It wasn’t until I was pulling together an article inspired by National Bike to Work Day for next May that I realized May 16th is National Love a Tree Day. I’d never heard of that before (shame on me). And, while I know it’s super well-intentioned, I wondered, “How do you love a tree, exactly?”
Five minutes of Googling produced a lot of articles listing reasons why we should love trees. Yes, of course we should love trees. And it’s good to understand why. But if people wanted to show THEIR love for A tree on the 16th, what exactly should they do? I was stumped. So, I asked Rich Kronfeld, CEO and Founder of Kronfeld Motors about it.
(Note: the following Zoomed conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity/reader sanity.)
Ben: I don’t want to overdo it for days-of-the-month ideas, but can I ask you: Let’s say we were both going to celebrate National Love a Tree Day next year, which will be the next 16th of May. Where does your head go with that? Like, how do you… how does one love a tree? I know trees are important. I like trees. But if we’re going to try to actually love a tree, you think we could figure out a way to actually do that?
Rich: How does one love a tree…
Ben: Yeah. Or maybe, what are some directions one could explore? I mean, I guess planting trees works technically. But I actually kind of want to try to get to the heart of the idea of this particular national day. Love a Tree Day. Like, if I just go out front and just water a tree, am I doing it right?
Rich: Well, the more I think about it, the more it…yeah. It’s an interesting idea. I mean, over here at my house you can see… Let’s see. (picks up his computer and begins moving it towards the patio screen window) Here’s my backyard.
Ben: I can see it now.
Rich: Yeah, so over here we’ve got like, 50 or 60 trees on this lot. Back behind my house, it’s just wild. It’s just a jungle.
Rich: That’s how I love trees.
Ben: Right! And, of course, I think for some people maybe loving trees involves just learning more about trees. About why they do what they do, understanding that leads to empathy, which leads to love. And the planting thing…maybe another way to love a tree is to plant another little tree so the current trees have little friends.
Rich: For the trees to have friends. (laughs) Yeah I mean, you know, the love is the work.
Ben: The love is the work, I like that.
Rich: Yeah, if you don’t have any trees on your lot, you don’t have to do any of that. You know, spring and fall cleanup. But here we have so many trees that it takes me like a week, literally seven days’ worth of work, just looking after the lot and the leaves. It’s like they’re kids. And you’re picking up after them.
Ben: (laughing) So we also love by not killing, yes. Agree.
Rich: Well you know, for some disaster recovery work I’ve done, I’ve had to cut trees that were already down. Just so they can be hauled away. But I’ve never cut down a tree. Right? I don’t think I would ever be like, “Oh, I want to expand the back. So we have a nice, great room out off the kitchen. And those trees are gonna have to go.” I don’t believe I could ever want to do that.
Ben: Right. And I really like it when people…sometimes they’ll build a deck right around a tree. I like that idea of building along with the trees, working with them when building houses, and things like that.
Ben: Hey! Wait.
Ben: Is there, can you donate trees?
Rich: Donate a tree?
Ben: Yeah, I don’t know. More like gift the gift of a tree. Or like how you can adopt a manatee. Can you adopt a tree?
Rich: I suppose, I mean, you can go buy a tree at a nursery…
Ben: (laughs) Yes! And just drop it off. Just like a, what are they called…Mayday baskets. Give the gift of loving a tree by leaving one on someone’s doorstep and say, like, “Here you go!” And then RUN!. (laughing) Yeah, no, I guess that wouldn’t be very kind…at least not to the tree.
Rich: (laughing) No. Probably not to the tree. Right.
Ben: Well, that’s a no-go then. So, a final thing here: have you heard about a project in Africa? What’s it called …the Great Green Wall project?
Rich: I don’t think so?
Ben: It’s where African countries are teaming up to plant a wall of trees to stop the desert from encroaching further down to the south. What that made me think about is how maybe another way to love a tree is to figure out who are the go-to organizations and initiatives who are out there supporting trees and using trees for good like that? And one thing you and I could do here, as another way to love a tree, and you know, to make this whole conversation make any sense at all, would be to highlight ways to support folks out there who are working to love trees every day.
Rich: Raise awareness. Right.
Ben: For instance, folks may not know there’s a web browser I use where every time you do a search, they plant a tree.
Rich: Yeah, I’ve got that. Ecosia.
Ben: Yes! Ecosia! And what are some other good tree-power things that come to mind, similar to the Green Wall project?
Ben: Yes. Good to know how to help locally. Great point. (laughing) Oh God, I’m stupid Rich. While we were ideating here I Googled best way to support trees and I’m laughing because all the top results are about how to literally support trees. Like with stakes…and ropes…how to literally support trees as they grow
Rich: (laughs) …support trees…
Ben: Oh, Ben. Okay. Well. This is great. Because, you know, moving forward, we’re going to have to do a lot of talking and writing about mining, like lithium mining, and you know, the end of the world…everything’s on fire right now. So, occasionally, just the team having fun and talking something positive like this is, I think, uh, good.
Rich: Let’s take a break from Armageddon. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. (laughing) Well okay, Rich. Always good stuff. Thanks and talk soon.
Rich: Thanks, Ben. Yeah, very good. Thank you very much. Bye bye.