Protecting Mature Trees and Green Space in CharlotteJan 27, 2020 04:39PM ● By Shannon Mc Kenzie
As of mid-January 2020, the bushfire in Australia had reportedly burned some 17 million acres, resulting in the deaths of 28 people and likely millions of animals. While there are thought to be many factors contributing to the severity of the disaster, bushfire and land management researcher Justin Leonard told CNN that “climate change only worsens the conditions for fire.” He predicted that the bushfires in Australia would get worse.
Around the world and in Charlotte, many are concerned with the state of the environment and are actively working to translate that concern into action by bringing it to the forefront. Natural Awakenings Charlotte interviewed a local business owner dedicated to reversing climate change and protecting the environment.
Kim Hombs, DVM, FAAVA, CVA, CVH, CVT, Owner of Atrium Animal Hospital and Founder of the non-profit Trees, Bees & All Of These
NA: What drove you to establish the non-profit Trees, Bees & All of These in 2015?
KH: I was seeing rampant clear-cutting of land for development throughout Charlotte, however when I brought my concerns to the attention of several local government officials, it didn’t result in any changes. In talking to other concerned citizens at the time, I learned they also experienced the same lack of response. I decided that citizens needed a forum to come together to be heard and have an impact on city leader’s decisions, ordinances, enforcements and planning that would strengthen and enforce preservation and protection of our mature trees and natural green spaces before they were decimated by developers whose money appeared to give them enormous power. Thoughtful preservation conversations were not factoring into decisions. We give citizens the ability to speak up and stand up to protect and preserve our mature trees and green spaces.
NA: In the time you have been leading Trees, Bees & All Of These, are there any observations or trends you have noticed?
KH: Our city leaders, in general, seem to be leaning away from preservation and protection of trees and green space for the sake of making a clear path for developers. Citizens have an impact when we stand up and speak up together. Our city leaders have to hear from us to know that this is a top priority of our citizens.
NA: What can concerned Charlotteans do to help your organization?
KH: Join our email list by emailing [email protected] or visit our Facebook page to stay updated on current issues affecting our trees and green spaces. We invite all in Charlotte to stand up and speak up with us. It can be as simple as a click and send via email to our city leaders. We make it fun and easy to participate with our organization and at whatever level of action you feel comfortable. Please also email us to let us know your concerns regarding tree protection in Charlotte and how we can help you and your particular tree/green space issue. We have meetings every other month and anyone in the community is welcome to attend.
NA: Do you have any parting words?
KH: Mature trees, tree canopy, natural green spaces are the number one counter to global warming and climate crisis (not to mention all the other numerous benefits to our physical, mental and spiritual health that nature brings). Remember cutting down even one mature established tree cannot be replaced by planting even a thousand saplings tomorrow. Not only will it take decades to reach the level of maturity to provide the innumerable benefits that mature trees provide today, the statistics on survivability of newly planted saplings in cities and municipalities at just one year are quite variable and a fair percentage of newly planted trees do not make it one year. There is no "replacing" established trees and ecosystems. It is very important and critical to plant trees, but to think and act as if mature trees are easily replaced by saplings is inaccurate. This is an important and pressing issue and we cannot afford to mindlessly lose any more of our precious trees and green spaces.
To learn more visit TreesBeesThese.org, on facebook or email [email protected]