TreePeople Gets $50,000 for Reforestation
About 15 years ago some stick-like things began appearing on the hard, ugly stretch of Venice Boulevard from where it crosses Lincoln and continues to the beach.
The sticks were trees, but pitifully thin, with trunks a woman could wrap her fingers around and no more than a handful of leaves. Cynical locals like myself were certain the trees would end up stolen, vandalized or turned into a homeless person's campfire.
These are the times for which Tu B'Shevat was created. The rabbis who envisioned this holiday were prophetic: They knew we would need to be reminded on a regular basis about howimportant trees are to our lives. And trees have never been more important to our survival than they are today.
This year, as Jews living in Los Angeles, we are teaming up not only with God but also with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has launched an ambitious drive to plant 1 million new trees in Los Angeles neighborhoods, schoolyards and parks, on both public and private properties, over the next several years.
The segment begins with host Jimmy Smits providing a quick overview of a familiar litany of problems besetting Los Angeles. There are traffic-choked interchanges, vast tracts of unchecked development, a trickle of water to slake a thirsty city and brownish air.
Andy Lipkis is founder and president of TreePeople, a nonprofit agency that has pioneered efforts at urban reforestation and creating a "sustainable city." Documentarian Harry Wiland sat with Lipkis to talk about the impact of the Southern California wildfires and our possible responses to them.