While we take pride in all the recent national attention on Nashville as the latest it city, the growth, change and attention typically come with downsides — often environmental. Which is why Thomas Solinksy founded the tree-planting organization SoundForest – to harness our city’s energy and the desire of its citizens to do good in an effort to make sure our rise is a sustainable one.
To date, SoundForest already is responsible for planting 10,000 trees, and has expanded its efforts to include a major focus on promoting bicycling that has involved the construction and installation of some metal bike racks you may have seen around the 12 South neighborhood.
We spoke with Solinksy to learn more about the organization:
Where did the idea for SoundForest come from?
“We started SoundForest as a nonprofit focused on promoting sustainability. We wanted to partner with businesses, local government, communities and individuals to give them options to do something good for the planet. Planting trees was our main priority at first. We simultaneously had a focus on promoting the bicycle as an alternative mode of transportation.”
What does SoundForest do?
“We raise awareness about sustainability, promote the idea of planting trees and also do the planting of trees. We do waste management programs at large events including composting and recycling. We do a lot of bicycle advocacy with our new program, The Nashville Bicycle Alliance. And we promote buying local.”
Why is it vital to have an organization like SoundForest in Nashville?
“Most companies don’t have positions called Sustainability Director. We want to partner with companies and become this portion of their business. We can offer many ideas and programs that will help businesses do good things for the planet. As far as the government is concerned, there are no positions or programs that allow students to plant trees on school campuses or create tree nurseries. SoundForest is doing things that take a huge amount of effort to pull off. We say, “Wanna help the planet? Help Plant it. Wanna help the Planet even more? Ride your bicycle.”
What are Nashville’s largest environmental concerns?
“My biggest concern for Nashville is energy consumption. Homes and cars suck it up. A small solution: a single tree can shade an air conditioning unit and allow it to run more efficiently and save 10 percent. If your home has an energy bill of $150 a month, for six months of the year, that is $900. Reduce that by 10% and it saves $90. Multiply that by 50,000 homes and that would be a saving of $4,500,000 in six months. That’s a lot of coal.”
“Next is cars. Nashville drivers travel an average of about 36 miles per day by car. This makes us one of the worst commuting cities in the nation. This creates millions of particles of unwanted pollution in the air we breathe. Nashville must become a more bicycle-friendly city. We need people to convert to the bicycle, and people driving cars should respect those that are riding their bicycles.”
How can someone help and get involved?
“Plant trees and ride bicycles. Or contact us. We can provide guidance, suggestions and consult people to help make their experience the best it can be. If they want to get involved with us, a simple email to email@example.com would be great.”