Quick! Which one of these is true?
- Tree are large, woody plants that (for pennies on the dollar) provide Atlanta with essential ecological goods and services, for which we would otherwise have to use precious tax money.
- Trees are living organisms in their own right, and they have been our constant companions on this planet throughout human history. Their presence everywhere among us in this forested city is a daily source of inspiration and sense of wellbeing. Our lives are immeasurably enhanced by trees.
- Trees are fine and all that, but no tree is going to offer me a decent job, keep a roof over my head, or make sure I have access to healthcare. Honestly? A dollar spent on trees is a dollar not spent on far more urgent priorities. Can we talk about transit and affordable housing now?
- Trees frighten me. They fall and kill people. I don’t think I should have to be afraid in my own house every time a thunderstorm rolls through Atlanta.
- Trees! Oh la de da. Is this a garden club meeting? What makes a city a place where people want to live is other people. Enough with all this talk about trees! Music festivals, the arts, pedestrian-friendly streets, events that bring the entire city together — if we want a vibrant Atlanta, a city that can be mentioned in the same breath as New York or Los Angeles, we need to invest in people.
If you answered “all of the above, more or less,” treat yourself to a walk in one of our lovely greenspaces.
In our last installment, we promised to turn to the topic of fairness, as it relates to our urban forest and the citywide planning process — the Urban Ecology Framework — that Atlanta is about to undertake.
There’s so much that can and should be said about fairness. Too much for a short blog post, really. We’ll have to come back to it next time.
So for the time being, let Inman Park Tree Watch invite you to ponder all the voices, the range of diverse voices, that have an equal right to be heard and taken seriously, when it comes to how our city sets its priorities for the future.
After all, “we” is what a city is, in essence. Correct? And “we” is obviously not “I.”
Listen. Fairness starts with listening. Even if (or especially because) you’re sure you already know all the right answers.