• Tokyo


The June 16 Bloomberg article titled “‘Green curtains’ surge in face of power shortage” offers many ideas on how to cope with the impending summer heat — from gardening to buying cooler outfits and losing weight.

We often forget, however, that sometimes the most parsimonious solution is as easy as doing nothing: in this case, to leave the trees alone.

Every year, local governments prune back the trees that line the streets of Tokyo until they look like poodles on sticks. Some say the pruning helps the trees grow. No one prunes trees in the forests, and yet they thrive.

Others say that fallen leaves on city streets are a nuisance. However, the time and trouble to sweep up fallen leaves is such a small price to pay for the huge benefits from trees in providing relief from the heat.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” For free.

I hope that by taking a policy of leaving the trees alone as much as possible there will be more gorgeously shady canopies in the city for summers to come.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

sherilyn siy

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