October 12, 2017

The lake chestnut trees in Lorry

Thank you so much Lorry, for talking about the lake chestnut trees. The winter season starts on November 1st, so if the salt is to be replaced, it is last call. The people who care for the trees should get the funds they applied for, for the three-year plan to extend the lives of the old trees. Sign here if you want to help.

(Reads) The crown jewels of the lakes under pressure: they are salting them to death.

Citizens movement fights city to make them stop salting along the chestnut trees lining the lakes. 

Link to article in Lorry (Danish)

October 7, 2017

Petition: Help the Lake Chestnuts

The old lake chestnut trees are fighting to stay alive, and need our help urgently. The city of Copenhagen not only denied the department funds for a plan to prolong their lives, but also continue to use the toxic salt on the roadside of the lakes, to save money. This can't go on.

The trees on the roadside are now so weak that they are continuously being felled for safety reasons. The many holes in the row and the burnt canopies, says it all. The citizens are the last hope. For this reason, we have started a petition to make the city fund the departments plan to care for the trees, and to stop the salting of the road side trees, effective immediately.

 (this is translated in another post, here)

Caliumformiat is used on one side, salt on the other.

The winter service informs us that an average winter season with caliumformiat costs 140.000 dkr, on this stretch. Caliumformiat is exactly twice the cost of salt, meaning the added cost of switching is 70.000 dkr. If the City of Copenhagen refuses to switch, we must insist that the old trees are in some way shielded from the salt. We request political action now!

Sign here (Danish): Hjælp Søkastanjerne!

September 27, 2017

An improvement

Who remembers the poor Hofor-bashed street trees on Frederiksborggade? Just look at them now. Thank you, Copenhagen!

Before and now. Not the exact same tree, but same row and same treatment. Ah, what an improvement.

September 24, 2017

Lake chestnut alarm!

To keep it short, all you need to do is look at the attached pictures. The old chestnut trees lining the center lakes on the road side, are fighting to stay alive. The many holes and small "replacement" trees speaks volumes on the gravity of the issue. Another tree just died and the others are close behind it. They are still salted in the winter, and the funds that the managers had requested in the budget for urgent extra care and monitoring (1,5 mill. dkr/approximately €200.000 or US$240.000, including a citizens involvement process, or even less with just the plain care), were not granted. See the attached screenshot.

These funds must be granted to provide the urgent extra care of the lake chestnuts. And: salting must be stopped immedeately on the road side of the lakes. Otherwise we lose our trees.

Should we launch a petition?

Screenshot from the budget notes below, where the management ask a small amount for extra care.

Highlighted in yellow: "..need for intensified monitoring, care and pruning of the trees. And: "Until the trees are replaced, for security reasons extra care and monitoring is needed." In red: "Not granted."

(Full text:) With this budget note financing is requested for three initiatives, supporting the renovation of the inner lakes surroundings.

1. Intensive monitoring and care of chestnut trees in 2018-2021 plus citizen involvement process regarding the replacement (1,5 mill dkr cost). The chestnut trees around the lakes are weakened by age, pests and disease. There have been cases of large branches of trees breaking off, endangering citizens, and several trees are felled every year. For security reasons and to keep the notable trees as long as possible there is a need for intensified monitoring, care and pruning of the trees. Furtermore the future kind of trees must be more robust. The management discourages chestnut trees as this species are prone to attacks from disease and pests. Possible new tree species taking over as the prominent tree around the lakes could for example be silver maple, tulip tree or bird cherry tree.

The management will include the citizens and local councils in the process of replacing he trees and electing the replacement species, to secure the higest level of ownership to the major change a replacement will be. Following the council will receive a proposal for a replanting plan. Until the trees are replaced, for security reasons extra care and monitoring is needed.

September 16, 2017

Zero funding. Again.

Our representatives in the city council just distributed 3,7 billion crowns in the budget for 2018. And how much went to our tormented street trees? 0.- Again.

All parties enter the negotiations with their own agenda. Be it bikes, parking, business, elderly or children. Forgetting entirely the one thing we all share: urban nature. And they fail the assignment with immense and unpredictable consequences for the city's green infrastructure. A let-down reaching far into the coming generations.

We are short of resources to keep better watch of the street trees. Needing more hands and eyes. The street trees must be mapped. We need an investment in more of the alternative deicing caliumformiat, before salt kills all our street trees. Living conditions for existing trees must be improved (there is a will and a way, but no funds), and the oldest and most tormented trees are in urgent need of extra care. Exposed street trees must be protected like in other big cities. The list goes on.

But, despite a new tree policy, the street trees and existing nature is still invisible in the budgets. Not even the utmost urgencies are funded. Among those the tortured old chestnut trees along the lakes, once again skipped, despite the highly critical state making it downright irresponsible to ignore (we'll cover that in a separate chapter).

In the "green" part of the budget it states that for street cleaning, party handling and clean toilets alone, over 40 millions are set aside. Cleaning is prioritized over urban trees and nature to the extent that the gardeners (!) are now sweeping the city. As in: removed from the task they have trained for and been hired to perform. In return, street sweepers are transferred to park duties. Where they are free to do irrepparable harm, as they don't have the necessary skill set. This is how our city prioritizes.
Can we agree to ask better of our new representatives up for election for 2018?

The "green" part. Reads: A greener and cleaner Copenhagen. Copenhagen's green solutions and bike-culture inspires the world. Copenhagen will continue to be one of the world's best bike cities, and we strive to become CO2-neutral in 2025. Copenhagen will also become a cleaner city. With budget 18 we are setting aside funds for even better bike conditions, increased cleaning of the city and greener buses. (2.710 tonnes of garbage in the streets of Copenhagen in 2016)

Links (all in Danish):

September 13, 2017

Good news disguised as bad news

Yesterday, we read in Politiken about how our city use Assistensen as a dump site. Today, Nørrebro Nordvest Bladet picks up the baton, asking the city's administration some hard questions. Tonight it is in Lorry TV. The fight for the nature reserve Amager Fælled is fought for and intensely covered in the media, and "green" is slowly becoming more than just a tired metaphor for maintenance and energy-efficient lightbulbs.

The good news? The media has been talking about the urban nature and urban trees like never before. We only have to go back about five years, before this scenario would have been unheard of. We see major progress and it is all because of the citizens stepping up. We need our urban nature, and our urban nature needs us.

Good job, Copenhageners!

Greetings from Assistensen.


September 12, 2017

Dump site on Assistens Cemetery?!

We need good tree news at this point, not more bad. But there are things going on at Assistens Cemetery that we need to discuss. The city has for a prolonged period of time, used a chunk of the city's oasis as a dump site. A place for smaller vehicles to discharge trash and for huge trucks to pick it up in big containers.

This creates heavy traffic that the cemetery and its alleys are not made for, and that have already caused irreparable damage to the old trees. With severe damages to the bark, torn branches and the massive pressure to the roots.

The local environmental office Miljøpunkt Nørrebro and the local branch of the Nature Conservation Organization in Denmark, DK København, have reported the city to the national conservation agency (Fredningsstyrelsen), to put a temporary halt to the damages. But the city now seeks dispensation to continue to use the area as a dump site. It is hard to believe. Using a cemetery and the most famous and beautiful oasis in Copenhagen as a dump site? It ends now!

Danish newspaper Politiken is on the case: link. (Danish)