Tree Planting Events An Answer To Loneliness And Improving Our Fresh Water
Charity Sustainable Coastlines has just kicked off its winter tree planting tour, providing critical support for freshwater quality while helping to solve some of the loneliness and isolation brought to light by the Covid lock-down.
The recent Helen Clark Foundation’s report Alone Together highlights the impact loneliness is having on New Zealanders. Two of the report’s recommendations are to strengthen communities and to create friendly streets and neighbourhoods. Through bringing people together with a shared purpose and engaging community at a grass-roots level, Sustainable Coastlines’ tree planting events are already helping to alleviate the problem.
“We’re excited to be back working with local communities, connecting people for a common cause and reducing the loneliness that a lot of us have faced over lock-down,” says Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt.
“Planting trees alongside our waterways provides a lot of tangible impacts like reducing erosion and sedimentation, increasing biodiversity, capturing carbon and filtering excess nutrients. But our events also connect people with nature, allowing them to work collectively to tackle environmental challenges in their own backyard. Our volunteers continually feedback to us that they’ve felt an increased connection through this shared experience, giving them a sense of belonging and purpose.”
The tree planting tour, dubbed ‘Love Your Water 2020’, is running at a time when New Zealanders continue to unite against Covid-19. In collaboration with key supporters ANZ, Vector and Pitstop, the charity already has planting events planned throughout July and August, and volunteers are invited to register on the Sustainable Coastlines events page. More dates are to be added soon.
As well as tackling loneliness, planting trees enables people to be part of a solution to what may seem an insurmountable problem. Of New Zealanders surveyed, 76% said they were extremely or very concerned about the pollution of lakes and rivers. These concerns are not unfounded, with the Ministry for the Environment Report, Our freshwater 2020 painting a picture of declining water quality and habitat for native fish in many of the country's freshwater systems.
Sustainable Coastlines seeks to get as many people as possible involved in this positive solution both for their own health and the health of our waterways.
Current tree-planting days:
11 July — Puhinui Reserve, Auckland.
25 July — Waitangi, Far North.
8 August — Maketu, Bay of Plenty.
15 August — Porirua, Wellington.
22 August — Coutts Island Rd, Christchurch.
 The Helen Clark Foundation, Alone Together. https://helenclark.foundation/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/alone-together-report-min.pdf
 Colmar-Brunton poll for Fish & Game New Zealand, February 2020. https://fishandgame.org.nz/news/water-pollution-remains-a-major-concern-for-new-zealanders/
 Ministry for the Environment, Our freshwater 2020.