. We are getting reports here that 20,000 homes had been blacked out due to trees falling on power lines, some roofs were blown off in other areas. I am glad that your area got through it alright.

          Yes I agree, as the population gets bigger the traffic chaos is only going to get worse I’m afraid.


          1. It has been really bad in parts of Sydney, Mags. We are very fortunate to have escaped it. You are so kind to care about us ♥


    1. Oh yes. I haven’t been to Paris for years, writingfeemail but the trees were glorious. I could cry thinking about how lovely they are. One day soon I hope to go back…


  5. Happy World Environment Day for yesterday Selma! A beautiful collection of trees you have going on there. I’d love to turn some politicians into compost and spread it around all the trees ;). They make the best compost because they are so full of manure.


    1. We’d have hectares of trees growing in record time if we could spread those composted pollies around. Our carbon footprint would be reduced immediately. If only, Gabe. If only……


    1. We have lots of different trees, Squirrel. Most of them are native but many are introduced like the oak tree. Introduced, native, I don’t care. Once they’re here and they’re growing I love all trees. They’re like my buddies!


  6. It’s one of the things I love about our new home and city, an over abundance of trees and parks and green areas. It seemed like Mississauga was determined to use up every available bit of land to build build build and take down so many trees in the process. Here in Brampton the paks and green areas seem sacred and for that I’m glad. We have a huge maple tree in our front yard and I love it!


    1. It just sounds heavenly, Cathy. I love maple trees. And you’re right – the green areas ARE sacred. So special. So needed!


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