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More shade trees, please

Phil Dudman

Phil Dudman

December 21, 2011

I was walking down the street the other day, on a stinking hot day in Lismore, where I live. The locals call this place ‘the wok’, because it’s surrounded by a circle of hills, which acts as a barrier to sea breezes in summer… so down in the centre, you feel like you’re a slice of pork sizzling in a stir-fry of hot oil and salty soy sauce. Anyway, it was one of those days and I was walking down what must be a council declared ‘vegetation free zone’… nothing but concrete and tar… when I spotted this magnificent Poinciana tree… like a mirage on the horizon. With my shoes sticking to the tarmac at every step, I dragged myself over to this glorious tree to seek shelter beneath its canopy. As I rested, I gave thanks to the city’s forefathers for their foresight in planting this shady saviour, then I looked back at the path I had travelled and wondered why they hadn’t finished the job … why wasn’t there an avenue of these shady trees right along the street for the citizens to enjoy. And it’s not just this street, or this place, there are thousands of barren streets across the country that could be greener, cooler and a more pleasant place to be, if they just had a few more trees. Sure, most councils have some sort of tree plan in place, but there’s clearly more work to be done. So come on councils… let’s get planting and let’s get lots more shade trees in the ground… today. We owe it to the environment and we owe it to future generations.