Leverage points for promoting trees; gentle landscaping

I copy-pasted my recent post “Pay people to plant trees” and emailed it to a few fellow activists in my bioregion.

Got this nice reply from one of the recipients, to the effect that she’d like to see some ordinances regarding “natural” plantings, instead of the current ordinances that not only allow, but often actually require, developers and HOAs to use toxic, violent landscaping practices that devalue trees and native plants.

My response:

Thanks for this!

Ordinances are often cumbersome and difficult to pass. And in some cases nowadays, Tallahassee has actually passed laws prohibiting municipalities from passing any kind of local ordinances around trees and so on. Not that we shouldn’t keep trying!!

Rather than ordinances, it could be that a stronger leverage point is simply interacting with the planning process, talking directly w developers and their attorneys etc.

I have been attending some planning board meetings, redevelopment meetings and so on. There may be some hope there.

Many times these days, developers (and city planners too!) are actually interested in a more eco-friendly approach; they just need informational resources such as plant lists, pattern books etc. that will help them navigate permitting, community acceptance, etc. And the resources are abundant; it’s just that people, even professionals, don’t know about these websites and other resources. Part of my self-appointed job as a freelance sustainability educator is to connect people w these resources.

Another key leverage point is realtors. Realtors have a lot of influence over clients and buyers; they can be educating people about how “curb appeal” is not shaved grass with zero trees.

Another potential leverage point is affordable / workforce / attainable housing. People working in the affordable-housing spaces have some leverage to promote natural landscaping and gentle maintenance practices.

Such practices actually help reduce the overhead cost of housing while also providing shade, heat mitigation, stormwater absorption, beauty, and other value to residents and the surrounding community alike. If some of the trees are fruit trees, an additional benefit is food for the residents.

I am here to support you in any way I can, to connect you with information and other resources.