As the world celebrated Earth Day for the first time 31 years ago, many trees were planted. These trees are now sturdy and breathing, casting shade upon the ground below. A few days ago, as the world once again celebrated Earth Day, a new type of tree was planted at the San Francisco Earth Day festival. This tree was not a tiny sapling, placed in moist ground – but a huge idea, designed by a 14 year-old girl.

In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, artist Laurie Marshall worked 150 art students at A.P. Giannini to prepare the concepts, paper, and color that would become this monumental collaborative mural. The work of these students, combined with the help of 300 others at the Earth Day festival produced The Sycamore Singing Tree of Possibilities. This mural grew quickly, fed by the combined efforts of hundreds of people, planting their visions of the future.

 The original trees that were planted 31 years ago on the first Earth Day have seen great changes in their short lives – they seen atmospheric CO2 levels rise from 325 parts per million to 392 parts per million, they have felt temperatures rise and seen forest fires. As we count the rings of a tree stump to measure time, we look back. The Sycamore Singing Tree of Possibilities, however, casts its glance forward, inviting youth to imagine the world as it stretches out before them. On this past Earth Day, all who participated in this project were planting seeds of hope. If these visions grow, like those trees planted 30 years ago – what will they look like? Will the world nurture these hopes as they have nurtured these trees? Will the CO2 levels rise faster than the dreams of these children? Will you let those dreams dry?

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