Typically one of the coldest days of the year, 2012’s MLK Holiday brought sunny skies and 68 new trees planted in the Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood of Atlanta near the MLK Historic District. My team of three planted 2 Crepe Myrtles, 1 Sourwood, and 1 Holly in the two feet of dirt between the street and sidewalk. In a few years they will make a measurable reduction in the heat island effect of that block. I like volunteering with Trees Atlanta because I meet great neighbors who share my passion for paying it forward by investing in the health of our communities. Planting trees is a sustainable investment, and it’s a fun way to play outdoors! Learn more about Atlanta’s urban forest at http://www.treesatlanta.org/.
Tree planting is a morning activity so I still had time to meet the The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition (http://georgiapeace.org/) downtown lining up for the annual march on the MLK holiday (http://www.thekingcenter.org/). I am so grateful to live in Atlanta and be able to celebrate the birthday of one of my personal heroes in the neighborhood that he was born and is buried. Waiting for the march to begin I learned of two new ideas related to the interconnectedness of social and economic externalities; the Chief Compassion Officer & the Department of Peace. If you have never heard of them, don’t worry, they don’t exist yet. These ideas remind me a lot of a certain view on the recent surge of Chief Sustainability Officers; we need them in the short term to integrate the practice into everyday business, but ideally the role is no longer needed once we adopt more sustainable practices at every level and in every role.