Lunacy: A Real Government Job is Answering Emails sent to Trees

Your tax dollars at work…

tree-emailGuest essay by Eric Worrall h/t JoNova – Did you know that you can email every single tree in the City of Melbourne, Australia – and they’ll write back?

According to Broadsheet Melbourne:

“Some said we were wasting money, but the trees were always going to have individual ID numbers anyway. So it was only logical we’d assign the ID numbers to an email which connects these trees to the community,” says Melbourne city councillor, Arron Wood.

So far the messages have ranged from piss takes to genuine expressions of devotion. So, if you’ve ever used a tree to prop yourself up with on a night out, the world’s most liveable city is now giving you the chance to apologise the morning after.

The trees apparently often tell sad stories if they are asked about their future – experts estimate that 30,000 trees in the Melbourne area will die in the next few decades due to old age, coupled with the effects of worsening droughts caused by climate change.

Critics of tree communication might suggest that the money spent helping the trees to answer their correspondence could be better spent on drought mitigation measures – more irrigation, maybe some silica pellets to help with soil moisture retention. But perhaps it does the trees good to talk through their problems.

As a former resident of Melbourne, there is more than one tree to which I probably owe an apology, thanks to the lamentable lack of after hours facilities in some parts of the city. But I don’t think I will ever get drunk enough to write an email to a tree.

(Anthony) See also:

Melbourne’s trees bombarded with emailed love letters

Guardian Australia emailed a ginkgo maidenhair tree in Fitzroy Gardens, a park near Melbourne’s city centre, which responded: “Dear Oliver, Thank you for your lovely words. I am very well. Enjoy your day. Yours sincerely, Tree 1441724.”

A nearby ficus was also contacted for comment on the scheme but has yet to reply.

This government funded lunacy reminds me of the epic video showing crying and wailing over trees:


139 thoughts on “Lunacy: A Real Government Job is Answering Emails sent to Trees

    • if it’s the same tree, an oceanographer named Nils-Axel Mörner has an account of this. If anyone wants to find it.
      As I remember it, according to him it was not “turned over” to scientists. They saw on TV an interview Mörner gave, explaining how the tree indicated the sea-level narrative was BS, and they then immediately traveled to the Maldives and cut down the tree

  1. Excellent news!
    Talking to trees should be made compulsory, as they would all say: “gimme more CO2 and gimme it now.”
    How could 400 billion trees (NASA estimate) be wrong? That’s circa 55 trees for each and every one of us.

    • It won’t reply, Mann paid it a lot (of whatever you pay trees) to keep its trunk under wraps, so no one can ever have a second look at the raw ‘data’..

  2. I would truly enjoy a job personifying trees. Truth be told though I wouldn’t last long in it if my trees were to become oracles of CAGW.

  3. There is umpteen thousands of trees in Appalachian coal country many of which the “treehugging” greenies would luv to send a personal E-mail thanking it for their getting arrested.
    I can “smell” a few new Government Grant Applications already in the process of being written just to provide that “environmentally friendly” service to them.

      • It has been said – ‘The average age of the world’s greatest civilisations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years.’
        But we Aussies are fast learners.

  4. I’m sure Prince Charles would like to strike up a conversation, though he’s more noted for his spider scrawl letters than e-mail.

  5. I plan to go into the government office where people write those tree responses with an axe and smash everything in sight. Then, when brought before the judge, plead “SANITY”.

  6. Listen I don’t think talking to trees is crazy. To some people, trees are a spiritual thing. When it comes to all things spiritual, all to their own. I am not going to mess with anybodies belief system, because it is different than my own.
    What I think is crazy, absolutely insane, clinically delusional, a severe catatonic separation from reality, is people emailing government employees who are pretending to be trees, and those government workers responding as trees.
    YOU like a tree, YOU take a walk, YOU go see the tree. YOU talk to the tree. Trees do not use email!

    • Alx February 5, 2015 at 10:06 am
      Listen I don’t think talking to trees is crazy. To some people, trees are a spiritual thing. When it comes to all things spiritual, all to their own. I am not going to mess with anybodies belief system, because it is different than my own.
      What I think is crazy, absolutely insane, clinically delusional, a severe catatonic separation from reality, is people emailing government employees who are pretending to be trees, and those government workers responding as trees.
      YOU like a tree, YOU take a walk, YOU go see the tree. YOU talk to the tree. Trees do not use email!

      You sir, are WRONG!
      Clearly, you’ve never used Pine or Elm before.
      OK, that was a UNIX joke…

    • Rule of Nature: When you give idiots the unaccountable ability to spend other people’s money, they tend to do idiotic things.

    • It would be quite simple to provide automated email responses based on their ID. “Hi [Hipstergirl] from [Richmond], I’m [Ashley] the [ash]. Thanks for contacting me. I’m [13] years old and my last checkup showed that my health is [excellent] [but] that I’m threatened by anthropogenic climate disruption. My last drink was [18] days ago. I live in [Collingwood] exactly here[GoogleEarth link]. Peace and have a nice day.

  7. Each pump at the sewer lift station has a number, so following their logic, i each sewage lift pump number gets assigned an email address of a Melbourne city employee. Inspecting pump AW23-PT-240-300A (a 240 volt 3-phase pump that can handle 300 gallons per minute {with suspended solids}) I think I would like this pump attached to Arron Wood City Councillor.

    Dear Sewage lift pump # AW23-PT-240-300A, (A.K.A Arron Wood)
    I was wondering if you have lost pump pressure, as the guarantee of continued suspended fecal matter seems to have failed. A large quantity of this matter seems to be quickly depositing in Melbourne City Hall and in Councillor offices. Do you need replacing? Are you at the end of your viable life-cycle? We just can’t have such a large quantity of non-suspended fecal matter accumulating in city hall.

  8. “..the trees were always going to have individual ID numbers anyway.” says Arron Wood.
    Don’tcha think perhaps that Arron is a tree? After all, his last name is WOOD! I think he’s a plant.
    Do their vehicles have ID numbers? Park benches? Tiolets? manhole covers? Lamp posts? Streets? It is only logical to assign the ID numbers to an email which connects these things to the community.

  9. Why did these trees need ID numbers? The whole thing seems a little strange. With (it would appear) at least 1.5M trees in the area, are they really that special. I would understand if there was only a couple hundred trees. Do these people know that they can just plant new ones?

  10. Another fine example of a government that is too big, with too much money, and too many employees with too little to do.
    Try cutting the city’s budget by about 50% and you will not see more of this nonsense and I bet the service is much better, targeted at jobs for those need them, education, safety, and all the things that make a city a better place to live.
    The problem is not climate change or drought. The problem is leftists socialism and its desire of control over everyone that brings big government and foolish, things as sending messages to trees while people are in need of help and relief from big government
    This is the comment I left on JoNova. But I have to admit that the leftists in Melbourne are pikers compared with what some government employees are doing in the USA.

  11. “You get paid to do what?!”
    I’m not sure how I’d tailor my resume to get a job pretending I was a tree. What do I list under the Previous Experience section?
    Maybe, “I was considered deadwood at all my previous jobs so that’s why I was cut?”

  12. I found these folks barking up the wrong tree. Anyway, they still can’t use email.

    Plants talk to each other using an internet of fungus
    Hidden under your feet is an information superhighway that allows plants to communicate and help each other out. It’s made of fungi
    Science Daily – August 14, 2014
    Plants may use newly discovered molecular language to communicate
    Abstract – 15 August 2014
    Genomic-scale exchange of mRNA between a parasitic plant and its hosts

    • Jimbo,
      Plants communicate more than most folks realize. Anyone who has seen an Ohio buckeye tree drop its buckeyes knows this. Within about 30 seconds all the buckeyes drop. They come down like rain.
      How does one branch know what the branch on the other side of the tree, 30 feet away, is doing? I don’t know, but the communication from one side to the other, and from top to bottom is practically instantaneous.

      • Plants do have long-range [chemical] signals that reach the whole plant, but they are slow. When a large plant reacts quickly it is as far as I always triggered by some external cue that affects the whole tree.
        I would guess in the case You cite that a chemical signal goes out that says essentially “attention: get ready to drop on cue” and then when the cue (whatever it is) comes, the buckeyes drop.

      • Yes, I have seen acres of oak trees simultaneously drop their leaves 24 hours in advance of an oncoming hurricane. It was a bit erie and noisy too!

      • I have trees that drop their small, olive-like seeds in similar bursts–but over the course of a few minutes. No wind involved.

  13. I wonder what the pay grade is for senior wood whisperer in Oz. Perhaps that would be a way to provide employment here in the states for all our new neighbors.

  14. Thanks for the video. xD
    I, like the trees, gag and choke and wish to run away at the smell of patchouli and cannabis. Even a photograph can cause the reaction.
    But I am grateful not to have to haul firewood and stack it, as I did when I was young. In fact, where I grew up, everyone had a wood stove. There was also a permanent cloud of cannabis over the town, and there still is. But with hydro and coal, the trees remain standing, and not much coal is needed at that if you use a bread machine, slow cooker, and a microwave (8 min to cook potato vs 45 min to bake it). It really is the good life. (:
    PS, I think the ID numbers for trees is a slippery slope. In Portland, the city has passed laws that make it illegal to cut a tree on one’s own property. It also makes wooden heads out of children who are told to write emails to trees in public schools.

  15. says Melbourne city councillor, Arron Wood…

    I bet his wife is Theresa. (Give it time – you’ll get there)

  16. There used to be an old joke about Agriculture Canada. When asked about an employee sitting at his desk and crying, the manager responds, “oh, his farmer died”. Will the joke become about a distraught City of Melbourne employee whose tree died?
    Someone down there is reading too much Dr. Seuss. They think they’re the Lorax, they speak for the trees…

  17. Hey, they may be onto something. Why stop with trees? How about emailing individual glaciers, for example? They could be given names like Wally, Sam, and Irene. They could be “sad” that parts of them have vanished, and be “worried” about the future.

  18. So the Greens are worried about 30,000 trees in Melbourne but are supportive of the insane plan to convert the Drax power station in the UK from coal to wood burning. This ‘green’ policy will require the felling of hundreds of thousands of trees which will be shipped 3500 miles across the Atlantic after being dried (using fossil fuels) and chopped into pellets.

  19. Yes, the idea is infantile and, to make it even worse, politicized by cretins.
    But trees are cool to have around and why not have children learn to appreciate them early on. So I say, remove the simpletons but keep the email addresses.

  20. The intent is to keep the wee kiddies and irrational adults from using rational thinking…. and keep them focused on emotional appeal. Emotions are far more effective tools for indoctrination, when data, science, and reason fail to support ‘the agenda’.

  21. I picked a willow and wrote to it. I told it all about how CO2 makes it grow faster and stronger and makes it more drought tolerant and water efficient. How UHI makes cities like where it lives warmer and brings spring sooner and fall later. How that gives it a longer growing season than the country trees to use that CO2.
    I also told it that the biggest thing it has to worry about is where man plants it. If it isn’t meant for the climate it has to rely on man to water it more, hard to do during a natural drought.

  22. Come on guys, give the city of Melbourne a break. For $54.00 + S&H (custom), $109.95 + S&H (deluxe) or $154.95 + S&H (ultimate), the International Start Registry [] will give a star the name of your choosing. I predict that in the near future the city of Melbourne will unveil its new “fund-raising plan”: For a fee of $100.00 (sickly tree), $200.00 (healthy but young tree), $300.00 (healthy and old tree), and $1,000.00 (healthy, old, and capable of emailing), the city of Melbourne will give a tree the name of your choice.

  23. A more useful idea would be for everyone to get off their fat A$$es and talk to the trees from as close as possible. The 4% CO2 we expire would be of far more benefit to the tree than an email, created on a device requiring electricity which is assisting in putting only .04% CO2 into the atmosphere.

  24. Well if the world order luddites get their way, we will all be tagged with trackable number implants. We may also be obliged to answer their emails.

  25. Hey, trees can apply and receive grants. If the tree is claimed by GreenPeace, then it’s probably in the Obama budget for DoE or EPA to fund it. They are the Rasputins of our time.

  26. This government funded lunacy reminds me of the epic video showing crying and wailing over trees:

    Were the trees hacked?

  27. Anthony, surely Benji as a member of the Union of Concern Scientists will want to communicate with trees in his preferred fashion.
    Does this mean that my two Pommeranians can now urinate on government employees?

  28. This is a crazy scheme. It would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that it is MY taxes at work here.

    • At work? How about being out on a limb? By the way it also reminds me of that picture of an urbanite busily under cutting a limb with the saw between him and the trunk.

  29. Isn’t this the best news we’ve had for a while? All we need to do is email each tree the local historical BOM temperature records and ask them to confirm the temperatures! That way we get a true historical record with no adjustments!!

  30. It’s not the first time someone has attempted to obtain money by pretending to be a tree:

    Police: Man Robbed Bank Disguised As Tree

  31. A line spoken by Spike Milligan in the Goon Show circa 1960 or so seems appropriate:
    “I talk to the trees, that’s why they put me away”!
    Wish it were so ….

  32. As a Melburnian, I am delighted to know that that the obscene amount of tax extracted from me by The Sherrif of Nottingham is being used on such a critically important project.

  33. why not reserve a playground for that kind of nailbiters.
    In the best habitable zones of Australia, preferable Melbourne, Sidney, – not Woomera etc!
    Plastered with YinYang Gaja murmer Graphities, crowded by Teddy Coala Bears, Teddy Polar Bears, Teddy Penguins, Teddy Salt Water Crocos ….
    Sun Flower Fields stretching to the horizon!
    Taxpayers OUTsourced at, inklings to sole need, to the OUTback.
    A better World. For all them Sustaineabled!
    / As long as there remain taxpayers /
    Sounds – weird?

  34. but what about the children.
    and their grand childrens’ children.
    Will they live on the proteins scratched from their backs when the heavy chemical hygienic industries already backed to no future.
    mod: I see [Your] problem.

    • Youre problem – your problem.
      foreign, still practisising.
      Anthony – a way to live.
      [Do not worry. Life happens, then you misspell. 8<) .mod]

  35. I reckon that if Capt. Cook could have foreseen what was happening in Aus he wouldn’t have bothered landing. So sad.

  36. Well a government will use any form of propaganda to intensify and maintain its robbery but isn’t this one a little obvious? Send an e-mail to a tree asking him when was the last time a socialist hang from it.

  37. “This is Australia”. And for the last 8 years or so, we have politicians more worried about THEIR positions than anything else. We have, yet another, leadership challenge. This time in within the LNP. A leader does not need to be popular (In polls). They just need to LEAD! Turnbull is favourite…God help Australia!

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