Back to News page
Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release March 2006
Hi SOS Members
Wednesday's Sydney Morning Herald featured a major article on the problem of people poisoning or cutting down trees to improve their view. Included was this feature containing interesting facts on the importance of trees in the city.
The Root of all Life
IN the words of the Canadian author and scientist David Suzuki, pictured, trees literally hold the world together. They produce oxygen and store carbon, they catch water and slow stormwater run-off, their roots prevent soil erosion and their leaves absorb heat.
Their role in the oxygen-carbon cycle has become increasingly important at a time when rising greenhouse gas pollution from land clearing and burning fossil fuels is dangerously changing weather and climate patterns. But less well known is the role of trees in reducing air pollution by intercepting airborne particles.
Pollution, such as particulate pollution from cars, can be absorbed by the surface of a leaf, but after rain some of it will be washed down into the soil, which acts as a filter. Trees are also responsible for reducing temperatures and, in turn, slowing the rates at which many air pollutants are formed. All parts of a tree -from its soil, roots, leaves, stems and bark -function as sinks for air pollution.
Trees can also help slow stormwater run-off. Rainfall running over streets and car parks washes pollution into waterways, affecting the quality and quantity of the water. Where there are urban forests, the trees act as giant sponges, significantly slowing stormwater runoff and reducing the risk of floods that are so typical of Sydney's sudden downpours.
But that's not all. Trees can play a significant role in reducing demand for energy by providing shade for buildings and windows in summer, directly reducing the need for energyguzzling air-conditioning. Direct shading of airconditioning units also increases their efficiency by up to 10 per cent, according to research by the City of Boulder Water Conservation Office in the US.
Trees also cool the air through evapotranspiration. The ambient air temperature difference between an unshaded, treeless car park and a vegetated area can be as much as 5.5 degrees, Boulder City officials say.
I sent in a letter that
was published the following day:
Humans in, trees out
The destruction of trees to enhance views, while lamentable, is only a small part of the problem described in "If a tree falls in Woolhara ...." (Herald 1 March). What is much more environmentally significant are the thousands of trees wiped out by government imposed high-density policies. Concrete, bitumen and tiles dominate vast areas where streetscapes of flowers and foliage once reigned supreme. The greatest vandal is the State itself.
Tony Recsei, Warrawee.
The publication of this letter represents a breakthrough. At a seminar in April 2004 ,chaired by the then Sydney Morning Herald editor Robert Whitehead, I criticised the then Sydney Sustainability Commissioner Professor Peter Newman . Since then until now, the paper steadfastly did not publish any of my letters or articles. I complained by means of phone calls, emails and visits.
with Michael Duffy
Monday 6 March 2006 at 4pm,
ABC RADIO NATIONAL 576 AM band
The End of the Suburban Dream?
In the past 10 years, governments have restricted land releases, forcing people into flats and townhouses. Old suburbs are being disfigured. But is this what we want? This week two leading Australian urban specialists, Peter Newman and Patrick Troy, debate the end of the suburban dream.
You all know who Peter Newman is (see above). Professor Patrick Troy is the author or the well-known book "The Perils of Urban Consolidation". For those who cannot listen on Monday, the program is repeated at 9 pm on Tuesday.
IS UNDER ATTACK
90 HECTARES OF WATERFRONT LAND IS BEING
SOLD BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT
ACT NOW AND STOP THIS VANDALISM
SATURDAY 11TH MARCH 2006
THIS IS A CALL TO ARMS TO PROTECT OUR HARBOUR!
SEE YOU SATURDAY 11TH AT 11AM,
OBSERVATORY HILL, MILLERS POINT
Please attend this important rally. It is vital that we save our harbour from degenerating into a lake surrounding by millionaire apartments
President, Save Our Suburbs
Back to News page