We love what happened when the trees in Melbourne got email addresses
Back in 2013, the city of Melbourne, Australia, assigned its trees email addresses, so that citizens could report problems like vandalism or poor tree health. But instead, emails started pouring in that were way more adorable than reports of a broken branch: The people of Melbourne started writing love letters to their favorite trees.
The letters encompass a broad variety of topics, but are universally awesome. From odes to a specific tree, to requests for advice, to personal musings on life, the letters are seriously fascinating.
“You are my favorite tree,” one person wrote to a Golden Elm in January. “Even when you make me stoop over during my morning run when you grow to big.”
“I’m sorry you’re going to die soon,” someone else wrote to a different Golden Elm in May. “It makes me sad when trucks damage your low hanging branches. Are you as tired of all this construction work as we are?”
So far, the trees have received thousands of emails. But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that some of the trees have been writing back.
Of the over 3,000 messages sent to the trees, the Urban Forest Strategy crew has responded on their behalf to 2,500 of those messages.
One Willow Leaf Peppermint even educated an admirer about the gender of trees.
Arron Wood, the chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, told The Atlantic that the, “unintended yet positive consequences . . . reveal the love Melburnians have for our trees.”
Of course, the love for trees is universal. The trees have gotten emails from as far away as Germany and the U.K., and even one email from a tree in the United States named Al. In an email to the Huffington Post, Wood said that because the Urban Forest team responsible for the accounts is multilingual, the trees can speak several languages including German, Hungarian, and Spanish.
“I was delighted to find you alive and flourishing, because a lot of your family used to live in the U.K., but they all caught a terrible infection and died. Do be very careful,” one email from the U.K. warned a Variegated Elm Tree. “I miss your characteristic silhouettes and beautifully shaped branches — used to be one of the glories of the English landscape — more than I can say.”
Really, what this project has shown us is that technology doesn’t have to distract from nature. In fact, all it can take is a simple email to bring man and nature closer to being one
Image of Flagstaff Commons, Melbourne via Wikimedia commons