It's a privilege that many of those residing in underdeveloped countries don't have access to, let alone millions of refugees across the world.

Melbourne set a next-level example of respecting nature when it assigned as many as 70,000 trees with ID numbers and email addresses as part of a programme designed to make it easier for citizens to report on problems like dangerous branches or the general health of a tree.

Australia's special trade envoy Tony Abbott during a meeting in New Delhi
AustraliaWikimedia Commons

Under the programme, which came into being in 2013, each tree has its own identity via ID number and an email address. Furthermore, it can easily be located on a map called Urban Forest Visual.

Soon after it became possible, people went beyond just mailing about the dangerous branches of a tree or other issues. They wrote to the trees! Apart from fan mail and little notes of appreciation, people have often poured their hearts out in the form of customary greetings to love letters to even questions about current events and existential dilemmas.

Some of those writing even complimented the trees on their looks, leaves, branches and shapes. The elder ones wrote to the trees about the times spent together and recalled the instances where they needed help during rough weather. Councillor Arron Wood, chair of Melbourne's Environment Portfolio, reportedly once said in an interview that the love letters were, "unintended but positive consequence," of trees being assigned an identity of their own, reported The Atlantic.

Not just the pro-nature development but even the response it evoked in people has come in for a huge round of virtual applause. Many netizens joined in and continue to do so, in sharing memories and names of their favourite trees.

Trees sweat
According to Australian researchers, trees 'sweat' to cope with extreme heatwaves in climate change conditions.Creative Commons

Of lockdown, love letters and life's lessons

During the pandemic-induced lockdowns last years, when people were holed up in their homes and struggling to get a grip of things, many a personal blogs and life coaches asked the citizens of Melbourne to write to the trees.

The City of Melbourne's Urban Forest and Ecology Team's interactive map makes it possible for citizens to find out about any tree in the council area, its genus and age by just clicking on it.

As reported in Secret Melbourne, the most popular tree is a Golden Elm on Punt Road. The tree, which is about 81-year- old, is even listed on the National Trust of Australia as a significant tree at a state level. The tree is valued among national treasures because of its aesthetic value, its contribution to landscape of the city, it being a landmark and a rare example of its species.