ADOPT-A-TREE PROGRAM WOULD ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
DECEMBER 3, 2019
WHAT: Islandwide Adopt-a-Tree proposal goes before full Honolulu City Council
WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019
WHERE: Honolulu Hale, 530 S. King St., Third Floor
WHAT: Resolution 19-279, urging the City Administration to establish an islandwide adopt-a-tree program
The adopt-a-tree program would address climate change and other concerns expressed by residents all around Oahu, said Councilmember Kym Pine, author of the resolution. Urban trees reduce air pollution; improve water quality; provide wildlife habitat; stabilize street temperatures; create shade; act as sound and wind barriers; reduce surface storm water runoff; increase property values; improve mental health; provide places for recreation and help to create a sense of place.
Councilmember Pine encourages each person to plant 10 trees, because according to her conversation with leading biodiversity advocate Dr. Camilo Mora, it would make Hawaii the first carbon-neutral state in the world.
The Division of Urban Forestry in the Parks and Recreation Department is working with a non-profit on a pilot adopt-a-tree project in Kailua. The Division and Smart Trees Pacific are involving residents who volunteer to care for newly planted City trees; they help tree-adopters and they survey neighborhoods to determine where new trees can be planted.
We have a successful pilot program in Kailua, but people all over the island want to participate, Councilmember Pine said.
Parks and Recreation Director Michelle Nekota expressed support for the resolution during the Nov. 12 Parks, Community Service and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee meeting. We of course love our trees and thank Councilmember Pine for introducing Resolution 19-279 and we really appreciate that. We have this 100,000-tree goal by 2025, she said. In March 2019, the Mayors Administration committed to increase the total canopy size on Oahu to 35 percent by 2035.
Our goal is to become the first place to offset our carbon footprint by planting trees, said Dr. Camilo Mora, a leading voice for tree-planting to create a carbon-neutral Hawaii, in a recent Hawaii Public Radio interview. Our goal is to make Hawaii carbon neutral and for that we have to plant a million trees.
We want our children to look into their future with forests and that they can say my parents helped make that forest. Or they can be looking at a desert then say my parents saw this and did nothing. The difference between those two futures is what we do now, Mora said.
The full Honolulu City Council will consider the resolution at its Wednesday meeting.
Resolution 19-279 link:
Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine represents residents of District One, comprising portions of Ewa Villages and Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Makakilo, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nnkuli, Mili, Waianae, Mkaha, Keaau and Makua