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Tuesday, February 24 2015


I stared in shocked amazement at the carnage before me, but like so many deaths I've stood over, I couldn't cry because I was in a police uniform and there is no crying in police work. I just stood there in the street, holding back a silent tear.

My office is in the city, a building surrounded by concrete. And along the building, in this paved barren landscape, stood four trees - until yesterday. I was told that it took only twenty minutes. In twenty minutes a truck rolled up, sawed down four trees, loaded them into a shredder, and then workers blew the debris away and continued down the street. It took them longer to block off the street than it took them to kill four trees.

Why?

I held back a tear as I stared at the pitiful empty stumps sticking out of the pavement.

"They're gonna widen the sidewalks and put in planters."

Really? Really! They are gonna put in giant concrete planters like we have on the other side of the building? Planters that are filled with weeds and the occasional cigarette butt? Those planters? They cut down four trees for THAT!!?

"No, they cut down 72 trees for that..."

Someone decided to go the entire length of downtown and cut ALL the trees so they could widen the already very wide sidewalk and create a nicer stroll for pedestrians.

I listened to this explanation and tried not to let the tear roll down my cheek. I've stood over dead humans with less emotion than I felt for those trees. When is enough enough? When does man in his infinite arrogance quit killing things to satisfy his fickle fancy for the moment?

Those big dreams for sidewalks and planter look fine on a storyboard, but the reality is that someone has to care for those planters. Someone has to put plants in there. And that someone always chooses annuals that must be watered often and replaced regularly. These plants float in a sea of concrete like a shipwrecked lifeboat floats in the ocean.

Seventy-two trees . . .

Seventy-two trees were probably chopped up yesterday to form the mulch for the spring potted plants the city will pay to have planted, and cared for, and ripped out and then replaced later with the next Home Depot season special.

I need to retire. I need to be in a place where the trees are older than me, where they and the rocks around them, look down on the struggles of man as he tries to eek a living from the land, with the land. I need to be there to protect the trees. There is a reason why I must own my land - because the land needs an advocate, a voice, someone who will stand up and defend it. The land needs people who will stand up and shout "NO! You will not cut down those trees to make room for whatever stupid idea of you've come up with today!"

It is easy for people to say that land should belong to the government so that it belongs "to the people," but I will take a firm stand and tell you that the moment you give control of land to the government, some pencil pusher sitting on an IKEA chair in a sea of concrete will look up from a painted storyboard drawing and give the order to cut down your trees to make room for people who will bring more money to the government. And the people who love those trees will stare at the pitiful stumps in the concrete and shake their heads.

The people will leave their offices to head to the bus stops, and they will stand around the stumps of these trees and ask why. They will look around and ask the police.

"What happened to the trees?"

And the police will be just as upset as everyone else. Some people will go to the city to demand answers, and they will be reminded that the trees belong to the government and the government can cut them down for "the good of the people," because tourists like wide sidewalks, and tourist bring money. And you can always buy more trees.
 

  To read the story of my own personal battle for the trees:

Read -

Ferngully

Saving Ferngully

Anne Frank Meets Dirty Harry

What We Have Here . . .

Chess Games

Battle Drums

The Good Fight

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:20 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
My husband is a landscape architect. He says "they" always name a subdivision for the natural asset that has been removed -- hence, "Lost Pines," "Red Oak Way," etc. True. He worked for Harris County -- he fought to save and maintain the giant magnolias by the old courthouse across the street from the old Family Law Center.
Posted by Christine Cunningham on 02/24/2015 - 12:03 PM
Sad! We have a web page whee people can e-mail a tree. [Melbourne Aust] Each tree has a number and it is a way people can connect and let council know health of trees. http://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/entertainment/article/trees-return-your-emails#gallery-2
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 02/24/2015 - 01:55 PM
Seriously?!? Do they think tourists would rather bake their brains walking down a hot Texas sidewalk beside a bunch of wilted flowers, instead of walking down a tree lined sidewalk? Give me shade any day!!!
Posted by Patty on 02/24/2015 - 03:29 PM
Christine, God bless your husband! We need people like him in positions to protect our natural resources.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 02/24/2015 - 04:25 PM
Stop global warming. Quit cutting down the trees. 7th grade biology - transpiration: where CO2 is absorbed by the leaf, photosynthesis occurs, and O2 and sugar are the output. Next door neighbor cut down a perfectly healthy 60 yr old pin oak because he didn't want to rake the leaves. Asked the arborist if he contacted anyone about the 35' of straight wood, no, a lumber yard didn't want poplar. So did you ask about the oak? Cut up for firewood. Cried over that one......
Posted by Cappy on 02/25/2015 - 11:00 AM
Exactly! The idiots walk among us. They look down their noses and call us treehuggers but they seem to have forgotten that they can't breathe concrete.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 02/25/2015 - 12:57 PM
Cutting down a tree feels like murder to me. They live longer than we do.
Posted by Anna on 02/28/2015 - 07:28 PM
It feels like murder to me too.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 03/01/2015 - 11:31 AM

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