Post-Election Reflections: Turn Fear into Action

Incoming political leaders have shaken our nation and left many people in fear for their families, their livelihoods, and the environment. In recent weeks, we have seen a frightening trend in appointing climate deniers to cabinet positions.

I’m choosing to take my fear and turn it into action.  

Los Angeles’ tree story is not a tragedy. Now is the time to turn the tide on the drought, keep our trees alive, and continue to build a lush and thriving urban tree canopy even when we are faced with adversity.

As the next four years of federal-level environmental policy in the United States is made, one thing is clear– we have to stand up for our trees. Environmentalists everywhere are gearing up to fight back, and I’m dedicated now more than ever to turn Los Angeles into a climate-conscious example for the nation. We can send a message– we must come together to care for the planet.

Just like our trees, we will be resilient.

Each year, thousands of our volunteers donate their time to green parks, schoolyards, neighborhoods, and wild lands to plant and care for trees.

Part of my job as TreePeople’s Volunteer Manager is to create memorable, safe experiences for our community. Truth be told, my favorite part of the job is being out in the field spending my weekend mornings with our amazing volunteers.

I’m lucky. Every week I get to meet  Angelenos of all walks of life– from Huntington Park, San Fernando, Hollywood and beyond — who come out to give back and care for the planet. I always have to take a step back and take in how much we accomplish together on a weekend morning. The work is hard, but we have fun, and I’ve made dozens of new friends along the way.  

In 2016 we planted 1,546 new trees including:

  • A reforestation of  Bette Davis Picnic Area in Griffith Park
  • rehabilitation and reforestation of our wildlands 

We also rolled up our sleeves last year to care for 4,811 trees as part of our Drought Response Program. 

It’s hard to not be inspired by the sight of 50 or more people working together in a park. Unfortunately, as we see the effects of climate change,  it’s not always enough to save LA’s trees.  

Every time I visit one of our tree care sites I find more and more trees that did not make it. In many cases, the other young trees have crispy leaves turning brown that cling for dear life to brittle limbs. These are only the trees I see myself. I constantly worry about other trees that we aren’t able to help save.

If you’ve volunteered with us for a tree care event you are what keep these trees alive week to week.

As we enter our sixth year of drought and climate change brings hotter and longer heat waves, our trees are facing a risky future.

Every time we put a tree in the ground we welcome it by saying, “Trees Need People, People Need Trees.” This rings true now more than ever in our new climate real

Our volunteers give me hope.

We can accomplish remarkable things if we come together and commit to making LA the green, shaded, and resilient city we know it can be.

To those of you who have never volunteered with TreePeople, now is the time. If you have volunteered with us before, I’m calling on you to take the tree care skills you learned and bring them home.

We can even help you organize a Community Tree Care Team: Look around your neighborhood. Don’t see many trees? Let’s plant more!

To learn how, join us for a Citizen Forester Training and see how you help you shade your street.


Are you ready to join me? Sign up for a Volunteer event!

By Peter Roquemore

Peter Roquemore is TreePeople's Volunteer Manager. Peter has spent the past six years organizing communities around renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean water. He is excited to be working side by side with TreePeople's volunteers to help grow and restore our urban forest and wild lands. New to Los Angeles you can find Peter on his bike exploring LA's streets and mountain trails or tracking down LA's best vegan taco.