Friday, September 21, 2007

Environmental Hypocracy in the City

Why do people cut down trees in the city? I understand people who cut down trees in order to make furniture or paper or baseball bats out of them. But what always puzzles me is that in a society that claims to be so environmentally conscious, that has all sorts of ways of kowtowing to the environmentalists including carbon footprint compensation, etc., why do people needlessly cut down trees that aren’t doing anybody any harm?

At a shopping area near my home there were many lovely large trees. The shopping center cut them all down. Then they planted a number of skinny, scruffy palm trees in their place. This transformed the shopping center from an attractive, pleasant place into an ugly, dry, unattractive place. The additional sunlight highlighted the flaws in the parking area and the facades of the buildings creating an even seedier effect. I suspect that they may have been tired of picking up leaves or worried about the trees making their parking lot lumpy, but considering the cost, difficulty, and time involved in growing a tree—decades—and the beauty and shade that trees provide, I think a few leaves and a little lumpiness is a small price to pay. So it astounded me when they devastated their trees.

We also have someone who lives not far from where I live that had an enormous cedar tree in their front yard. I don’t doubt that they were needlessly worried that the tree might somehow drop branches on their house. I think that, based on the weather we have here and the size and stoutness of the tree, this was singularly unlikely. Nevertheless, they cut the tree back to an 18 ft. tall stump. I think they believed the tree would re-sprout from its decapitated form. But it did not. After a number of years, they made a second foolish decision and chopped up the entire 15 ft. trunk into firewood. Such a monolithic piece of wood could have easily been used by an artist to make some sort of sculpture or statue. Instead, they gave it away as free firewood in large chunks. Everywhere I go in the city I see beautiful trees, but I also see neighborhoods where there were beautiful trees that were needlessly destroyed. These neighborhoods are not as attractive as the neighborhoods with trees. They do not have property values as high as the neighborhoods with trees. And it will take 30 to 40 years for them to ever get back to the state they were in when their old trees were cut down. This needless destruction seems ridiculous and foolish to me. And if people are really concerned about getting rid of carbon dioxide and maintaining the environment, then they should be planting more trees, not chopping down the ones we have.

God, when He created the earth, made mankind a steward of the earth. In the civil law that He gave to the Jewish people, God outlined various provisions for protecting the environment and maintaining sanitation. While people are more important than animals and plants (the environmentalists’ error is thinking the reverse), they are nevertheless important and God will call to account those who needlessly destroy and deface His creation without any real benefit for their fellow man. While I am no radical environmentalist, I would ask you, please think twice before you cut down that really large tree in your front yard simply because you’re unhappy about the leaves.

1 comment:

Sacchiel said...

Trees are very often underrated. Raking leaves was to me, the worst part about Fall.