Shady Dealings: Or the Problem with Planting Trees in Los Angeles | Commentary | SoCal Focus | KCET
This week California celebrates Arbor Day, a nationwide campaign to spruce up the country by releafing its streets, adding shade overhead, and injecting a little arboreal calm into our busy lives. So it is probably not the best time to take a poke at Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Million Tree Initiative. Then again, there's really not a better moment to examine its unchecked presumption that trees will save us. Can this, should this dry place support all that projected growth?
Launched in 2006 with considerable éclat, the program got a quick rhetorical jump-start: "I am committed to making Los Angeles the largest, cleanest and greenest city in the United States," the new mayor declared shortly after his first election. "Today, only 18.09 percent of Los Angeles is covered with trees. I ask all angelenos to work with me and engage in this effort to grow our canopy cover for the future by planting one million trees today."