In Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance speech for his Best Actor Oscar win earlier this year, he touched on a very important topic that is near and dear to his heart: environmentalism. He said, “Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history… Climate change is real; it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating… For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.” Spoken like a true champion.
Among other things, DiCaprio called all citizens of the world to start taking an active part in protecting and creating a better environment for people to live in. Although small, one of the many ways we can get involved in ensuring a better tomorrow for ourselves and those to come, is by doing our part to take care of the environment.
Tree City USA is a program that allows a way to recognize and incentivize cities to plant and care for their tree’s in their communities, as a way to improve the quality of life, and the urban natural resources in their cities and towns. It’s an important program that allows YOU to take part in creating a greener community.
Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation spoke with Quirky Daily and said, “Trees in our cities and towns are critically important. They not only create the cities and spaces that we have grown to love – our tree lined blvd’s or beautiful city parks – but tree’s do so much more in our cities and towns,” he continued. “They help to shade our homes and turn our air conditioners down a little bit to reduce our energy consumption. They help to buffer those heavy rain storms and reduce the flooding and storm water runoffs in our communities. They help to reduce air pollutants in our air. They do so many things to improve the quality of life, and value of our neighborhoods.”
It’s a program that has been around for many years helping people to make huge differences in their communities. “The Tree City USA program has helped to make sure we’re planting trees, and caring for those tree’s. We’ve been doing it for forty years in huge cities like New York City, and tiny little towns like Sibling, North Dakota, the smallest Tree City USA city, with 28 residents,” Lambe says.
There are certain ways to help get involved and build greener streets in your area. “Number one: A city has to have a tree board, or a department where someone is managing their tree care. Number two: They need to have $2 being spent per capita on tree care and tree management. Number three: They need to have ordinance in place, or a city law that helps to see how trees are going to manage and care for the tree’s in their community. Number four: They need to celebrate their work. They are having an arbor day celebration. When cities meet those standards, they can be recognized as a Tree City USA city,” Lambe urged.
It’s a small step that creates big change across your neighborhood. “What we’ve learned, is once cities meet those standards, they usually go way above and beyond, because they recognize and realize what those trees bring to their neighborhoods, and their cities as a whole,” Lambe explained.
These are just a few of the ways to help the environment, but big changes are made with each little step you put forward. Cleaning the environment is something we can all start taking action towards in little ways. Take Leo’s advice and go out there and create a greener future! You can visit the Arbor Day Foundation website at ArborDay.org to learn about what trees to plant in your city.
Feature Image: Robert Powroznik