Upper West Side Councilmember Mark Levine recently announced a bold plan involving trees in New York City. This entailed giving out email addresses to 200 of these in an effort to deepen public engagement with the city's woodland.
"NYC is a tough place to be a tree," Levine said in a Gothamist report. "By giving each tree a unique e-mail address, it makes it really easy to report problems."
Based from Levine's statement, there is a practical application to the proposed policy. It implies that the email could serve as a communication tool, so that problems and issues such as broken branches, disease and rotting parts are reported and addressed easily. However, his office was quick to say that the emails were not meant as a maintenance hotline. Rather, they will serve as mechanism for residents to connect more personally with the trees, according to Engadget.
The question now is how this can be achieved. More importantly, what would be the content of the message when corresponding with a tree? Fortunately, New Yorkers can turn to the Australians for ideas. The City of Melbourne is credited to be the first to adopt the "email-a-tree" policy and it receives a steady stream of mails from the public.
"My dearest Ulmus," one email message said. "As I was leaving St. Mary's College today I was struck, not by a branch, but by your radiant beauty. You must get these messages all the time. You're such an attractive tree."
"I'm so sorry you're going to die soon. It makes me sad when trucks damage your low hanging branches," said another message sent last May to a tree called Golden Elm. "Are you as tired of all this construction work as we are?"
Levine's spokesman, Tyrone Stevens, says the cost would consist only of the creation and installation of the tree signage. He states that emails would be checked by Parks Department employees, but will not replace 311 and will not require additional staff, according to Gothamist.