Change takes root

The changing climate is also transforming Vienna’s green spaces. New species are designed to withstand higher temperatures. At the Science Ball 2024, olives and pomegranates will decorate the tables.

A visit to the tree nursery by Chiara Joos

Such ancient olives are still only found in the Mediterranean region. With a little patience one day in Vienna’s parks / Photo: Creative Commons / Günther Liendl

An evening that captivates the senses and gets people dancing requires a decoration that is just as unique. This year the table decorations are all about the climate, or more precisely: the olive. The trees with the small, round stone fruits are the winners from climate change. Cultivated and processed in a variety of ways in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years, they could soon triumph here too. The florists at the Vienna City Gardens are already setting the trend by decorating the banquet hall tables with small olive trees. But these Mediterranean trees are not only in miniature format, but also in large format in some places in Austria.

In the traditional olive growing areas, the plants are increasingly suffering from drought and parasites. However, climate changes could make it possible to grow them in regions that were previously considered too cool. The climate-friendly trees are slowly finding their place around Vienna, primarily on the agricultural areas in Marchfeld. After seven to nine years, these trees bear fruit that can be processed into olive oil. But that’s not all: In addition to olive oil, figs and pomegranates from Austria could soon end up on our tables, and a Mediterranean atmosphere could become part of the local cityscape.

Climate-friendly street trees

By 2025 – the groundbreaking ceremony was in 2021 – 25,000 city trees are expected to take root in Vienna, including around 3,000 trees in 500 new locations. The vision is clear: Vienna should become greener in densely built-up areas, be it in the parks or along the streets. The focus is on climate-fit, resilient tree species. The different types of trees in Vienna’s city trees are intended to act as highly effective, natural air conditioning and cool densely populated urban areas with their canopy of leaves. At the same time, they bind fine dust and CO2 while releasing vital oxygen.

You can read the complete text in the 2024 ball magazine, which will be published on the evening of the ball.

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