Why one man says ‘speaking’ for the trees can address inequity in Boston

GBH News


When you think about trees, a few things probably come to mind: the bristling of their leaves in the wind, the crunching of their branches when they’re on the ground, the feeling you get when you’re surrounded by them — which can be rare in a city like Boston. But what does it mean to “speak” for trees?

“I’m a big fan of Dr. Seuss and ‘The Lorax.’ And in the book ‘The Lorax,’ the Lorax sort of says at a certain point, ‘Stop cutting down my trees. I speak for the trees, for they have no tongues.’ He doesn’t say because they have no voice. The trees actually do have a voice. They just say things in ways that we don’t necessarily hear,” said David Meshoulam, executive director and co-founder of the advocacy group Speak for the Trees. “And it’s time that we come together, building community around, speaking together in one voice for the trees.”

Meshoulam joined several volunteers at Kevin Fitzgerald Park in Mission Hill for a recent clean up ahead of Arbor Day. Last year, the group planted about 20 trees. This year, they came back to mulch, water and check in on those same trees, as well as replace the trees that didn’t survive with four new ones.

Mission Hill is home to Northeastern’s student population, as well as longstanding Black and Latino communities in the neighborhood. It also has fewer trees than some other neighborhoods.

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Publisher’s Note: GBH and Massachusetts Latino News (MALN) are partners in providing greater visibility and voice to local Hispanic-Latinos communities.