Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tree Appreciation

For Hong Kong visitors, the number of trees in the city makes a big impression
While I was in Vancouver, some relatives from Hong Kong came for a short visit for the first time.

We showed them around the usual spots -- Stanley Park, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, the University of British Columbia, Queen Elizabeth Park, Chinatown, Gastown, and so on.

It was interesting to see what they took pictures of, and what they were most thrilled about were the trees.

They were amazed to see so many trees in the city, in particular how large and tall they were.

Lots of greenery in Queen Elizabeth Park
Many times they commented about how Hong Kong doesn't know how to manage its trees well due to a lack of knowledge, and most of the time chops them down for fear that the branches will break off and fall, especially during typhoons, and doesn't want to take any chances.

Another reason is that the trees are somehow assigned to different departments and they manage them in their own way. There is a Tree Management Office, but it seems to coordinate with the various departments that have trees under their jurisdiction than have overall management of all the trees in the city.

This leads to an uncoordinated philosophy on how to look after trees in Hong Kong, and why some seem to be haphazardly chopped down, and others pruned to the point where the tree can't recover and eventually dies (and is chopped down).

Looking at the fairway at Point Grey Golf Club
Being in Vancouver, just being able to look up and see the blue skies and clouds so easily is something people there take for granted, because in Hong Kong, having a shoe box in the sky doesn't necessarily mean you have a zillion-dollar view. Some look directly into another person's flat a metre away. Or you have a sliver of a view if you crane your neck at a certain degree.

Seeing my relatives in awe of how trees are left to flourish in Vancouver made me even more acutely aware of how lucky the residents are to live in such a green environment.

I found myself paying more attention to them too, and how Hong Kong really needs to protect what trees it has left to create a more liveable place.

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