For more than a decade, a sad, dead twig has stuck out like a gnarled witch’s finger from the tree bed on the sidewalk in front of my Williamsburg apartment.
I guess it was once a young tree, but now it’s baking in the sun over an accumulated pile of litter and dog poo. I finally decided to do something about it.
As part of the city’s “Million Trees” program, which offers planting of free trees in the five boroughs, I applied to the city to entrust my block with a new tree.
“Your service request has been sent to the Department of Parks and Recreation,” read the automated response. “DPR will respond within 720 days.”
When you consider that trees literally eat carbon out of the air (one tree average). 48 pounds a yearAccording to the Arbor Foundation, 720 days seems like a long wait for an answer during a “climate emergency”. That was 457 days ago and I still haven’t received my tree – or an answer.
It’s incredible to see how people who claim to love the environment do so little to actually improve it. In fact, many seem openly hostile to this idea. None more so than the big city Democrats, who ironically advocate ugliness and sterility in their quest for a greener planet.
Environmentalists were once referred to as tree wardens and wore t-shirts that read “save the whales”. Now they desecrate priceless works of art while turning a blind eye to the mass killing of trees and historically endangered marine mammals
In fact, this week the Scottish Government admitted it had failed 15.7 million trees since 2000 to pave the way for wind farms as part of its green energy and net-zero carbon emissions goals. That corresponds to about 1,700 trees per day.
Activists in the area claim that the controversial development of wind farms off the coasts of New Jersey and Long Island helped set a record number of dead whales Several humpback whales have washed ashore this year, including at least 14 humpback whales so far.
While New York City bans plastic straws, grocery bags, and wood-fired pizza ovens, why haven’t any of these environmentalists come up with the idea of encouraging gardening?
Gardens not only remove carbon and fight the heat island effect of big cities, but also increase human happiness. How much more incentive do we need?
Gardens beautify our streets and reduce crime — a block with well-tended gardens, in the broken-window mentality, is less likely to attract lawlessness. How much less? According to a 2022 study in crime-plagued South Africa For every 1% increase in total green space, there is a 1.2% decrease in violent crime and a 1.3% decrease in property crime.
Gardening is also a much healthier hobby than doom-scrolling or binge-watching Netflix.
But gardening can be expensive, everyone knows that. And in New York’s “green” crusade, trees and plants for your porch, garden, sidewalk bed, or planter are still subject to sales tax. The same applies to soil, fertilizer, garden tools, containers and everything else you need.
While groceries are tax-free at grocery stores, in New York Uncle Sam wants his cut if you plant your own tomatoes or grow some basil on your windowsill.
And imagine how much CO2 it takes to transport the vegetables to the store, not to mention the plastic packaging. If the city was serious about going green, it would eliminate this tax while giving tax credits to serious citizens who care about the environment.
Strangely enough, New York’s Democrats legislated that very point, but—surprise, surprise—it only benefits rich people and builders, not average New Yorkers and renters. The city is offering a “green roof” tax rebate of up to $200,000 for developers who cover residential rooftops of new buildings with at least 50% green space.
That allows developers to plant a bunch of silly boxwood on a roof and then write it off, all in the name of protecting the environment. A shrub plot 50 stories up does not attract pollinators or benefit other wildlife. Also, it only increases the quality of life for the people in that building and not for the people passing by on the street.
Along with black holes and the human brain, Earth’s climate remains the most complex and least understood phenomenon in the known universe, and the science of how the climate works is far from settled.
We know that plants are inherently good. But green is an afterthought on the green agenda. Maybe it’s time to rename it the “Cobalt Agenda”.