Nature offers guideposts and lessons for a number of people: from artists, business owners and environmentalists to neighborhood leaders and others looking to build healthier communities.
For example, sculptor Michael Marras’ Akron Tree Project is a recycled steel sculpture that in a way is a reclamation of nature. About 75 percent of the giant tree affixed to the west wall of Hazel Tree Interiors is made from recycled materials, items that were once sought after only to be discarded and cast aside.
“It’s all stuff that at one point in time was very special and high-tech and state-of-the-art and we had to have it and (now) it’s trashed, scrapped and forgotten,” says Marras, who will share his own inspiration from nature at this Wednesday’s GAINS (Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability) meeting at Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in Highland Square in Akron. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the free program begins at 6:15 p.m.
Trees and forests are the topic of the January meeting, which includes a short film showcase on the intelligence, network and companionship of trees and forests and other speakers who will share inspiration from nature’s champions, along with a tabletop discussion on how we might integrate this wisdom into a collective vision of a more sustainable greater Akron community.
Trees are an essential eco-technology. A five-city study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA 2015) found that cities on a per-tree basis, accrued benefits ranging from about $1.50 to $3 for every dollar invested in trees. Unlike man-made infrastructure that depreciates in value over time, trees actually appreciate and provide exponentially greater benefits as they mature over time.
The city of Cleveland estimates their tree canopy provides residents with over $28 million in services, including rainwater capture, air pollution removal, energy cost reduction, increased property values, safer spaces, erosion control and community economic development. (Click here to read the Cleveland Tree Plan.)
The event is free to attend. Mustard Seed Market & Cafe in Highland Square is located at 867 W. Market St. Find the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GAIN4Sustainability.
GAINS is a local gathering of sustainability practitioners who focus on advancing innovative ideas, and sustainable values and practices in the marketplace. The salon-style meetings are free and interactive and open to anyone interested in learning about and engaging with community partners on the leading edge of sustainability.