Monday, 19 March 2018


Our gratitude to Kottke who rummaged up this heartening article from the archives of the Atlantic regarding a municipal project in Melbourne that had some unexpectedly touching outcomes.
The superintendent of the city’s parks and gardens assigned individual, monitored email addresses to every tree on public and private land so that residents could report potential problems—like an errant branch threatening to snap a power line.  Instead, however, Melbourne was rather overwhelmed with affectionate and appreciative correspondence from humans to their arboreal neighbours. Most of the messages were one way, but city officials took the time to answer some of the senders’ inquiries, especially when there was a teachable moment—such as explaining the concept of gender in trees. I wonder if this initiative continues, and it is also positive to note that the interconnected Internet of Things is not just potentially paternalistic and judgmental but can also elicit notice, empathy and protective instincts and elevate things above their utility.